« April 2008 | Main | June 2008 »

12 posts from May 2008

May 30, 2008

Christies and Sotheby's are INCREASING the Buyers Premiums!!

YES..my little MAO-ettes The greedy "nice people" over at ..Christies and Sotheby's are both raising their already outrageous auction buyers premiums!

Greedy_pig_auction_houses_at_trough As if the last round of rate increases were not stupid enough... ?

This seems totally crazy to MAO, given we're in the middle of a recession with Art fairs, and art dealers shutting down everywhere .. 

But, we guess the auction houses are feeling overly secure enough to start ripping off charging their clients even more !!! 

As we say on wall street,

Bulls make money, bears can make money, but pigs get slaughtered.

So here's the bad news..

Effective 2 June 2008

Country & Saleroom Location(s) Premium Threshold
United States Los Angeles
New York

Wine Sales only
Up to $50,000
$50,001 - $1,000,000
$1,000,001 and above
No threshold

May 29, 2008

This weeks TimeOut NY... almost as bitchy as MAO

OK..So, it would seem MAO does not have a corner on the bitchy witty comment market.... This week's Time Out NY Magazine (May 29 - June 4) had this box posted on page 21....

The Queer Factor
Gay Gayer
Logo Bravo
Melissa Etheridge Clay Aiken
Brokeback Mountain Sex and the City
Truman Capote Herman Melville
Gay Games Olympics
Black Party FDA Awards
Provincetown St. Barth
Fire Island Pines The Vatican
Madonna Dina McGreevey
Barneys Barneys
Christine Quinn Hillary Clinton
New York Blade The New York Times
Book Editor Hedge-fund Manager
Sam Champion Anderson Cooper
Porsche Boxter Ford Escape Hybrid
The L Word Brothers & Sisters
Splash Soho House
69 Missionary
Cosmopolitan Prosecco
Oscar Wild Bookshop Barnes & Noble Union Square
Citarella Trader Joe's
Gracious Home Target
Gucci loafers Converse All Stars
Dorian Gray Albus Dumbledore
-by Erin McHugh

May 23, 2008

Summer is here!! Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

So We At MAO officially hate this new clusterfuck version of Typepad. Lost an entire post today...

But here are three fun summer photos by some great young photographers you should know...

Melanie Schiff (Underwater photographer),

John Arsenault (Pool Guy), and

Carlo Van de Roer (Untitled, Bondi Beach).

More details after we cool down..and have at least one margarita poolside! See you all at Low Tea!


John Arsenault_pool_guy

Carlo Van de Roer_Bondi_baths

May 21, 2008

Matthew Schreiber at The FIREPLACE Project in East Hampton Springs

Matthew Schreiber at The FIREPLACE Project in East Hampton Springs.

Matthew_schreiber_Guilloche_the_gas_pipe If you're lucky enough to be headed to the East End of Long Island for the long weekend and need a high quality contemporary art fix. (photo, Matthew Schreiber, Guilloche, The Gas Pipe, 2008,Aluminum ring, 40 x 635nm Diode Lasers, electroni, Projected dimensions variable, ring 5’ diameter)

Last weekend at the opening party, both Dr. Quiz and MAO were totally blown away by these light installations. The works are hard to explain, it's mostly red lasers, but we found them beautiful, graceful and disorienting. We probably heard visitors say "WOW that's totally COOL!!!" at least 100 times when we were in the main gallery space.

A past assistant to the famed light artist, James Turrell, Matthew Schreiber's first solo show in the New York area is a not to be missed exhibit.

Sadly this show will only be on view till June 2nd.. and it's over 100 miles from Manhattan.

May 19, 2008

ACRIA - Unframed 2008 Chairty Art Auction

OK..MY little MAO-ettes..Here's your big chance to help a great AIDS organization, ACRIA.. and to buy some hard to get art work for totally bargain prices.

This Tuesday, May 20th from 5 to 8pm at the Charles Cowles Gallery. There will be smart cocktails.. Plus.. Of course, MAO and his posse will be there..so you know the night will be totally FABULOUS! Don't miss this one! Official details here.

Oh..By the way.. ACRIA has a really great limited edition print program...well worth checking out.


May 16, 2008

The Art World really needs another RED DOT Art Fair?

So with the contemporary art auctions high flying in the face of reason a slowing world wide economy.... We guess it's a totally stupid perfect time to launch yet another RED Dot art fair. 

Paul_strand_blind_2 As if the MIAMI and New York RED Dots were not bad enough.. now there will be a RED Dot in London during the Frieze Art Fair in mid October.

(Photo #1, Paul Strand, "Blind Woman", New York, 1916)

Yes..my little MAO-ettes, even with many of the RED Dot NY'08 art dealers not selling a single thing, the economy crashing, and several HOT NY dealers shutting down ....

RED DOT London' 08 is coming !!

We shit  kid you not!! Like, did they not see the results of our MAO Art MIAMI Fair pole?

Anyway... We wish them lots of luck! Here's the insane press release..

Red Dot Fair is pleased to announce Red Dot London, October 16 - 19, 2008. London's vibrant art scene hosts the world each October as collectors, dealers, and artists converge on the city for the annual art fairs.
Located in the heart of London's West End and within a seven minute walking distance from both Frieze Art Fair and Zoo Art Fair, Red Dot London at the Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel will showcase the work of some of the world's most exciting emerging and established artists. Up to 60 galleries from around the world will exhibit in individual hotel rooms, creating an intimate and informal setting for collectors to discover art and meet with international dealers. The fair will be held across the entire first floor of this elegant hotel, enabling art lovers to move easily amongst exhibitors.
Red Dot debuted in 2007, with successful fairs in New York City and Miami Beach, in addition to the inaugural London fair. Red Dot London is co-produced by London-based Marketing, PR and event planner Colleen Theis and New York City-based fair owner George Billis.
Red Dot London, October 16 - 19, 2008

May 14, 2008

Christies Contemporary Sale Goes Very Well!

So the much worried about anticipated Christies Post War and Contemporary Art sale went very well last night.   Oh..and in case you were wondering... that enormous rush of air everyone in NYC heard last night..was the huge sy-of-relief being let out by every bloated contemporary art dealer in Chelsea.

Mark_rothko_number_15 So at $33,641,000, Lucian Freud now rules now the roost.. a pretty average Rothko sold for over $50 millioncrazy oblivious American collectors bought 70% of the lots last night, and Sotheby's stock is now up 4% this morning.  What Gloom and Doom..?? Pish-posh! The contemporary art world is all fine and dandy...full speed ahead!  I knew that Kool Aid tasted great.

(Photo #1, Mark Rothko, No 15, 1952, 91 3/8 x 80 inches, oil on canvas)

Well... With $348.3 Million in sales just last night just at Christies.. Let the good times Roll!

Here's some more details by Lindsay Pollock and Philip Boroff of Bloomberg news.
     May 14 (Bloomberg) -- Lucian Freud, the 85-year-old flesh-
and-flab-loving British painter, became the world's priciest
living artist at auction last night when his graceful portrait of
a 280-pound civil servant named Sue fetched $33.6 million at
Christie's International in New York.
     The 1995 Freud was one of eight records smashed in an
exuberant sale featuring the male clique of auction stars that
includes Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon and Richard Prince. Tom
Wesselmann, Prince, Sam Francis and Adolph Gottlieb also fetched
new highs.
     The 57-lot sale tallied $348.3 million, the second-highest
total for the category and closer to the top of the $282 million-
to-$398.6 million presale range. Just three lots didn't sell and
Americans took home 70 percent of works sold. It was as if buyers
were oblivious to talk of recession and remnants of the credit
crisis in the world outside the Rockefeller Center salesroom.
     ``Defying gravity tonight,'' said billionaire Eli Broad as
he stepped out of the salesroom, accompanied by wife Edye, and
Joanne Heyler, director of the Broad Art Foundation.
     The top lot was a 1952 Mark Rothko painting, with red bands
on a yolk-yellow background, that fetched $50.4 million.
Estimated to sell for about $40 million, it rode the Rothko wave
that began a year ago, when David Rockefeller sold a pink-and-
yellow canvas for a record $72.8 million at Sotheby's.

                         Lanky, Tanned

     Real estate developer Aby Rosen, lanky plastics magnate
Stefan T. Edlis, Michael Ovitz and perennially tanned fashion
designer Valentino Garavani were spotted in the crowd.
     ``The very important went very high,'' said Valentino, after
the sale.
     Christie's didn't miss any marketing angles. The firm's
billionaire owner Francois Pinault hosted a dinner Monday night
honoring Jeff Koons. In November, Koons's 3,500-pound, hot-pink,
stainless-steel ``Hanging Heart (Magenta/Gold)'' sold for $23.6
million at Sotheby's New York, establishing him at the time as
the priciest living artist at auction.
     Tapping the boom market for contemporary art, the auction
house offered a famous mid-century home, the Richard Neutra-
designed ``Kaufmann House'' at the sale. The five-bedroom house
in Palm Springs, California, fetched $16.8 million, near the low
end of $15 million-to-$25 million estimate.
     Christie's sale was the first postwar and contemporary
auction of the week. Sotheby's auction, starring a Bacon triptych
expected to fetch about $70 million, is tonight. Phillips de Pury
& Co. follows on May 15.

                         Twisted Portraits

     Enviable returns studded the sale. Bacon's 1976 ``Three
Studies for Self-Portrait'' fetched $28 million. In 1999, the
somber twisted portraits sold for $2.9 million at Christie's in
London and six years later made $5.2 million in New York.
     Prince's campy ``Nurse'' series paintings went for less than
$100,000 five years ago. Last night, ``Man-Crazy Nurse #2'' went
for $7.4 million. The seller was television producer and MoMA
trustee Douglas S. Cramer. Hedge fund titans Steven Cohen and
Daniel Loeb are among Prince's devotees.
     ``I would've expected a correction by now,'' said Broad.
``It's just a question of when.''

                         `Wild One'

     Warhol dominated the field with eight lots. A spare black
1966 silkscreen ``Double Marlon,'' using a film still from Marlon
Brando's bad-boy ``Wild One'' film, fetched $32.5 million, more
than a $30 million estimate. In 1992, the work sold for $935,000
at Sotheby's in New York.
     San Francisco film producer and punk rocker Henry S.
Rosenthal sold a 1962 Warhol ``Campbell's Soup Can (Pepper
Pot),'' which he said his father bought in 1962 for a few hundred
dollars. For the last 30 years, the painting has hung in
Rosenthal's warehouse in San Francisco's skid row. Last night, it
fetched $7.1 million.
     ``It was a difficult decision to sell,'' said Rosenthal, 53.
``But as the painting became absurdly valuable, it became more
nerve-wracking to keep it.''
     Gerhard Richter's 1987 riff on abstraction, the yellow, blue
and red ``Abstraktes Bild (625)'' sold for $14.6 million. The 13-
foot-wide canvas fetched $3.4 million five years ago at
Christie's in New York.
     ``There is no recession in the art market,'' said Norman Rau,
collector and president of Sandusky Radio. ``I wish traditional
media was this good.''
     Last week, Christie's and Sotheby's held impressionist and
modern art auctions. Overall the two weeks of sales were
projected to total up to $1.8 billion.
     Sale prices include a buyer's commission of 25 percent of
the hammer price up to $20,000, 20 percent of the price from
$20,000 to $500,000, and 12 percent above $500,000. Estimates do
not include commissions.

May 13, 2008

Benefits Supervisor Sleeping by Lucian Freud... the poster child for Art Excess ?

So.. the Spring Contemporary Auctions are about to begin.. and the biggest question in what's left of MAO's mind.. is : Will "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping" by Lucian Freud...become the new poster child for Art Excess in 2008 ?

Tonight at 8pm.. we will know the answer! Christies Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale. We checked out the painting first hand.. It's big and it's beautiful..and it's nothing but flesh!

Lucian_freid_benefits_supervisor_sl Lot 37, Lucian Freud (b. 1922)
Benefits Supervisor Sleeping
oil on canvas
59 5/8 x 86¼ in. (151.3 x 219 cm.)
Painted in 1995

This heavyweight painting with a huge pre-sale estimate of $25,000,000 to $35,000,000, has the potential to break the all time record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a living artist's work, crushing the Jeff Koons' Hanging Heart which currently holds the insane record at $23,500,000. Now that's PHAT!

Go Lucian go!

Here's a story in the Telegraph with some more details about this curvaceous painting.

May 07, 2008

Christies Impressionist Auction Total falls Below the Low end of the range

It's HAMMER Time in NYC my little MOA-ettes!

Sadly.. last night Christies first attempt didn't do so well with their big Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale.

Of the significantly pair back auction of only 58 Lots.. 14 failed to find a buyer. Ouch! A 24% failure rate! Not good!

Several Picasso's, a Monet, a Matisse, and even a  Gauguin (pre-sale est $4 to $6 million) which was stated in the catalog as "The appearance of Gauguin's Le rêve, moe moea in this sale is a most fortuitous event." all went unsold.

Giacometti_femme_debout_ii One of the only successful lots of the auction was the amazing 8+ feet tall, Alberto Giacometti, Grande femme debout II sculpture.. which sold for a record $27,481,000. Nice!!

So.. maybe Impressionist art is just way out of favor with the billionaire jet set. MAO remembers the last round of super high end impressionist and modern sales last fall in London which also failed to meet expectations... but the following Contemporary Art auctions still managed to go reasonably well.

I feel a cold breeze... but we shall see next week!!

Here's some additional commentary from Lindsay Pollock and Philip Boroff at Bloomberg news..

    May 7 (Bloomberg) -- Monet and Rodin failed to prevent
Christie's International from missing its low estimate for an
evening impressionist and modern art auction for the first time
in four years.
     Last night's sale in New York totaled $277.3 million as 14
of the 58 lots failed to find buyers. The auction had been
projected to tally $287 million to $405 million. Europeans,
taking advantage of a weaker dollar, bought more than half the
lots, while U.S. buyers took 32 percent, compared with almost
half at the previous impressionist sale in November.
     The result suggests that at least $318 billion of credit
losses and writedowns at banks, a slump in the U.S. currency and
a dip in global equity markets may have slowed the international
art market.
     ``It's a rational market that is slightly more rational
than the last go-around,'' said John Good, a director of
Gagosian Gallery.
     Christie's said last night's total was still its third-
highest for the category. The top lot was a $41.5 million
cerulean blue painting by Claude Monet, showing an iron railway
bridge over the Seine, near Paris. Christie's estimated that
``Le Pont du Chemin de Fer a Argenteuil'' would fetch about $40
million. An anonymous phone bidder set a record for the artist,
outspending the previous high set last year by about $5 million.
     The seller was the Nahmad art-dealing family, which bought
the work for $12.4 million at Christie's in 1988.

                         Monet Lilies

     ``I'm very happy,'' patriarch David Nahmad said, standing
in the crowded aisle of the Rockefeller Center salesroom after
the auction. He was outbid for the evening's second-priciest
Monet, the 1908 ``Nympheas,'' which fetched $11.7 million.
     The evening's rejects included a garishly colored Venetian
vista by Monet, estimated at up to $12 million; a tepid Van Gogh
landscape, with a high estimate of $16 million; and a portrait
of a chubby nude maiden by Renoir with a $5 million to $7
million range.
     A dearth of museum-quality impressionist and modern
paintings shifted the focus to sculpture, which accounted for 3
of the top 10 lots.
     Alberto Giacometti's 1960 ``Grand Femme Debout II,'' a 9-
foot-tall bronze of a woman, fetched an artist record $27.5
million, well above the $18 million estimate. The winning bidder
was Gagosian Gallery, which declined to comment on the purchase.
The artwork was one of five abstract forms in plaster and bronze
by postwar Swiss sculptor Giacometti. Sotheby's offers another
six Giacomettis tonight.


     ``Grand Femme'' is an attenuated female figure, with a tiny
Kate Moss-like waist and stick-like arms. It was originally a
commission for Chase Manhattan Bank's Wall Street headquarters.
Giacometti didn't visit the site, or New York, and the work was
never installed there.
     French sculptor Auguste Rodin also smashed records with his
1897 bronze ``Eve,'' estimated to sell for $9 million to $12
million. It fetched $19 million.
     The anonymous seller acquired the sculpture for $4.8
million at Christie's in New York in 1999 and displayed the work
outdoors. Eve has muscular crossed arms and her graceful head is
tucked in shame.
     Sale prices include a buyer's commission of 25 percent of
the hammer price up to $20,000, 20 percent of the price from
$20,000 to $500,000 and 12 percent above $500,000. Estimates do
not include commissions.
     Christie's sold $395 million of impressionist and modern
art at its November sale in New York. The dollar is down more
than 12 percent against the euro in the past year and reached a
record low of $1.6019 per euro on April 22.

     (Lindsay Pollock and Philip Boroff write on the arts for
Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are their own.)

May 06, 2008

Natasha Kissell, Artist Interview - Part 2

Natasha Kissell, Artist interview Part 2.  For those who didn't read part 1..you can go here and check out.. Natasha Kissell Interview Part 1.

Natasha_kissell_pinkcanyons So before we continue.. here's a brief description we found about one of Natasha's recent paintings.. Pink Canyons.. (Photo #1, Natasha Kissell, Pink Canyons, 2008, 48" x 42", oil on canvas)

PINK CANYONS transports Mies Van Der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion to an Arizona canyon calling to mind Monica Ramirez-Montegut’s comments in the current Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art show 'Painting The Glass House', "Perhaps for Kissell, only nature is the true companion and owner of modern architecture".

Instead of Harrap's peopled places, the psycho-geography comes in the form of the landscapes that the buildings exist in creating a double utopia, the two in conversation with each other. The usual crowds of tourists that would swarm around Van Der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion are emptied out, in a desire to allow the building to exist in tranquility matched only by the sun gently going down in the Arizona outback. This also creates a surreal juxtaposition, two far away places united in one canvas.


MAO Q6.. So your husband Peter Harrap, is also a successful painter.. has he been a huge influence on your work? Both of your paintings are going to be in the new show together..Why?  Do you work closely together.. or far apart? Are you guys co-dependent artists? What other artists would you say have been the biggest influence on you?


NK : We work back to back. Furniture flies, we shout and out of the creative furnace, new ideas come. We challenge each other and point out weak areas. I don't think I would be able to accept this from anyone else, or rather they wouldn't accept the shouting match that would follow! We are independent artists but often arrive at ideas together so it is interesting to show together. There is also the difference in figure/non figure compositions making the works create a dialog that is interesting.


MAO Q7.. In your new work as well as your last show, there were no people. For the most part, everything in your paintings are always very neat and in an unusually orderly setting.. At most there's a bird or a wolf in your paintings.. Why? Are you making a specific political statement, or do you have a specific social message you want to express?


NK :  I do believe I’m making a kind of political statement, if not in your face. I am influenced by the Natasha_kissell_minimalistwithmarsh Siennese painters of the 14th and 15th centuries. Their idea of the Republic was tantamount dictating their perspective on the cities they depicted. Because everyone had a say in the way the city was run, there is a democracy of viewpoint, not the single view point of power, of the lord of the manor, the leader or the war lord, but the multiple perspective of the collective. This is why I combine many perspectives in one picture. The neatness comes I guess because it is more the idea of place, the concept of holding an ideal, a utopia in mind than the loved experience. I use not just one utopia but two - that of the beauty of nature, and also that of the beauty and perfection of design, hence the modernist architecture, not the modernism of 60's high rises but the modernism of exquisite design where architects compete with the natural world to create something spectacular.

(photo #2 Natasha Kissell, Minimalist with Marsh Marigold, 2008, 30" x 40", oil on canvas)


MAO Q8.. So you guys don't live in NYC (the center of the Art World Universe). Do you spend much time going to London museums, or local galleries? How do you think living in the trendy Notting Hill has influenced your painting?


NK :  If I could live in New York I would be there in a shot! I love the energy of it. London's not so bad though, also full of buzz, and allows me to remain well connected with the contemporary art world which is becoming increasingly international. You’re more likely to see an English artist exhibit in Berlin say than London, and London’s full of Romanian/Russian/etc. so you really get to key into the international perspective. Go very regularly to the museums, once a week to look and study old and new. In Notting Hill we work next door to the playwright Harold Pinter, great modernist writer and have others like the fashion design Paul Smith live a couple of doors down, a really buzzy place full of people who have done really interesting stuff with their lives. Also Lucien Freud is a neighbor, he once asked me to sit for him, but I couldn't’t do the commitment of a whole year of giving up painting to pose for him every day.


MAO Q9... Psychogeography was defined in 1955 by Guy Debord as the "the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals."[1] A more straightforward definition is "a slightly stuffy term that's been applied to a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities.

Where did you find this word "Psychogeography"? And why did you choose this as the title for your new show?


NK :  Both Peter and I were using places as representations of an internal, emotional place. Painting is about reflecting our experience of living in the world, how we imprint our own individual identities on the places in which we find ourselves. I guess as a painter you try and stamp this individuality in an act of will, that I exist and I matter, however misguided this may be. Peter’s spaces may be more urban Natasha_kissell_inthetreetops and mine more wildernesses, but each is huge and uncontrollable in its own way. This is what leads us to try and control our little bit of world allotted to us. We’re not interested in ownership, one response to the problem of being “small” in the world, but more interested in this act of the will and how it drives us, and the expressions this takes.


(Photo #3, Natasha Kissell, In the Treetops, 2008, 48" x 42", oil on canvas)


MAO Q10.. When you're not painting.. what's your favorite thing to do? What do you do for fun?


NK :  Breathe! Fresh air is always refreshing after a day stuck in the fumes of oil paint. Love films, we’re addicts, love the stories which I guess we both try and infuse in our work. People have said my work is quite filmic. Otherwise hang out in Soho bars, haunts of the art world and overdose on cigarettes and alcohol, escape from the intensity of our thoughts. A little holiday away from our selves!


Natasha's show opens this Thursday night,

Opening: Thursday, May 8th 6:30-8:30pm at the Gallery 10G, located at 222 East 19th Street #10G between 2nd/3rd Avenues. MAO of course will be there!

FYI... We think all the paintings in Part 2 of this interview will be in the new show (and available)..

Fortunately for Natasha...sadly for us art collectors.. we've been just told that all the paintings in Part 1 of this interview have already been sold/spoken for. Like who says the art market is crashing??? NOT MAO...now will someone please pass the Kool-Aid!

Congrats Natasha !

May 05, 2008

Artist interview with British Painter Natasha Kissell

Artist Interview with British Painter Natasha Kissell.

Natasha_kissell_the_vertical_hour So it's been just over a year since we first saw the work of painter Natasha Kissell at the Scope'07 NY Art Fair.

And while we have to first confess admit..  we're generally totally turned off by almost all the current figurative and photorealistic paintings..

But, there was just something about Natasha's work that caught our attention.

So, a lot has been happening for Natasha Kissell..

Including a show at the Haunch of Venison's founding director's new gallery, Eleven Gallery in London..

and her work was recently included in Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture at Connecticut's Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art. The Aldrich show was co-curated by Jessica Hough, and Monica Ramirez-Montagut.

(Photo #1, Natasha Kissell, The Vertical Hour, 2008, 60 x 66, Oil on canvas)

So before her new show opens up this week at the 10G Gallery in NYC.. we thought we'd check in with Natasha, and see how things were going. Here's the first part, of a 2 part artist interview..


MAO Q1. Why did you decide to become an artist?

NK : I felt the need to express my innermost thoughts and unable to do this through other means, the Natasha_kissell_bubblerock_2006_3 thing that came most naturally to me was scribbling with felt tips, crayons whatever I could get my hands on as a child. It all took off from there.

(Photo #2, Bubble Rock, 2006, 48 x 48, Oil on canvas)

MAO Q2. Painting... ? So, with such a huge expansion of the contemporary art world into new media, why choose did you choose the "traditional" brush, oil, and canvas ?

NK : It's like a kind of alchemy, something happens when you play around with paint. You start off with your ideas, but then something completely different happens as the materials respond to your touch and you arrive at a completely different destination. This tactile quality leads to surprises which keep the whole process fresh and unlimited, taking me out of what I know and think to other thoughts and ideas. For example, I may be painting a mountain as an expression of hugeness of space, but this may be done in an ethereal wispy way or it could be concrete and heavy, both would be saying different things.

MAO Q3. Would you describe your paintings as photo-realistic or even figurative? What style would you most strongly classify your paintings? And which artists would you most like to see your art work hung next to in a museum, or along side in an art text book?

NK : Magical Realism. Don’t like photo painting as such, being limited by the photographic source Natasha_kissell_bibbidibobbidiblu_3 material and deconstructing it, about flatness and the lie that manipulates us. Realism can be more real than the world outside, more intense in feeling and alive. The magical element is my desire to transcend the physical reality of the everyday and represent the things we can't see. In this sense I love Caspar David Friedrich. His work is so understated in scale, working sometimes on quite small canvases, but always conveying a sense of something bigger and loftier, a huge expanse of Germanic mountain ranges and a single tree standing solitary like the human presence. Of contemporary painters, I love Peter Doig in his daringness of colour and painterliness, not apologetic for being a painter but boldly exploiting every trick in the book in the whole range of mark making.

(Photo #3, Bibbidi Bobbidi Blue, 2007, 42 x 48, Oil on canvas)

MAO Q4.  Ever since photography, painters had the need to react to it. The Modernist movements in 20th-century painting has frequently been thought of as a reaction to the increasing possibilities of photography. Today, many contemporary painters get their inspiration from photographs.  Where do you get your inspiration from and why do you choose to make paintings that combine Modernistic architecture with idealist landscapes?

NK : Photography has definitely been a major influence from the early 20th century onwards, but the lens as a tool in painting has I would argue always been there. Take Caravaggio’s camera lucida, Cannalletto used one as well, Velasquez, all the great artists of the past, Vermeer have had tools to help them to translate the world out there, 3D and moving onto the 2d canvas. So in a sense photography is nothing new and certainly not a threat to the validity of painting as an artistic medium today. I use many ways of looking at the world, plein air as the old masters did, most recently on a trip to the Himalayas, Switzerland, all over in rain snow and sun, but also from photographs found in magazines, newspapers, and the web. Source material from films, even books (described images can sometimes etch themselves even stronger on the brain). So this with your internal vision, your drive of what you see in your mind’s eye combines with the real world to create new morphed images, combining fantasy and reality. Something utterly new and never seen before. This is what I hope.

Modernist architecture is a device I have found useful in adding to the long tradition of English landscape painting. Turner and Constable painted their cottages, ships, horse drawn carts, and faced with depicting nature you can go two ways, accept that everything that can be done has already been done, or try something new, to update and add to the tradition, to try and add your own personal vision. This is what I am trying to achieve.

MAO Q5... Which painting (or paintings) that you've made are you most proud of? Why?

NK : I don't have any favourites as such, each is given equal attention and labour. Having said that Natasha_kissell_deepanddarkandbea_3 breakthrough paintings are always satisfying. When you take risks, and go places you haven’t been. So 'Deep and Dark and Beautiful' was an exciting venture into the gothic with the spooky car headlights which lead to a whole series of works exploring the darker side of the sublime.

(Photo #4,

Deep and Dark and Beautiful, 2006, 48" x 42", Oil on canvas)


OK... be sure to stop by tomorrow for part 2.. of the MAO - Natasha Kissell Interview.

You can also see more of Natasha's work here.

Her show along with her husband, Peter Harrap's, show.. opens up this Thursday May 8th.. at the 10G Gallery

Opening: Thursday, May 8th 6:30-8:30pm
Gallery 10G is located at 222 East 19th Street #10G bet. 2nd/3rd Avenues
Show Artists:

May 01, 2008

Art Chicago - The Private Art Collection of Richard And Ellen Sandor

Possibly the best thing about going to Art Chicago this year for MAO, was the VIP program, and getting to see the Richard and Ellen Sandor Art Collection.

Ellen_richard_sandor These events were mostly very well organized drinking events, but they also included several amazing collection visits.  By total luck.. MAO got to visit possibly the nations most impressive historic photography collection..at the Chicago gold coast home of Ellen and Richard Sandor. (Yes .. we know, it's hard to believe this collection is actually West of the Hudson River !)

Not only was the photography collection a total knock your socks off MAO WoW.. but Richard and Ellen could not have been more gracious hosts. These walls were filled to the brim with Cindy Sherman, Arbus, Curtis, Prince, Man Ray, Vik Muniz, Penn, Burke-White, Kertesz, Steichen..etc.. they have 2000+ images (and it's almost all on the walls..like how obsessive is that!).. you probably couldn't name an important photographer who wasn't well represented in the collection.

It was also amazing to see such bright, obsessive, and generous art collectors being so nice.. like how Non-New York City is that ??  Just, think.. rich, important collectors being nice to the little people... Who would have guessed it was possible? Only in Chicago! 

Ellen and Richard gave us a wonderfully coordinated tour of their impressive art collection which really brought all the obsessive details to life. Their love for collecting photography was totally infectious.

After hearing MAO's raves about our lucky collection visit.. One very resourceful member of the MAO fan club.. was nice enough to send us this PDF file of a Metropolitan Home article featuring Richard and Ellen Sander's photography Collection. But FYI..these photo's don't do the collection justice.. it's way more obsessive and impressive in person. Check it out...here...

Download MetroP_Home_SANDOR_collection.pdf

Our sincere thanks go out to Ellen and Richard Sandor.. you are a total inspiration to every crazy totally obsessive photo collector...You are now, MAO's photo collecting super heros.. and if you're ever in NYC, we would love to take you guys out to dinner to thank you.