58 posts categorized "Auctions"

April 24, 2006

Blind Spot Auction

Tonight is the inaugural Blind Spot Magazine Benefit Photography Auction, it takes place at Phillips de Pury, 450 West 15th street, 7 to 8pm, with the live auction starting at 8pm by Rick "The Hammer" Wester.

For those clueless individuals who don't know Blind Spot, it's probably the leading US Modern Art Photograph Magazine.

Blind Spot Magazine is the international source book of photography-based fine art for artists, collectors, creative directors, designers, curators and art lovers. Blind Spot publishes new works by the world's most renowned artists and discovers vital new work by up-and-coming artists. The collaboration of the editors and the ideas expressed by the individual artists make each issue of Blind Spot emerge as a single work of art.

I believe the event is free to all, auction items range from $1,000 to $40,000, and for all you drinkers includes free cocktails. Unfortunately for Blind Spot tonight at 5pm is the first night for the Big Christies Spring Photography Auction, and there also is a popular Aperture Foundation Founders and Trustees cocktail party.. so with the NYC photography world split between 3 big events.. this charity auction may not be too well attended.  Absentee bid can be left on the Blind Spot website.

Richardmisrach_blindspot They have donated work by over 50 well known artists including : John Baldessari, Tina Barney, Lee Friedlander, Candida Hofer, Vik Muniz, Clifford Ross, Ed Ruscha, Lorna Simpson, and Jeff Wall.

And I just love this amazing Richard Misrach Mono Lake #2, California, 1999 C-print, Edition : 1/7 (Est. Retail Value : $7,000- 8,000)which was donated by the Fraenkel Gallery of San Francisco and Pace/MacGill Gallery.

April 17, 2006

REFCO Art Collection Liquidation

A true test of strength in the Contemporary Art Photography market is coming to Christies.

Gursky_6th_ave On April 25, May 5 and on May 10th the entire REFCO Art Collection is to be quickly dumped auctioned off, with most lots to be sold without reserve.  There have been many stories written about the "High Quality" of the collection, but for the most part you'll find it a huge collection of very forgettable images, with very few standouts.  Hmm.. Maybe they were just quoting art dealers (like Damon Brandt) who sold REFCO all this unremarkable work?   It totals approximately 300 different lots all of photography (about 500 photo's) accumulated over the last 16 or so years by the now bankrupt company. The collection was lightly "curated" mostly by Adam Brooks and the wife of REFCO's founder Frances Dittmar.

Published in the book "Subjectives Realities" the REFCO collection has a somewhat random pointless broad focus covering almost the entire spectrum of art photography. It's astonishing to see so very few powerful, challenging or even interesting photographs in this huge collection.  Sadly, it's really a somewhat sanitized "very corporate" (almost Republican) portfolio. But what else would you expect?

Of course, Baldessari_beachthe REFCO collection does certainly includes some of the most over-hyped overpriced expensive artists in the art photography world such as Matthew Barney, Andreas Gursky (photo#1) and Gregory Crewdson. No wonder the company is bankrupt!  While flipping through the large 303 page Christies catalog you'll find few true standouts (Baldessari photo #2)images in this collection. One thing truly amusing, even the bright young Photography experts at Christies had nothing ingratiating to say about the collection or the quality of the curating in the auction catalog.

The only explanation of this collection comes from it's lead shopper, Adam Brooks, where he describes it as, "A collection that asks as many questions as the REFCO Collection is bound to elicit responses from the individuals who see it every day..." Can you say like, Why?? or maybe, What happened to all the money you wasted??

In a quote for an article in The Standard, Frances Dittmar once said "I believe good art adds to the quality of the workplace."  So, now we know why the entire company is in a scandalous court ordered liquidation!

History will find The REFCO collection just another prime example of a company being used as a big piggy-bank for the CEO's wife to go on an art shopping spree for her own enjoyment.  Well, it certainly will be interesting to see how this sale goes.  They reportedly paid $150,000 for the Gursky (photo #1), and it's pre-sale estimate is $250,000-350,000...so I guess the old saying "a high tide lifts all boats" may prove true.  But, it is a huge amount of work being dumped sold without a minimum reserve bid, so it's all got to go at whatever price!  And even while it's clearly not a well curated collection, there's sure to be some nice art bargains to be had among the REFCO Art Rubble!

April 10, 2006

Opportunity in a sea of Art Auction Mania!

Given how high Modern Art auction prices have been lately, it was a pleasant surprise to attend the Saturday At Phillips with my friends Boozhy, and the Smurf, this weekend and not see everything go way above the pre-sale estimates.  I actually think there were several bargains to be had, and I was very happy to help my friends get some good deals this weekend.

Pot_of_gold So while numerous bidders were falling over themselves to buy the plastic junk furniture your mom threw out 20 years ago Modern Design works up for sale... the Photography lots (about 100 lots, 25% of the auction) all seemed to sell consistently below the estimates

One unusual observation was there were almost NO photography dealers in the room.  Which I think gave the few lucky Photo buyers a good opportunity to purchase some B&W prints at cheap prices.

Actually several lots sold much cheaper than where similar items have recently sold before at auction.

Many were easily 50-60% below where most photo dealers are trying to sell the exact same image. 

Here are just a few examples..

  • a large Berenice Abbott "Lower East Side" sold for $1500
  • Andre Kertesz signed "Bathing" image sold for $2200
  • 2 Bruce Weber's each sold for $1,800
  • Garry Winogrand "Texas State Fair" for $1800
  • a large Tom Baril "Dahlia" sold for $1500
  • several nice Michael Kenna standard editioned prints sold for under $1500 each.

Just one suggestion to the people at Phillips...try to group the lots better by category.  These 7 hour/487 lot marathon auctions are painful to sit through, while I may have found watching those bling bling Tahitian Pearls sale tempting...most collectors really don't want to wait around all day just to bid on a few lots that were spread all over the course of the long day!!

March 30, 2006

Emerging Artist Auction!!

So maybe the high attitude prices of the Christies and Sothebys Auctions don't fit your budget taste?  Believe it or not.. I've heard some MAO readers don't have $2.9 Million to spend on a single dusty old B & W photo! go figure!   Well for all those aspiring Art Auction Junkies, there are alternatives!

Sparkling Fresh Silent Art Auction is having their second auction, on Tuesday April 4th, 2006 6:30-9pm, At Chashama @ 217 E. 42nd Street.. Featuring the work of emerging NYC artists. All the starting bids range from $100 to $1000. Here's the invite, press release Download sparkling_april4release1.doc , and if you'd like to preview the Art : click here. Hey, if nothing else.. Admission is free, and there's free food and drinks! FYI.. It also sounds like an interesting venue for emerging artists to pay the rent have their work seen and maybe even sold..

Also coming up is the next Saturday At Phillips Auction.  Viewing starts April 3rd, and the Auction is on April 8th @ 10am.  This time they have also added Jewelry to their already yard sale diverse auction of Contemporary Art, Photographs, and 20-21st Century Design works. So this one will truly be the leftovers something for everyone!

Lastly.. For those MAO Art Quizlings.. tune into this blog Saturday Morning cause it's April 1st, which means the next Monthly MAO Art Quiz!


February 28, 2006

More March Art Auction Mania?? Maybe!

First off... Happy Fat Tuesday & Mardi Gras Everyone!

Secondly.. Tomorrow, March 1st, is the next MAO Art Quiz.. and seeming the last quiz was answered correctly by several astute MAO readers within 10 minutes of the quiz post.. you can expect this month to be just a bit more difficult! Good Luck All!

Well.. I was quite depressed last week.  For the first time in probably over 5 years I didn't win even Steichen one freaking lot at all the February Photography Auctions.. I came close on a few.. that $2,928,000 Edward Steichen's "The Pond - Moonlight" was almost within my grasp, granted I would of needed to sell Dr. Quiz into slavery our East Hampton House (aka.. Pupschwitz) to pay for it.. But for some strange reason, insanity frugalness got the best of me! Go Figure !! Who knew I had such remarkable restraint and could actually stop bidding once they started setting new record high prices.

C'est La Vie.. March is a new month!! Which means new opportunities to waste spend Dr. Quiz's hard earned money at the art auction. 

Here's a few of the NYC coming attractions...

  1. Phillips - Artist for Chinati, Contemporary Art March 13th
  2. Phillips - Under the Influence, Contemporary Art, March 14th
  3. Sotheby's Contemporary Art Auction, March 15th
  4. Christies - First Open, Post War and Contemporary Art, March 16th
  5. Christies - Modern and Contemporary Art March 30th
  6. Sotheby's Contemporary Art Asia : China Japan Korea March 31st

February 14, 2006

Impact of Blogs on Art Auction Market

WOW !!! It's amazing the effects a blog can have on the Art Auction Market...!!!

Sotheby's Contemporary Art Auction, London Feb 10th, 2006..Sets 7 new artist records!! But this should be NO Surprise to the Wise Jan'06 MAO Readers...  Here's an excerpt from an ArtInfo.com Story...   But the clear best buy of the night...??? Hmmmm... Looks familiar...?? Hands down.. goes to Lot #12

Mao_7_warhol  Andy Warhol, Mao 7; Sold for: £1,464,000/$2,554,387 (est.£400-600,000)

This 50-by-42 inch acrylic and silkscreen ink painting is from 1973, executed at a time when the Cold War and threat of a Communist world order was very much part of the popular culture—making Mao’s glamorized image a radical parody. And Icon of  a well known NYC based Art Blog.

Instead of the black-and-white propaganda tones of the great leader’s appropriated image, Warhol "tarted" it up with hand-painted passages of pinks, greens and yellows.

Fresh to the market, the riveting "blog icon" portrait triggered intense bidding. New York art trader (And clearly a Regular MAO Blog Reader !!!) Alberto Mugrabi , a major player in the Warhol market, bought the painting at more than double its high estimate.

Mugrabi also acquired Warhol’s Diamond Dust Shoes [lot 51] (est. £250-350,000) later in the sale for £612,800.

"Brilliant" Quotes from the Auction Crowd : “I am totally confused by the market,” said New York dealer Barbara Mathes who bought at the auction, but preferred not to identify her purchase. “You wonder how long the prices can keep going up, yet there seems to be insatiable demand, and price doesn’t get in the way.”.

Warhol is a global artist in an increasingly global market,” said New York art dealer Larry Gagosian.

2 NY dealers.. One's confused, the other uses the word GLOBAL twice a 10 word statement.. Someone tell these 2 old timers.. they clearly need to read the art blogs if they want some real art insight!!

January 31, 2006

Emerging Artists Auctions??

So maybe the high attitude prices of the Christies and Sothebys Auctions don't fit your budget taste?  Believe it or not.. some people would rather pay this months rent then buy modern art at auction.. go figure!

Well for all those aspiring Art Auction Junkies, MAO readers.. there are alternatives! An art auction equivalent, to the fun Affordable Art Fair.  Of course there's always EBay, but I also like to check out.. iGavel, The Charity Auctions (a cool list thanks to Bloggy.com), and I just learned of this interesting new event. Sparkling Fresh Silent Art Auction tonight Jan 31st 6:30-9pm.. Featuring the work of 12 emerging NYC artists.

Hey.. and if nothing else.. there's free food and drinks!

It also sounds like an interesting venue for emerging artists to have their work seen..


January 27, 2006

The Spring Art Auctions Looking Interesting Already!

Ok..Now I know.. I'm going to sound like a total nut job Art Auction Junkie, but there are some big events coming up! So get your paddles ready... It's Hammer Time in NYC!!

1. Sothebys is to auction off photography from the Metropolitan Museum including works from the Gilman Paper Collection on Feb 14th and 15th. This 113 Lot high quality sale surprisingly is even ok for the poor newbie photo collectors... since there are several items up with estimates under $5000. Take a look at the special mini-site from Sotheby's just for the event!  There's a good chance this sale might even set some new records for the highest prices ever paid for single photographs...  For Exampl.. Lot 6, Edward Steichen's "The Pond -- Moonlight" has an PreSale Est of $700,000 to 1,000,000. Preview party February 8th.


2. Christies to is Auction off the Bankrupt REFCO corporate Art Collection. Download REFCO_Auction.txt   It's a pretty big professionally curated (by Adam Brooks) collection.  REFCO published a full catalog of the collection, Subjective Realities in 2003.  The collection is mostly modern photography, spanning almost every major contemporary photographer from the 80's and 90's.. but also includes a few older Diane Arbus, and Walker Evans works.

Since it's a judge order bankruptcy auction.. it will be interesting to see if the entire collection will be liquidated without reserve levels.May be a great buying opportunity!

Plaster_man 3. A Bust of Marie Antoinette, or 7 foot tall headless 18th Century Male Statue anyone?  So this maybe a museum de-acquisition event The MAN - Tyler Green might approve of..

  Sothebys will hold a sale of The Metropolitan Museum's Historic Plaster replicas stored in their Bronx warehouse on Feb 28th in 177 lots.  These are all old plaster reproductions, and that now The Met has such an amazing stolen looted collection of the real statues, they don't need these reproductions anymore.

They'll be running a free shuttle from the Sothebys office to the Bronx to view the works.. I also think everything is being sold without reserve.. so you never know, that 6 ft by 4 ft, Large Plaster Romanesque Pediment Carved with Angels you've always needed could be yours for a song!


4. Christies just posted their Spring NYC Photography Sale for Feb 14th on their website. 278 Lots, Highlights to include Peter Beard Portraits, and a Large 15"x19" semi-vintage (1975)  Ansel Adams Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico 1941, photographs both Est.. $30-50k.