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11 posts from March 2008

March 28, 2008

Sales at the Armory Fair look good so far..

Collectors are cautious but still buying at The Armory 2008 Art Fair.

So far we've gone to both The Armory and The Pulse fairs.. and while we at MAO have been wrongly slandered labeled as the main evil soothsayer for the coming of the Art Apocalypse, we are very happy to Paul_pfeiffer_four_horseman_of_the_ report the contemporary art market is NOT crashing yet.

We directly witnesses lots of over highly priced art works getting swooped up by well known collectors.  On Wednesday afternoon we personally know collectors who bought Kehinde Wiley, Paul P, and Chris Dorland paintings.. plus a Spencer Finch Light Sculpture and even several new photo works by Ryan McGinley were all sold to wise members of the MAO fan club.

(Photo #1, Paul Pfeiffer, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.2001, digital duralex print)

We'll post more on the NYC art fairs...as we see the rest. But here's one of the first stories we've seen in the press... Story on Bloomberg by Lindsay Pollock of Bloomberg News.

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Worried Dealers, Cross-Dressing Potter Open Armory Art Fair
By Lindsay Pollock
     March 27 (Bloomberg) -- Collector Donald B. Marron noticed a less-frenzied pace at New York's Armory Show art fair yesterday as he strolled the aisles during the VIP opening. "You can see people contemplating the art,'' said Marron, chairman of Lightyear Capital LLC, with his curator at his side. "It's the way you ought to look at art.''  Following a seven-year jump in prices for contemporary art and a proliferation of international art fairs, the speculative boom may be losing some steam. "I'm not sure, at the end of the day, how good business is,'' said Roland Augustine, head of the Art Dealers Association of America and co-founder of Chelsea gallery Luhring Augustine, which isn't exhibiting.  "I'm not sure if the market can absorb all this.''  The fair, a showplace for 160 international galleries selling from booths on Pier 94 on the west side of Manhattan, runs through Sunday. Last year attendance topped 52,000 and organizers reported sales of $85 million.
     Marie-Josee Kravis, chairwoman of the Museum of Modern Art's board, and real estate developer Arthur Zeckendorf were among other VIPs. Europeans, particularly French and German, attracted by the weak dollar, were out in force. Some dealers fretted over few or no sales, but business was brisk in some quarters. Chelsea gallery Friedrich Petzel sold works by Allan McCollum, Sarah Morris and a $120,000 sculpture by Cosima von Bonin, made from grungy stuffed animals dangling on clothespins.

                       Pendulous Breasts

     Greenberg Van Doren Gallery sold their priciest work, a $275,000 androgynous wooden sculpture by Katsura Funakoshi with an elongated neck and pendulous breasts.  Sales outperformed London dealer Victoria Miro's expectations.  "Everyone is quite nervous about the economy,'' she said, "but it's been quite normal.''
     Miro sold three vases by the Turner Prize-winning cross- dresser Grayson Perry, priced $30,000 to $90,000. She sold five paintings by Varda Caivano, a young artist whose subtle pastel- hued abstractions cost $12,000 to $18,000. Renee and Robert Belfer, philanthropists and collectors who have a named gallery at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, raced over to a dealer to buy two photographs. "They were already gone,'' he said.
     Die-hard collectors were oblivious to gloomy economic forecasts. Don and Mera Rubell, who own a private museum in Miami, charged around in black sneakers. They said they weren't inclined to buy less.    "After 40 years of collecting, are we pulling back? No! We are buying a ton of art,'' said the tanned, white-haired Don Rubell. "But if everyone else pulls back, we'd be delighted.''

                       Blur of Art

     With over 2,000 artists on view, the art tended to blur, but one-person booths stood out. A one-woman show of Jenny Holzer paintings, marble footstools and LED installations based on declassified U.S. documents at Cheim & Read gallery seemed more museum-like than most.   Annette Lemieux's installation at Paul Kasmin Gallery, based on a country fair, featured gingham paintings, old barn wood, and free apple pie served with whole milk from the jar. A bumper sticker proclaiming  "No Bull'' cost $1.

     Most of the art wasn't rebellious, but Joe Bradley's bland beige painting at the Lower East Side's Canada gallery poked fun at "art as luxury goods,'' said Wallace Whitney, a dealer at the gallery. "This is a tough piece.''     The "Bread'' painting -- Whitney said the color reminded the artist of Wonder bread's crust -- was priced at $30,000.

There were no takers.

--Editors: Mary Romano, Yvette Ferreol.

March 25, 2008

Jeremy Kost's Art Installation at the Tribeca Grand

Jeremy Kost art installation and party at the Tribeca Grand Hotel this Sunday.

Well.. my little MAO-ettes.. We know everyone will be oh so super busy doing Armory Show events this weekend.. but there's one hot event you might want to put on the calendar for Sunday night.

Jeremy Kost, up and coming artist and Friend Of MAO (to be known as FOMAOs) will be holding court a party at the Tribeca Grand Hotel.

The reception will be hosted by 2008 Whitney Biennial Curator, Shamim M. Momin and artist Terence Koh..so you know it has to be a totally chic event! Jeremy Kost is represented by Conner Contemporary Art in DC so you may already know his Polaroid centric work.

The work Jeremy will be showing is called "Not Yet Titled (Making Faces)", 2008 and it's been inspired by Bruce Nauman's "Studies for a Hologram".  Its a new fresh, provocative, sexy take on an incredible work. Here's an interview Jeremy did with Renee Lucas of City Magazine about the new project at Tribeca Grand.

Jeremy_kost_making_faces_working The video work will be installed in the lobby of the hotel, showing in the evenings of March 28, 29, and 30th.

The Party... 
Sunday March 30th, 2008 
7pm to 11pm
2 Avenue of the Americas
(at Church Street).
Oh.. and Be sure to
caue it's going to be quite a crazy art hot hot hot happening scene!!
MAO and the Dr. Quiz will be there!

March 24, 2008

Christies Photography Book Auction.. Thursday April 10th.. With prices not to be believed!

Christies Important Photography Book Auction.. April 10th.

One of MAO's many obsessions.. is collecting first edition signed photography monographs. And while there are tons of Contemporary Art and Photography auctions coming soon to be very worried blog about, it's important to see a major auction house conducting one of their first significant Photographic Art Book Auctions. We at MAO think photo monographs are one of the only few undervalued art collectibles out there.. and this Christies auction will mark a milestone for the art world.

Just a few reasons to pay-attention to collecting Photo books...

  1. Early want-to-be art collector, since the can't afford the actual photographic art works.. an easy and interesting compromise is to collect the photo books. They are cheap (most are only $25 to $50), and if you go to a book signing.. you can get them signed for free!! YEA!!
  2. Over the last few years, as art book publishing has become a totally money loosing business.. Many publishers are gone, and collectors have realized.. these photo books are hard to get, and undervalued.
  3. The world is going totally digital, and electronic/on-line books are going to become the norm.
  4. Artists first books are frequently small editions, represent the artists most important work. Many of these monographs have gotten destroyed as general circulation copies at public libraries, and coffee table books. Hence artist signed first edition books in good condition have become very rare.
  5. The artist monograph is an important part of art history, it allows you to see the artists full vision, and comprehend a total artistic project.
  6. Photo books frequently force artists to edit their photographic material to their strongest images.
  7. Most used book stores are long gone.. So there are actually only a few places to even buy these old monographs. Hence Christies has begun to enter the photography book auction business.

It looks like some huge records are about to be set.. it's a very high quality Photo book auction coming up at Christies on April 10th. Some of the MAO highlights are :

Cartier_bresson_decisive_moment So, it will be interesting to see if any of these lots go for such sky high prices.. many of these book could have been purchases as recent as 2 years ago.. for almost nothing..

But the catalog essay by Andrew Roth, astutely points out..

"... this is the first major collection offered at public auction, and at present there isn't a significant public holding of inscribed or association copies of rare photobooks in the US."

(photo of CARTIER-BRESSON, Henri. The Decisive Moment. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1952. Folio (14.25 x 10.5 inches), original boards, original dust jacket)

So what do you think... Time to buy?

March 20, 2008

Josh Azzarella, Artist Interview Part 2

Josh Azzarella interview Part II.. For all those who missed part I...you must read here first.

Before we continue with the MAO/Josh Q & A. We just want to mention.. Josh's new show opens up tonight and runs through May 17th at DCKT's new posh  gallery space on the Lower East Side (at Bowery and Spring Street), just a block and a half down from The New Museum.

FYI..on Thursday and Friday nights the New Museum is open till 10pm.. And it's totally FREE admission on Thursday nights!!

Josh_azzarella_untitled_ssg_fredric Also for all those poor young collectors.. While there's no better bargin art program than Jen Bekman's 20x200 print program.. Josh also has this bargain much less costly edition print available from DCKT Contemporary.

(Photo #1, Josh Azzarella, Untitled (SSG Fredrick), 2008, archival digital c-print, edition of 50, 8 1/8 x 12 ¼” image, 11 x 14” paper..Abu Ghraib original source material here )

So if you like the work.. Act fast cause we think it will sell out fast. Oh.. and be sure to tell those DCKT people.. MAO sent you.. and they'll give you the special MAO discount  a free set of steak knifes from the Restaurant Supply store next door.  We now return to part 2 of the Josh Azzarella interview...

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MAO : What's your starting point for the art work? And how do you choose your source material? How difficult was it for you to get a good quality starting image or video from?

JA : I don't know that there is an identifiable starting point for any of the work. When I look at the Josh_azzarella_u39_kent_state lineage of the work I find that it's reminiscent of footnotes. I'll begin researching one event that I consider recognizable and it will lead to another event and so on. Somewhere in there I find an image, or perhaps another event, and consider making a piece. As the body of work has progressed it's slowly moved further away from the iconic image. I've become increasingly interested in the context of the images: where they come from, what is being shown, what is being conveniently left out and why we as a society choose one image over another to label as the identifying image of an event.

(Photo #2, Untitled #39 (265) 2007, archival digital c-print, 20 x 30", Note.. this image takes its source from John Filo’s Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of the 1970 Kent State shootings)

As for source material, everything I use is about the worst possible copy I can get. In the beginning, I set in place a rule for myself that the only images, video, etc., I could use had to originate from the internet because this is where everyone else has access to them. This means that for most of the video work the beginning resolution is, at best, half that of a DVD. The still works usually begin as an image that is 2" x 3" at 72 pixels per inch. Because of this rule, I've spent a considerable amount of time developing a method to enlarge images while maintaining maximum quality.

MAO : Some of your images (4) have been modified twice. Can you explain why you did this? What was different about these works?

JA : The pieces you are referring to - Untitled #14 & 22 and Untitled #17 & 18 - are pretty early in the Josh_azzarella_untitled_18_tania body of work (even if their numbering doesn't indicate that). When I made them I was learning and problem-solving and interested in how these images retained cathectic energy with and without the figure.  For a while I would use the images in the pair interchangeably under one title and which one showed up would depend on the works surrounding it. But it became frustrating for me and for others so I officially added them as individual pieces to the body of work.

Josh_azzarella_untitled_17_hibernia (Photo #3 & #4,  Untitled #18 (Tania) & Untitled #17 (Hibernia) both archival digital c-print, 20 x 30", Note.. this image takes its source from this security cam photo

I think this practice of removing the figures entirely from one piece and altering their actions in its companion could be successfully applied to almost all the works. However, I don't know that I would gain any additional knowledge by doing so.   

MAO : Many of your images involve different US crisis... such as war, assassination, social unrest, murder, crime, and even catastrophic scientific failure.. Nothing too happy.. why ? Do you have some specific fascination, or is there a social/political statement you want to make about the media coverage of these events? 

JA: One aspect that draws me to this type of image is that they are records of specific events that have shaped or helped to shape everything we know and how we live, whether or not we were alive at the time or involved in the event. And what happens if, by slowing down and obfuscating or altering the image to create a new outcome, I affect our memory of the event? Can I affect a viewer's memories by offering a new possibility, confusing their previous memory or perhaps creating a memory of an event where one didn't previously exist?

The doctoring of images is nothing new. Altering, inventing or manipulating still photographic and moving images is a phenomenon that has accompanied photography since arranged or manipulated photographs of the Civil War affected the perception and consumption of the war. In recent history, these falsified images are proliferated by some of the most trusted sources; The LA Times, Washington Post, etc.

MAO : So Josh… You have a kick ass blog.. why did you create a blog? Has it been a help to you as an artist and professor?

JA : Let's be honest, it's less than stellar right now and has been for about the past 9 months. I started it for two primary reasons:  as a depository for some of the things I found while spending time on the internet and I wanted to learn more about content management systems, php, mysql, and all the nerdy things that come with it. Much to my surprise I found that it has been helpful when planning shows, mostly because I use it as a reminder of technical things I've tried, haven't tried or tried and failed at. However, after The Aldrich show, I found that it was more a source of anxiety than a problem-solving device. Then I began teaching 5+ classes a semester and simply haven't had time for it. In terms of helping me in the classroom, it plays no role. On occasion, a student will mention that they found it online and I either ignore them or respond that it came free with a “value meal” at some fast food chain (which really confuses them).

March 19, 2008

Artist Interview - Josh Azzarella - Part 1

So, you may not know the work of Video/Photographer/New Media Artist Josh Azzarella yet.. but you will!! Trust MAO! You will be hearing a lot more about this young artist..
Josh_azzarella_untitled_15_tank_ma
First off..  Josh has the honor of being the first big solo show for the grand re-opening of the latest established Chelsea gallery high rent-refugee to move to the more hip and happening Lower East Side. See DCKT moves to LES.. Show opens March 20th.

Secondly.. We at MAO have been a fan from the first day we saw Josh's work. We find it bold and innovative. Josh has integrated new technology (digital video and photography) with our image obsessed culture to ask historically thought provoking questions. He's created new video and stills from well known subject matter, hence the new images are all somewhat familiar.. but they leave the viewer asking the question.. What if ??

(photo #1,     Untitled #15 (Tank Man) 2006, archival digital c-print, 20 x 30", note.. here's the Pre-Josh original Column of Tanks vs. Man at Tiananmen Square press image, more details here)

Thirdly.. Josh is a blogger. and all new young smart ambitious enterprising artists have blogs..

Josh_azzarela_untitled_28_ce_133_bFourthly.. Josh won the 2006 Emerging Artist Award from the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, and most NYC collectors still have yet to discover his work and his prices are still very affordable!

(Photo #2, Untitled #28 (CE 133-B), 2006, archival digital c-print, 30 x 20"..
Note.. here's the pre-Josh Lee Harvey Oswald photo)

OK..
so now that MAO's got your attention.. here's the first half of a Q&A with artist Josh Azzarella...

MAO : Hey Josh, So, why did you become an Artist?

JA :    I don't feel as if I consciously chose to do this. For various reasons, other career paths didn't work out, and one day I picked up a camera and started making photographs around town.    Next thing I knew, I had completed an undergrad art program and was on my way to grad school.

MAO : So, many of your works involve altering (or re-writing) recent American history.

Why did you make these works, and not something else?

JA : In early 2000, I began looking at the breakdown of technology and communication. I was watching videos online (several years before YouTube) and they would stutter, stammer and, more frequently Josh_azzarella_untitled_33_balconythan not, simply quit playing. Sometimes, during or after the initial failure, I would think I saw movement in the image but wasn't sure and worked to try and detect any change in frames. This led me to question how slowly a moving image could move before it's no longer a moving image.

(Photo #3, Untitled #33 (Balcony), 2007, archival digital c-print, 20 x 30"..
Note.. here's the original pre-Josh image from the 1972 Munich Olympics Terror Massacre)   

But simply slowing down a piece of footage via software or hardware isn't the solution, as it makes the movement very obvious – when the frames do progress, they jerk from one to the next. This led me to develop a system of manipulation that involves layering, varying opacity, offsetting and recursive frames. This system yields a slow moving, undulating piece of footage. Initially, I made several small tests, and within 6 months had created the first piece, Untitled #3 (B.B.).

Concurrently, I was interested in personal memory, collective memory and cachectic energy, mostly due to the constant replaying of 9/11 images and the removal of the World Trade Center from contexts such as movies, etc. Add these interests up and the results are Untitled #3, 4, 34, 36 and 45 - works in which a recognizable piece of footage is rendered unrecognizable and new as a result of the obfuscation process. As I was completing the second obfuscated piece I realized what was happening and wanted to make work that didn't obscure the source imagery but altered it, which leads to #6 and the rest of the work. . 

MAO : You've been working with still photography, Video, and the creative use of new age computer technology... If you had to, how would you currently classify yourself as an artist..? Video, Photographer, digital, or something else? Do you see staying with this media for the rest of your career?

JA : Classification is a daunting task. It's a task I've never set out to accomplish. So to that end, when Josh_azzarella_untitled_13_ahsf_2asked this question, I point to a passage written about the work when it was at Lawrimore Project in  Seattle. The passage is contained within an article where Elizabeth Bryant uses the term "post-medium" to describe both the work and my practice. I feel this term gets pretty close to how I feel about the medium as a tool and not the focus of the work itself.

(Photo #4, Untitled #13 (AHSF), 2006, archival digital c-print, edition of 7 + 3 AP, 20 x 30".. Note, here's the initial press photo the image is based on from Abu Ghraib - Iraq US POWs torture)

As for the future, I don't foresee any change in media primarily because I have the next group of works tentatively plotted out and they take me through 2010-2012. However, if the work necessitates a change then yes, of course, but there aren't many things I'm interested in making that I can't in some way generate from in front of my laptop.

MAO : So far, which artists has been the biggest influence on you and your art work?

JA : I can’t really identify one person, however I find myself looking time and time again at the work of Gerhard Richter, Robert Frank, Sherrie Levine, Walker Evans, Michal Rovner, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Eugene Atget, Sharon Lockhart, John Gerrard, Susan Sontag, Rineke Dijkstra, John F. Simon Jr. and Shirin Neshat.

OK.. Stay Tuned my little MAO-ettes.. Part II of the Josh Azzarella interview will be posted tomorrow..

March 15, 2008

In loving Memory.. Adele M. Hoeh, 65

In loving memory of Adele M. Hoeh, Sept 22, 1942 -  March 15, 2008.

Adele_hoeh_with_nan_goldin_inmao__2 Adele lost her 23 year long battle with cancer the morning of March 15, 2008.

She is survived by her loving devoted husband of 45 years, Henry, her 2 sons, Mike and Henry Jr. (Maureen Nolan) and her feisty Britney Spaniel Dottie.

Adele lived life to the fullest, all the time enjoying family, gourmet cooking, wine, food, travel, art and musical theater.

(photo by MAO, Mrs. Adele Hoeh with Nan Goldin in Blue Bathroom, & Chris Jordon's Cell Phones, NYC, Dec 2007)

She was sincerely loved, and will be greatly missed by many friends and family.

Rest in peace.

A memorial service will be held Wednesday, March 19th at Saint. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church on Long Island, New York.
Donations in her memory may be made to the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Cancer Center at Memorial Sloan - Kettering in NYC.

Continue reading "In loving Memory.. Adele M. Hoeh, 65" »

March 13, 2008

New Young Artist to Watch.. Yoon Lee - Opening at Pierogi

Painter Yoon Lee.. solo show opening at Pierogi Gallery in Williamsburg..

Leeyoon_jfk_2 We first saw Yoon Lee's amazing high energy paintings at Pulse Miami 2006 at the DCKT Contemporary booth.

(photo, Yoon Lee,  JFK, 2007-08, Acrylic on Sintra (PVC),84 x 240 inches )

Our first impression, was Yoon Lee's paintings were a more interesting fresh new exciting expansion of the work by Julie Mehretu. What do you think?

Her first NYC show is opening up tomorrow night at Pierogi Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and will be up untill April 14th.

If you had any question of how impressed we've been with Yoon Lee's paintings.. Believe it or not.. MAO was actually thinking of crossing a river for an Art opening tomorrow night.. !!!

March 11, 2008

Strong Sales Reported at Tefaf, the world's largest Art and Antiques fair

Strong Sales Reported at Tefaf, the world's largest Art and Antiques fair.

Brian_finke_cheerleader015 So we at MAO have been wrongly accused of being a total Debbie Downer, too negative, and most shockingly, the team captain of the "Art Market Death Watch Cheerleaders" (AMDWC).  Et tu, DinkyWinky?

So just to prove we at MAO can be just like Fox News "Fare and Balanced," today we bring to everyone's attention.. The strong sales reported in the European art market.  So, despite the total world wide financial system meltdown, those lucky collectors phat flush with Euros and British Sterling are ready to buy art with both hands.  Even, an $8 million Jackson Pollock painting "The Magic Flame" was sold yesterday by Zurich based, Hauser & Wirth. (Photo by artist, Brian Finke, Cheerleader #15, 2001.. see his new show at ClampArt until March 22nd)

Here's a report by Scott Reyburn posted this morning with Bloomberg news.

Pollock's $8 Million `Flame' Tops Sales in Maastricht  2008-03-11 03:47 (New York)

By Scott Reyburn

March 11 (Bloomberg) -- A Jackson Pollock painting priced at around $8 million became the most expensive work sold so far at Tefaf, the world's largest art and antiques fair, in the Dutch city of Maastricht, which opened on March 7.

Pollock's ``The Magic Flame,'' from about 1946, was bought by a European collector from Hauser & Wirth, based in Zurich and London, said Florian Berktold, one of the gallery's directors, in a telephone interview yesterday.

``The European art market is very strong at the moment,'' said Berktold. ``We saw this at the auctions in February too.'' The organizers of Tefaf said 25,000 people had visited the event in the first three days, an increase of around 7 percent over the same period last year, even as gloom gripped financial markets.

``A number of exhibitors, particularly in the antiquities and modern-art section, reported their busiest-ever opening to the fair,'' said Tefaf in an e-mailed news release.

``I've seen fewer Americans than before,'' said Raimund Thomas, of Munich-based modern-art specialists, Galerie Thomas. ``But there are plenty of clients from Europe, Russia and Asia.

One is jumping into the gap of the other.'' Thomas said he had sold four works, including a double-sided canvas by the German Expressionist artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner to a European collector for around 3 million euros ($4.6 million).

Oriental art specialist Floris Vanderven of Dutch-based Vanderven & Vanderven said yesterday he had sold more than 80 pieces.

No Complaints

``Last year I sold 75 pieces during the entire fair,'' said Vanderven. ``Nobody has complained about the stock exchanges or the low dollar.'' Vanderven said U.S. clients had accounted for 20 percent of his sales, which were led by the 400,000 euros paid by a European collector for a Tang dynasty terra cotta of a dignitary.

The London-based Oriental specialist Ben Janssens has so far sold more than 50 pieces. These included a 19th-century Japanese lacquered wood karabitsu box to a New York-based Russian collector at 50,000 euros and two 18th-century Indian marble water slides to European collectors at 30,000 euros each.``We could have sold those water slides 40 times over,'' said Ben Janssens's Hidde van Seggelen, a contemporary-art specialist.

Charles Ede, an antiquities dealer based in London, said he had sold 27 pieces so far, including a 2200 B.C. Cycladic marble sculpture for 220,000 euros to another European collector.

Demand `Surprise'

``I've been surprised how well the fair has gone,'' said Ede.``Art collectors seem to be less affected by recession than others.''

Ede said he and other antiquities dealers had benefited from being placed near modern-art galleries at the fair: ``There's been some wonderful cross-pollination.'' Ede said 20 percent of his sales had been to contemporary-art buyers.

Tefaf said that the Vincent Van Gogh portrait of a young girl offered by the London dealers Dickinson at $30 million remains unsold.

Among the most significant early sales confirmed by Old Master dealers was a Hendrick Avercamp ``Winter Landscape'' bought by a U.S. collector from Zurich's Koetser Gallery for 1.6 million euros, said Tefaf.

The fair continues though March 16. (Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are his own.)

March 07, 2008

Ellen Harvey At the 2008 Whitney Biennial

Ellen Harvey at the 2008 Whitney Biennial...Don't miss it! 

Due to terrible work problems, and a major family illness.. MAO has not yet made it over to the 2008 Ellen_harvey_museum_of_failure_whit Whitney Biennial.. We just hate it when life gets in the way of Art!

And while it's general NYC Art Critic Sport to bash the Biennial.. So far everything we've heard is pretty good, and certainly much better than the 2006 Whitney Biennial.

(Photo, Ellen Harvey's The Museum Of Failure, illuminated plexi-glass mirrors in aluminum frame hand-engraved with a salon-style hanging of empty ornate frames, 8 ft (2.44 m) x 12 ft (3.66m), 2007)

We just wanted to point out that one of MAO's favorite artists, Ellen Harvey, is featured in BOTH locations of the 2008 Biennial..!! Sweet ! So Ellen's amazing work can be seen at the main museum.. and at the Armory location. Congrats to Ellen!

The ever insightful, Robert Ayres.. just wrote a positive article, giving the major high points not to miss on your visit to the Whitney 2008 Biennial... Of course Ellen Harvey was his first pick!

March 06, 2008

Art Report Says 60% of February Sale Lots Missed Estimate

Well... there's been some record art sales going on in London the last few days... and while to the total Jill_greenberg_deniability sales dollars might be bigger then ever.. prices are really starting to show some real scary weakness. Could this huge art party really be over??

Here's a story today by Scott Reyburn from bloomberg news... (photo added by MAO.. photo created by Jill Greenberg, "Deniability, 2005" )

U.K Art Report Says 60% of February Sale Lots Missed Estimate

2008-03-06 01:05 (New York) By Scott Reyburn

March 6 (Bloomberg) -- About 60 percent of lots in a record series of contemporary-art auctions in London failed to achieve expected prices, according to research company ArtTactic.

The evening sales at Christie's International, Sotheby's and Phillips de Pury & Co. raised 189.8 million pounds ($378.4

million) in February, the most for a series of contemporary sales in the British capital.

According to London-based ArtTactic's March ``Rawfacts''

bulletin, published today, most items sold for bids (or were left

unsold) below or at the lower end of their catalog estimates, indicating that sellers and auction houses' expectations were not being met. These bid prices did not include auction-house fees, ArtTactic said.

ArtTactic's Managing Director Anders Petterson said that 73 percent of works at Christie's Feb. 6 evening auction failed to achieve mid-estimate prices. The equivalent contemporary-art sales at Sotheby's and Phillips de Pury on Feb. 27 and Feb. 28 saw 61 percent and 53 percent of lots, respectively, unable to attract mid-estimate bidding.

``The auction houses are continually raising the stakes at the top end of the market,'' said Petterson. ``But this masks how demand is slowing in the middle. Auction valuations of contemporary art are now out of synch with demand.''

Petterson, a former JPMorgan Chase & Co. bond trader who founded ArtTactic in 2001, said a majority of the lots at Sotheby's, Christie's and Phillips de Pury's evening auctions of contemporary art in London and New York has been failing to achieve mid-estimate prices since October 2007.

Bacon Sales

ArtTactic said 10 lots accounted for 70 percent of the total of sales at both Christie's and Sotheby's, where Francis Bacon paintings sold for 26.3 million pounds and 20 million pounds, respectively.

Sotheby's total of 95 million pounds with fees was a record for any contemporary-art sale held in Europe, the auction house said.

In total, including the 4.4 million pounds with fees achieved at Phillips's Feb. 29 day sale, Sotheby's, Christie's and Phillips de Pury took 250.1 million pounds with fees for their February auctions of contemporary art. This was a record for a London series of sales, representing a 59 percent increase on February 2007.

``There's a huge difference in price between the best and the very good,'' said Cheyenne Westphal, chairman of contemporary art, in an interview after Sotheby's sale.

Westphal said there are 26 other versions of the 1983 Gerhard Richter ``Kerze (Candle)'' painting that sold for a quadruple-estimate 8 million pounds, setting a record for the artist, according to the auction result tracker, Artnet.

``The problem for the auction houses is that they have to find these masterpieces for every sale,'' said Petterson. ``From what we're hearing from dealers, things are slower. From now on, every auction is going to be a test of the market.''

(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are his own.)

March 04, 2008

Tim Noble & Sue Webster's Electric Fountain at Rock Center..Pretty!

Blue_light_fountain

Art Production Fund Presents Tim Noble and Sue Webster.. Electric Fountain. Now blinking in Bright Blue at Rockefeller Center now till April 5th 2008.

OK... So.. we took some photos on our walk home the other night.

We just thought everyone would like the pretty 35 foot high fountain in 3-D neon blue on the plaza at Rock Center.

We at MAO don't really think this is too thought provoking great art..  but.. It's BIG!! AND AS THEY SAY.. IF YOU CAN'T MAKE IT GOOD.. MAKE IT BIG!! So.. It's 3,390 LED bulbs and 527 meters of neon tubing...and blinking.

But it brought a moment of happiness to what had been a terrible few weeks for MAO.  For those looking for more mental stimulation about public Art.. why in the world are you reading this blog?? please go here and read Ed's Blog..

God.. how much worse is it going to get on Wall Street!!  So much Gloom, Doom, and Losses everywhere.

So enjoy the Fountain! It's Pretty!

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