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Work by Bagta sells big at Bonhams
  8th Apr 2012

An unrecorded portrait by 18th Century Indian artist Bagta, sold for six times the estimated price at $302,500 at an auction in New York. According to Bonhams, this work is a rare representation of the larger scale depiction of Bagta (1761-1814). The portrait of the imposing figure of Rawat Gokal Das celebrating Holi with his consorts was consigned by a collector who bought the piece two decades ago for a modest $125.



Thailand bans film based on Macbeth

Censors in Thailand have banned a film based on William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth, saying it could cause divisions in the country where an uneasy truce persists after several years of sometimes bloody upheaval and political polarisation. A trailer for the film, directed by Ing Kanjanavanit, shows scenes from Thailand's recent past, including a 1973 crackdown on student protesters and street clashes in 2010 between the military and anti-government demonstrators in which 91 died. "The film Shakespeare Must Die has content that causes divisiveness among the people of the nation," the Film Censorship Board said in a statement.

Houston's last film to release in India

Musical drama Sparkle, which features singer Whitney Houston in her last movie role, is set to release in India on 7 December. Sony Pictures India debuted the first trailer of the movie, a remake of the 1976 original film of the same name. The film stars Houston, who passed away last month at the age of 48, as the mother of three girls who forms a singing group and ironically, struggles with fame and drug addiction.

Theatre personalities condemn Assam govt

Theatre personalities across the country condemned the Assam government's move to cancel a satirical drama on the Mahabharata in Guwahati following the VHP's objection over the name of the play. On 29 March, the Department of Cultural Affairs had cancelled the permission, given to Nagaon district's Rangmahal group for the comedy Mahabharator Bhool (The Mahabharata's Mistake), to be staged in Guwahati. "The state government should have given protection to the group. This should be fought in the court of law. All artists together should file a petition to the state government that this cannot go on," renowned theatre personality M.K. Raina said.

Madonna's MDNA beats Presley's record

Pop diva Madonna has beaten Rock n' Roll king Elvis Presley to become the most successful solo artist in British album chart history. The 52-year-old star broke the record held by The King when her latest album, MDNA, topped the UK charts. It is the 12th chart-topper of her career, taking her ahead of Presley's 11 number ones. She may be a chart-topper, but she said her kids still don't like some of her music.

More galleries join Google's virtual tours

Until now, anyone who aspired to be well versed in the artistic highlights of the world's great galleries required time, money and a penchant for air travel. Soon, they will need just a laptop. Thanks to Google, that has announced a global expansion of its Art Project site, which allows users to go on a virtual cultural grand tour. The site, which launched in February last year with just 1,000 works of art after being thought up by four UK-based engineers, has signed partnership deals with 151 new cultural locations across 40 countries. Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Galleries of Scotland are among those that will now allow Google to photograph their collections.

Dhaka to host its first Annual Art Summit

With the intension of promoting Bangladeshi artists and their works, Samdani Art Foundation, a non profit group, in collaboration with Bangladesh National Museum and Shilpakala Academy is organising the first ever Dhaka Art Summit from 12-15 April. The summit will bring together 19 art galleries and 219 artists and will feature exhibitions, several installations, 15 performance arts and a video lounge.

Dali work expected to fetch $10 million

A 75-year-old masterwork by surrealist painter Salvador Dali is expected to fetch $10 million or more when it hits the auction block next month, Sotheby's said. Printemps necrophilique, a 1936 work by the Spanish master which depicts a seated male and a standing female in an eerily realistic landscape, has a presale estimate of $8 million to $12 million when it is offered at the 2 May sale of Impressionist and Modern Art. It was last on the market about 15 years ago. Surrealist art has seen soaring prices in recent seasons, with works by painters such as Max Ernst and Paul Delvaux selling for many times their estimates or setting records at sales in New York last fall.

Ai Weiwei sets up webcams at home

Artist Ai Weiwei announced that he had set up four webcams in his home in a symbolic reference to the 24-hour police surveillance he has been subjected to since his detention a year ago. "In my life, there is so much surveillance and monitoring ... So I was wondering, why don't I put some (cameras) so people can see all my activities. I hope the other party (authorities) can also show some transparency," he said.

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