Amid the many, many changes the art world underwent in the past year, some things remained the same.

Not unlike in years past, controversies dominated the headlines, while little splashes of fun have always drawn audiences. Whether in anger, astonishment, laughter, or sheer surprise, our readers have flooded to our coverage.

Here are the 15 most popular stories of the year.

A newly discovered Lewis Chessman at Sotheby's London. Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby's.

A newly discovered Lewis Chessman at Sotheby’s London. Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby’s.

15. A Long-Forgotten ‘Lewis Chessman’ Piece That Languished in a Drawer for Decades Could Fetch $1.2 Million at Auction Next Month

June 3, 2019 — “A medieval chess piece from the famed Lewis Chessman trove, the most revered collection of chess pieces in the world, first discovered on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides in 1831, is heading to auction at Sotheby’s London next month.”

Venice's Constitution bridge. Photo By View Pictures/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

Santiago Calatrava’s Constitution bridge in Venice. Photo By View Pictures/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

14. Venice Has Fined the Architect Santiago Calatrava $86,000 for Building a Bridge That—Oops—Can’t Handle Tourists

August 19, 2019 — “The Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who is no stranger to lawsuits arising from his ambitious designs, has been ordered to pay a €78,000 ($86,000) fine to the city of Venice for “macroscopic negligence” in constructing a bridge over its famous Grand Canal.”

US President Donald Trump smiles. Photo courtesy of Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

US President Donald Trump smiles. Photo courtesy of Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

13. Trump’s 2020 Budget Is the Largest in Federal History—and It Would Entirely Eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts

March 18, 2019 — “It’s that time of year again: the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities are in trouble, with President Donald Trump again aiming to eliminate the two agencies, this time in his budget for the 2020 fiscal year.”

Crowds angling for a shot of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. Image via Flickr.

12. ‘I Have Never Seen Such Chaos’: Mass Confusion Ensues After the Louvre Moves the ‘Mona Lisa’ to a Different Gallery

July 31, 2019 — “Visitors to Paris hoping to see the Mona Lisa this summer, beware. Only those holding a pre-booked ticket with an all-important timed slot were given access to the Louvre last week after its most famous painting was moved to a different gallery. The temporary rehang has thrown the world’s most popular art museum’s crowd-control measures out of whack.”

The 1939 Type 64 Porsche. Courtesy of RM Sotheby's.

The 1939 Type 64 Porsche. Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

11. RM Sotheby’s Botched the $22 Million Sale of the ‘First Porsche’ Because Bidders Couldn’t Understand the Auctioneer’s Dutch Accent

August 19, 2019 — “It was meant to be the star lot in a banner automobile sale for RM Sotheby’s in Monterey Beach, California. Billed as the ‘first’ Porsche, the 1939 Type 64 automobile was one of just three ever built, and the only one to have survived. The car was estimated to sell for up to $22 million, but instead it failed to sell at all due to an embarrassing combination of technical difficulties and an apparently hard-to-parse Dutch accent.”

The arsenal of charms. Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

10. Experts in Pompeii Have Discovered a Female Sorcerer’s Mysterious Arsenal of Charms—See Them Here

August 13, 2019 — “Archaeologists have discovered an incredible array of amulets, gems, and lucky charms in Pompeii. Researchers think that the mysterious trove belonged to a female sorcerer who could have been a victim of the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius more than 2,000 years ago.”

Louvre Abu Dhabi, UAE. Photo: Phpeter via Wikimedia Commons.

9. Art Basel Is Organizing a Three-Day Sustainability Summit in Abu Dhabi in Its Latest Effort to Evolve Beyond Art Fairs

September 9, 2019 — “Art Basel organizers have made it clear that they have no interest in bringing yet another art fair into the already-crowded fair landscape. But that doesn’t mean the company isn’t interested in expanding. And the latest area of growth for the organization is high-profile events.”

The Art Angle Podcast takes on the re-vamped Museum of Modern Art.

The Art Angle takes on the revamped Museum of Modern Art.

8. Introducing the Art Angle Podcast: How MoMA Remade Itself for the Trump Era

October 28, 2019 — “After over $400 million in renovations and a multiple-month closure to the public, the Museum of Modern Art is back. But do roughly 75,000 square feet in new exhibition space and a (supposedly) radical rehang of the permanent collection add up to a MoMA fit for our turbulent times?”

Stills from a video showing a new technique for animating images through AI, with the Mona Lisa as the subject. Courtesy of Samsung’s A.I. Center and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology.

Stills from a video showing a new technique for animating images through AI, with the Mona Lisa as the subject. Courtesy of Samsung’s A.I. Center and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology.

7. Russian Researchers Used AI to Bring the Mona Lisa to Life and It Freaked Everyone Out. See the Video Here

May 31, 2019 — “Art historians have longed puzzled over the Mona Lisa’s beguiling smile, wondering what, if anything, it reveals about the sitter. In May, a freaky viral video clip that brought her to life raised even more questions.”

You got your Salvator in my Kusama: What private museum is worth its weight in oil without a mirror room? Photo collage courtesy of Kenny Schachter.

You got your Salvator in my Kusama: What private museum is worth its weight in oil without a mirror room? Photo collage courtesy of Kenny Schachter.

6. Where In the World Is ‘Salvator Mundi’? Kenny Schachter Reveals the Location of the Lost $450 Million Leonardo

June 10, 2019 — “When I received intel from a source with deep Middle Eastern ties as to the possible whereabouts of Salvator Mundi, the world’s most expensive, missing-in-action painting, I immediately went to the authority every writer consults first (whether they admit it or not): Wikipedia.”

The yellow diamond before and after coating with carbon nano-tubes. Image by Diemut Strebe

The yellow diamond before and after coating with carbon nano-tubes. Image by Diemut Strebe

5. Sorry, Anish Kapoor: MIT Scientists Made the Blackest Black Ever Invented, and an Artist Just Used It to Do Something Magical

September 17, 2019 — “In a remarkable new mashup of art and science, an artist has used the blackest black ever created to make a 16.78-carat yellow diamond completely ‘disappear.’ The result of the intensive 5-year long project called The Redemption of Vanity, the super-black diamond currently sits on view in an unlikely, but—as explained to Artnet News—very fitting venue: the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street.”

View of Moais Ahu Tongariki. Photo Gregory Boissy/AFP/Getty Images.

View of Moais Ahu Tongariki. Photo Gregory Boissy/AFP/Getty Images.

4. Archaeologists Discover That Easter Island’s Statues May Have Served a Surprisingly Practical Function

January 11, 2019 — “According to archaeologists, the location of those hulking ancestral figures (moai) and the platforms they’re placed upon (ahu) is based on their proximity to fresh water sources—an exceedingly rare and precious resource.”

Petrina Ryan-Kleid, Parsing Bill (2012). Image via the New York Academy of Arts.

Petrina Ryan-Kleid, Parsing Bill (2012). Image via the New York Academy of Art.

3. Here’s the Story Behind That Bizarre Painting of Bill Clinton in a Blue Dress Seen at Jeffrey Epstein’s Home

August 16, 2019 — “Given the hurricane-force storm of media attention swirling around the case of Jeffrey Epstein, the news that he owned a particularly strange work of art perhaps doesn’t seem like the biggest of deals. This particular work of art, however, features an image of former president Bill Clinton clad in a blue dress and high heels, gesturing to the viewer. Given that Bill Clinton’s name has been prominently connected to Epstein, word of the painting sent the internet conspiracy machine wild.”

The penny! It's worth a bundle. Photo: Heritage Auctions.

The penny! It’s worth a bundle. Photo: Heritage Auctions.

2. A 16-Year-Old Found a Rare Penny in His Lunch Money. Then It Sold for $204,000 at Auction

January 14, 2019 — “They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But what about a lunch that ends up making you more than $200,000? That fantasy became reality for the family of Don Lutes Jr. of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, who received an ultra-rare 1943 Lincoln penny as change from his school cafeteria in 1947.”

Rankin, Eve, 18, "Selfie Harm" for Visual Diet. Photo courtesy of Rankin.

Rankin, Eve, 18, “Selfie Harm” for Visual Diet. Photo courtesy of Rankin.

1. For a Project Called ‘Selfie Harm,’ the Photographer Rankin Asked Teens to Photoshop Their Own Portraits. What They Did Was Scary

February 6, 2019 — “Is photo-editing software warping our perceptions of reality? The British fashion photographer John Rankin Waddell, known professionally as Rankin, took portraits of 15 teenagers and asked them to edit the pictures to make them more social-media friendly. The hyper-retouched images—with giant, cartoon-like eyes, pouty lips, and unnaturally glowing skin—are nothing short of shocking.

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