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11 posts from February 2008

February 29, 2008

Congrats to Jen Bekman...

Well... we at MAO thought Jen Bekman was a secret find of ours.. NOT!! We totally love her blog personism.. Jen_bekman_with_dog and we always go shopping every week at her amazing 20x200 art project, like here and here...which is bringing cool art to the masses.

Oh.. and of course we can't forget Jen's uber cool LES gallery, and her Hey Hot Shot! young emerging photographer project.

(photo by Gabriele Stabile, of Jen with her dog Ollie)

But.. it now looks like Jen has arrived, to the Big time..via the New York Times (Why it's in the Home and Garden section we have no idea....like what's up with that?).

Congrats to Jen Bekman..  clearly you're a new force to be reckoned with on the Lower East Side gallery world! XXOOXX MAO

Here's the New York Times Story by Julie Scelfo, Easing the Pain of Collecting.

There is even a Multimedia link on-line for the MP3 And if that wasn't enough good news for Jen...

Clearly all her hard work is paying off.. Hence.. It's no surprise Jen has joined an elite photography group, by winning this years Griffen Museum Rising Star Photography award.


Hmm.. MAO, being a total numbers geek, we were wondering.. Just how financially amazing is Jen's 20x200 project...not that anyone but MAO is counting. So.... with..

200 prints at $20 = $4,000  +  20 prints at $200 = $4,000 +  2 prints at $2,000 = $4,000

For a grand total of $12,000.. very nice..

And if they do 2 prints per week for 52 weeks per year... that's $1,248,000 per year. Now that's SWEET! Way to go Jen!

If Jen split's that with her artists...thats.. a nice tidy some of doe-rae-mee to help out some new young artists, make some young collectors happy.. and feed her cute pup Ollie too!!

February 25, 2008

New Online Art Auction Tools..Artnet and AuctionBlip

In a world where the big art auction houses are jacking up to 25% their auction buyers premiums... Gavel_fight There's now a new on-line art auction competitor to the big guys..YEA!  The internet art powerhouse, ArtNet.com has launched a new web based auction service... and bidding starts today! It will be interesting to see if a pure web-based high end art auction site can succeed and take market share when Sotheby's.com couldn't make a go of it.. and shut their web-auctions all down with big losses a few years ago.

Check it out <click here..> They have 24 works up for auction by  artists, including Todd's favorite artist Gregory Crewdson, plus top priced works by.. Massimo Vitali, Louis Nevelson, Andy Warhol, and Alexander Calder.  Some other the interesting benefits from ArtNet.com are..

  • No buyer's premium
  • Each seller is authorized and registered (which sounds like these are mostly art dealers dumping moving inventory..it's not clear if private individuals can list items for sale as well)
  • There are listing fees ($25 per item) and the sellers pay only a 10% commission
  • ArtNet.com has linked in tons of sales history, performance charts, and other ArtNet inventory prices relating to the work...very cool!
  • Credit Card payments are allowed (with a 3% fee)
  • If you buy an item that is not delivered as indicated in the description, the sale can be rescinded and your purchase price refunded

There's also a new on-line Auction service we found a few weeks ago... AuctionBlip.com

This is a very cool website, which gives the user advance notice of auctions around the world.

The user just provides a list of "Key Words" that interests you, and you get daily listings (with links) of any items coming up for auction that fit your list. They search over 50 different auction companies.

For example.. a recent search for artist Andy Warhol.. found well over 10 auction listings... and that didn't include Sotheby's or Christies.

Oh.. and one last thing.. Don't forget about good old iGavel.com.. they have a new photography auction coming up.. another place to get a great auction deal!!

February 22, 2008

MAO - Viewer Mail - Email From an Artist

Happy TGIF!!

Chick_or_egg One of the main motivations for starting the MAO blog was to get attention be in better contact with Galleries and Artists...of course a little bitchiness and humor along the way always helps too.

Granted on this site we've frequently overly obsessed talked about the investment aspects of art, but as a contemporary collector, one of the great joys has been getting to know, help out and support artists and galleries. We've learned nothing so much, and the people we've met, and the art we've collected has enriched our life.  A few unexpected things we're learned along the way..

  1. Just because you like the artist's work.. it doesn't mean you'll like the artist
  2. Most galleries are very small businesses that need to pay the bills, so despite their "enthusiasm", they don't always believe strongly in all of their artists
  3. Artists who produce super hip chic hot work, can be total geeks, nerds and totally down to earth

So we've always enjoyed getting tons of email from both artists and galleries, particularly if it's genuine interest in MAO art discussions, and not just looking to sell sometime or to get a write up on their latest show.

But last week, we got this email.... questioning if the art world revolves around the artist or the gallery??  So we were wondering what the many MAO readers thought.. all comments are welcome.


          My name is Mr. Emale Artists and I read your blog about the art world and I couldn't agree more!!  But I have another side to offer - as an artist, I can say that not only does the art world appear to be 'above itself' but it is also the realm where galleries, many set out, only to exploit the artist.  They 'trick' artists to exhibit in their space, pay exorbitant fees to do so, and then do nothing - when I say nothing, I mean that they don't bring anyone to view the works, instead they leave it to who ever is out strolling on Thursday nights.  In my opinion - the art world revolves around the gallery and not art, as it were.
Of course, not all galleries are like this - but it has become so hard to see the good from the bad!
Anyway, I really just wanted to thank you for what you wrote, and add my two cents.
Mr. Emale Artist

February 21, 2008

The Art Show, the 2008 ADAA Fair.... All Hat and No Cattle..?

Last night was the VIP preview for The Art Show (ADAA Fair) at the uptown Armory.

Newyorkparkavenuearmory What a difference a year makes! It was soooo different than last years 2007 ADAA Fair preview... It was very calm and almost tranquil.. not even close to the typical cattle call... can anyone say recession?

Here's just a few MAO observations...

  • - It wasn't anywhere near as crowded as 2007, we didn't see much sold either
  • - Single artist gallery booths REALLY standout (Tina Barney @ Janet Borden, Jennifer Bartlett at Grey, Amy Sillman @ Sikkema, Richard Prince photos @ Skarstedt, Avedon @ Fraenkel)
  • There was much less Warhol than last year
  • The art frenzy energy of 2006 and 2007 was totally missing.. but the night felt very civilized
  • There's a lot of very busy bad rich plastic surgeons on the UES
  • Even L&M Arts with all their Goldman Sacks money can stage a totally dull and boring booth
  • VIP visitors were spending more time at the bar than the gallery booths
  • Dan Tanzilli has a very nice beard
  • Compared to 2007, there were very few super expensive high end art works presented here.. we saw almost no multi-million dollar Pollocks, Warhols, Johns, or Hirsts for sale
  • Fur Coats are still tacky back in style on the UES
  • There was much more contemporary photography than last year...sweet!
  • They really need to make those pulled pork sandwich hors d'oeuvres much bigger!
  • We did see a very over priced Vik Muniz (chocolate series), and a Diane Arbus photo sell in the first few minutes of the fair open... so clearly quality is still in hot demand!
  • Art Dealers should never wear purple LAVENDER corduroy suits to art fairs, it's not chic, and can make them look fat cheezey
  • The MAO Best Booth award goes to the D'Amelio Terras gallery for their all "Suspended Art" theme..totally wonderful !

February 14, 2008

Boom or Bust... Let's Take our First MAO Poll... ABMB 2008 ??

artDC Announces Show Cancellation...

Coalmine_canary_coal_cartoon_drawin Can you say.. Canary in a coal mine?

The first of many to come?

Should we take a MAO poll.. ??

14 Fairs in 2006, 24 Fairs in 2007...  How many art fairs will be left in Miami during ABMB in 2008 ?

Go here to cast your vote.



artDC Announces Show Cancellation for 2008

DC’s Premier Modern and Contemporary Art Fair Postponed

WASHINGTON, DC (February 13, 2008) – artDC organizers regretfully announced today their difficult decision to cancel the 2008 show due to the recessionary nature of the present economy.

artDC was set to return to the Washington Convention Center May 16 to 18 following last year’s inaugural success, but uncertain economic conditions were the deciding factor in canceling this year’s show.

The world of art fairs has expanded globally while galleries and dealers are narrowing their field of participation to the proven markets, such as New York and Miami.

“We were excited to be bringing this modern and contemporary art show back to our nation’s capital, but current indicators show that the return on investment is not there for our exhibitors in this economic climate,” said Eric Smith, Vice President of Summit Business Media, which runs artDC.

However show organizers plan to continue other events in more established markets, including New York and Miami, and have not ruled out bringing artDC back in the future.



Michelle Hillman and Simone Cumming   

Corbin & Associates, Ltd. (212) 246-6515

[email protected], [email protected]

February 13, 2008

Will 2008 mark the End of the Polaroid Picture.... ??

So did everyone see this story..???

Polaroid shutting 2 Mass. facilities, laying off 150

As company exits film business, plants will close in Norwood, Waltham

Email|Print| Text size + By Hiawatha Bray
Globe Staff / February 8, 2008

Polaroid Corp., the Massachusetts company that gave the world instant film photography, is shutting down its film manufacturing lines in the state and abandoning the technology that made the company famous..................

Kota_ezawa_polaroid The Complete Boston Globe text here.. Polaroid Shutting Down.

And here's the WSJ Story..

(Image by Kota Ezawa, Polaroid Supercolor 1000, 2005, Computer vector drawing. Courtesy of Haines Gallery, San Francisco)

MAO has to say.. this is not exactly a surprise.. Digital is here to stay and will completely take over in the next few years.  Film and Polaroid cameras are going the way of the Projection Screen TV, The Members Only Jackets, Disco, KT's hair; Velour shirts, MAO's sex life, Bell Bottoms, and Boom boxes..

Actually this is just one of the many reasons why MAO, plus many other collectors, don't mind paying silly large amounts of money for dusty old B&W photos,  Dye Transfer Color Prints, and now someday Polaroids!! This film technology is going away very quickly.  And hence even though, digital photo's are already looking amazing.. you will always be able to identify photos taken with real film.

So, this story has been ricocheting around the photo obsessed blog world the last few days...here's just some of the blog chatter... What do you think? Is Polaroid Film gone for good???

February 12, 2008

In Honor of Today's Westminster Dog Show..some Dog Art!

To celebrate the 2008 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show here in NYC.. Wow..you can't believe how many crazy dog people are in NYC today.. Yikes..  Here's A few great dog art photos.

FYI.. MAO's money was on Dreamer, the Chow Chow ! , But it looks like Uno, the 2 year old Beagle, who was the first in 69 years to win the Hound Category, is now the favorite to take it all!

Oh..and by the way..in case you were wondering.. there are some really obsessive, crazy, enthusiastic, impressive Dog Art blogs out there..

Download Westminster_chow_chow.txt

Daido_moriyama_dog Here are 3 of MAO's favorite

Dogie Photos..

Photo #1 :

Daido Moriyama,

stray dog  Misawa,

Aomori Prefecture,


But, Almost no photographer ever did B & W animal photos as well ad

Peter Hujar.

Peter_hujar_will_char_pei_1985 Photo #2 :

Peter Hujar,

Will (Char Pei)


And then in his

homage to Peter Hujar,


David Wojnarowicz

created this three photo montage..

David_wojnarowicz_fever Photo #3,

David Wojnarowicz

Fever, 1988-89

3 silver gelatin prints,

30 3/4 x 25 inches

February 07, 2008

31-count indictment of former Superintendent of Manhattan Armory

Corruption in NYC?? Good Heavens... Impossible!   Mafia.. what Mafia..there's no Mafia !

Sopranos_hell_hath_no_fury_like_the In total NYC fashion.. NY Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo has accused former superintendent of the Manhattan Armory of extorting money from fair organizers.

The Pulse Contemporary Art Fair paid some $30,000 in cash and goods! Geeeze... No wonder the prices Those Pulse Dealers charged for brand spanking new wet contemporary art were so high!

It probably didn't help the gallery booth prices either !!

Anyway.. You can't make this stuff up any better than this..   (photo by Annie Liebovitz, from The Sopranos, "Hell hath no fury like the family", At MAO think.. Ms Liebovitz was going after something like Delacroix's "Barque of Dante." )

Here's a more detailed story by Philip Boroff filed today on Bloomberg News.


Pulse Fair Was Forced to Pay Bribe for Armory Use, Cuomo Says, 2008-02-07 00:10 (New York)
By Philip Boroff
     Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- The Pulse contemporary-art fair next
month may find its expenses cut in one area. New York Attorney
General Andrew Cuomo has accused the former superintendent of
the state-owned Manhattan armory where the fair was held last
year of extorting money from organizers and soliciting a bribe.
     In a 31-count indictment filed in New York State Supreme
Court, James Jackson was accused of receiving more than $30,000
in cash and goods from Pulse, Marc Jacobs fashion shows and the
New York International Carpet Show. Jackson pleaded not guilty.
     Deputy Attorney General Ellen Biben said in a press
conference yesterday that Jackson demanded payoffs to guarantee
the dates Marc Jacobs wanted for his shows. Jackson allegedly
extorted money from Jacobs through public-relations firm KCD,
from 2000 to 2007. Jackson is charged in connection with Pulse
and the carpet show for 2007. Jackson's lawyer, Alan Abramson,
declined to comment.
     Details of the alleged extortion of money from Pulse, which
specializes in art that's more affordable than the latest by
Damien Hirst, weren't available. A Pulse spokesman declined to
     The 69th Regiment Armory, bounded by 25th and 26th streets
and Lexington and Park avenues, rents for about $6,000 a day,
excluding utilities, security and insurance charges, according
to the Attorney General's office.
     Cuomo said yesterday: ``If anyone believes they have to pay
off or offer a gratuity to access state space, let us know,
because that is a crime. It's not a way of doing business. It's
not OK.''
     This year's Pulse, which begins March 27, will be held at
Pier 40 on the far west side of Manhattan.
--Editors: Jeffrey Burke, Yvette Ferreol.

February 06, 2008

24% goes unsold at Christies Impressionist & Modern Sale in London

This Blog is starting to sound like a bad country western song... If it weren't for bad news there would be no news at all.

Basquiat_palm_springs_jump_1982 So it sounds like even with the strong British Pound and the even stronger Euro.. people still didn't buy at this weeks Christies big Impressionist and modern Art sale.  24% went unsold, and many lots selling at the low end or even below the pre-sale estimates. Yikes!

Which doesn't bode well for tonight's Contemporary sale. aka..the big art crash of 2008.  (photo Sale 7565, Lot 9, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) Palm Springs Jumpsigned, titled and dated ‘“PALM SPRINGS JUMP” JeanMichelB 1982’ acrylic, oilstick and gold paint on canvas, 72 x 84 in.Executed in 1982, Estimate on request)

Here's some more details of the bad news by Linda Sandler and Lindsay Pollock of Bloomberg news..


Christie's Fails to Sell 24% of Art as Many U.S. Buyers Retreat, 2008-02-05 11:47 (New York)
     Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Christie's International failed to
sell 24 percent of the art at a London auction last night as U.S.
buyers retreated in the wake of losses in the credit and equity
     Christie's, which vies with Sotheby's to be the largest
auction house, sold 76 percent of the impressionist and modern
art lots, down from 81 percent at its November sale. Collectors
in the Americas took 15 percent of the items; they took home
about half of the sale at Christie's in November.
     The supply of U.S. buyers appears to be shrinking amid the
worst housing slump in a quarter-century, with fallout spreading
through the economy, hurting builders, retailers, wholesalers,
buyout funds and mortgage lenders.
     ``The average rich aren't rich anymore,'' said Asher
Edelman, a former Wall Street raider who is a private art dealer.
``The average rich are probably the guys who buy everything
except the top-priced lots.''
     Writedowns at banks and declines in real-estate values have
knocked out many buyers for less expensive works. Bankers and
brokers aren't getting bonuses, and the value of developers'
properties is declining, Edelman said. Delinquencies on home
loans have surged to record rates, leading to $133 billion in
writedowns and credit losses at the world's biggest banks and
securities firms in the past year.
     Prices for modern artworks including Pablo Picasso have
risen 2.5 times since 2002, according to Art Market Research's
index of the central 50 percent of works. The same index more
than halved after the 1990 art-market crash and stayed down
through 2002 before starting to climb again.

                          Trouble Selling

     The most desired works continue to appreciate. A Picasso
painting of his mistress Dora Maar took 5.7 million pounds ($11.2
million) with commission last night, after failing to sell in
2002 at a low estimate of $4 million.
     Still, a five-foot-high Picasso canvas of a man with a rifle
sold near its low estimate before commission, taking 5.6 million
pounds. Among the top 10 most expensive lots, works by Juan Gris,
Henri Matisse and Paul Signac sold near their low estimates.
     The auction results indicate that sellers are having a
harder time monetizing their collections. Three out of nine works
from the collection of Maurice Wohl, a U.K. office developer and
Israel backer, didn't sell. One of his paintings, a 1910 Kees van
Dongen oil of an exotic dancer, took a record 5.6 million pounds.

February 05, 2008

Happy Super Tuesday! Get out and VOTE!!

Diane_arbus_boy_in_straw_hat Today is Super Tuesday..So, It's our big chance to make history!

Be sure to get to your local polling station.

Which brings to mind.. a recent email MAO got from a dealer friend offering us one of our favorite Diane Arbus photographs at a really super high price.

If anyone is interested in buying this great photo.. let us know..cause, MAO has a bridge, subprime mortgage, we'd like to sell you can put you in touch with our dealer friend.

Photo : 

Boy with a straw hat, NYC, 1967 / printed 1974
gelatin silver print
paper: 20 x 16 inches (50.8 x 40.6 cm)
framed: 23 1/2 x 22 1/4 inches (59.7 x 56.5 cm)
edition of 50 (#49/50)
printed by Neil Selkirk, signed by Doon Arbus