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6 posts from October 2009

October 29, 2009

Diane Arbus Photo Up for Auction at the Aperture Benefit!!

Diane Arbus Photo Up for Auction at the Aperture Benefit!!

Check it out here...

Diane_Arbus_John_Gruen_Jane_Wilson Yes.. so far this rare Diane Arbus photo has a current bid of only $1,750. Welcome to the Art Recession...That's too low to be believed!!

So..one of the most important photographers in history has a photo for sale at Monday's Aperture Benefit auction. Can you ask for a better opportunity to add something amazing to your art collection?

This is one of her very standard 14.25 in x 14.25 in, Gelatin Silver Prints made by photographer Neil Selkirk for the Arbus Estate.

We've seen similar prints sell at Sothebys and Christies auction for well over $15k.

It's was donated by the Fraenkel Gallery in San Fran who represents the estate.

Diane Arbus, Photo of : John Gruen and Jane Wilson, NYC, 1965, Printed later, FRAMED, signed, titled, dated, and editioned '4/75' by the photographer's daughter, Doon Arbus, in ink, and stamped on the reverse, framed, 1963, printed later by Neil Selkirk (MoMA, unpaginated; Revelations)

Estimated value : $5,500

So. even if you're not a Diane Arbus fan.. this is just one of the works of art that will be auctioned off at the Benefit Monday night.

You can still get your Aperture Ticket Here!


The Lighthouse, Chelsea Piers, 6:30–10:00 pm

Cocktails and Silent Auction
Dinner, Award Ceremony, and Live Auction

For more information, contact:
Michiko Simanjuntak Grasso
(212) 946-7149 or [email protected]

October 27, 2009

The Aperture Foundation Benefit and Art Auction is Coming!

The Aperture Foundation Benefit and Auction is Coming!

YES my little MAO-ettes.. one of the best art charities around is having their annual fund raising party.

As every devoted MAO reader knows.. we can't do enough to support this charity.

Tickets are still available..for both the Auction, and the Dinner.

Here are the details...
Aperture Foundation Benefit & Auction - Honoring Joel Meyerowitz,
Howard Greenberg, and Susana Torruella Leval

Auction Featuring works by Diane Arbus,
Bruce Davidson, Atta Kim, Malick Sidibé, and more

The Lighthouse, Chelsea Piers

6:30-8:00 pm
Cocktail and Silent Auction

8:00-10:00 pm
Dinner, Award Ceremony,
and Live Auction.. Buy your tickets online here..

Or To order tickets, please contact Michiko Simanjuntak Grasso at [email protected] or (212) 946-7149.


They also have some amazing art donations by some famous artists up for sale at the silent and the live auctions.

Many of these will sell for much less than a gallery would charge.  It's exactly these types of Art Charity auctions which are the perfect place to find some inexpensive gems for your cutting edge art collection.

This week we're going to point out a few items we're excited about in the auction.

Our first exciting auction pick is by super star artist.. Ruud van Empel.

Live Auction #15.

Ruud_vanempel_2_Boys 2 Boys #1, 2009

Cibachrome print, edition of 25

16 1/2 x 14 in., framed

Estimated Value: $ 5,500.. Starting bid just $1,650.00

Courtesy of the artist and Stux Gallery, New York

This photos is a hyper real creation constructed in almost a pure digital space. Ruud is probably regarded as one of the early pioneers of the digital age of Art Photography and Photoshop.

Ron Exley wrote in the book PhotoArt (Dumont 2008):
'Dutch artist Ruud van Empel has taken digital manipulation of photography to a new level'
In 2011 the Groninger Museum will present a retrospective of his work.

Anyway.. We think this a cool magical image in so many ways.  Plus Ruud is one of those super hot hot artists who's work MAO has always liked.. but was never been willing to pay the full price or to get into a crazy bidding war at an auction house.

Honestly.. MAO thinks in Miami last year, we saw an extortionist art dealer asking $100,000+ for one of Ruud's older sold out large prints.  So getting to buy this amazing image for your art collection at the Aperture Charity event for next to nothing.. is just a super win win!  

October 23, 2009

Edward Burtynsky Photos.. Defied Recession Gravity

Edward Burtynsky Photos.. Defied Recession Gravity.

For those long time MAO readers.. it will come to no surprise that MAO is an avid fan of Canadian Photographer Edward Burtynsky. Yes.. we know.. Edward's work is big, colorful, over-hyped, straightforward, expensive, often pretty, very "corporate", safe, etc.. just about everything most fine art photography scholars and contemporary art snobs love to poke fun of.. but yes.. MAO loves his images.

But.. here's a little secret.. The auction world LOVES Burtynsky Too!!

So while photo auction results have been poor.. some artist's works are still breaking records. 

Check out this outcome from last week's October 15th, Phillips Photography Auction Sale in London..


Lot #88

Edward_Burtynsky_Oxford_tire_pile_1999Edward Burtynsky

Oxford Tire Pile #1, Westley, California, 1999
Colour coupler print. 68.6 x 86.4 cm. (27 x 34 in).  Signed in ink, printed title, date and number 1/10 on a label affixed to the reverse of the mount.

ESTIMATE £7,000-9,000

Actual Realized Total Sale Price including Auction House Premium

£30,000....Or... Approx $ 49,200 !!!

PROVENANCE Acquired directly from the artist

EXHIBITED Manufactured Landscapes: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky, touring exhibition, including National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 31 January – 4 May, 2003 and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, 7 October 2005 – 15 January, 2006 (each another example exhibited)

LITERATURE Yale University Press, Manufactured Landscapes: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky, 2003, p. 112; Steidl, China: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky, 2005, p. 18


OK.. so just a few MAO stupid thoughts about this photo and these auction results...

  1. Wow..It's a pretty cool photo
  2. This was not the largest size print this image comes in.
  3. $49,200 is a ridiculous huge number.. to pay for a living photographer's image
  4. Why was the auction presale estimate so low? Like how clueless were the stupid people at Phillips?
  5. One high auction result does not mean too much, it may have been just 2 hedge fund guys with little wankers huge egos trying to out do each other
  6. Other Burtynsky images have also done well before.. but nothing quite like this.
  7. The image was in the recent Brooklyn Museum Show
  8. God Damn that a lot of tires!!
  9. Up until a few weeks ago..You could probably have bought this photo from one of the too many 7 Official Burtynsky Dealers around the world for only $25,000
  10. There are 9 More of these photos out there in this size.. plus at least 3 (or maybe 6) more in the larger print size.. plus some artist proofs floating around..plus he could always print more..
  11. MAO owns one of these phoos that he really should consider selling soon!! that should probably come out of cold storage.
  12. Who'd want to hang this depressing image on the wall in their home?
  13. Burtynsky is a great photographer and history will show him as one of the most important from our generation
  14. There are several better Burtynsky images in the MAO Collection..and we need to call Phillips our insurance company ASAP.

Well.. So...what do you think?

FYI.. For those who don't know.. there's a new Burtynsky Show "OIL" at the Corcoran Gallery Of Art in Washington DC, he also has a new great book Edward Burtynsky: Oilpublished by Steidl.

Plus there are NYC and  Toronto Gallery shows which just opened up. It's the Nicholas Metivier Galleryin Toronto, and in NYC, it's in the old Charles Cowles Gallery (R.I.P.) Space on 24th street at the newly relocated & renamed  Hasted Hunt Gallery Hasted Hunt Kraeutler Gallery..The show in NYC is up until November 28th.

October 19, 2009

For Those Interested in Emerging Photographers... Here's the show for You!

Emerging Photographer Show at the Randall Scott Gallery opens on Thursday. This is one not to miss. The show is curated by Art Blogger, Photolucida Juror, and totally crazed obsessed avid photo collector.. Ruben Natal-San Miguel... aka ArtMostFierce. Ruben has scoured the earth to share with us, his newest, hot, amazing photo art discoveries.

So for those art collectors interested in the bleeding edge, inexpensive cutting edge of Art Photography and to find out  who's going to be hot in 3 to 5 years.. you have to see this show. We're sure there will be bargains to be had, and you never know, maybe you'll find the next Lorreta Lux or Ryan McGinley art block buster hanging on the walls!

FYI.. MAO is even considering crossing water, and taking a bridge or tunnel just to get to this show opening on Thursday night. Yes.. my little MAO-ette's, we know.. It's in the Dumbo Art District where?.. which we believe is still in a part of NYC.. who knew? But we've been told it's the new hip and happening place to be for young artists!

Well.. anyway.. it's going to be well worth it, cause some of MAO's favorite new young emerging photographic artists will all be there mooching free beer to answer questions from collectors about their great photos.

Here's the announcement. See you all Thursday Night!

In the Project Room from October 22nd-November 21st

Nadine_rovner_photo UNSEEN
a photographers salon

curated by
Ruben Natal-San Miguel

Alex Leme, Clayton Cotterell, Bon Duke, Elizabeth Fleming, Leah Oates, Adam
Krause, Cara Phillips, Megan Cump, Richard Renaldi, Chad States, Natasha Gornik, Nadine Rovner, Nicola Kast, Ryan Pfluger, Phil Toledano and Eric McNatt.
(Photo by Nadine Rovner)

Artist's Reception
October 22nd    6pm-8:30pm

Randall Scott Gallery
111 Front Street #204
Brooklyn, NY
212-796-2192 (fax)

DUMBO Arts District

[email protected]

11am-6pm  Tuesday-Saturday
DUMBO First Thursdays  11am-8:30pm

Located on the corner of Front and Washington Streets
in-between the bridges

F (York St)
A  C  (High St)


October 15, 2009

Collecting Photobooks! Story in this Weekends London Financial Times

So MAO's guess is most smart  photo obsessed people missed this great story about collecting important Photobook in this weekends London Financial Times.

Yes.. for those who don't know.. even in these difficult art times.. Collecting Important Photobooks is now super Hot Hot Hot! Actually so hot.. even the newly  opened NY Branch of Bloomsbury Auction House managed to get some serious interest in the photobook part of their recent disastrous photo auction.  Bloomsbury only sold 17.8% of the Photos in their auction, OUCH!...yes..only 35 lots sold out of 197 photo lots..Yikes!  60 of their 95 Photobook lots sold, which was 63.2%. But, you can read more about this Bloomsbury Photographic Auction from the often long winded throughly thoughtful DLK Collection Blog

The FT story interestingly points out, with the publication of the new AMAZING Aperture, must have, Aperture_Japanese_Photobook_reference reference book, Japanese Photobooks of the 1960's and 70's by Ryuichi Kaneko and Ivan Vartanian, rare Japanese Photobook prices have jumped significantly.  It's not a surprise, since most American art collectors don't read Japanese, a detailed reference book like this was very necessary to make collecting Important Japanese photobooks understandable. This reference book along with the power fo the internet (a la Ebay!) make it now economically possible for almost any collector to get involved. (Photo #1, The cover of Aperture's Japanese Photobooks fo the 1960's and 70's)

Note, if you don't know already.. one of THE very best sources for important Japanese photobooks in the world is Harpers Book in East HamptonNY.  Harper has done an impressive amount of research on historic photobooks, but also has an incredible eye, and an inventory so huge, MAO frequently gets taken to the cleaners  lost for hours wondering through his rare photobook selection.

Well.. anyway.. the story in the FT was really great, and well worth a read if you're at all interested in photography or art books. 

So here's the entire story from the Sat October 10th FT... 


Worth a shot

By Claire Holland

Published: October 9 2009 15:14 | Last updated: October 9 2009 15:14

The market for fine photographic prints has exploded over the past decade, yet the photobook (as it has come to be known) was, until recently, relegated to the sidelines by dealers and collectors alike. But as photography has become more valued and collected, photobooks have slowly come to be recognised as desirable (and collectable) in their own right and the market is burgeoning, according to Laura Noble, director of the Diemar Noble Photography Gallery. “In the mid-1990s one could have picked up a first edition of Bill Brandt’s A Night in Londonfor £20”, remembers her co-director Michael Diemar. “A copy of the same book sold recently at Christie’s for £4,800.”

So what has prompted this once-forgotten art form to be brought back into view? As vintage prints have become scarce and contemporary photography prohibitively expensive, photobooks may seem a more accessible and affordable way of collecting photography. The publication of The Photobook: A History by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger and Andrew Roth’s 101 Books (itself now rare and worth around £1,000) helped to ignite the current interest in the genre. For Parr, an obsessive collector who admits to owning tens of thousands of titles, the shift in the market was inevitable. “Photobooks were previously unrecognised and therefore undervalued,” he says.

The history of photography is rooted in books. Until the mid-20th century, photographers were far more likely to see their work between covers than on a gallery wall. Indeed, the first great artistic statement in the medium was grandly presented in book form. Published in 1844, William Henry Fox Talbot’s The Pencil of Nature, made up of 24 original prints, heralded the invention of the calotype – the first negative-positive photography. Many of the 19th-century prints for which collectors and museums are now paying hefty sums come from such albums, which have been broken up.

For many photographers the photobook is a source for photographic ideas – who’s doing what, what’s new – and trends spread rapidly from the US and Europe to Japan and back again.

“For contemporary photographers the photobook is still an important influence,” agrees curator Nina Poppe. When I met her earlier this year at Amsterdam’s Foam photography gallery, she was hanging Marks of Honour, a show of work by 13 photographers who pay homage to a photobook they found inspiring. Among the most compelling in the collection – which will be auctioned in Paris next month – are American photographer Michael Light’s tribute to Ansel Adams’ Yosemite and the Range of Light, in which Light has made precise cutouts following the lines of Adams’ monumental landscapes and inserted his own prints of LA night scenes into the spaces, and Japanese Onaka Koji’s thoughtfully constructed celebration of Daido Moriyama’s Tales of Tohno, which includes five prints and a contact sheet housed in a box handmade by Koji from wood of the forests where Moriyama shot his original 1976 work.

Japanese photobooks distinguish themselves by their attention to detail. The layout, binding, paper, printing, dustwrapper, obi(the bellyband) and the outer case (the so-called soto-bako or okuribako) are all meticulously crafted. After 1960, the photography scene in Japan changed dramatically and the photobook – with its ability to help create a narrative and rhythm – overtook the print as the most popular mode of artistic statement for the Japanese photographer.

This important and prolific period is examined in Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s and ’70s published by the Aperture Foundation next month.

There has been a strong rise in demand for Japanese photobooks, and prices have doubled or tripled in the past three to four years. “Curiously, the Japanese photobook market really didn’t exist until western collectors started to show interest,” says Titus Boeder of Maggs Books. “When I started buying them in Japan eight years ago, prices were lower than the original retail cost. They weren’t collected in Japan.”

Elsewhere, in the US and Europe, the market for good quality photobooks shows little sign of slowing down, with demand particularly high for those inscribed by the artist or an important previous owner. Sven Becker, book specialist at Christie’s, recently auctioned a copy of William Klein’s Tokyothat once belonged to William Eggleston, for a lofty £2750. Signed by Klein, and with Eggleston’s ownership signature dated January 1969, it’s a perfect example of the type of books that are attracting the attention of collectors with discerning tastes and deep pockets.

Prices for similar books reached unprecedented levels earlier this year at New York’s Swann Galleries. A signed copy of Nobuyoshi Araki’s ABCDand a first edition of Ed Ruscha’s Various Small Fires and Milk, inscribed by Ruscha to Andy Warhol, achieved US$10,800 and US$15,600 respectively. This autumn Swann is offering a signed deluxe edition of Lucas Samaras’s Autointerview, Autobiography, Autopolaroid, issued with a Polaroid (estimate $2500-$3500), and a signed first edition of Helmut Newton’s gigantic Sumo, weighing in at nearly 70 pounds and supplied with its own Philippe Starck-designed chrome stand (estimate $5,000-$7,500).

Rare art book specialists Sims Reed recently showed some fine examples at the London Art Book Fair, including a first edition of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s exquisite Time Exposed(£12,000) and John Baldessari’s Fable: A Sentence of Thirteen Parts (£3,500). But it is not necessary to shell out vast sums of money to start building an impressive (and one day possibly quite valuable) library.

Ebay is a thriving market place for rare books and there are bargains to be had. The Photographers’ Gallery regularly promotes limited editions of new titles, often signed by the artist. Nazraeli Press offer very reasonably priced special editions and limited availability titles on their website. Gems include Masao Yamamoto’s A Box of Ku($200) and Joseph Mills’ wonderfully surreal photomontages in The Loves of Poets($250). Photography specialists Schaden offer recommendations, signed copies and a research service.

Parr’s advice is simple: “Buy what you like,” he says. And, if you buy books you genuinely like, it doesn’t matter if they increase in value or not. Good taste is rewarded, and a little knowledge can go a long way in identifying important books. “A few years ago a collector friend of mine went to a flea market in Paris and picked up Man Ray’s Electricité for €50,” says Noble. “The auction value? £20,000.” Who knows, you may just get that lucky.



Swann Galleries’ Photographic Literature sale takes place in New York on October 22 www.swanngalleries.com
Marks of Honour 2008will be auctioned at Pierre Bergé & Associés, Paris, on November 25 and will be on show at the auction house during Paris Photo Festival the preceding week www.marksofhonour.com
Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s and ’70s is published by Aperture in November

October 05, 2009

James Welling Talks at Aperture Foundation.. Tuesday Oct 6th @ 7pm

MAO has never heard James Welling speak in public before, so we have no idea if he's any good, but it should be interesting.

This photographer's abstract art work is among the most innovative in the industry. You probably saw his work which was recently featured in the 2008 Whitney Biennial.

James-welling_flowers (Photo #1, James Welling, Flowers, 2005, c-print, 14 x 10")

Represented in NYC by David Zwirner and in the UK by the Maureen Paley Gallery, James Welling is almost a living legend in the art photography world.. so clearly this is a free talk not to be missed!

It's probably going to be packed.. so get there early!
Here's the Aperture / Parsons press release...

Artist's Talk with James Welling

Tuesday, October 6, 2009
7:00 pm


Aperture Gallery
547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor
New York, New York
(212) 505-5555

Aperture and the Parsons Department of Photography at The New School present an artist's talk with James Welling as part of the ongoing Parsons lecture series. Welling's career constitutes a comprehensive conceptual examination of the many forms of photography: from documentary and staged to nonrepresentational. He was recently featured in the Aperture publication The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography.

JAMES WELLING(b. 1951 in Hartford, Connecticut) studied drawing at Carnegie-Mellon University before transferring to the California Institute of the Arts, where he studied video. His work has appeared in over sixty solo and group exhibitions, and is included in many public collections, including those of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, all in New York, among others. Welling was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Bard College. Since 1995, Welling has lived in Los Angeles, where he is head of the photography department at the University of California, Los Angeles. His work was featured in issue number 190 of Aperture magazine