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5 posts from December 2008

December 16, 2008

The Holiday Art Sale Season... 48.5% off a Basquiat... My How times have changed!

The Holiday Art Sales... 48.5% off a Basquiat... My How times have changed!

It's quite amazing how fast the art world can adjust to these difficult impossibe changing times.

Brian_ulrich_Bloomington_MN_2004 We have to say.. MAO was RIGHT not surprised how "Discount" become the most popular word uttered at Art Basel Miami Beach 2008.

But clearly.. this is the time of stress for the private art dealer community. It would seem, rumors of gallery closings has quickly become the newest sport in the gutters streets of Cheslea these days.

In fact, some tenatious people are resorting to new and interesting sales techniques... See story below..

 What next? Gallery Coupons? Blue Light specials? Door Buster pre-opening show sales?  Will there be going out of business sales?

So.. Does discounting art make it seem less attractive to have the work in your art collection? What do you think?

(photo by Brian Ulrich, Bloomington, MN, 2004, part of his Copia - Retail Project, c-print)

Here's an interesting story published this morning on Bloomberg news... by Katya Kazakina.


Asher Edelman’s Holiday Sale: Buy Basquiat for 48.5 Percent Off

2008-12-16 05:00:01.1 GMT  By Katya Kazakina

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Asher Edelman, the corporate raider turned art dealer, has dressed the windows of his Manhattan gallery in the spirit of the times: "Holiday Super Sale," one sign says. "Totally Insane!" reads another. "No Kidding!" entices the third.

"All dealers are offering discounts now," said Edelman. "I am just being open about it."

The sale, which runs through Dec. 21 at Edelman Arts, offers discounts ranging from 25 percent to 50 percent on works by 20th century masters such as Willem de Kooning and Alberto Giacometti as well as the gallery’s contemporary artists.

A canvas by Jean-Michel Basquiat is $3.35 million, down 48.5 percent from last year’s asking price of $6.50 million. The unsold paintings by Berlin-based Christopher Winter, whose show just closed at Edelman Arts, were slashed by 40 percent.

John Chamberlain’s sculpture of twisted automobile parts can be picked up for $975,000, down from $1.25 million. A large landscape painting by Alex Katz is now available for $80,000, down from $150,000.

Unlike retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue or Target, advertising discounts and publicizing prices are among the taboos of the art market. Most galleries offer a 10 percent discount on primary market works. Important collectors and museums often get 20 percent off the asking price.

"We are not a boutique," said dealer Richard Feigen, who specializes in old masters and postwar art. "We don’t put on sales."

Pushing Sales

Other dealers are trying to boost sales in a global financial crisis. "It’s a season when people are shopping for presents for friends and family and I am sure people are trying to capitalize on that," said artist Thomas Beale.

Honey Space, a nonprofit gallery in Chelsea that Beale founded last year, will hold a three-day sale to raise money for its operations Dec. 18 through Dec. 20. In order to create interest, Beale sent e-mails advertising the works by more than 25 emerging and established artists priced between $10 and $999.

"It’s partly reflecting on the economy right now," said Beale. And partly, it’s to "appeal to a larger group of people."

Another Chelsea gallery, Caren Golden Fine Art, sent an e- mail about its new show featuring 12 young artists with an unusual mention of prices -- $850 to $6,000.

The exhibition is aptly titled: "The Brand New Deal."

--Editors: Mary Romano, Daniel Billy.

To contact the reporter of this story: Katya Kazakina in New York at +1-212-617-4837 or [email protected].

December 11, 2008

The Aqua Art Fairs during Art Basel Miami Beach... some passing thoughts..

The Aqua Art Fairs during Basel Miami Beach... some passing MAO thoughts..
Now that we've had some much needed time to rest up from our Art Basel Miami vacation. Since everybody asks... we thought it was worth doing a little postmortem more art fair writing.

After the Pulse fair.. our next favorite fairs were the 2 Aqua fairs. One in the traditional Hotel, and the other in an old warehouse in Wynwood. Just like all the Art Maimi fairs, both were more quiet this year than last.  Sadly, these 2 fairs were also filled with very anxious art dealers....who'd not sold much art work by the time we visited. But, the quality was there, we thought both fairs were terrific. With several standout booths.. and a few new found artistic gems MAO felt well worth sharing with the blog world.

First The smaller, Aqua Hotel Fair. We loved the following galleries..and a few particular artists..

- The Platform Gallery from Seattle -They had new works of witty paintings and drawings by William Powhida (one of MAO's longtime favorite humorists artists) and they also had self portrait photographs by new young talent Ariana Page Russell. (Ariana Page Russell, photo #1 & #2, #3,  "Corsage, 2008", and "Heat Wave, 2008", and  "Sugarplum, 2008", all 26" x 18", archival ink-jet prints)

Ariana_Page-russell_Corsage Ariana_PAge_russell_Heat-Wave Aiana_Page_russell_Sugarplum So.. You have to check out Ariana's website directly to fully understand her work.  But in a nutshell, she has a skin condition, dermatographia, which causes her skin to quickly turn red and form welts when she's scratched. Ariana utilizes her medical hypersensitivity condition to create designs and patters on her body, which she then photographs.  We found her self portrait images both beautiful, and shocking. At the fair her works were selling quickly for only $600 each, Edition of 5.. they clearly were too amazing to pass up.

It turns out MAO wasn't the only blogger to love Ariana's work..

- Publisher AMMO books from Los Angeles, had a very cool booth. They were showing both photographs by our so loved, Zoe Strauss (FYI, they have about 10 different prints by Zoe Strauss available in 2 sizes at prices too cheap for such a total super star photographer..) FYI Zoe's new book "America" was just listed in Artforum as one of the best photobooks of 2008. They also had a great Limited edition, plus photo prints available from the Hunter S. Thompson book Gonzo.

- Western Project from Culver City had several new paintings by Wayne White. They, along with Todd Oldham and AMMA books, are coming out with a huge new Monograph of all Wayne's work in the Spring 2009. Should be wonderful to see!

- The Paul Kopeikin Gallery (which just recently moved to a new location on Melrose Ave in West Hollywood, CA..good luck to Paul on your new space) had several hysterical "worded braille" photos by Lizabeth Rossof, they were made from those silly paper roll dot candies MAO remembers from our childhood.

The Aqua Wynwood Fair Thoughts and Standouts..

First off, when it comes to art fairs, The Aqua Wynwood Fair.. is lucky to have nice real walls, much better lighting, and real Flat Floors... which just makes for a much better presentation experience for Art viewing. If MAO had a drink dollar for every time we stumbled on those damn tent floors at Scope, Art Miami, Etc..... Yikes!

- Patricia Sweetow Gallery  from San Francisco, CA - Great Booth! They had some thoughtful photo and video works from Jefferson Pinder, which are worth checking out. But both MAO and Dr. Quiz totally fell in love love love with the work of super young painter Jamie Vasta.

    Now, MAO never in his lifetime thought he'd ever write these words... "We liked a group of paintings made entirely of GLITTER."  Yikes..! Yes.. It's true... As a total contemporary Art Snob, it's almost scary to even type Jamie_Vasta_Zoe that statement, but it's totally true.

The work of Jamie Vasta, is as intoxicatingly thoughtful, as it is sparkly & luminous. Made of only Glitter glued onto wood board, her newest series of young girls with their hunted (and frequently killed) prey left us mesmerized.  FYI.. these painting were all made prior to the Sarah Palin for VP choice.

There's so much in these paintings, we looked at them again and again. this series are all based on images Jamie found off the Internet.. it's hard to begin.. but they were impressive, political, lush, scary and beautiful all at the same time. Sadly they don't photograph well.. so don't think MAO's completely gone mad, until you've experienced one directly.
(Photo #4, painting by JAMIE VASTA, Zoe,2008,glitter, stain on wood,40 x 30 inches)

But after seeing these paintings, it was no surprise to hear, this artist was recently named one of the top 15 artists under 35 to watch, by Art Ltd. Her work was actually the magazine cover. Jamie who was only born in 1980, already has had reviews in Art in America, Artweek, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and has been a critics pick in Artforum.com. That's a lot of attention for glitter paintings.. but well deserved. Check out the work of Jamie Vasta soon.

- The Electric Works Gallery from San Fransisco had a great booth. Complete with a working artist Katherine_westerhout_aquarium_detroit made pinball machine by William T. Wiley.

They also had a great photo by Katherine Westerhout. Who's work we had not seen before.. but her Detroit project images are worth checking out.

(Photo #5, Katherine Westerhout, Aquarium, Belle Isle I, 2007, Archival Pigment Print)

- Walter Maciel Gallery from Los Angeles, had a strong booth with work by Rubel Collection Show, super star artist John Bankston. We also liked the soft cloth Cactus works by Margarita Cabrera. Finally, a plant MAO's black thumb can't kill.

- Lastly, we liked the newest color work by photographer Wouter Deruytter. He's completed a very expressive series of forest fire works complete Wouter_deruytter_first response with several hottie smoky firefighters. Several large photos were shown well at the Light&Sie Gallery booth from Dallas Texas.  We found these all very powerful images. great work.

(Photo #6, Wouter Deruytter, Untitled, First Response, 2007, pigment print)

Actually, for anyone at Aperture reading post.. this body of work would make for a perfect photobook.

So overall we really liked the time we spent at the two different Aqua fairs.. There was lots of new cutting edge contemporary art to see, and next year we will be sure to put them higher on our priority list of places to get to when at Art Basel Miami Beach 2009.

December 10, 2008

MAO art Buy of the MONTH... photo by Catherine Opie

MAO art Buy of the MONTH... a photo + the limited Edition book by Catherine Opie
OK.. my little MAO Christmas art shoppers... This is probably the best kept secret of the year.
Along with the new great catalog publication for Catherine Opie's American Photographer show at the Guggenheim.. there is a limited edition slip cased book with an amazing print for only $400.

The edition is only sized in 100 copies, and comes in a bright red slip case.

We checked it out this week.. and this is a good one! They have them at the Guggenheim book store now, and it sounds like VERY few people have actually seen it yet.

But for only $400 ($360 for Gugg Members.. I believe this week they have a 25% Member off special till Monday) you get an amazing portrait of Justin Bond (aka Kiki of the performance team - Kiki & Herb)

Catherine_Opie_Justin Bond (photo by Catherine Opie : Justin Bond, 1993, Inkjet print, 10 x 8 inches, Ed. 100.)

Here's the link to order online... Click Here
We're not sure what the member code is to put in..but you can call..

Customer Service 1071 5th Avenue, 9th Floor New York, NY 10128 Fax: 212-423-3640 Phone: 1-800-329-6109
Visit them:

1071 Fifth Avenue (at 89th Street), New York, New York 10128
Store Hours
SAT-WED, 9:30 AM-6:15 PM
THUR, 11 AM-6 PM
FRI, 9:30 AM-8:30 PM

3355 Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
Store Hours
Store Information, call 702-414-2490

ALSO..if you've not seen the show yet... don't miss it!
Catherine Opie, American Photographer closes at the Guggenheim on Jan 7th.

December 09, 2008

Art Basel Miami Beach 2008...

There were lots of nervous art dealers at the big Art Basel Miami Beach 2008... for good reason!

Art Basel Opened Wednesday to the much expected lack luster sales.  But, even in a tough economy, this one fair is still the most important art show in the  United States and, as in past years, people ArtBaselMiami_2008 gathered from all over the world.  Surprisingly this year was bigger than ever (their Web site says more than 2,000 artists this year). At the VIP preview,it wasn't as crazy as last year..and the vernissage wasn't as packed either. As a collector, it was a much better experience.. you could actually talk with the dealers...and look at the art without the madness.  MAO did spot a few celebs... Jay Z, Beyonce Knowles, and Faye Donaway (Yes...she's still alive).

According to the   Miami Herald:  "Despite global economic woes, Art Basel remained a feast for the eyes: 266 international galleries exhibiting the works of some 2,000 artists, new galleries from Dubai, Bangalore, Mumbai, and a colorful crowd strolling through the maze-like booths.  Maybe the crowd wasn't as colorful as in other years—people seemed to have toned down in every conceivable way."

Hernan_bas_The_Basin_of_a_evil_river Well, it's a total local slant on things.  After all, with one of the nations highest home foreclosure rates, how can they not tell the folks of Miami the rich are "toning things down" because of the economy?  Anyway, it was still quite an amazing show.

Our single favorite new work of art presented at the fair was this huge Hernan Bas painting in the Fredric Snitzer Gallery booth he's painting in big/epic size now, and it totally worked! ... Sadly, we were too scared to actually ask the price... (Photo #2 : The Basin of a very evil river, or where to vacation next by Hernan Bas 2008, acrylic on linen, h: 103.5 x w: 76.5 in)

The Herald also noted they had a special exhibit on Robert Rauschenberg, who died in May and regularly came to Art Basel.  "This year's fairs also featured several tributes to the late Robert Rauschenberg, including a selection of seven works being shown for the first time since the 1980s at the Joan Washburn gallery."  Even with  reports that MoMA paid $30M for one of his paintings in June 2005, Several dealers clearly played it safe this year, choosing to show Rauschenberg, and Warhols in place of more risky young artists. But, you have to wonder how many galleries are in deep need of cash right now, and long a few too many overpriced Rauschenbergs. By Sunday..MAO hadn't seen many redots on any of these vintage gems. We think sales were clearly down.. but probably not as bad as the rumors.

MAO and Dr. Quiz hit almost every fair, we deserve a medal... and FYI, For those big Naomi Campbell fans (aka.. Fashionistas Photo Collectors), there was a retrospective of her (uh) 23-year legacy at Art Basel.  Actually, Ms. Campbell is big in the art world, she told the NY Metro blog that she was a "beginner."  But, apparently this type of retrospective has never been done before. At the New Fashion Photo Fair..they had a surprisingly well done exhibition of Naomi in photography. Totally amazing.

Now that we're back in NYC, We'll post a few more on the MIAMI Art Fairs the next few days.. so stay tuned MAO-ettes.

This post was partly contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of art school programs She invites your feedback at [email protected]

December 05, 2008

Pulse Miami 08 - The VIP Preview... Looking Better than Ever...

Pulse Miami 08 - The VIP Preview... Looking Better than Ever... But what a difference a year and about a 50% drop on the Dow Jones makes! Was anyone buying? Well.. maybe a bit.

So with too many about 10 Art Fairs opening up on Tuesday Dec 2nd in the Wynwood District Of Miami Last night..  MAO and our art collector posse correctly choose Pulse Miami to attend first. (and after too many mojito's our...LAST!)
We thought, if the drinks fair was weak, we'd head over to Art Miami.. but we spent the entire 4 hours walking around Pulse.. and it was time well spent! The fair looked Great.

There were several smart Galleries which brought largely Solo Booths to Miami this year..which we Love...Love..Love!!

All the MAO-ettes felt having these solo booths, just avoided the fair looking like one big going out of business flea market mish-mosh of art stuff being thrown on the wall.  It totally lent some true thought and organization to seeing so much emerging art.

The MAO SOLO standouts galleries were...

- Monique Meloche Gallery from Chicago - with an Amazing Kendell Carter solo show. Totally wonderful.. The booth was compete with Tricked out Boots, and a Timberline inspired Wainscoting. Clearly, Kendell is still young, but, he's probably going to be the next big African American Art Wonder kid.

- Copro/Nason Gallery from Santa Monica, did an entire booth of Robert Crumb works.

- The Mixed Greens Gallery of NYC did a 2 artist show of Joseph Smolinski works, and one of our Favorite Wood Sculptures Lee Stoetzel.

Chris_Larson_deep_north - Magnus Muller from Berlin had a 2 artist booth.. a new painting by 2008 Whitney Biennial Super Star - Ellen Harvey, and super cool, "The Deep North Project" video and photos from Minnesota artist Chris Larson (photo #1, Chris Larson, The Deep North 2008, C-print mounted on aludibond / C-Print auf Aludibond 90 x 90 cm)

- The Morgan Lehman Gallery from NYC had transformed their booth into a fanciful set. Built by artist Andrew Schoultz, their show was titled Majestic Projections.

Other MAO favorites artists work included :

 - A new painting by Julie Heffernan at P.P.O.W.

- Susan Derges photograms at Purdy|Hicks Gallery from London

Lia_halloran_Dark_skate_maim - A set of new Miami Dark skate photos by Lia Halloran at DCKT Contemporary from NYC (photo #2, Dark Skate Miami/ Palms, 2008 c-print 48 x 56 inches)

- And a collaboration of "sign of the times," Compound Editions, greeting cards by artists Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida (being shown at both the Winkleman and the Schroeder Romero Galleries)

Lastly..we were impressed with a very well curated booth of obsessive detail collages at the Pavel Zoubok Gallery, complete with new works by Mark Wanger, and a historic work by Al Hansen - a Hershy Venus Girl painting.

Next stop... The Main Art Basel Miami Beach!