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12 posts from September 2006

September 29, 2006

Busy.. But not too busy to miss Nikki S. Lee's Movie Premier At MOMA

It's been a busy busy art filled week.. yes.. I know.. it's tough being an over paid pompous art snob art collector in NYC!

But Next week promises to be just as good!!

So... If you didn't already.. go pick up tickets today for the new ffilm Premier of Nikki S. Lee's film at MOMA. The film is called.. what else... "a.k.a. Nikki S.  Lee."
Nikki_s_lee_hiphopOn October 5th at 6:30 Miss Nikki S. Lee will be in attendance!! (Photo #2, Self Portrait, "The Hip Hop Project" #1, 2001, Chromogenic color print, 21 x 28)

Of course.. Everybody who's anybody in the NYC photography world will be throwing attitude there!!

See you at the movies!

September 26, 2006

All good things come in THREEs ? Benefit Auctions Too.

One great way to find a hidden gem for your collection, and also an easy way to support your favorite arts organization is the benefit auction. The next few days there are three of my favorite events!

  1. Tonight.. is the 2006 SVA Alumni Society Auction. It takes place at 601 West 26th Street, in their 15th floor Gallery, from 6pm to 9pm.  So, check out some of their Auction Lots..  This 100 Lot Auction, features works by John Dugdale, Louise Bourgeois, Marilyn Minter, Aaron Siskind, Andres Serrano, Roni Horn, Brain Finke, Billy Sullivan, Simen Johan, Vito Acconci, Lisa Ruyter, Roy Lichtenstein, Banks Violette, Sue Williams, and Elizabeth Peyton...just to name drop a few.. See you there.. I'll be the wall street dork one in the dark blue suit.
  2. October 4th is the Dieu Donne Papermill's 7th Annual Benefit Auction. This live and silent auctions will take place at The Gallery of the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th Street from 7 to 11pm.  As this organization is focused on the creation,  promotion and preservation of contemporary art in the hand papermaking process, this event will feature over 40 new and unique works on handmade paper.  Artist works will include Will Cotton, Glenn Ligon, Polly Apfelbaum, Arturo Herrera, Jen DeNike, Douglas Gordon and Erik Hanson.
  3. October 7th is the 28th Annual Benefit Auction to support The Center for Photography at Woodstock. This live auction will take place at the Bearsville Theater, 291 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY at 7pm. This center provides an artistic home for contemporary creative photography with programs in education, exhibition, publication, residencies, and services for artists. This 221 lot auction will feature works by many historically important photographers, including photo's by Lewis Hine, Mitch Epstein, Helmut Newton, Brassai, Weegee, Ansel Adams, Louis Fauer, Larry Fink, Michael Kenna, Robert Capa, Gordon Parks, Paul Strand, and Edward Steichen.   But I've also found this auction an useful place to spot (and buy the work inexpensively of) new emerging photo talents such as : Julia Peirone, Sarah Pickering, Robert Flynt,  Marc Yankus, Stuart O'Sullivan, Nick Waplington, and Caitlin Atkinson just to pump up name a few.  Absentee Bids can be left here.

All three are great organizations..So be sure to  bring your checkbooks and your auction paddles!

September 21, 2006

An Arbus opening and book signing

Last night was the book signing and gallery opening party for the daughter of photography legend Diane Arbus and 1980's Village Voice photographer Amy Arbus.

The work seems to be attracting a lot of press, Amy Arbus had a half page story in this Sunday's NYT, "Annals of Self-Invention" by Philip Gefter.

Amyarbus_baldhead86 Well the night as was as expected.. packed full with a very "Arbus" crowd. (my snapshots from the event will be posted tonight) Even the TV star husband of Diane Arbus and father to Amy was in attendance. You may remember Allan Arbus as the actor who played Psychiatrist Dr. Sidney Freedman on the series M.A.S.H.

Amy was super nice, and she was so courteous to talk with each person as she signed your book.

While Amy's work will always be compared to her mothers amazing photographs, the new book, On the Street by Amy Arbus has some great NY city 80's nostalgic images. 

Here's one image from the book and show, "Bald Head", 1986, Gelatin silver printed 1990, 20" x 16" Edition of 75.

The show is up till Oct 14th, at the Cohen Amador Gallery on 57th street.

September 19, 2006

Art Image of the Week - Kelli Connell

In keeping with last weeks theme of great emerging women photographers.. (a la The Great Zoe Strauss).  This week we move to the dark side of art photography, aka the digital masters !!(hmm.. just wondering.. can a women be a master? or should women be properly referred to as a digital mistress or maybe a digital dominatrix? anyone know?..)

Kelli_connell_daydream So.. This weeks Image of the week is by the digital mistress and super gender bender.. Artist Kelli Connell.

This image is titled "Daydream" 2002, and is a 30" x 40" Digital Lambda print.

What makes it immediately striking is the fact that this is a double self portrait of the same person. Wow!

As you can see from this image, much of Kelli's work addresses issues of relationships, masculinity, beauty, attraction, sexuality and intimacy. I find her work very original and provocative.

Along with Brian Ulrich, Kelli Connell is also one of the three featured Artists in the new Aperture Book Midwest Photographers Publication Project, MP3. Additionally Kelli's work has been featured at the Weinstein Gallery in Minneapolis and is currently on view in a group show at MoCP in Chicago.

So what do you think of this image, and the work of Kelli Connell?

  • A digital revolutionary or just digital gimmickry?
  • All Flash with no Film?
  • A Digital Dominatrix to be obeyed collected ?
  • Fabulous or forgettable?
  • Les-bionic or just another Lessor Loretta Lux?

All thoughts are always welcome.

FYI... For those interested..

Aperture Event : Next Thursday September 28th at 6:30pm there will be a Panel Discussion and Book signing at the Aperture Gallery on West 27th street.  MoCP Director Rob Slemmons will moderate a discussion with Brian Ulrich, Kelli Connell and Justin Newhall, it sounds like it should be an interesting night.. See you there!!

September 15, 2006

An Art Show by Popular Vote!!

Have you ever gone to a group art exhibition and said afterwords.. "I really wish they would have included work by <bla...bla...blaa..insert your favorite artists>?"  Or.. I think everybody said.. "Those foolish biennial curators don't know what they are doing.. they should have included... X, y and z artists!!"

Well, now's your big chance to add your 2 cents!! A  competition is being held by the Saatchi
Gallery and London's Guardian newspaper.  The artists who get the most votes will appear in an exhibition in London.  The contest ends on September 18th.  So go Vote Now ! Click Here !! You too can be a curator!

FYI....I've already voted.. and not to persuade MAO readers too much.... but two of my favorite artists are in the running !! 

Painter..Randywray_nestraider Randy Wray..

He shows at the ab fab, Nada Club Derek Eller Gallery here in NYC..

Randy uses a unique blend of sculpture, and computer aided drafting to create his complex and seductive paintings.

Here's just one example, it's called

"nest raider," 2006, acrylic, paper, epoxy clay, glitter, pencil, oil paint on canvas
48 x 36 inches.

(photo #1) but

You can check out more of Randy's recent work on his own website.

www.randywray.net

Brian_ulrick_granger_inPhotographer... Brian Ulrich.

Brian is included in the new Aperture book on three emerging photography artists.. called MP3

He was also one of the featured artists in the recent "Point of Purchase" show in Dumbo. 

This image is called "Granger, IN" 2004.

Here's a little exert on Brian from aperture.org about the book..

Brian Ulrich shoots in malls, grocery stores, and warehouses, documenting the bounty of commercial goods available to consumers and the peculiarities of the places that offer them for sale. Ulrich is interested in how people act in these spaces. From cathartic to catatonic, the shoppers in Ulrich’s pictures may be caught up in fantasy or quite simply overwhelmed, but they are most certainly familiar.

OK.. well.. I've added my 2 cents.. so now please go cast your votes. (for Randy and Brian!!)

September 14, 2006

There will be crowds at Art Basel Miami this year!!

Well.. if yesterdays feverish Christies First Open Contemporary Art sale or Tuesdays Phillips "Under The Influence" Auctions are any indications of how strong the Contemporary Ar market will stay..LOOK OUT!

FYI.. Almost everything sold.. many lots were way over the estimates.. hot bidding was seen for Thomas Ruff, Richard Prince, Rineke Dijkstra, Tom Sachs, Christo, Martin Eder, Susan Rothenberg, David Sale, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Keith Haring works just to name a few...

Conclusion.. The Contemporary Art Market is as strong as ever!

Artbasel_miamibeach So, being the ever so art obsessed, you always need to think ahead..

Hence, I was just booking a trip to South Beach for early December.  And from what I've just seen this December's Art Basel Miami promises to be jammed packed with the crazed art buying masses. It's three months away, and everything is already booked up!

According to, Turon Travel the official Travel Website for the Art Basel Fair, the following ten South Beach dumpy overpriced  hotels are already completely SOLD OUT for the nights of Dec 6, 7, 8, and 9

  • The Catalina Hotel
  • Dorchester Hotel
  • Doubletree Surfcomber Hotel
  • Lowes Miami Beach
  • Hotel Marseilles
  • The National Hotel
  • The Tides
  • The Ritz-Carlton South Beach
  • The Sagamore
  • The South Seas

But, you'll be relieved to see, The Shore Club still has it's $7,810 per night Penthouse Suit available, by request only!!

Here's a well kept secret I'll reluctantly share..  for those who've never seen this website, www.VRBO.com, is amazing!!  Bookmark it immediately.. This is Vacation Rental By Owner. They have several great condo's for rent by the owners all over the world, many rent for less then $1000 for an entire week! So if you're still looking for a place for your : art handlers, bitchy gallerina, boyfriend, or mistress to stay while you're in The Shore Club Penthouse.. check it out!

September 12, 2006

Less the 24 hours left to the End of the Sept Art Quiz!

OK.. MAO Quizlings..

Now that everyone in the art world is back from thier way too long summer break.

There's only 24 hours left before the "First Open" Christies Auction tomorrow!

Andywarhol_mao_sept06quiz So go post your guess NOW !! ====>    The Sept Art Quiz

Keep in mind.. Warhol MAO imagery is Hot Hot Hot..

just ask our friends at L & M Arts!!

September 11, 2006

5 Years of Healing

Andre_kertesz_worldtradecenter_2 For many years, I walked through these halls almost everyday.

At times like these, I prefer to remember the beauty and majesty that was the New York City, World Trade Center.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who perished in the towers, may God bless their souls.

Photo by Andre Kertesz, New York City, 1979.

September 09, 2006

MAO Art Image of The Week by Zoe Strauss

You may remember this new hot artist from the 2006 Whitney Biennial.  And while some of the 2006 WhiBi artists have almost already been forgotten... Marilyn whoWalker somebody? Some girlfriend from LA named Bradford? or some retail queen named Mechsepper?   What, Pasta Vezzoli, no, I'd rather have lasagna ??   

Ms. Zoe Strauss has been a busy busy Philly girl.. with recent solo shows in Philly @ the ICA, and in LA at Acuna-Hansen gallery, plus her work was in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and of course we can't forget her.. Under The I-95 Project!

Well NYC art world.. she's back!! This Friday, September 15th at 7pm will be Zoe Strauss Night at the Whitney Museum!

Click here for Free Tickets It's going to be quite an event!

In fact.. Here is a post from Zoe's own blog regarding the planning for this night...

Because the feel of "Zoe Strauss night at the Whitney" will be more like a prom with presentations and discussion, as opposed to a turgid lecture, I am soliciting ideas for a theme.
The theme is always "Zoe Strauss," but what about just taking it a little further?

I have some theme ideas for Zoe Strauss Night at the Whitney.

"You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC is top of the list.
Also
"You'll Never Walk Alone" ,"You're All I Need to Get By" ,"American Girl" and of course "Diving into the Wreck"
How bout...
"The Lavender Menace","The Battle of Blair Mountain","Escape to Witch Mountain","Close Encounters of the Third Kind","Vertigo","Manifest Destiny"

OR what's turning out to be the winner in my mind
"The Manhattan Project"

Manhattan Project could include so much...as seen at the Levy opening, we could have manhattans served with dry ice dropped to the bottom.
how about a bikini "atoll" contest? .....

Zoestrauss_womanwithchesttatoo_1So in preparation for ZOE's big night at the Whitney.. where everyone who's ANYONE in the NYC Photo world will be there.. we have our MAO Image of the Week!

OK...So.. There's just something about this photo that strikes me.  While most viewers find Zoe's inner city neighborhood shots both powerful and saddening. I find her shocking hyper realist portraits the strongest.

I'm not sure if it's this middle aged woman's 1980's blond hair style, the long taxi cab yellow finger nails, or her tacky fake snake skin dress...it all just screems makeover draws in the viewer.

Zoe has a signature eye all her own, but you always seem to spot a little Diane Arbus, some Walker Evans, and just a bit of Nan Goldin influence, carefully blended into her photographs. Be sure to check out more of her gritty, often mesmerizing images at www.ZoeStrauss.com

So.. What do you think of this image? And the work of Zoe Strauss? Clearly MAO is a fan..

Now if she wouldd just get an rich influential NYC spin doctor art dealer to pump up represent her... god only knows how far this Philadelphia talent's photography career will go! Sooo..Mooove over Loretta Lux!! Here comes Zoe Strauss!

And for those clueless individuals whom are not yet familiar with Zoe's work, you can read more in a ton of publications and websites...here's just a few to get started..

So see you all this Friday Night at The Whitney!

Oh.. and Dr. Quiz... Sorry, but we're going to be getting a late start on our normal weekend out in East Hampton...so, just pick me up in front of the Whitney.. around 9:30ish! Thanks..

September 08, 2006

No Reserve Photo Auction Today!

Today is the start of the Fall Season Photography food fight  Auctions! WooHooo!

Today at 2pm Christies has put together a small, almost 100%  B & W photo auction. The one twist is Larry_clark_untitled_1991the entire auction will be sold without any reserve (minimum bid).  So some of these lots may sell for way under their market value if there's little interest. In the past there's always one or two lots that go for almost nothing.. like $100 to $200!

Today most of the lots have pre-sale estimated prices well below $5,000. While there are very few iconic or important images up for sale, I think Christies intentionally low balled these estimate to sucker draw prospective buyers.

I liked Lot #45, by Larry Clark, Untitled, 1991, 1 from an edition of 2, print. Est  $2,000 - 3,000.   Christies put it on the back cover of their catalog.. but they got the edition size wrong in the listing.

So, we shall see...

September 07, 2006

So.. Who's Your DADA?!

Yes.. last night was the premier of The Wooster Group's DADA inspired performance at MOMA. Manray_dada Dutch, Hobbit, Dr. Quiz and I all managed to sober up enough, to leave our comfortable table at Estiatorio Milos to attend.

The show, which lasted about an hour, was filled with funny readings from the Dada Manifestso (by both Tzara, and Hugo Ball),  live video, Dada poetry, music, and the occasional exploding audience chair. Which MAO was lucky enough to fall victim to...Ha Ha.. yes the joke was on me.. Yea.. everybody laughed..I become part of the show.. Wooster Group members Kate Valk, Scott Shepherd, and Ari Fliakos did a great job of warning the audience, but just wait till one of my lawyers get a hold of them! Grrrr!

Anyway...there are 2 more performances tonight and Saturday. If you get a chance to leave Chelsea and like Dada Art, it's well worth checking out. And be for warned.. stay away from those little black and white stools unless you really want to become part of their performance.

September 01, 2006

The September MAO Art Quiz!!

Summer is officially over! So everyone, please, put the white powder pants away..it's time to get back to reality!  Well, just as the art gallery season gets back into full shwing next week.. so do the art auction houses! September06 looks like a busy month, Christies alone, has 16 auctions scheduled.

Thanks to the hard work of Zach Miner, Christies has established a new type of auction, it's called "First Open." Which is a nice way of categorizing emerging artist work from gallery owners inventory that they need want to dump sell.... mostly to pay their huge bills, from the hyper-fabulous lifestyles over expansion into new expensive lavish Chelsea gallery spaces.  And while most of the time these auctions have works which have yet to allow the paint to dry all been made in the last 10 years, sometimes there can actually be some hidden gems up for sale.

Andy_warhol_mao_electric_chairWhich brings us to our, quite handsome, and provocative September Art Quiz.

This is Lot 154 from Christies September 13th "First Open - Post War and Contemporary Art" Auction."

Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
Mao/Electric Chair
stamped with the Estate of Andy Warhol stamp and numbered WP890.50 (on the reverse)
silkscreen inks on paper
17½ x 22½ in. (44.3 x 57.7 cm.)
Executed circa 1978.

Pre-Sale Estimate : 35,000 - 45,000 U.S. Dollars

So... for this month's quiz.. post your guess for the final hammer sale price (20% commission included) without going over.  Everyone is welcome to play..one guess per person, and even if you've previously won a MAO Quiz you're welcome to play. And since anyone who's anyone in the NYC art world, is still sitting on a beach giving attitude being fabulous.. there's plenty of time to think of a good guess! Just submit your answer before 10am on the 13th. You can also email your guess to Mike@ModernArtObsession.com

The lucky winner who comes closest without going over, gets to choose between either a 1 year basic museum membership to any museum, or an arts based charity for a generous donation to be given in their honor.

As always.. Dr. Quiz will serve as both judge and jury.

Good luck.. and just remember..the Art Market is still going crazy, plus Warhol is Hot Hot Hot! The last time an Andy Warhol MAO image came up for auction... it totally crushed went well through the high end of the estimate.

So Happy Fall 2006 Auction Season everyone, welcome back.. and.. Let The Games Begin!