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5 posts from February 2009

February 26, 2009

Kamrooz Aram.. A MAO favorite artist makes the Cover of Art In America

Kamrooz Aram.. A MAO favorite artist makes the cover of Art In America this month.

So we've long been a fan of the bright colored exotic Persian influenced paintings of Kamrooz Aram. Kamrooz was by far the biggest up and  coming star, of the now, just Gallery Road Kill of the Great Art Recession of 2009 a fond memory, but uber cool, Oliver Kamm 5BE Gallery .

While this will not be a big surprise to many wise long time MAO readers. We've blogged about Kamrooz before. But this month, Kamrooz Aram's art career hits a new high, with the opening of his solo show at the Perry Rubenstein Gallery, as well as his huge feature story on the cover of Art In America this month.

Kamrooz_Art_in_America The solo show, now up until April 9th at the Perry Rubenstein Gallery, is probably his strongest yet. You'll also see that he's a man of many talents. For this show, Kamrooz has also produced some amazing drawings along side his paintings. If you're not into paying the huges prices for traditional oil on canvas type paintings, these drawing are well worth checking out!

Congrat's to Kamrooz! We love your work.. and we should probably take the lovely painting of yours we have in the MAO collection out of storage and actually put it up for auction up on the wall for all to see in the MAO loft.

If you don't subscribe to Art In America.. you can read the full 11 page story here!

Art in America (March 2009)
Kamrooz Aram: Uneasy Delights

The lush paintings in this Iranian-born artist's current exhibition draw on a global range of imagery both sacred and profane, as well as a deep well of dream-born hybrids. BY GARY INDIANA

February 23, 2009

MAO Art Buy of the Month... a new Multiple from Compound Editions

MAO Art Buy of the Month...  a new multiple from Compound Editions is now available!
So.. today we have something egg-stra special for my little Art Buying MAO-ettes.

Some of you may already have read about this new wonderful series of editioned contemporary art called, Compound Editions. Here's their website for the project. It's been hatched as the brain child of Gallery / Art Blogger extra-ordinarier Edward Winkleman, and the innovative chicks at the Schroeder Romero Gallery. Known to their art friends as WinkleSchRoe.. or was that SchroRoWink? Anyway...for those who don't know, these 2 galleries rule the roost down there at the dead far west end of 27th street in Chelsea.

FYI, this new collaboration. is only a 4 month old project. But Compound Editions has already garnered some very impressive attention from both, Art & Auction Magazine, plus this month's Art In America!  Wow, these art hustlers bright gallerist sure do work fast!

Andy_Yoder_All_Your_Eggs So the contemporary art market may have already killed the goose.. but there's still a few golden eggs left to be had by astute collectors!

Just a few days ago, Compound Edition already released their Second Artist Multiple.

This time it has been created by the thoughtful conceptual artist, Andy Yoder, and you can rest assured this one is going over easy!

We at MAO have recently learned this edition is already more than half sold out.

Well, we can certainly see why, sculptor Andy Yoder has created a hard to boil pass up, totally witty, must have, art object. It's friendly, familiar and it has perfectly scrambled encapsulated the uneasy feelings during these difficult times in the Art World.

This edition consists of 3 gilded golden eggs, neatly nestled in a pile of shredded US currency..all encased in a cute little protective wooden (Pine?) box. The object is titled "All Your Eggs." And we just love it..you might say we're a bit eggs-tatic over here at MAO with this one!

Andy Yoder
All Your Eggs
4.25" x 7.25" x 7.25"

23 carat gold, clay, wood, excelsior, and shredded U.S. currency
Edition of 100, plus 10 APs.
$100.00 each

You can read more about these projects here... www.compound-editions.blogspot.com and you can see more of Andy Yoder's work here on his artist website.

So, to get your own little Andy Yoder art nest eggs..just email them ASAP at

[email protected]

cause this one will not last..even in this terrible slowing economy.

It's been frequently stated on wall street, "This economy is worse than a painful divorce, cause you have lost half your total net worth and you're still stuck with your wife!"  So everyone, try to look on the sunny side, MAO knows, your stock portfolios maybe all cracked up, and your 401k is now only a 201k..but at least with only $100 bucks, you can still afford enjoy a cool new original work of contemporary art!

February 19, 2009

ADAA Art Fair Opened last night.. in the Eye of the Storm.

ADAA Art Fair Opened last night.. in the Eye of the Storm. The 21st ADAA Art Show at the uptown 67th Street, Armory.

Arthur_rothstein_Dust_Storm_1936 So last night was the big daddy of NYC art fairs.. and for the first time in several years, MAO didn't attend last nights preview party for the ADAA art fair.  Mostly cause we didn't want to waste the money time and be around lots of grumpy people bitching  saying how bad the economy has become. We listen to that all day long in our office!  

Well, it sounds like a lot more of the same for this art fair. Slow gallery sales..being met with collectors questioning these super high prices while looking for bargains.

(photo by Arthur Rothstein, "Fleeing a dust storm". Farmer Arthur Coble and sons walking in the face of a dust storm, Cimmaron County, Oklahoma. April, 1936,Library of Congress)

Plus, all us NYC Wall Street fat cat types have been putting in very long office hours the last 2 years, so taking time out to attend high attitude art fairs is not exactly a major priority for most people!

Anyway.. it doesn't sound like we missed much. We've been told everything will still be there (unsold) on Saturday afternoon when we have time to check out the ADAA art fair. 

Geeeze..is it just MAO.. or is this country starting to feel like it's in a depression already?

Here's a report by Bloomberg's Katya Kazakina.


Art Show Opens in N.Y. With Less Hedge-Fund Money for Picasso
2009-02-19 04:56:23.637 GMT

By Katya Kazakina
     Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- At the Art Show last year, dealer
Richard L. Feigen offered an $8.5 million Pablo Picasso still
life. This year, he’s highlighting less expensive art, including
a $90,000 purple teapot painting by Georges Braque.
     “The guys with the bonuses and hedge funds won’t be
throwing money around,” he said. “There are a lot of things at
lower price levels than in the past.”
     The opening gala for the annual fair at the Park Avenue
Armory in Manhattan proceeded last night without its sponsor, the
bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., and with the expectation
of fewer sales than last year.
     Last night’s benefit for social services agency
Henry Street
felt muted compared with the frenzied atmosphere of
the past three years, when collectors rushed in to snap up
multimillion dollar artworks, which include paintings, drawings,
photographs and sculpture.
     Among those who checked out the fair, which runs through
Sunday, were Donald Marron, chief executive officer of buyout
firm Lightyear Capital LLC, Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of
LP, tennis player John McEnroe,
Museum of Modern Art
Glenn Lowry, philanthropist Agnes Gund and former Walt
Disney Co. President Michael Ovitz.

                            First Lap

     “It’s our first lap,” said New York collector Jeff Grant,
who was with his wife, Madeline. While several works caught their
eye, they were not in a rush to buy.
     “Before we make a decision we do our homework,” he said.
“It’s got to be right.”
     Several dealers among the 70 with booths reported meager
sales or none at all. Patrons -- the women wearing large jewels
and the men dressed in suits -- spent as much time eating thumb-
size vegetable dumplings, Peking duck in scallion pancakes and
pulled pork sandwiches as they did perusing the art.
     “Everyone is paralyzed,” said dealer Per Skarstedt. “It
has to be either rare or inexpensive or both.”
     Skarstedt Gallery sold only one work: a photograph by
priced at $600,000. An $800,000 car hood by
and a $2.1 million “Mao” by Andy Warhol were still
available by the end of the evening. So was a striking, orange-
hued painting of a stripper “Cleaning the Pole” (2000) by
Marlene Dumas. The work’s asking price is $1.8 million, almost
double the amount it fetched just four months ago at
Phillips de
& Co.’s auction in London.
     Among the unsold high-end works for sale are Picasso’s 1906
gouache of his mistress Fernande Olivier. Acquavella Galleries is
asking $6 million for it.

                          Freud Etching

     Acquavella, which represents Lucian Freud, the most
expensive living artist at auction, also is selling one of his
2007 etchings for $45,000.
     Feigen’s most expensive item is a $2 million white canvas by
Lucio Fontana. His next most expensive item is a $550,000
     The show’s organizer, the
Art Dealers Association of
, said it’s expecting attendance to remain as strong as
last year despite a dismal global economy and a plummeting art
     “We all know the days of wild sales when booths were sold
out within 20 minutes -- that era is over,” said Linda Blumberg,
the association’s executive director, adding that “the first-
rate work and smaller, more intimate atmosphere of the fair will
accrue to our benefit.”

                          Customer Appeal

     As collectors retreat and many galleries have reduced staff
or closed outright, the ADAA has encouraged participants to
appeal to customers in a more creative way.
     “Ten, 15 years ago, people would have had their inventory
on the walls,” said Roland Augustine, president of the ADAA.
“I’ve encouraged member-dealers to think more about the
aesthetics and the curatorial approach. I think it serves the
artist and the gallery better.”
     As a result, 24 dealers are focusing on the work of a single
artist, up from 18 last year.
     PaceWildenstein gallery is exhibiting gouaches by the late
minimalist artist Sol LeWitt. Made over three decades, the works
show snaking, overlaid basic washes of red, yellow, blue and
black. Ranging in price from $40,000 to $200,000, the pieces were
still available last night.
     “This particular fair is one of the best barometers of the
art world,” said Matthew Armstrong, curator of Marron’s
collection. He bought nothing.

      The Art Show runs through Sunday at the Park Avenue Armory,
Park Avenue at 67th Street. Admission is $20. Information:

February 12, 2009

The Christies Contemporary Art Sale in London...goes as Expected

The Christies Contemporary Art Sale in London...goes Down as expected.

Well..The results are in, and it wasn't exactly a strong auction.

The one silver lining was that so far, Contemporary Art Photography seems to be holding in well.

Andreas_Gursky_Prada_III One Example.. (Photo 1, Andreas Gursky, Prada III, 1989, 67 x 118 inches)  The one big photo lot was #27 and it sold for more than the already lowered  presale estimate. 

  • Andreas Gursky

  • Prada III (1989) Color coupler print mounted on Diesec in wooden artist frame.

  • Presale Estimate : 180,000 - 220,000 British Pound Sterling

  • Actual Hammer price : 225,000 Sterling + Auction House Premium

  • Total Sale Price : 271,250 Sterling

But is sounds like the rest of the big evening  sale was almost a total bust not very strong!

Check it out.. The website, ChelseaArtGalleries.com does a great job with post auction analysis

Here's a story by Scott Reyburn of Bloomberg News...


Christie’s Sale Total Halves; $12.2 Million Rothko, Bacon Fail
2009-02-12 01:02:44.150 GMT

By Scott Reyburn
     Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Francis Bacon and
Mark Rothko
went unsold last night as nervous bidders paid only
half the amount Christie’s International estimated it would raise
in its first test of the contemporary-art market in 2009.
     The two pictures -- the only works valued at more than 2
million pounds -- had been estimated by Christie’s to sell for a
total of as much as 8.5 million pounds ($12.2 million) in London.
Both failed to attract a single bid. The auction total of 7
million pounds was below the presale low estimate of 14.5 million
pounds, both based on hammer prices.
     Dealers said contemporary-art prices have dropped between 30
and 50 percent over the last six months during the bank crisis
and economic slump, deterring buyers and sellers. Christie’s
ended up with its lowest total at a February auction of
contemporary art in London since 2004.
     “I was surprised by the number of unsolds,” Offer Waterman,
a London-based dealer, said in an interview. “The material
wasn’t as strong as last week and the mood was down. There were a
lot of empty seats in the room.”
     Seventy-nine percent of a shrunken offering of just 29 lots
found buyers. The auction, conducted by Jussi Pylkkanen,
Christie’s European president, was over in 36 minutes. Its total
of 8.4 million pounds with fees was 88 percent below the 72.9
million pounds achieved at the equivalent auction last year,
where a Bacon triptych sold for 26.3 million pounds ($51.5
million). Sotheby’s 17.9 million-pound contemporary-art auction
on Feb. 5 was 81 percent down on 2008.
     “The markets hate uncertainty,” said Amy Cappellazzo,
Christie’s deputy chairman, Americas. “Steadiness hasn’t yet
been achieved.”

                            Bacon Hope

     Bacon’s 1954 picture, “Man in Blue VI,” had been in the
same private collection since 1971 and had been expected to sell
for between 4 million pounds and 5 million pounds.
     The 5-foot-high canvas has a large dark background and a
small, blurred figure. It was one of seven paintings Bacon made
of an unknown man with whom the artist had an affair while living
in the Imperial Hotel, Henley-on-Thames, England. Unusually, the
image was painted from life, rather than from photographs, as was
Bacon’s normal practice, said Christie’s. It had never previously
been offered at auction.
     “The Bacon was perhaps too academic for the public and was
perhaps estimated too high,” said Pilar Ordovas, Christie’s
European deputy chairman of contemporary art.

                            Green, Blue

     Six lots later, Rothko’s 1968 abstract, “Green, Blue, Green
on Blue” failed to sell. The 3-foot 4-inch high work on paper
laid down on canvas had been expected to fetch between 2.5
million pounds and 3.5 million pounds, the London-based auction
house said.
     It was not fresh to the market, having been sold for $6.1
million at Christie’s in New York as recently as November 2007.
This put off potential buyers, said Christie’s.
     With the two highest-estimated lots failing, Jeff Koons’s
2003 playfully computer-manipulated 9-foot-high oil on canvas,
“Monkeys (Ladder),” led the auction with a low-estimate price
of 1.4 million pounds with fees paid by Gagosian Gallery, Koons’s
     The U.S. dollar price was almost exactly half the $4 million
the similar-sized and similarly painted 2000 Koons canvas,
“Cheeky,” raised at Sotheby’s in New York in November.
     A Koons stainless-steel sculpture of a model railroad car
filled with bourbon, from the artist’s 1986 “Luxury and
Degradation” series, sold to a telephone bid for 445,250 pounds
against a low estimate of 400,000 pounds. In May 2008, another
railroad car from Koons’s same limited-edition series sold at
Christie’s, New York, for $1.9 million.

                           Smiley Faces

     Takashi Murakami’s 5-foot diameter “Flower Ball (Brown)”
painting, featuring more than two dozen of the Japanese artist’s
trademark flower smiley faces, sold for 397,250 pounds against an
estimate of 300,000 pounds to 500,000 pounds. In February last
year another, identically sized “Flower Ball” painting in red
sold for $1.65 million at Sotheby’s in New York.
     Richard Prince’s artist’s proof of his 4-foot-wide 2001
limited edition photo, “Untitled (Cowboy),” showing a mounted
cowboy riding past a pond, failed to sell against a low estimate
of 240,000 pounds.
     Only three of the evening’s 29 lots sold for hammer prices
of more than the high estimate. Among these, the 10-foot-wide
Andreas Gurskycolor-coupler-print photograph, “Prada III,”
featuring rows of black woolen jumpers in a display case, managed
a hammer price of 225,000 pounds, translating to 271,250 with
auction house fees. From an edition of six, this had a high
estimate of 220,000 pounds. Like the Murakami, it was bought by a
telephone bidder.
     Christie’s said 66 percent of the buyers were from Europe,
27 percent from the U.S., 4 percent from the U.K. and 4 percent
from Asia.
     Christie’s charges a premium of 25 percent on the hammer
price up to and including 25,000 pounds, 20 percent up to and
including 500,000 pounds and 12 percent for more than 500,000

     (Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for
Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)



February 03, 2009

Yet another "news" story about NYC Art Gallery Closings...

Yet another "news" story about NYC Art Gallery closings...

Cindy_sherman_clowns_04 Today Bloomberg news decided it had to also have their own Art Recession news story.

Just a few MAO thoughts on the material points in this "news" story..

1. So, ONLY 4 NYC art galleries have closed since Sept.

This is a Big deal? It sounds like Art galleries are doing considerably better than most industries in NYC.  Did you see this blog post, listing the HUGE number of  NYC Restaurants which have closed, over 40 just since Jan 1?

2. Imi Knoebel works priced at Mary Boone Gallery for $170,000 to $325,000 had not been sold.. Hello.. SO? Did you see this show? Are they crazy???? MAO would call that, Total Common Sense.. not the result of a recession.

3. Hiroshi Sugimoto photographs at Gagosian Gallery have had their prices reduced from $450,000 to $360,000.    Gasp... like what is that?  

Even at $360,000, MAO would consider that price to be totally RIDICULOUS for a new Sugimoto photograph! While MAO loves some of Sugimoto's work.. there's NO WAY in any sane world, anyone but a total fool  would pay $360,000 for a single Sugimoto photograph.

We love this Gagosian press release quote..

In 1980 he began working on an ongoing series of photographs of the sea and its horizon in locations all over the world, using an old-fashioned large-format camera to make exposures of varying duration....  

By returning to the same subject repeatedly, he reveals the subtleties that he.....

Perhaps, That "HE," Sugimoto, hasn't managed to do anything new or original in years? Except raise his prices beyond reality? Ok.. maybe MAO is being a bit harsh.. So no disrespect to Sugi...but we're just saying...Hmm..it's something to think about.   Should a single newly printed Sugimoto photo sell for more than the average price of a house in most parts of the U.S. ?  Maybe MAO is missing something..?  like an extra $360,000 to burn on a new and dull Sugimoto photograph.

4. Cindy Sherman's last show at Metro Pictures wasn't the sellout it would have been a year ago. Actually.. this was Cindy's best work in years.. but still not that great.   So MAO is glad they sold some.. but again.. selling out photo editions for over $100,000/print by a living and printing artists, should never have been the norm. No? 

(Photo #1, by Cindy Sherman, Untitled, 2004, c-print)

OK.. well.. Offically, for the record, We at MAO are very sad to see the Guild & Greyshkul Gallery go bye-bye. We always loved their gallery.. and we wish them all the best in their futures endeavors.   

But just seeing a few (4+) art galleries close over the last few months in NYC is just not that bad nor that big a deal.   There were perhaps a few too many anyway. 

Plus.. Now, just think...  How many multi-billion dollar financial institutions have totally gone bust in the last few months..? Well, Here's one hint.. it was MORE than 4 !!  Can you say.. Bye bye, WAMU, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, AIG, Merrill Lynch, Wachovia, etc.. MAO will miss you all ! 

Well..What do you think? Agree, or Is MAO just too old and bitter negative?

Anyway.. Here's the silly  Bloomberg news story from Katya Kazakina.


Gagosian’s $360,000 Photos Linger as Empty N.Y. Galleries Shut
2009-02-03 05:00:01.1 GMT

By KatyaKazakina
     Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Guild & Greyshkul, one of the most
vibrant galleries in downtown Manhattan, is shutting down on Feb.
15, the latest casualty of the collapsing art market. Yet it
won’t go quietly.
     The Soho gallery’s last hurrah begins Thursday: a four-day
extravaganza featuring the work of 120 artists. The show is a
fitting end for an exhibition space known for nurturing young
     “I wake up at night thinking of what will happen to all the
people who do more experimental work, artists who are in the
beginning phases of their careers,” Johannes VanDerBeek, 26, one
of the owners, said. “We’ll be as flexible as we can be with
prices to get our artists a cushion of money.”
     Guild & Greyshkul’s financial woes, a result of slowing
sales and tanking prices, are growing commonplace in the art
world. Since September, four galleries have shut their doors:
Roebling Hall and Cohan and Leslie in Chelsea; Rivington Arms in
the East Village and 31 Grand on the Lower East Side.
     More established galleries are hurting, too. They’re firing
staff, dropping out of art fairs and extending their shows for
months in an attempt to cut expenses.
     “Galleries are just hanging on with their fingernails,”
said Matthew Armstrong, who curates the collection of Donald B.
Marron’s Lightyear Capital, a New York private equity firm.
     On a recent visit to Chelsea, Armstrong stopped by eight
     “I was the only person in at least seven of them,” he
said. “I wish the best to these guys, but it’s a little scary.”
     Two weeks into its show of veteran German artist
, Mary Boone’s Chelsea gallery hadn’t sold any of the
seven works, priced between $170,000 and $325,000.

                         Reduced Prices

     At the Gagosian Gallery on West 21st Street, Japanese
photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto’s exhibition, which opened on Nov.
6, 2008, has been extended through March 7. The prices of some of
his meditative seascapes have been reduced from $450,000 to
$360,000, with plenty still available, the gallery said.
     Cindy Sherman’s November exhibition at Metro Pictures did
well, said gallery co-owner Helene Winer, but it wasn’t the
sellout it would have been a year ago.
     “Some of our big collectors said they weren’t buying, and I
was shocked,” she said.
     Since its founding in 2003, Guild & Greyshkul has attracted
an eclectic community of artists, collectors, curators and
critics. The partners -- VanDerBeek, his sister Sara VanDerBeek,
32, and their friend Anya Kielar, 30, -- are all artists with
successful careers.
     “They built a very culturally relevant program of both
critically and commercially well-received artists,” said New
York collector James Dorment, who has bought works by the
gallery’s artists Ernesto Caivano and Trenton Duerksen. “I tried
to see most of their shows. To me they were one of the most
interesting emerging galleries.”

                          No Profit

     Although Guild & Greyshkul has served a broad collector base
and put up new shows every four to five weeks, the gallery never
made a profit, VanDerBeek said. All the extra money went right
back into producing artists’ work.
     “We managed always to keep even,” he said. “And as we
were progressing, our exhibitions were getting more ambitious.”
     In 2007, Guild & Greyshkul began doing shows that
transformed the exhibit space. Artist Lisi Raskin installed a 30-
by-20-foot ceiling that hung 7 feet off the floor. Coupled with
orange light and a long apocalyptic drawing stretching around the
entire space, the installation completely distorted the gallery
     The gallery’s overhead has averaged about $25,000 a month in
the past three years. Since September, covering those costs has
become increasingly difficult, VanDerBeek said.
     “Sales when they did occur were at steep discounts on works
that were mostly under $20,000,” VanDerBeek said. “People said
they loved the pieces, but they were just not buying them.”

     (Katya Kazakina is a reporter for Bloomberg News. The
opinions expressed are her own.)