An oil painting by Mark Rothko sold for $86.9 million at a Christie’s auction in New York, setting a record for the Abstract Expressionist painter.
Rothko’s “Orange, Red, Yellow,” which dates from 1961, was being sold by the estate of David Pincus, a Philadelphia clothing manufacturer and philanthropist who died last year. Pincus was actively involved with the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The buyer at Tuesday’s auction has not been identified.
The previous record for a Rothko work was the $72.8 million paid for “White Center” in 2007. The sale of “Orange, Red, Yellow” also represents a new record as the most expensive postwar artwork sold at auction.
‘Voice’ victory gets muted
Were the ratings good for Tuesday’s finale of “The Voice,” won by Jermaine Paul? That depends on how you look at the numbers.
On the bright side, the two-hour extravaganza scored 11.6 million viewers, up 5% from last season’s closer for NBC’s singing contest, according to Nielsen. Among adults 18 to 49, the show rose an impressive 16%.
But here’s the problem: Last season’s finale came in late June, when TV viewing, thanks to summer vacations and longer days, is as much as one-third lower than it is in early May. That means “The Voice” actually underperformed when the “homes using television” factor — HUTs, in industry-speak — is thrown in.
Love for David and Bacharach
Lyricist Hal David and composer Burt Bacharach were saluted Tuesday night in Washington as recipients of the 2012 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song bestowed by the Library of Congress, the first time the honor has been given to a songwriting team.
The singer most closely associated with the Bacharach-David songbook, Dionne Warwick, sang “This Guy’s in Love With You” and was joined at the event by Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow, Diana Krall, Lyle Lovett, Mike Myers and other performers who sang songs David and Bacharach wrote together during their long collaboration from the late 1950s into the 1970s.
Their hits included “Alfie,” “The Look of Love” and “What’s New Pussycat.”
The ceremony was videotaped and will be aired on PBS stations premiering May 21.
Bacharach, 83, was on hand for the ceremony; David, 90, is recuperating from a recent illness and was unable to attend. Bacharach said winning the Gershwin Prize surpassed receiving an Oscar.
Joyce materials go free online
The Irish National Library has digitized its rare James Joyce manuscripts and put them online. It’s a major move that makes Joyce’s handwritten notes and drafts available to scholars for free, at any time.
Joyce, who died in 1941 at age 58, is considered one of modernism’s most important and influential writers, but scholars have not had free access to his papers.
His grandson Stephen, who is custodian of his estate, has long held tight reins on the Joyce materials under his control: He charged high fees, refused scholars the right to quote from Joyce’s work and shut down the Irish government’s planned public readings of the centenary of “Ulysses” when he threatened litigation. But on Jan. 1, many of James Joyce’s works, including his letters, moved into the public domain.
ABC noms lead Daytime Emmys
“General Hospital” is one of the few soap operas still on the air, and it reaped the benefits of diminished competition Wednesday by grabbing 23 nominations for the 39th Daytime Emmy Awards.
The ABC soap opera helped boost the network to the lead of the pack in overall network nominations, with a total of 56.
The longest-running soap opera on TV was recently renewed for a 49th season by ABC, which spared it the fate of fellow soaps “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” both canceled last year.
Among other ABC shows getting nominations were “Good Morning America,” which recently topped longtime morning show champ “Today” in the ratings for the first time since 1996; “The View”; the children’s show “Born to Explore”; and the canceled “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.”
Other top nominated shows were PBS’ “Sesame Street” and CBS’ “The Young and the Restless” with 16 apiece, NBC’s “Days of Our Lives” with 15, the syndicated “Ellen DeGeneres Show” with 12 and the soap operas “All My Children,” “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “One Life to Live” with 11 each.
The nominees for best drama series were “General Hospital,” “All My Children,” “Days of Our Lives” and “The Young and the Restless.”
The winners will be announced June 23.
—Patrick Kevin Day
NBC maintains ‘Law & Order’
NBC has renewed its long-running drama “Law & Order: SVU” for a 14th season and is getting even cozier with its executive producer, Dick Wolf, picking up his pilot “Chicago Fire” for the 2012-13 season.
“Chicago Fire” centers on the men and women of the Chicago Fire Department. It stars Taylor Kinney and Jesse Spencer.
A gospel shout for Franklin
The Queen of Soul is taking her place in the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Aretha Franklin is one of six people who’ll be inducted into the hall on Aug. 14 in Hendersonville, Tenn. She’ll be joined by bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs, family group the Hoppers, contemporary Christian singer Dallas Holm, the late TV evangelist Rex Humbard and Christian rock band Love Song.
Streisand to sing in Brooklyn
Barbra Streisand is going home to Brooklyn.
The Oscar- and Grammy-winning diva was born and raised in the New York borough but has never performed publicly there. She rarely performs in public.
The Barclays Center arena announced Wednesday that Streisand will give a concert there Oct. 11.
Renewed: AMC has given 16-episode renewals to its genre chat show “Talking Dead” and the reality series “Comic Book Men.”