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December 20, 2005

Peter Norton's Vik Muniz Christmas Gift

Vik_ashtray1MAO does Ceramics..better known as Chachka?? Well. sometimes.. if it's by one of our favorite Contemporary Artists. Hey, At least it's not Video Art (aka.. The New Ceramics).

In this weekend's Sunday NY Times there was a
story about The Peter Norton Christmas Gifts.

What Carol Kino failed to mention, in 1999 Vik Muniz was brilliantly commissioned to design a Peter Norton Family Christmas Project gift produced by Bernardaud in Limges, France.  Vik made an ashtray with an image printed on the inside of a man standing on a mountain ridge looking into a misty valley.  Vik's image named "Wanderer Above the Sea of Ashes, after Caspar David Friedrich"


In 1818 Caspar David Friedrich, the 19th century German romantic painter, created "Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog."  MAO is not sure where the original painting currently lives, We've never seen it, but it's pretty funny for Vik to put his appropriated version on the inside of an ashtray!

What make MAO really howl...

Vik puts at the base of the image a few very lifelike used cigarette butts.  So at first when you see the ashtray, it looks used and dirty! Totally Hysterical!

Vik_ashtry2Now we know, many of you may find it hard to believe... But no one on the MAO staff is important enough to be currently on the direct Christmas mailing gift list of the Peter Norton family!  Clearly a clerical over-site!  But, as a total Vik Muniz addict we just had to have this one! 

After about a year of searching, Thank you EBay! We finally found it up for sale a few weeks ago. There were only a few smart bidders, who clearly were not as Vik crazed dedicated as MAO. We it's ourd!! Yea!! 

But, the interesting story was the EBay seller was a prominent, now retired, NY city museum curator, who swore MAO to a lifetime of secrecy never to divulge their name in public (private email only please)!

Now... if anyone has a Vik Muniz Medusa Marinara Plate they'd like to sell...??? MAO is a buyer,  we need to complete our Vik Muniz Chachka Ceramic's collection. 

And if anyone reading has the 1997 Norton Kara Walker "Freedom: A Fable" pop-up book..or any of the other wonderful Norton Commissioned Art Works, Christmas is only a few days away.. so please contact MAO's partner, Dr. Quiz quickly, cause MAO has been a very good boy this year!


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the Norton is the one true A-list.

I have a Vik Muniz Medusa Marinara.

I am fortunate to have been on the Christmas List the year the Foundation sent out the Lorna Simpson sculpture boxes. I placed my best friend and my daughter on the list; they each got a box. We all were thrilled!

Dear Mike,

you have trully been a good boy.

I think I have an extra plate somewhere I can give you. I can't say for sure because I am in Rio Right now and these things stay in my Brooklyn studio. If I have one I'll mail it to you and in this case you will be one of the few people besides me and Peter to have both versions. Peter sent a quiz card before the gifts were sent saying " smoking or not smoking? the ones that answered back smoking got the ashtray, the ones that said not smoking got the plate and the ones that answered both got nothing.
Send me your directions.

Happy new year!

Vik Muniz.

Vik Muniz!!
Wow.. Christmas does come twice a year!! Thank you so so much.. That's super nice of you.. I can't believe you found this Blog.

And yes..you're 100% correct.. MAO has been a very good boy this year.. no matter what Dr. Quiz says!

Thanks.. and Happy New Year!

See Mike, I told you smokers aren't all that bad. That's why I second hand smoke two packs a day! I wonder how ceramic second dmoke is going to smell....

Is there anyone out there that has an extra plate or ashtray that they would be willing to sell at me. I've just started collecting Vik Muniz prints due to my good friend, Jade. I'm a huge fan of all his work!!
Thanks in advance.
Greg in Tampa

Have a medusa plate. I love it as an everyday serving plate but was wondering if it is in my best interest to sell. It is in excellent condition.

Let me know mary b if you decide to part with it. [email protected]

I have an ashtray that I'm willing to part with if anyone is still interested in acquiring one.


Let me know if you still have an ashtray to sell, [email protected].


I have an additional set of Vik Muniz Mounds series placemats set of 4 signed .
If anybody is interested.Get in touch with me here.

I have interest . Please get in touch here or by e-mail.

Sorry... Ruben please get in touch

Get in touch with me at [email protected].
I still have them.Never displayed still in envelope.

Hello, I have been following your discussion with interest. I have a few items from Peter Norton Christmas gifts series on sale on ebay right now. Medusa Marinara plate and Kara Walker book are among them.
these are my posts:
Peter Norton Christmas projects. Vik Muniz, Medusa Marinara plate, porcelain 1999, in box 12" in diameter $5,000
Once again, Vic Muniz puts high and low art on a collision course in his hilarious hand-painted plate Medusa Marinara. Originally commissioned by Peter Norton as one of his exclusive, highly-anticipated annual Christmas gifts, Muniz's limited edition 1999 ceramic evokes a famous Roman fresco, updating it with a more modern Italian favorite of tomato sauce, pasta, and cheese.
Rare example of 1997 Norton Christmas gift by Kara Walker is a pop-up exquisite book called "Freedom: A Fable," which illuminates the dreams of "a soon-to-be-emancipated 19th-century Negress" using 3-D cut-paper constructions. $5,000

In 2003 Peter Norton Christmas gift sculpture is a distorted spoon and teacup,by Robert Lazarrini exquisitely glazed in a light blue pattern over the porcelain. In original box. $2,000
Norton Chrismas gift Do Ho-Suh bowl, $400
Please contact me if you are interested Thank you and Happy new year

Thanks Julia for the post..

But... IMO.. anything over $2,500 for any of the Norton projects is too high.. these were done in editions of well over 500.. and givin away for free.

Over the last few years..I've seen several offered and sell in the $1500 to $3000 range on ebay..

But good luck on ebay.. you never know.. PT Barnum was frequently right!
Happy New Year.

Mike is right..

The Norton gifts were free, are not even signed by the artists..so really not worth much at all.

I think people who sell their Christmas presents on eBay deserve coals and switches next year.

Does anyone has something that wants to sell (cheap) from the following artists ?
- Nicholas Krushenick
- Alfredo Jaar
- Juan Downey
- Eugenio Dittborn
- Julio Le Parc
- Carlos Cruz Diez
- any other 60 - 70's Op / Geometric / Hard Edge art

I've got14 Peter Norton Chrismas gift pieces, including wirk by Takashi Murakami, Vic Muniz,Lawrence Weiner, kara Walker, Lorna Simpson, May Sun, Yink Shonibare, Fred fehlau, etc. Anyone interested in purchasing one or all?

contact: [email protected]

Just because the gifts were free doesn't mean they are worthless (arent gifts by defininition free?). Peter Norton pays a lot of money to have the gifts commissioned. They are definitely collectible, and some have sold for several thousand dollars at major auction houses.

All that being said, I think that being editions,some of the prices people are expecting to sell them for are a bit over valued (i.e., Vik Muniz plate for $5000).

Part of it is a status issue. If you are on Norton's "list", there is some level of prestige, for artist, curator and collectors alike. That adds value to a certain group of people.

If anyone is interested, I have a Peter Coffin '06 Norton Gift for sale on eBay:


I also have the Nina Katchadourian S&P Shakers, 2007 Norton Gift if anyone is interested as well:


I have medusa in marinara plate 1999 peter norton plate. Any one interested name your price. [email protected].

I have a Peter Norton Medusa plate 1999 that I am interested in selling. If anyone is interested let me know what you are willing to pay. Thanks.

I have a Peter Norton Medusa plate 1999 that I am interested in selling. If anyone is interested let me know what you are willing to pay. Thanks.

I have a 1999 peter notron Vik Muniz plate I would like to sell mint in mailing box. Please email me at [email protected] if interested.
Thank you

I have a Vik Muniz, Medusa Marinara plate for sale,
if interested please contact me at [email protected]
Thank you

Hey Mao,

I have a copy of Kara Walker's Freedom a Fable that I am looking to part with. Let me know if you're interested . . . [email protected].

Looks like there is a 1999 Medusa Plate on Ecrater right now.

Well, I found the 2002 dollhouse in the trash. I feel a little creepy about selling it so I wish somebody could put me on to Norton to give him firsties. Seems sacriligous, or something. But obviously if I'm picking through trash for kids toys you know it isn't so good out here. (All pieces still taped in original boxes.)

How does this happen? I live in Manhattan, that's how. ;-)

Not sure if this will work, but, I have a Muniz ashtray, pristine condition, that I would sell.

I am interested in a Muniz Medusa plate or a Kara Walker Fables book. If someone has one of these and wants to sell them please let me know. [email protected]


I have a MINT Lorna Simpson "III" Wishbone Box including the Norton family Christmas card for 1994.

If you are interested I may be reached at [email protected]

Happy New Year!

Hi - what an odd and interesting place to be able to ask this question:

I was lucky enough to be given (gifted) a copy of Wink, Murakami's Norton Christmas gift from '00. However, it's missing the small eye-ball-jelly plate that acts as a base and so I'm terrified it's going to fall over.

Just throwing this out there, but - does anyone have a copy of the Murakami piece with ... an extra base, a base they'd be willing to sell/trade - or (big stretch considering the time elapsed) know if these kind of parts are stashed somewhere? I know Mr. Murakami is an incredible archiver of his own work, and I wouldnt be surprised if his factory had spare parts. Now if I just knew someone inside!

Anyone with information please feel free to email me at [email protected]

Thank you! Dan


Just spotted this Sandford Biggers 2008 Norton Project on ebay:


looks like the art market crash is hitting even the underground eBay Norton gift resellers. The same Sanford Biggers auction I mentioned above has been RELISTED down from 650 to 350...hard times y'all!!


I love the idea of the Norton project and remember reading that article in the NYT a few years ago. For those that are interested in wading into the Norton resale market here are some recent comps (eBay - April '09). Looks like the resale market is a little softer as even on this thread people were trying to offload the Kara Walker book for ~5k in '07

Fred Fehlau (1992) Palindrome - $33.62;
Brian Eno / Pae White (1995) Oblique strategies - $1,025;
Kara Walker (1997) Freedom: a fable - $1,075;
Jim Hodges (1998) untitled (blanket) - $180.50;
Anna Gaskell (2001) Peep show - $142.12;
Sanford Biggers (2008) smile - $275.

please, how many plates had been edited of vic muniz/ medusa?
hermuth gripp

I didn’t realise that there was so much liquidity in the Norton resale market!! Here are some more comps from eBay (late April to early June, more than 1 price means more than 1 sold):

Lawrence Weiner (1991) badge - $45;
Fred Fehlau (1992) palindrome - $77, $33;
Luciano Perna (1993) miniature book - $107;
Lorna Simpson (1994) III wishes - $430; $401; $495;
Yasumasa Morimura (1995) fan - $601, $305;
Brian Eno / Pae White (1996) oblique strategies - $901, $1,032;
Kara Walker (1997) freedom pop-up book - $920;
Vic Muniz (1999) ashtray - $565;
Vic Muniz (1999) medusa marinara plate - $1,556, $2,005*;
Takashi Murakami (2000) mr wink - $1,853, $2,550;
Yinka Shonibare (2002) artist doll house - $561;
Robert Lazzarini (2002) teacup - $561;
Do-Hu Suh (2004) glass bowl - $208, $231;
Christian Marclay (2005) music box - $612;
Peter Coffin (2006) rainbow photo - $338, $202;
Nina Katchadourian (2007) snowdomes - $202;
Sanford Biggers (2008) smile - $157, $103.

On the “buy it now” listings there is another muniz plate for $4,500 if anyone wants one desperately and there is a also a murakami wink for $8,000 which is optimistic. Phillips has one in today's sale with an estimate of $2,000 to $3,000.

* this marinara plate was apparently numbered 65 (which is probably you what hermuth is asking about in the previous post). I have a non-numbered plate but if it is worth a $500 difference somebody hand me the sharpie …

Norton donated the remaining supplies of these art editions to MOMA. You can buy most of the Norton Art Project pieces right now at momastore.org. Happy collecting! - AM

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