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6 posts from May 2009

May 28, 2009

Heritage Auction House to Open in NYC.. and Senior Jobs are Available!

Heritage Auction House from Dallas, Texas to open up offices in NYC.. and now senior JOBS are now available!

Brian_Ulrich_Powerhouse_Gym Well the one good thing a recession does for business is it opens up new opportunities for those looking to seize the day!

While the stuffed peacocks at  Sothebys, and Christies have been taking massive losses, cutting expenses, laying off staff, Bloomsbury, Bonhams.. and now Heritage Auction Houses are all expanding in New York City!! YEA!! Now if they would just start cutting their auction fees!

So if you're looking for a new job in the Art Auction world.. you might get in contact ASP with Heritage Auctions. 

{Note Photos from blogger/artist Brian Ulrich, Photo #1 - Power House Gym, 2008 and Photo #2 - Brian_Ulrich_Checkout Untitled Thrift (Check Out), 2006, chromogenic print , 30 x 40” , edition of 5.... FYI Brian's new show,"Thrift and Dark Stores" opens up at wonderful Julie Saul Gallery Tonight.. Don't miss it! }

We at MAO wish all three of these new expanding auction houses all the good fortune in the world!!

Good Luck, and please send MAO free catalogs !

Here's the latest email MAO got from our friends at the ambitious people at Heritage in TX (yes..there are actually a few savvy art people in Texas!!)


Heritage seeking top experts, opening NY and LA Galleries

Dear Mike @ MAO,

We just Love your great art website, and since you are obviously a major player in the New York City art world we need your help!

While other auction firms have reported shrinking sales and significant lay-offs, Heritage, the world's third largest auction house, is adding multiple world-class experts to its current staff in over 25 different categories. These experts will, in some cases, head new departments and in others will enhance existing department expertise. We have positions open at our headquarters in Dallas as well as at our new state-of-the-art galleries in prime locations in both Midtown Manhattan and Beverly Hills, scheduled to open in late 2009, or in early 2010.

We believe Heritage's business model of transparency and respect for our bidders' time is the wave of the future, as clients are discovering us in record numbers (read our Mission and Values statement here). In fact, we recently enjoyed our most profitable quarter ever (Jan-Mar 2009), as well as the best April in our 33-year history as an auction house. Our 2009 sales volume will likely match or exceed our record 2008 numbers even as the other major auction houses report 60% sales decreases.

Heritage is now ready to hire the world's best experts to support existing departments and launch new ones, especially in the following categories, though we will consider many other areas as well, including sub-categories:

  • American Art
  • Ancient Coinage
  • Antiquities
  • Asian Art
  • Books, Maps, and Prints
  • Decorative Arts
  • European Art
  • Jewelry and Timepieces
  • Latin American Art
  • Modern and Contemporary Art
  • Photography
  • Vintage Automobiles
  • Wine

These are top, high profile positions; we are seeking ambitious candidates who will bring their excellent reputation, business ethics, strong work ethic, organizational skills, and knowledge to represent Heritage in the best light. Preferred candidates will have more than 5 years in a major auction house environment, or experience as a commercial dealer (a combination of both would be ideal). Writing and public speaking talents and skills are a plus. Job duties will include obtaining consignments; supervising the vetting of condition; authentication of properties consigned; reviewing inquiries; proofing of cataloging, essays, and advertising copy; marketing specific objects to important clients, and supervising two or more auctions per year with full bottom-line responsibility in the case of department heads.

If you know someone who might be interested and if you feel they have the qualifications we seek, please ask them to email their resume and salary history to [email protected].

Thanks you,

Heritage Client Services
[email protected]
3500 Maple Ave. 17th Floor
Dallas, TX 75219-3941

May 22, 2009

Hauser & Wirth to Open in NYC! Is this a Good Time to Open an Art Gallery?

Yes... you read that correctly.. A New Contemporary Art Gallery is actually not closing opening up in New York City! Yea!

London's Hauser & Wirth Gallery is planning to open on the upper east side of New York City in September! But, with the US economey crashing, is this a Good Time to Open an Art Gallery? Maybe, we shall see, a huge economic recovery might just be several years away around the corner.

So here's the exciting email we got this morning...

Hauser & Wirth, widely considered Europe’s most influential and acclaimed gallery of contemporary art and modern masters with galleries in Zurich and London, has just announced it  will expand its global activities by opening a fully dedicated gallery in New York City in September 2009.   

Occupying four fulll floors of new exhibition and event space at 32 East 69th Street in Manhattan, Hauser & Wirth New York will present new work by its international stable of more than 30 foremost established and emerging artists, and masters whose estates it represents. Opening with YARD, the seminal Environment first made in 1961 by renowned artist Allan Kaprow, inventor of ’Happenings,’ the gallery’s 2009-2010 season will include extraordinary exhibitions of never before seen works by Paul McCarthy, Ida Applebroog, Eva Hesseand Roni Horn.

A press release with further details is attached.  For additional information or to request images, please be in touch! 

Here's the press release Download Hauser_and_Wirth_to_open_in_NYC

This is so nice to see a new major gallery opening in New York.  Hauser & Wirth is one of our favorite galleries in the world, and we so welcome some fresh bloodanother exciting player to the top of the NYC art pyramid.  Welcome!!  And we at MAO wish H & W all the luck in the word!

OK..so that's the good news..

But we also wanted to point out to the MAO readers, that we have been getting a disturbing  curious number of these potentially sad "Interesting" emails as well...












(Please note, we at MAO apologize in advanc if this announcement facsimile just happens to resembles any actual gallery email) 

So, maybe MAO is just a bit too much of a total ass hole cynic, but we can't help wonder... Is this just the newest 2009 gallery lie speak for... We're closing the art gallery cause we are bleeding money? Or do you think they are really moving? What do the MAO readers think?

Is this a good time to move an art gallery? Maybe. We would bet that many landlords around the city are very open to offering huge financial inncentives to get galleries to rent space in their buildings these days.

But, so far, several of these "Moving Announcements" to an undetermined or undisclosed location have been fillinghitting our email in box. And Sadly, we have not yet seen a commensurate number of announcements stating.. Please Join US at our new location, it's...XXX on YY street!  Well.. Hopefully we'll start to see some of these soon.. cause right now..there seem to be too many galleries "in motion",and so it's going to make for a very quiet summer.

Hmm.. Or.. Maybe MAO just doesn't deserve to get invited to the gallery opening parties anymore..??

Hmm...  No...that can't be it...

Happy Memorial Day Weekend Everyone!

May 21, 2009

A New Art Investment Fund Has Been Started By Castlestone Management

A New Art Investment Fund Has Been Started By Castlestone Management with offices in London and New York.

Andy_Warhol_Dollar_Signs The alternative asset class investment adviser has started a brand new Art Investment Fund with 25 million dollars of partner's money.. and it is now open to additional investors!

Hmm.. maybe it's a good time to buy Contemporary Art? No? What do you think?

FYI.. But, So far they've already purchased $16 million in art, in mostly the free falling contemporary art market, and plan to purchase another $9 million over the next few months.

(Photo #1, Andy Warhol, Dollar Signs, 1981, silkscreen on canvas )

They plan to diversify their purchases across 26 artists, mostly focused on dead artists or big names at the end of their career (aka..the soon to be dead artists). 

When MAO first started art collecting, one of our good friend at Sotheby's once told us,  "The only good artist is a dead artist...!!"  But then again.. he had been drinking a few too many strong cocktails at Fire Island at the time, and he worked in the Old Masters Department at the auction house.  So maybe he is a bit biased advising Castlestone Management.

Well, so far they have purchased art works by Chuck Close, Daimian Hirst, Richard Prince, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lucio Fontana, Willem de Kooning, and Alexander Calder.  So basically they have purchased all the most overpriced and over hyped  hot contemporary names in the art world. After looking at the people working at Castlestone Management, it's not clear if anyone on their staff has any experience curating a contemporary art collection, or even an Art History education. Yikes!

But Castlestone has also just announced 2 new unnamed hires from Sothebys  (who've not yet started working at the fund).   But at least it's nice to see a professional investment vehicle focused on Art as an asset class. We at MAO wish them all the luck in the world with their new art investment fund!

OH.. and for all those hungry, starving, dying "ambitious" art dealers left out there... CALL Angus Murry ASAP,  cause he is the Castlestone CEO, and he's still got $9 million left to spend on overvalued contemporary art.

Castlestone Management LLC, Head Office

610 Fifth Avenue Suite 602 , Rockefeller Center

New York, NY 10020

Phone: +1 212 387 9600 Fax: +1 212 586 0850

Farah Nayeri from Bloomberg News posted a story yesterday afternoon on Castlestone.. See below...


Art Is Good as Goldin Inflation Era, Castlestone’s Murray Says
2009-05-19 23:00:01.7 GMT

Interview by Farah Nayeri
     May 20 (Bloomberg) -- Framed close-ups of two elderly men
hang in Castlestone Management’s London meeting room. One of the
men smiles and looks away; the other sullenly faces front.
     These large photographs by Chuck Close -- bought for
$25,000 each -- are of artists Robert Rauschenberg, who died
last year, and Jasper Johns, 79. They’re part of a new
Castlestone art fund.
     The fund is designed as an anti-inflation shelter at a time
when recession-busting stimulus packages are flooding the global
economy with cash. To Castlestone, which has some $660 million
under management, scarce art -- by dead artists, or by big names
in late career -- is as good as gold.
     “As long as the value of money falls, the value of real
assets will rise,” says founder and joint chief executive
officer Angus Murray, 39. “Art to me is exactly the same asset
as gold bullion.”
     “The two assets are running in parallel,” says the
Australian-born Murray, who wears an open-necked white shirt
with his suit trousers. “The devaluation of money is affecting
     The global economy is in its worst slump since
World War
, and will shrink 1.3 percent this year, according to the
International Monetary Fund. The U.S. has introduced a $787
billion stimulus package to combat recession.
     Murray pulls out a sheaf of graphs showing how gold has
tripled in price this decade. Art, too, is an “irreplaceable,
unleveraged, real asset.” As the value of money erodes, art
will appreciate over the fund’s eight-year life, says Murray.

                        Basquiat, Fontana

     Castlestone has bought $16 million worth of art and plans
to spend another $9 million by the end of September to create a
diversified portfolio of about 26 artists. They include
Michel Basquiat
, Lucio Fontana, Willem de Kooning and
. The priciest work so far is a Basquiat that cost $1.2
million. Another $885,000 was spent on a De Kooning.
     The portfolio also has a Damien Hirst butterfly painting,
bought after Hirst said he would stop making them, and a
“Nurse” painting. Otherwise, says Murray, active
contemporary artists are avoided, as their work is
     At the Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art sales in New
York this month, Murray bid $250,000 on a Matisse
, “Venus Assise,” which sold for $326,500 including
fees. He also bid $1.25 million on a Rembrandt Bugatti
sculpture, “Grand Tigre Royal,” which sold for $1.87 million
with fees.

                          Losing Value

     Art already bought by Castlestone for the fund has shed a
third of its value, says Murray. “I had a house, it went down
in value too, but I’m not going to change my view on that,” he
shrugs, saying this makes it a good time to enter the market.
     Prices of contemporary art at auction have fallen 30
percent to 50 percent in the last six months.
     The London-based Fine Art Fund Group gives equal weighting
to Old Masters; Impressionist and modern art; and contemporary
art. It has lost 20 percent to 30 percent of its value in the
last year, and now manages around $100 million, according to
Chief Executive Philip Hoffman. Until the end of 2007, the fund
had an average annualized return of 23 percent, says Hoffman.
     This year is a “bad time” for selling, “but acquiring
art is unbelievably attractive,” says Hoffman. At the same
time, he says new funds lack a track record: “Art is a
dangerous thing if you don’t know what you’re doing.”

                      Inflation Hedge

     New York-based art dealerRichard L. Feigen, who deals in
European paintings from 1300 to the present, views art as a
“valid refuge” at a time when collectors are “worried about
inflation.” Yet he adds a note of caution.
     “A bar of gold is a bar of gold,” he says. “No two works
of art are the same, unless they’re editions of a print.”
     For art to be a good investment, Feigen says, it must be of
“permanent importance” to art history, of “museum quality”
to lure institutional as well as individual buyers, and of
interest to more than one part of the world.
     In Feigen’s view, art funds lack specialists with the depth
of knowledge to pick out the right works, and are prone to
invest in overvalued art. He cites Basquiat as an example; he
says the painter, who died at age 27, “made no permanent
contribution to art history” and is “vastly overpriced.”
     Murray says the dearth of affordable art specialists
“would have definitely been a very accurate description six
years ago. However, there’s a whole lot of people who don’t have
a job at the moment.”
     “The redundancies we’ve recently got from Christie’s and
Sotheby’s have helped,” he said.
     Castlestone says it has just hired two people who
previously worked with Sotheby’s, and will not disclose their
names until they begin work.

                          Murray’s Money

     Most of the art in the portfolio has been bought with
Murray’s money: He has invested four-fifths of the initial $25
million, and his partners, the rest. Those investments won’t be
touched for eight years, says Murray.
     Castlestone’s 1 percent annual management charge, and the
20 percent performance charge on the fund’s gains, will be
reinvested over the period. After eight years, the art will be
sold at an auction that Murray hopes Sotheby’s or Christie’s
International will hold.
     Interested retail investors must put in a minimum of
$10,000 or 10,000 pounds (depending on which currency they want)
and go through financial advisers in Castlestone’s network.
Murray expects an average investment of $25,000 to $75,000. The
fund has agreed obligations amounting to another $21 million
     In eight years, Murray hopes “I can actually stand up and
say: ‘Here’s a catalog from Sotheby’s that shows you I bought at
this price, I sold at this price, this was the independent
annualized return of 11 percent. It worked. We were right.’”

May 12, 2009

The Best Kept Secret in the NY Art Photography Auction World.. iGavel.com

The Best Kept Secret in the Art Photography Auction World.. www.iGavel.com

OK.. so promise to please keep this just between us MAO readers.

MAO is not sure if he's the only smart awake one who's noticed, but we've found that most of the big greedy auction houses have been stupid slow at reducing reserve levels, and the presale price estimates.  So the big art and photography auctions are doing very poorly, and not selling many of their auction lots cause the minimums are unrealistic too high (think very 2007).

Vik_Muniz_dinosaud_dung But here is your chance to get some amazing art photography bargains.

Tomorrow is the iGavel Photo Auction (www.iGavel.com) and this time it includes some real gems with very low reserve levels.

Works by Alfred Steiglitz, Karl Struss, August Sander, Alexander Rodchenko, Helen Levitt,  Margaret-Bourke White, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, George Platt Lynes, Todd Webb, and even a lot by Vik Muniz (Photo #1) ..plus many more. It's a very impressive list of photographers.

The auctions all end tomorrow, and for you bargain hunters, there are not many bids yet so it's well worth checking out.

Some of these lots have starting bids as low as only $500.

Josef_Sudek_photographie There's even several really hard to find photobooks.. like the 1956 publication of Josef Sudek Fotografie Book, First Edition starting at only $325.00. (Photo #2)

By the way.. no bidding against MAO!! And if you have any questions about any of the lots.. Just call, auction organizer,and too nice and honest to be an art dealer Daniel Cooney at

email: [email protected]

phone: 212.255.8158

mail:   Daniel Cooney Fine Art
          511 West 25th Street, #506
          New York, NY 10001

Oh, and be sure to tell Dan, MAO sent you, cause Dan will give all the MAO readers the special MAO big discount white glove service. 


May 11, 2009

Artist Mark di Suvero Talks with Renzo Piano At The Morgan Library

Artist Mark di Suvero talks with Renzo Piano At The Morgan Library this Wednesday, May 13th at 6:30pm.

Mark_di_subero_beethovens_quartet This is one NYC event not to miss... a talk between one of the worlds greatest Architects, talking with one of the greatest contemporary sculptors at one of NYC best Libraries. Can life it get any better??

Photo of Mark di Suvero amazing sculpture "Beethovan's Quartet, 2003"  at Storm King.

Get your tickets here while they last... or email [email protected]

Here's their press release...

Le Conversazioni FMR: An Evening with Renzo Piano and Mark di Suvero
Renowned architect Renzo Piano (recipient of the Pritzker Prize and designer of The Morgan Library & Museum’s recent expansion completed in 2006) and noted sculptor Mark di Suvero discuss the varied-and often surprising-intersections of the arts, conceptions of beauty, and inspirations on their work with Antonio Monda, Director of the Le Conversazioni literary festival, Capri, Italy. Presented by FMR White Edition (a bimonthly art magazine published by Marilena Ferrari-FMR Casa editrice d'arte e Fondazione) and The Morgan Library & Museum.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009, 6:30 p.m.

May 05, 2009

Photographers Richard Renaldi, and Doug DuBois, talk with Lesley A. Martin

Richard_renaldi_Fall_river_Boys Photographers Richard Renaldi, and Doug DuBois, talk with Lesley A Martin at the Affordable Art Fair this week!

This week starts the Afordable Art Fair. It's a fair oriented toward reasonably priced contemporary art, which in this shitty economy, is the only art most people can hope to own. The fair tends to include lots of think inexpensive new young emerging artists, so it's always been a fun place to find that next hot rising star. FYI, the SVA will have a booth again, showing some of their most recent MFA graduates work. This booth of 9 SVA students is sure to be one of the AAF high points.

AAF Where:
7 West 34th Street (b/w 5th & 6th Avenues)
New York, NY 10001
Fair Hours:

Thursday, May 7th 12:00PM - 6:00PM

Friday, May 8th 12:00PM - 8:00PM

Saturday, May 9th 12:00PM - 8:00PM

Sunday, May 10th 12:00PM - 5:00PM

The fair is also hosting a series of free lectures, but the one which caught our eye, was a talk between Aperture Photobook publisher giant, Lesley A. Martin, with 2 great contemporary art photographers.

Lesley A. Martin, is the driving force behind the highest quality photobook being produced today. As Editor at Aperture books, she is one of the most influential people in the Art Photography world. Her writing has been published in Aperture, American Photo, DoubleTake, and Interiors magazine, among other publications. She is the editor of over forty books on photography, including Reflex: A Vik Muniz Primer; and Model American: Katy Grannan.

Richard_renaldi_Derrek_2004 Also, for those of you who've seen Richard Renaldi's photography, you'll know he's one of the most renown young portrait photographers working today.  His newest photobook, Fall River Boys, recently published by Charles Lane Press, is a true work of art. 

(Photo #1, Richard Renaldi, "Raymond and Jeffrey, 2002" from Fall River Boys) 

In the rich B&W tradition of Walker Evans, and Dorothea Lang, Richard has crafted a thoughtful, year 2000, portrait of a common US dreary industrial suburban town with surprising luscious beauty. He's found, in this most unexpected place, a portrayal of hope, and strength within the young men of inner core America during these changing economic times. MAO thinks, you'll find this new book a total necessity for any serious photobook collection.  Hopefully Richard will be signing (and possibly selling) copies of his newest book after the panel talk.  You can also find copies of Fall River Boys here... or just go to www.charleslanepress.com

(Photo #2, Richard Renaldi,  "Derrek 2004" from Fall River Boys) 

FYI.. For those photo art collectors looking for an amazing bargain, there's one of Richard Renaldi's photos now for sale at the Humble Arts Foundation for just $750 in an edition of only 5, and it comes with a signed copy of the book as well! Now, How Sweet is that ?

Photographer, Doug DuBois also has a new book out by Aperture.  MAO has actually not seen this book yet.. but it looks very promising. The book, Doug DuBois : All the Days And Nights is available directly from Aperutre.  Hopefully Doug will be signing books after the talk.

Here are the details for the talk by Lesley A. Martin, Richard Renaldi, and Doug DuBois :


Contemporary Portraiture with Doug DuBois and Richard Renaldi
Panel Discussion

Thursday, May 7, 2009
5:00 pm

Affordable Art Fair
20 West 22nd Street, Ste. 1512
New York, New York
(212) 255-2003

Lesley A. Martin, Publisher of Aperture's book program, will present artists Doug DuBois and Richard Renaldi, who will speak about their respective bodies of work and how they fit into the broader context of portraiture in contemporary photography.

Doug DuBois: All the Days and Nights (Aperture, 2009) resonates with emotional immediacy, offering a potent examination of family relations and what it means to subject personal relationships to the unblinking eye of the camera. Doug DuBoisbegan photographing his family in 1984, prior to his father's near-fatal fall from a commuter train and his mother's subsequent breakdown and hospitalizations. More than twenty years later, DuBois's project has developed in remarkable ways. Each photograph is rich with color, nuanced gestures and glances enveloping the viewer in a multivalent, emotionally tense world.

Richard Renaldi is a photographer in search of the brief encounter—that fleeting moment when a stranger opens his life to him and, consequently, to the viewer. His trust in the descriptive and empathic abilities of the camera verges on that of his nineteenth–and early-twentieth-century predecessors. His first monograph, Figure and Ground(Aperture, 2006), presents portraits and landscapes taken from coast to coast, across the United States. They form a collective portrait of a population and nation going through a process of diversification that has already dramatically enlarged the notion of what defines Middle America. In Renaldi's second monograph, Fall River Boys(Charles Lane Press, 2009), an extraordinary body of images—both portraits and landscapes—is gathered for the first time. The resulting photographs, made over the course of nine years, are not brief encounters. Renaldi's quiet gaze considers his subjects with neither judgment nor irony. What emerges is a nuanced portrait of a city where young men grow into manhood surrounded by a landscape of idyllic natural beauty, frayed at the margins by darkened relics of an industrial past.