With record-shattering auction sales and groundbreaking art shows, there was never a dull moment in the art world in 2017.
As we continue to look forward to new exhibitions and openings in 2018, we've highlighted some of the major art moments of 2017:
1. Louvre Abu Dhabi opens
As part of the thirty-year agreement between the city of Abu Dhabi and the French government, the Louvre Abu Dhabi opened on November 8 this year, with 600 works of art including the Egyptian funeral set of Princess Henuttawy and Pablo Picasso’s Portrait of a Lady.
Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi–the most expensive painting ever sold at auction–will be making the Louvre Abu Dhabi its home "very soon".
2. Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci Sold For $450 Million
The 500-year-old rediscovered painting by the Renaissance polymath shattered the world record for an artwork sold at auction with its US$450.3 million sale at Christie’s New York. The record-breaking sale eclipses all previous artwork auction records, including the US$179 million sale of Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O).
It was later revealed that the secret buyer of the Salvator Mundi was Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.
3. Asia’s first LGBTQ art show debuted at MOCA Taipei
The LGBTQ community in Asia reached a significant milestone in 2017 with Asia’s first LGBTQ themed art show held at MOCA Taipei. It was the first ever exhibition dedicated to LGBTQ issues to go on show at an art museum in Asia.
Dedicated to LGBTQ issues, the exhibition featured works that tell of 50 years of LGBTQ development in history to deliver one single theme: the spectrum of light—a nod to the rainbow.
4. Details of Andy Warhol's untimely death revealed
After Andy Warhol's death in 1987, it remained a mystery how the pop icon died in a prestigious hospital after a routine gallbladder operation. Now, we're closer to knowing the truth than ever after Dr. John Ryan, a medical historian and retired surgeon, released his findings on Andy Warhol's death this year.
It was reported that the artist had suffered gallbladder problems for almost 15 years, his health declining rapidly due to severe malnourishment and dehydration, and the long-term effects of a 1968 gunshot wound. That final surgery was said to be too stressful for his fragile body.
5. Yayoi Kusama opens her own museum in Tokyo
Years ago, the world’s most expensive female artist Yayoi Kusama, commissioned Kume Sekkei to build a mysterious white building in Tokyo’s Shinjuku area. After much speculation, it turned out to be the Yayoi Kusama Museum which finally opened its doors in October.
From disorienting infinity rooms to dot-covered statues, the museum is full of Instagram-friendly installations and admission tickets are constantly in high demand.
6. Alejandro Iñárritu's Carne y Arena awarded a Special Award Oscar
The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to present a Special Award—an Oscar statuette— to director Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s virtual reality installation, Carne y Arena.
The VR installation, arguably the first VR masterpiece, recreated the experience of refugees crossing the Mexico-US border in exhibitions in Milan and Los Angeles, and fascinated the world with its powerful storytelling experience.