From: [email protected]
Sent: Thursday, August 03, 2006 7:30 PM
To: [email protected]
August 3, 2006
   Now all my sweltering little art peacocks, at the
end this newsletter there is a 7-Question Quiz,
devised by a brilliant collector I know, and if you
get all of the answers right, you win a free trip to
visit me and my art, all-expenses paid, with the
exception of taxes, taxis, licenses, hotels and all  
transportation. So sharpen those pencils!  A list of
winners will appear in the next edition.
   Do you want to hear the most amazing story?  I
am actually on a first-name basis (and his name has
been changed to protect the innocent) with some-
one who is of sane and sound mind (or so I thought)
who, of his own volition and with no forethought of
malice left sunny (well ok, very sunny, if you insist 
on splitting hairs) California last week to go to.....
now are you ready for this.....New York City???
   In all seriousness (I see that gimlet eye), this is 
about the sultriest (I'm watching) summer
in memory and that applies to art sales, too.  In 
twenty years, I've not experienced such blistering
activity in July and August.  If this is the tip of the 
iceberg  (you don't think I know I'm mixing 
metaphors?) what in heaven's name will the Fall be
like? The record amounts of art being sold is unfath-
omable, and it's the same story with every dealer
with whom I have the (hmmmm) pleasure of
   It is my wont to run over to Cap D'Antibes or Ibiza
in the summer.  Not this year.  Phones haven't
stopped ringing.  An apparently quenchless thirst to
buy, buy, buy.  I, too, have been inoculated.  I'm not
complaining.  I've always thought vacations were
   So moi?  What exactly am I doing?  First, selling a
lot of art;  second, buying a lot of art.  Am always
nonplussed at all these big-shot contrarian thinkers
and their disconnect when it comes to buying art.  
For some, this philosophy does not migrate to the
art area.  One can absolutely, unquestionably, make
the savviest buys during the summer.  The most
independent dealers get bored to tears when the
market is phlegmatic.  Art dealers are restless.
They like action.  So when they tell you that you
should "hang around more" if you want to do more
business, do it, and do it in summer.  Like the
Arabian Nights and open sesame, the vaults swing
out and you're Sheik (or Sheikess) for a Day.
  True, you may again be persona non grata on
November 1st, but check it out on August 1st.  Do
some empirical inquiry.  Tell me I'm wrong.  (But of
course, I'm right, that's why I'm The Art Advisor.)
   So you heard it here. Don't make art-buying a
seasonal herd activity, but a seamless hedonistic
pursuit of pleasure. More attention from fancy (or
not so fancy) dealers, less competition from other
collectors.  What could be better for this narcissistic
  A while back, I told you to buy Henry Wessel.  Well,
good luck now.   Very little for sale (forget vintage
work), those who have them, not especially
anxious to let  go (present company included).  I am
often asked "what won't you sell" (I always know
this is some kind of veiled attempt to measure my
morality).  Well.... I won't sell my house, but I might
sell my soul,  and I won't sell my Wessels (yet).  The
show Sandy Phillips has organized at SFMOMA this
January is killer.  If you've not checked out the new
five-volume Steidl catalogue, you haven't lived.  It is
so luscious, I almost mistakenly ate a page of it
instead of the single organic strawberry I usually
reserve for lunch.
   New Vik Muniz show of pigment masterpieces
redux is just closing, was a sell-out.  The most
amazing renditions of Rothko, Yves Kline, John
Malevitch, Munch (The Scream, to die), a Matisse
Odalisque.  Gorgeous.  Jpegs attached.  I bought
three.  Prices will be off the charts in the Fall.
   Also, great Hockney show of very personal
portraits of his friends and colleagues at MOCA.
   Know anyone with a Robert Bechtle or John
Wesley for me?  Drawing, gouache, or painting?
   Last month I told you about this terrible situation
with my muse. You know, how he was gone! Now
my fine-feathered friends, I never dreamed how
dire this muse situation was!  
   To start with, there were the applications: 
   I knew I was in trouble when the first one I
got was from someone who said he had a permit for
long-antlered elk, and would that work?   And then
there was another one, from someone calling
himself "Bullwinkle", with an IQ nowhere near 150,
in fact, it was quite clearly below room temperature
and he had obviously not read the job description, 
and for all I know he couldn't read at all!
   Have been positively inundated with this stuff.
I had absolutely no idea there were so many out-of-
work muses!  (Frankly, I had no idea there were so
many muses, period!)  I must say, though, that
some of the applicants were more than a little
nettlesome.  I mean, can you imagine, some of them
wanted to know about the payWho ever said
anything about pay?  Do you think Karl Lagerfeld
paid Lou Lou de la Falaise?  Or  Dante, Beatrice? 
How about Gertrude Stein, was she paying Alice
B.Toklas?  Or Modigliani, Jean Hebuterne (true, poor
thing, committed suicide, but I never said this job
was not without its occupational hazards)?  So let's
give that one a nice strong Stinger and put it to bed.
.....the pay is you get to hang around with me!....
oh, and maybe a plane ticket thrown in here and
there....But actually, I was hoping to find a plane
with its own muse,.... no, no, no,... what I meant
was a muse with its own plane ....and not the kind
that has to stop in Kansas, either. 
   Honestly, it's no wonder these muses are out-of-
   You think it's easy writing these ridiculous news-
letters with no inspiration?  Try it sometime.  "Let ye
who is without muse cast the first stone".  Didn't
somebody famous once say that?
  So now I'm thinking maybe the old muse was over-
worked.  If I cut back his hours?  Good lord, at least 
there weren't any complaints about the pay, and he
didn't need any airline tickets.
   I do see some light at the end of this Parnassian   
tunnel. The old one is stirring and might be coming
around.  I actually think he might miss his little
muse job.
   As the bard of Avon said,  "All's well that ends
well".  Right, little muse?
Hershey's Kisses,
NOW: 7-PART QUIZ:  What Kind of Collector Are You?
The Decorator
The Patron
The Scholar
The Exhibitionist
The Influencer
The Trader
The Possessor
If you get all 7 right, remember that great prize!
Correction:  Josh Baer, of Baerfaxt, whose name was spelled incorrectly in last month's issue
ph: 805.565.2000