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6 posts from September 2007

September 27, 2007

Lars Tunbjork show at Cohen Amador Gallery

Well.. it's been a crazy busy work week, but we did manage to see a few new art shows on 57th street. And yes.. we are happy to report.. there are some really great art galleries that are not in Chelsea...

But we have to warn everyone, given the pending US economic recession, and the long hours we at MAO have been slaving away spending in the office, our "normal" art senses have been a bit altered as of late.

But, the new show by Lars Tunbjork at Cohen Amador Gallery just seemed to strike our funny bone. There's just something very Dilbert-esque about these photos. What do you think??

Lars_tunbjork_lawyers_office_ny Lars has also published a new book Office of this series.. (Photo : LAWYER'S OFFICE, NEW YORK , 1997, 20 x 24" edition of 12 )

FYI.. the work is all very reasonable priced $3 to $5k, and it's nice to see a young color photographer that doesn't see the size queen need to print everything in huge billboard size prints!

September 19, 2007

Free Josephine Meckseper print, and the NY Art Book Fair

Many MAO readers may be familiar with the work of Josephine Meckseper. She was one of the featured artists in last years totally forgettable Whitney Biennial.

If you're a fan like MAO.. here's your chance to get one of her images for next too nothing!

The New York Art Book Fair, which was a huge success last year.. is coming back this year.

Josephine_meckseper_print2 This year they are giving away

your choice of 2 Josephine's prints for

people who buy the $150 tickets to the Benefit Preview.

FYI... the $150 goes to a great non-profit cause.. Printed Matter..

It's one of our favorite art book focused

venues in the world!

Josephine_meckseper_print1 Here are the 2 prints.. to choose from.. they are both digital c-prints, 2005, 14.25 x 18, and untitled. These are both editions of only 75!

To purchase Benefit tickets: call  212.925.0325 Fax 212.925.0464 or [email protected]
and ask for Catherine.. and be sure to tell them MAO sent you !!!

Here are some of the details of the NY Art Book Fair :

The annual fair of contemporary art books, art catalogues, artists' books, art periodicals, and 'zines offered for sale by over 120 international publishers, booksellers, and antiquarian dealers. Admission to the fair is FREE.

548 West 22nd Street (10th & 11th Aves), NYC (map)

Friday/Saturday, September 28/29, 2007, 11am - 7pm
Sunday, September 30, 2007, 11am - 5pm

Thursday, September 27, 2007, benefiting Printed Matter, Inc.
6 - 7 pm, early admission to preview
7 - 9 pm, general admission to preview

· Price on Request (early admission to preview plus
Ed Ruscha edition & David Shrigley ticket edition)
· $150 (general admission to preview plus
Josephine Meckseper edition & David Shrigley ticket edition)
· $20 (general admission plus David Shrigley ticket edition)

September 17, 2007

Jennifer Bartlett's Amagansett Drawings at The Drawing Room, East Hampton

September is our favorite time to be in East Hampton. Most of the hordes of nasty tourists summer people have left for NYC, and the town begins to return back to a charming country village.

This year there are also some impressive art shows. Our first pick... is Jennifer Bartlett's Amagansett Drawings at The Drawing Room, East Hampton. 


These are a total Wow! We've always loved Jennifer's work, but these pastel works are beautiful, sophisticated, and with just enough of a hint of her signature style by this Modern Art Master.

You may have missed the shows review in this weekend's Sunday New York Times since it was only in the Long Island Section.. but  Benjamin Genocchio's article is right on, and well worth a read.

There was also a review in the East Hampton Star by Isabel Carmichael.

Sadly the gallery, The Drawing Room, is one of our favorite out there in the Hamptooooons.. but, it doesn't have a very complete website. Maybe some MAO readers might give gallery owner Emily Goldstein a call and offer to help them out... cause they seem to be a bit web-technically challenged out there!!

FYI.. All the works in the show were sold in the first day or 2, and only 2 images are even on the gallery website. So don't just take MAO's word on this show.. go see them for yourself!!

September 13, 2007

September Contemporary Auction Results.. no sign of trouble!!

We were just totally crushed out bid on a lot at today's Sotheby Contemporary Art Auction...

Don't all those silly bidders know we're in the middle of a MAJOR Financial Crisis???

With tons of people getting fired, home prices tumbling nationwide, seasoned trader loosing their shirts, investment bankers choking on bad leveraged loans and almost every hedge fund whiz kid out there getting wiped out!! you'd think art auction prices would not be jumping up!! guess not !!

So the Christies First Open sale..seems to have gone OK..$12.2 Million with the High Estimate at $12.6 million. Well.. here's a story by Lindsay Pollock from Bloomberg News. Download Christies_first open_Sept07

But DAMN!! The Paddles were flying in the air today at Sotheys too... Calder, Warhol, Haring, Katz and Basquiat all..selling for huge money!!

But there were some true shockers at todays sale...check these out!! Will the money madness ever end???

Allen_darcangelo_smoke_dream Lot 316..ALLAN D'ARCANGELO B.1930
SMOKE DREAM #2 signed,

titled and dated NYC 1963 on the reverse, oil on canvas, 30 x 28 inches.

8,000—12,000 USD
Lot Sold. 

Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium:  $289,000 USD

But the truly outright stupid ridiculous sale of the year..

goes hands down to this one...

George_rodrigue_blue_dog_with_candl Lot 353a...GEORGE RODRIGUE, B. 1944

signed; signed, titled and dated 2000 on the reverse

acrylic and oil on canvas 48 x 36 inches.

60,000—80,000 USD
Lot Sold. 

Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium:

$115,000 USD !!!

All I can say..

P.T. Barnum would have been proud!!

It's just amazing to think someone with $115,000 bucks to burn can have such bad taste advise .. and doesn't have at least one friend to talk them out of buying a blue dog!!

September 12, 2007

Phillip-Lorca diCorcia and the MAO Collection

We at MAO have long been fans of photography by Phillip-Lorca diCorcia.  Sadly we didn't get up to Boston to see his new retrospective at the ICA.

So we thought it's worth pointing out 2 gallery shows many diCorcia fans might not have known about.

1. A new body of work which was on display at Glenn Horowitz Bookseller in East Hampton, NY. (Sorry this one closed on Sept 10th) Printed Matters. New Work by Philip-Lorca diCorciaPhilliplorca_dicorcia_compound_imag

The show featured several one of a kind multiple exposure images, as a "random output" from doing some test printing.  The images were mostly derived from images from his last major project.. My Storybook Life.  So, while we're not sure how we feel about photographers re-using old images to make new work..  seems a bit too lazy easy to us,  there were some provocative narrative combinations. FYI.. Almost nothing from the show was sold as of this weekend.. but that maybe just due to the show's images all being small and over priced at $25,000 each.... more here...

2. ClampArt's new "Friends from the Boston School" show.

Philliplorca_dicorcia_everlove This show is actually the back-room show to a much larger, amazing Mark Morrisroe retrospective.

But the smaller Boston School show packs a punch.. and includes works by Nan Goldin, Jack Pierson, David Armstrong, Gail Thacker, plus paintings by Tabboo. You'll also be happy to know..  This show includes 2 kick-ass favorite Phillip-Lorca diCorcia photographs generously on lone from The ModernArtObsession.com collection !!

Yes.. my little MAO-ettes..The MAO Family collection is available for loans to curators of group shows.

So go check it out.. and be sure to tell Brian... MAO sent you!! The show is up till Oct 6th.

September 01, 2007

Yet one more reason why Art and the Financial Markets are 100% linked!!

Yet one more reason why Art and the Financial Markets are doomed 100% linked!!
Here's a story most art types probably didn't read from Lauren Schuker of The Wall Street Journal this weekend.
Yes.. the waves from this massive mortgage credit crunch.. are about to washout some people in the art world.
Look out below!!

given the events of the last few weeks, and the total lack of any real government assistance, as an insider on wall street, we at MAO can say..
it's a foregone conclusion that both the US real estate market and the Art market are in for some difficult times ahead.

(Painting by William Turner, Peace - Burial at Sea, 1842, Oil on canvas.. currently at the Tate)

Art Loans Get Hung Up

Credit Crunch Raises
Concern of Defaults
In a Lucrative Market
September 1, 2007; Page B1

The credit crunch shaking up Wall Street is now hitting the big-money world of art-backed loans.

For years, art loans -- ones with a borrower's Raphael or Rothko as collateral -- were the purview of large banks serving wealthy clients. But as the art market boomed in recent years, other firms have pushed into this lucrative business.

Today, hedge funds, auction houses and specialty lenders all offer rival services. Often they cater to less wealthy borrowers dabbling in the big leagues.

Some loans are like reverse mortgages, letting borrowers receive monthly payments against the value of their art, rather than selling it outright and taking a capital-gains tax hit.

Other lenders essentially act as high-end pawnbrokers, taking possession of the artwork itself during the loan period -- a practice that banks with more high-end clients sniff at. (They're inclined to let you keep the art on your wall.)

As these newer kinds of loans proliferate, concerns are rising in the art world that some borrowers could default or find themselves in over their heads. Art is notoriously tough to value, so if prices fall sharply, lenders could find that they're holding collateral worth less than the loan it is backing.

That hasn't happened yet, but experts say there's a precedent for worries like these. Hope Tate, a banker at Fine Art Capital, a subsidiary of Emigrant Savings Bank, points out that there was a spate of defaults on art-backed loans in the early 1990s triggered by "a very serious correction in both the real-estate and art markets."

Back then, "the people who defaulted on their art loans for the most part had real estate as their primary business," says Ms. Tate, who worked on a handful of defaults like these at Citibank at the time.

"When people have calls on other loans, such as real-estate loans, it increases the risk that they will default on their art loans," she says.

Already, the market volatility of the past few months is changing the art-lending landscape as traditional lenders scale back on noncore activities like art lending. A spokesman for First Republic Bank, one of the major players in the niche business, says that while art lending is a very small part of its portfolio, "we have recently tightened somewhat in this area of our business."

Rivals like Fine Art Capital, based in New York, say they have seen a burst in loan applications as a result of the pullback among bigger banks. "The subprime market is triggering a general tightening," says Andy Augenblick, the firm's president. "We have been a beneficiary of this market disruption."

A "significant percentage" of the inquiries that have come his way during the past couple of months have come in the form of referrals from other financial institutions, he says.

Meanwhile, Art Capital Group says it has seen referrals of loans that institutions like Lehman Brothers Holdings, UBS, HSBC Holdings, Merrill Lynch and Bank of America declined to do.

Karl Schweizer, head of art banking at UBS, says the bank doesn't lend against art but is studying its policies. Bank of America said it hasn't made changes to its credit policies regarding art loans. Other institutions didn't return phone calls seeking comment.

Even collectors aiming to borrow against their art are taking additional measures to obtain a loan. Asher Edelman, a collector and businessman, says he recently advised a friend taking out a loan against his art to put up three times the loan value, rather than the usual double, because he will get a better interest rate.

Terms on these loans vary widely, based on the quality of the art, the lender's policies and the borrower's financial condition. Generally, interest rates range from 8% to as high as 18% -- making it a lucrative, if risky, game for lenders.

The potential for outsize returns like that is one reason hedge funds have pushed into the business in recent years.

To protect themselves, some lenders require what are essentially margin-call provisions: The lender reserves the right to reappraise the collateral, and if there's a drop in value, to ask for more collateral or partial payback of the loan.

For instance, "if there were a significant drop in the Warhol market, and you had a loan out on a series of Warhols, we could use this mark-to-market provision," says Ian Peck, president of Art Capital Group, an independent art lender in New York with provisions like these.

While that can protect the lender, it carries obvious risks for borrowers. "Would you buy a house with a one-year mortgage that had a margin call, so you were forced to sell your home when the market was depressed?" says Mr. Augenblick of Fine Art Capital, which doesn't require margin calls. "I don't think so."

The perils to lenders of art-backed loans are many. For one thing, by the time a lender forecloses on such a loan, the borrower has usually tried aggressively to sell the art. "So by the time the lender gets it, the art is already stale in the market," says Ms. Tate.

In the notoriously murky art market, the prospect of defaults is particularly unnerving. Fears were renewed in 2003 with an incident involving SageCrest, a hedge fund that loaned $37 million to Art Capital Group, which in turn lent $20 million to Berry-Hill Galleries, a New York art gallery.

Berry-Hill filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2005, triggering a wave of alleged loan defaults, followed by several suits and countersuits in New York State Supreme Court.

SageCrest's attorney, Robert Friedman, says the hedge fund sued Art Capital Group after it failed to meet its obligations under the loan, including payments due late last year.

Mr. Peck, Art Capital Group's president, says SageCrest's claim is "total nonsense." Berry-Hill didn't returns calls seeking comment.

It's particularly tough to get loans backed by contemporary art, one of the hottest parts of the art market now. Art advisers say banks have become more skittish about betting on a segment of the market that doesn't have a long track record.

Joel Beck, who runs Roebling Hall, a gallery specializing in contemporary art in New York's booming Chelsea arts district, says banks and loan firms "just don't know what to make of us."

Mr. Beck, who sells work by Ivan Navárro -- such as a chair made out of light bulbs -- says that when he attempted to get an art-backed loan years ago, the bank asked him instead to put up his house as collateral, something he didn't want to do.

"They might believe the work is worth a lot, but they have no idea how to value it," he says.

Write to Lauren A.E. Schuker at [email protected]