November 19, 2008

An Emerging Photographer Auction.... check it out!

An Emerging Photographer Auction.... check it out!

So for all those people feeling the intense pain of this art crash recession... here's an opportunity.

Dan Cooney and iGavel are holding an Emerging Photographer auction.

All the prints starting bids are set at only $200. What a great way to do some early MAO Christmas Shopping.

Noah_kalina_igavel_photoMAO was lucky enough to check out these photos last week.. some are great and all are edition-ed (We're not sure on how big some of these editions are, so you'll have to ask Dan for the size specifics of these editions).

Of the 25 photos, we at MAO particularly loved the works by Cara Phillips, Will Steacy, Laura Noel, Dana Miller, and Noah Kalina. (Hint to Dr. Quiz: please bid on these.. cause MAO has been a very good boy this year!!)

In fact, when you read the details, some of these "Emerging" artists are not so emerging. Many already have impressive bio's.. and their work has been selling in galleries at much higher prices. So there are really some great values to be picked up here!

Who knows.. Maybe the next Struth, Sherman or Eggleston is to be found in this list!

(Photo #1, by Noah Kalina, Untiled 20080629 D1FG, Digital C-Print, 20 x 24")

Bidding is open now.. and ends on Dec 10th. Check it out!

November 13, 2008

Some of the Contemporary Art Auction Results are in.....

Train_wreck_at_Montparnasse_1895 As expected, the auction reserves were too high, and the buyers were all too scared.

Very few lots reached even the low end of their presale estimates.. so the fall begins.

Here's  an initial story from Lindsay Pollock and Phillip Boroff of Bloomberg news... we're sure there's going to be many more!

(Since MAO as been worrying about thinking of all our friends at Paris Photo this week.... we choose... Photo #1, Train Wreck at Gare Montparnasse, Paris France, 1895)


Eli Broad Goes Shopping as Sotheby's Art Auction Falls Short

2008-11-12 06:39:27.760 GMT By Lindsay Pollock and Philip Boroff

Nov. 12 (Bloomberg)


Eli Broad and fashion designer Valentino were among the collectors who converged on Sotheby's in New York last night to pick through big-name contemporary art at discount prices.

``It's a half-price sale,'' said Broad, a 75-year-old billionaire who predicted for years that prices would fall. ``Things are a little more reasonable.'' Broad snagged Ed Ruscha's 1969 mustard-hued ``Desire'' fo $2.4 million, 40 percent under the $4 million low estimate.

The 43 lots that sold in the 63-lot auction totaled $125.1 million, far below the presale low estimate of $202.4 million.

Twenty lots, or 32 percent, failed to sell, including several tagged with hefty estimates guaranteed by the auction house.

It was the lowest selling rate for a multiple-owner evening sale of contemporary art at Sotheby's since November 1994.

Sotheby's comparable auction in May totaled $362 million, almost three times last night's tally.

Even so, after last week's main impressionist sale at Sotheby's sold 64 percent of lots, dealers were relieved.

``It wasn't so bad,'' said Marc Glimcher of PaceWildenstein. ``That's the overwhelming feeling.''

The evening got off to a strong start. John Currin's 1999 ``Nice `N Easy,'' depicting two nude young women, went to an anonymous telephone bidder for a record $5.46 million. The seller was Los Angeles television executive Dean Valentine. Currin's previous auction record of $847,500 was set at Christie's International four years ago with a painting of two men making pasta.

Unsold Lichtenstein

The evening's marquee lot, Roy Lichtenstein's 1963 ``Half Face With Collar,'' attracted no bids. The archetypical pop-art painting, featuring a businessman tugging at his collar, sported a $15 million to $20 million presale estimate.

Broad gave paddle No. 434 a workout, buying a large orange Donald Judd aluminum and Plexiglas sculpture for $1.1 million and a small Robert Rauschenberg painting for $2.6 million. For the Broad Art Foundation, he bought Ruscha's ``Desire'' and a gaudy Jeff Koons sculpture for $2.2 million.

Prices include a buyer's premium, or commission, of 25 percent of the hammer price up to $50,000, 20 percent of the price from $50,000 to $1 million and 12 percent above $1 million.

Estimates do not include commissions.

The tanned front-row fixture Valentino Garavani scored two Andy Warhol paintings and a Joan Mitchell canvas with little competition, after being outbid during the frothy May sales. Gap Inc. founder Donald G. Fisher bought a glossy Gerhard Richter for less than the low estimate. Actor Steve Martin and Blackstone Group Vice Chairman J. Tomilson Hill III were among the collectors witnessing how the contemporary art market held up after the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 39 percent this year.

Fuld Collection

Christie's holds its contemporary auction tonight, featuring Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Officer Richard S. Fuld Jr.'s drawing collection, estimated to bring in about $20 million. Works by younger artists go under the hammer on Nov. 13 at Phillips de Pury & Co.

Last night's top lot was French painter Yves Klein's 1960 blue, roughly surfaced, 6 1/2-foot-tall ``Archisponge (RE11)'' which has 13 sponges and dozens of pebbles affixed to the canvas.

It sold for $21.4 million, below its $25 million estimate, to an anonymous phone bidder.

Guaranteed Guston

Museum of Modern Art trustee Donald L. Bryant Jr. sold Philip Guston's 1954-55 flesh-toned ``Beggar's Joy'' for $10.2 million, almost a third below its $15 million estimate. He'd paid $1.6 million in 1996 at Sotheby's in New York. According to the catalog, the seller was given a guaranteed minimum price.

Sotheby's anticipated that the auction would not sell a number of lots. As in last week's impressionist auctions, sellers locked in guarantees months earlier. Last week, Sotheby's projected in its third-quarter earnings statement that it would book $17 million in losses from guarantees to sellers at this week's contemporary sale.

Demand for recently fashionable artists such as Richard Prince, Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami thinned. ``It's a buyer's market,'' said Josh Baer, publisher of the Baer Faxt, an art market newsletter.

--Editors: Stephen West, Le-Min Lim.

November 10, 2008

MAO Interview with Photographer Taiji Matsue, Part 2

MAO Interview with Photographer Taiji Matsue, Part 2

Taiji_Matsue_ECUADOR_70346 So before we complete the interview.. we just wanted to point out a great new hardcover photobook that just hit some of our favorite bookshops from Taiji Matsue. Cell, Taiji Matsue, published by Akaaka sha, 2008. The book is well worth checking out, cause it has many more images which couldn't make it into the show.  Matsue's Nest show is up on 57th street at the Cohen Amador Gallery, till the end of the year.

Mao.. Matsue...Interview Part II

6. MAO : One of your key trademarks in your past work, has been the successful use of survey-use aerial photography, how is this current body of work connected in concept to that work? How is this current work an extension or departure from that work?

Matsue : The aerial photography is only a small part of my works. Most of my works are taken by a large format camera and a tripod.

The new series "cell" are chosen from all my color photography including the aerial photography.

The new series of large-sized color photographs does not include aerial photography.

(Photo #1, Taiji Matsue, "

ECUADOR 70346" 2008, C - Print )

7. MAO : Why did you choose the title Nest for your current show? What was the specific inspiration and message for this show and work?

Matsue : There are 2 series shown at this current show. One is the new series of large-sized color photographs. The another is the "cell" series.

The new series of "cell" is created by the trimming of a tiny part of all of my color works.

"Nest" is an exhibition showing both zooming "out" and "in" works at the same time, hence constructing the "nested" relation ship.

The word "Nest" was inspired from the technical terminology of computer programming.

8. MAO : When you were making the original source photos, were you thinking about creating these cell images or was it only a post photo inspiration ?

Matsue_Cell_50BCNMatsue : The "cell" images are the new discovered details by zooming in the original photographs.

(Photo #2, Taiji Matsue, "50BCN" 2008, 19" x 19", Edition of 5, C - Print )

9. MAO : As I've looked though your new book (which is totally wonderful..congrats) several of the cell images look almost like they were created and paired as "Dypticks" ?

Taiji_Matsue_27SVQMatsue : The "Dypticks" kind of images were actually decided with the editor, in the process of editing the new book.

10. MAO : When you're not working on your photography, what's your favorite recreational activities?

Matsue : I like, "Observing" (not just watching) TV programs, web surfing, and exploring cities.

(Photo #3, Taiji Matsue, "27SVQ" 2007, 19" x 19", Edition of 5, C-Print)

Note : All photos: (c) Taiji Matsue and Courtesy of TARO NASU and Cohen Amador Gallery

FYI.. If you missed Part I of the Matsue here....

November 04, 2008

MAO Interview with Artist and Photographer Taiji Matsue (Part 1)

Today we have the first part of an interview with Japanese Artist and photographer, Taiji Matsue.

Some of you may have already seen Taiji's amazing new show, "Nest", up currently at the Cohen Amador Gallery on 57th street. If not.. you need to see this show ASAP!

Some of the smart MAO Photobook obsessed readers, may also know Taiji Matsue by his book Taiji Matsue, 2001 which was included in Martin Parr and Gerry Badger's The Photobook: A History, Part 1, and is frequently listed among the most "significant" Japanese Photography books.

Here's Part 1 of our MAO Matsue interview...


Taiji_Matsue_JP_03 1. MAO : As a Japanese artist, you have been brought up in a rich culture of photography, which

Japanese artists have been your biggest inspirations? Which Non-Japanese Artists?


Matsue :  Within Japanese, it's Daido Moriyama. With, Non-Japanese they are Carleton Watkins and Lewis Baltz.

(Photo #1, Taiji Matsue, "JP-22 03" 2005, C Print)


2. MAO : Your photographic projects almost span the globe..your photographic body has included many urban, and well as several rural settings. What was your favorite location to work, and why?

 Matsue :  There is no favorite location in particular. My ideal is to homogenize the whole world, that's why.  In my opinion, artist's personal and private feeling against the location have no influence over spectators.


3. MAO : Do you have a "Matsue" signature style to your photographic work, is this something you particularly strive for or is it more organic.. can you describe this "Matsue" look?


Matsue : The "Matsue" look ... I think this is what the spectators decide, not myself.

(Photo #2, Taiji Matsue, "CHI 0254" 2002, gelatin silver print)

4. MAO : For your last show in

New York City at the Cohen Amador Gallery in 2006, the New York Time's critic Benjamin Genocchio, described your work as ".....scientific precision that gives his pictures a diverting presence and analytic crispness. But there is little emotional engagement."

Do you agree with this analysis? Is this the type of reaction to your art you were looking to achieve? (FYI, here's a link to the Aug 11, 2006, NY Times here)

Matsue : I agree with the half of it, but not all of them. I take the photo by feeling a passion for "sunlit" surface of the earth. That gives the scientific precision to my works. 


Taiji_Matsue_BJX_41115 (Photo #3, Taiji Matsue, "BJX 41115" 2008, C Print)


5. MAO : Many purist, "old world art photographers," regard the use of Photoshop as almost cheating.   Can you tell us how and why you use Adobe Photoshop in your work?

Matsue : Denying the use of Photoshop for digital photographs means the same thing as denying the darkroom for analog photographs. Contradicting digital photography is nonsense. It's just nostalgia for the good old days, I think.


Note : All Taiji Matsue photos courtesy of  TARO NASU and Cohen Amador Gallery.

October 30, 2008

It's not just Art.. Hamptons Real Estate Prices Fell 19%!

Just proving all these luxury products are crashing highly correlated.. With US Stocks down 37% this year, home prices out in the Hamptons were just reported down 19% in one year.

Here's todays story by Kathleen Howley of Bloomberg News.

(Photo from the book, American Prospects, MacLean, Virginia, 1978 by Joel Sternfeld)


Joel_sternfeld_mclean Hamptons Home Prices Plunge as Wall Street Upheaval Cools Sales

Oct. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Home prices in the Hamptons, the summer resort of Wall Street bankers and Hollywood celebrities, plunged a record 19 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier as stocks tumbled and the financial industry shed jobs.

The median price for a home on the eastern tip of New York's Long Island fell to $830,000 from $1.03 million, the biggest drop in at least five years, according to a report today by New York based appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and broker Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

Prices in the summer retreat of director Steven Spielberg and billionaire investor Thomas H. Lee reached an all-time high with a $1.1 million median in the second quarter of 2007, before losses in U.S. subprime mortgages spawned the credit crisis.

Upheaval in global financial markets has dashed the confidence of wealthy buyers, even those who spurn mortgages and pay cash for waterfront mansions, said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel.

``The Hamptons market is driven by Wall Street,'' Miller said in an interview. ``There's so much financial turmoil right now that even the most affluent people are putting plans on hold.''

The number of home sales fell 29 percent to 257 during the quarter from 361 a year earlier, and the inventory of properties on the market rose to 1,561 from 1,422, Miller said. The difference between the listing price and selling price was 11 percent, he said. A year ago, it was 7 percent.


The slump in prices and sales is likely to be outdone in the current period, Miller said. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 778 points on Sept. 29, two days before the end of the third quarter, in what was then the biggest drop on record.

The following week was worse. The Dow plummeted 1,874 points, its worst weekly decline on a point and percentage basis.

``When the stock market crashed everybody put the brakes on,'' said Judi Desiderio, owner of Town & Country Real Estate in East Hampton. ``It's just emotion. It's not even logical anymore.''

More than third of the deals that were scheduled to close in the last week of September and the first week of October were put on hold, she said. While most of the transactions were rescheduled and eventually closed, about one in seven of them were called off, she said. ``It doesn't matter if you are buying a piece of jewelry or a car or a vacation home -- people go into survival mode,'' Desiderio said.

North Fork Rises

The weakening economy may have boosted demand for homes in the North Fork area, where the median home price is about a third less than the Hamptons, Miller said. The eastern tip of Long Island is shaped like two tines of a fork, with the Hamptons on the South Fork and the North Fork above it.

The area that includes Shelter Island, which sits between the two forks and is reachable only by ferry, saw a 10 percent gain as buyers snapped up properties at a median price of $575,000. Sales rose to 98, a 49 percent increase from a year earlier.

Whether North or South Fork, prices in that area of Long Island dwarf those paid by most homebuyers in the U.S. The median price of a new house in September was $191,600, according to the National Association of Realtors.

October 27, 2008

ARTWALK NY - An event not to miss!! November 3rd.

ARTWALK NY - Monday, November 3rd at 6:30pm, the Metropolitan Pavilion(125 West 18th street)

NY_ArtWalk With the US economy crashing.. it's often the case that both Art Dealers, and Art Auction Houses take a very long time to adjust prices to reality (aka...these "new economy" levels)

So, believe it or not,

Charity auctions are one of the first organizations to realize the current reality with much lower contemporary art prices.

Hence the OPPORTUNITY for collectors!!

One of MAO's favorite charities is The Coalition for the Homeless.

Since there's a good chance many of MAO's Wall Street buddies are unemployed, broke and probably soon to be homeless.. it's one cause that's very close to home.

 Also.. our wonderful friends at The Coalition for the Homeless, are offering a MAO Collector discount on tickets...

 A limited number of discounted (50% off) tickets are available for MAO's friends, at the price of 2 for $200 (regularly $200 each)

To purchase tickets, please call 212-776-2056, or visit and enter the discount code COLLECTOR

Tickets available on a first-come basis.  All proceeds help the Coalition for the Homeless provide a safety net for the thousands of New Yorkers in need.

Here's the press release..


ARTWALK NY - Monday, November 3rd
Now in its fourteenth year, ARTWALK NY, a benefit for the Coalition for the Homeless, is one of New York City's largest and most anticipated charity art auctions. On Monday, November 3rd, the Coalition will join returning Co-chairs Richard Gere and Carey Lowell, and Honored Guests Alec Baldwin, Chuck Close, Darryl Pottorf and Christopher Rauschenberg, to honor and remember iconic American artists Robert Rauschenberg's unparalleled contribution to the world of contemporary art.
Featuring an art auction and cocktail party at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelseathis year’s live auction includes works by Chuck Close, Ed Ruscha, Jenny HolzerJeff Koons, Dennis Oppenheim, Jack Pierson, Pat Steir, Robert Rauschenberg, and Wade Guyton.  The silent auction features artists like assume vivid astro focus, Donald Baechler, James Nares, Terence KohYoko Ono and William Wegman.

Tonight 34,000 homeless New Yorkers, including 14,000 children, will sleep in emergency shelters.  The Coalition for the Homeless is the nation's oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women and children.  They are dedicated to the principle that affordable housing, sufficient food and the chance to work for a living wage are fundamental rights in a civilized society.  Since their inception in 1981, the Coalition has fought successfully for lasting solutions to homelessness through their renowned advocacy.

October 24, 2008

An Essential Art Reading List from BOYD LEVEL Art Consulting

MAO hosted a lecture and collection visit last night with The Contemporaries.

Aside from all the occasional recession gallows humor, the night was extremely up beat with lots of enthusiasm for collecting Contemporary art.

Yes.. My little MAO-ettes, some crazy obsessive art addicted people are indeed looking at this great art crash of 2008 "slow down" as an opportunity to Collect Art!!

So, we were also fortunate enough to have a visionary presentation by 2 of the art world's most thoughtful consultants.. M. Franklin Boyd, and Jonathan T. D. Neil. Of BOYD LEVEL Art Consulting. You guys Rock!


One of the most interesting parts of their presentation was a list of readings, as Jonathan described:


Some Essential Histories of the Present:

       A highly selective and perhaps arbitrary list of articles, books, and collected writing that are nonetheless essential to understanding the trajectory and claims of much contemporary art.  These are by no means easy reads, but if studied, they will render a deeper understanding of contemporary art then any broad survey.


  1. Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics (1998)

  2. Douglas Crimp, “Pictures” (1979)

  3. Robert Smithson, The Collected Writings, ed Flam (1996)

  4. David Joselit, Feedback: Television Against Democracy (2007)

  5. Donald Judd, “Specific Objects” (1965)

  6. Rosalind Krauss, A Voyage on the North Sea (1999)

  7. Miwon Kwon, One Place After Another (2004)

  8. Robert Morris, Continuous Project Altered Daily (1993)

  9. Seth Price, "Dispersion" (2002)

A Big MAO Thank You goes out to both, Franklyn and Jonathan for being so candid with their thoughts and advise to The Contemporaries group, you guys are the best!!

P.S. We all particularly liked that part about reading the MAO blog every week...but then again maybe you were just pandering a bit preaching to the choir...

October 22, 2008

An Event not to Miss.. NY Art Book Fair this Weekend

NY ART BOOK FAIR at Phillips De Pury, October 24 - 26th

Friday/Saturday, October 24 & 25, 2008, 11am - 7pm
Sunday, October 26, 2008, 11am - 5pm

Some of the best thing in Life are FREE.. Yes.. the NY Art Book Fair is Free this weekend!

(Photo by Abe Morell, Dictionary, 1994, silver print, Also...Don't miss his new show PicturesinPictures at Bonni Benrubi Gallery till Dec 6th)

Here's some of the book fair press release...


Abe_morell_dictionary Printed Matter, Inc. presents The NY Art Book Fair, New York City’s annual fair devoted to contemporary art books, art catalogues, artists' books, art periodicals, and zines. Over 140 international exhibitors, from major distributors and antiquarian dealers to independent publishers and artists, will participate in the third annual Fair, taking place this year at Phillips de Pury & Company at 450 West 15th Street at 10th Avenue.

Exhibitors and participants from New York City to Oslo to Tokyo will be attending the Fair to showcase both contemporary and classic works within the medium of artists' publications. Back by popular demand, Friendly Fire, a curated zone of artists and independent publishers, features artists and art collectives who self-publish in a free-spirited range of forms from books and zines to CDs and DVDs.
Artists present for book signings include Gary Panter, Marina Abramovic, Slava Mogutin, Jason Fox, Leigh Ledare, Terence Koh, Micah Lexier, Matt Keegan, Michel Gondry, and Carlos Motta, Duke Riley, Chris Stain and Steve Lambert who will a sign A Guide to Democracy in America. For a full signing schedule see

Artists Paul Chan, Matthew Higgs and Anne Collier, and Jonathan Monk have created new limited editions for the fair’s opening night Benefit Preview. Tickets are available at three price tiers and each level of admission is accompanied by a limited edition artwork.

There's also some cool events worth checking out...

On Saturday, October 25th..
5pm - Terence Koh signs the journal, entry 24, supplement "Moby Dick" (Booth O5)
6pm - Terence Koh signs his new book, A Beaver Tail (Art Metropole)

Sunday,October 26th
12pm - William Powhida signs his collaboration with Jeff Parker, The Back of the Line (DECODE BOOKS) 4pm - Performance by Erik den Breejen (Freight + Volume)

Look for MAO.. casue we'll be there.. trying not to spend any money, cause times are difficult on Wall Street these days!

So...Here's a little more Wall Street Humor...

Question : What is the Capital of Iceland?

Answer : About three dollars and forty eight cents!


October 17, 2008

Congrats to Collette Blanchard.. and her NEW LES Art Gallery!

Yes my little MAO-ettes.. you read that correctly! A new Gallery is OPENING!!! YEA!

Even in these difficult times.. some risk loving bright people have the cojones ability to open a new cutting edge contemporary art gallery!

Last night was the grand opening of a brand new gallery on the super hip and happening Lower East Side.

Collette_Blanchard_Gallery_opening Collette Blanchard was the long term hottie director of the Von Lintel gallery in Chelsea..and now has set out on her own!

Collette has put together one amazing new show featuring works by some of the most promising up and coming artists of our time. Her inaugural exhibition, Belle de Jour,  includes painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography and video; there is a diversity of mediums as well as perspectives by artists : Asgar/Gabriel, Sarah Baley, Jane Benson, Libby Black, iona rozeal brown, Zoe Charlton, E.V. Day, Langdon Graves, Julie Heffernan, Tracey Langfitt, Maria Porges, Mickalene Thomas, Cynthia Rowley, Laurie Simmons, Shinique Smith and Cindy Wright.

A big MAO congrats goes out to Collette! We totally love and admire your sheer courage, and we wish you the best of luck, cause she's going to need it we know we'll be in her gallery many times in the near future!!

The Collette Blanchard Gallery is on 26 Clinton Street. For more information or images please contact the gallery at 646.249.7720 or [email protected].

October 16, 2008

The Cold winds of Recession blow through the Frieze Art Fair....

Not a big surprise.. it sounds like the generally red hot Frieze Art Fair in London got a chilly reception.

CaterineOpie_ice_houses_1a   We're hearing that perhaps the Paris, FIAC "Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain" (contemporary art fair) held in the Louvre's courtyard which is running next week, maybe have a chance of doing a bit better..

Now the only question remains.. how bad and deep will this art recession get??

(Photo #1 by Catherine Opie, "Untitled #6 (Icehouses)," 2001, C-print, ed of 5, 2 artist proofs, 50 x 40" )

Here's the first story we found on the influential art Scott Reyburn and Katya Kazakina of Bloomberg news..


Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) -- International art collectors including Gwyneth Paltrow, Charles Saatchi, George Michael and Dasha Zhukova did more browsing than buying during the early hours of the Frieze Art Fair in London yesterday.

The event, which runs through Oct. 19 in Regent's Park, coincides with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

As the U.S. and European governments infused billions into their banking systems, fears of art market meltdown didn't materialize. Dealers said they were pleased to see American collectors and curators still supporting the fair, even if the economic slowdown had made them more hesitant.

``There are a lot of people who are a lot less inclined to spend money immediately,'' said Matthew Armstrong, who curates the collection of Donald Marron's Lightyear Capital LLC, a private equity investment firm in New York. ``As a result, people are looking at art a little more soberly. It's not as frantic,'' said Armstrong, who was taking his time over purchases.

VIP guests were in no hurry as they trickled in for the first view at 11 a.m. Among the American collectors was the Oscar-winning actress Paltrow, who strolled leisurely from booth to booth in black, chunky high heels.

``I come to Frieze every year,'' she said. ``It's something I really look forward to.''

Paltrow, who described herself as a collector of ``the whole gamut from Darren Almond to Jasper Johns,'' didn't make any immediate purchases.

George Michael

Singer George Michael, who last year paid 3.5 million pounds ($6 million) for Damien Hirst's ``Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain,'' joined the throng. Dealers also welcomed Saatchi -- whose new gallery opened in London on Oct. 9 -- and Zhukova, partner of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, whose Garage Center for Contemporary Culture opened in Moscow in September.

``It's a looker's mood,'' said U.K. collector Frank Cohen, who owns an art foundation, Initial Access, in the English Midlands. ``The price levels are the same as last year or a little bit more,'' said Cohen, who hadn't bought anything during the first two hours.

Gagosian Gallery was offering two Richard Prince paintings.

The red ``Heartbreak Nurse'' was available for $7 million, the gallery said. A large canvas featuring hundreds of tiny porn magazine covers had a price tag of $2.5 million. Both were unsold at 3 p.m.

Exhibitors said that, unlike last year, collectors were slow to make decisions, putting things on reserve instead of instantly purchasing them.

``Last year, by 12 o'clock galleries would say, `Sorry, It's gone,''' said Wendy Goldsmith, a London-based private dealer. ``I haven't so far encountered that this year.''

Energy Levels

Some collectors balked at prices they perceived to be out of step with the turmoil in the wider economy.

``Marked out of 10, the energy level is about four,'' said Todd Levin, a New York-based art adviser and curator of hedge- fund manager Adam Sender's collection. ``People are talking about the financial markets.''

Frieze, which is in its sixth year, specializes in new works by cutting-edge artists, with most transactions priced at less than $500,000.

At David Zwirner gallery, works by Lisa Yuskavage, Stan Douglas, Thomas Ruff and Francis Alys sold for about $100,000 each, according to owner David Zwirner.

Gober Sculpture

Among the few works to sell for more than $1 million was Robert Gober's 2007 mixed-media sculpture ``Leg with Anchor.''

The piece sold to a private U.S. collector at the booth of Matthew Marks Gallery for $1.2 million. An untitled Gober sculpture, featuring a pair of breasts protruding from a wooden chair seat, also went to an American collector for $650,000.

Despite these sales, gallery founder Matthew Marks described collectors at the fair as ``cautious.''

Collectors tended to congregate at the booths of the more- established dealers. Hauser & Wirth sold 10 works on the opening morning. Indian artists were in demand with Subodh Gupta's 12- foot-wide painting, ``Still Steal Steel #9,'' selling for 450,000 euros ($607,590). Bharti Kher's 18-foot-wide triptych, ``I'm going that way,'' made of thousands of arrow-shaped Indian bindi-beads, went for 300,000 euros.

``The numbers feel better than we feared,'' said London and Zurich gallery owner Iwan Wirth. ``We've seen plenty of Americans. The crisis didn't make them stay away.''


Here are a few more Frieze stories we found...

A Soft Landing at Frieze?

            Sales picked up as buyers relaxed.

New Sobriety at a Slowed-Down Frieze

You can’t quite hear a pin drop, but thanks to colossal global gyrations in the financial markets, the 2008 Frieze Art Fair is decidedly quieter and less frenetic than previous editions, with art commerce slowed to a more old-fashioned pace.

Curator's Voice: Neville Wakefield on Frieze Projects

At an event that’s all about making money, even Frieze’s not-for-sale section, the curated Frieze Projects, tends to engage the commercial rationale of the fair, often in provocative ways.

October 08, 2008

Phillips de Pury sells the company to the Russians!

In yesterday's news wire we heard the auction house, Phillips de Pury & Co has sold itself Majmoscow_wideweb to theRussians! The new owner will be The Mercury Group of Moscow.

Mercury is a luxury department store owner in Russia.

Here's the details of the story..from Bloomberg News.

Congrats to Phillip's Simon de Pury  for selling out at the top of the market.... !

We guess.. the Russians are not just buying our American Contemporary Art.. but now they are buying an entire art auction house!

It will be interesting to see with a new deep pocket owner, if Phillips tries to expand and take market share away from Christies, and Sothebys... Hey... Now.. maybe a good time to cut those crazy buyer premiums !!


Russia's Mercury Group Buys London Art Company Phillips de Pury

2008-10-06 15:05:45.990 GMT   By John Varoli

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Moscow-based Mercury Group has bought control of Phillips de Pury & Company, the New York and London- based auction house said today in an e-mailed statement.

Phillips's founder and chairman, Simon de Pury, retains his position and stake in the company as part of what the e-mailed news release calls ``a strategic partnership.''

``We have seen tremendous growth in the company over the last four years,'' said De Pury in the statement. ``This partnership with a major player in the luxury sector will allow us to provide a unique platform to new and fast-growing markets.

Russia has clearly emerged as an important art market.''

Phillips said in the statement that its contemporary-art sales rose 80 percent in the first half of 2008 compared with the same period in 2007. Besides auctions, Phillips conducts private sales, selling exhibitions, and helps clients build collections.

Mercury owns the TSUM department store in downtown Moscow, and the Barvikha Luxury Village in a Moscow suburb. Its shops sell brands such as Gucci, Prada, Giorgio Armani and Rolex. It also has showrooms for Ferrari, Maserati and Bentley cars.

In October 2007, the Luxury Village hosted the first contemporary-art exhibition in Russia by Gagosian Gallery, the art world's global leader in exhibition space.

``For us, particularly, it represents a substantially expanded capital base,'' said Ariel Childs, spokeswoman for Phillips de Pury, in a telephone interview. ``It means we can grow. It's an added level of support that we are very pleased to have. I would expect that we'll be holding sales in Moscow. We will keep our focus on contemporary art and design and the core business values will remain.''

October 01, 2008

A little Wall Street Investment Banking Humor... It's been a difficult week!


New Flag Art Foundation Show, WALL ROCKETS, opens this FRIDAY.

The FLAG Art Foundation invites you to the first public viewing of
WALL ROCKETS: Contemporary Artists and Ed Ruscha on
FRIDAY OCTOBER 3 FROM 11AM TO 3P... MAO will be there!

WALL ROCKETS, Contemporary Artist and Ed Ruscha, Curated by Lisa Dennison

Ed_Ruscha_Wall-Rockets The FLAG Art Foundation is pleased to announce our third exhibition, WALL ROCKETS: Contemporary Artists and Ed Ruscha, curated by Lisa Dennison. The exhibition will include works by a large number of international artistswhose artworks, whether directly or indirectly, have been influenced or inspired by Ed Ruscha's iconic style. (Photo #1, Ed Ruscha, WALL ROCKETS, 2000, oil on canvas, 64" x 72 1/2")

Many of the MAO readers don't know the FLAG Art Foundation yet.. but let's just say... it's about time NYC had something Much BETTER than like the Miami Rubell Family Collection, or the Margulies Warehouse collection.


Amy Adler
Noriko Ambe
Kamrooz Aram
Tonico Lemos Auad
Conrad Bakker
John Baldessari
Jeremy Blake
Mark Bradford
Delia Brown
Jeff Burton
Peter Cain
Ingrid Calame
Peter Coffin
George Condo
Will Cotton
Jennifer Dalton
Thomas Demand
Amie Dicke
Iris van Dongen
Sante D'Orazio
James Esber
Dan Fischer
Tom Friedman
Barnaby Furnas
Francesca Gabbiani
 Kendell Geers
Ewan Gibbs
Joe Goode
Joseph Grigely & Amy Vogel
Nir Hod
Jim Hodges
Dennis Hopper
Roni Horn
Barbara Kruger
Cary Kwok
Inez Van Lamsweerde
Louise Lawler
Robert Lazzarini
Graham Little
Mads Lynnerup
Marco Maggi
Florian Maier-Aichen
Robert Mapplethorpe
Christian Marclay
McDermott & McGough
Jean Luc Moerman
Paul Morrison
Richard Patterson
Richard Pettibone
Richard Phillips
 Richard Prince
Alessandro Raho
Charles Ray
Ugo Rondinone
Danna Ruscha
Ed Ruscha
Eddie Ruscha
Tom Sachs
Thomas Scheibitz
Michael Scoggins
Ken Solomon
Billy Sullivan
Juergen Teller
Yuken Teruya
Robert Therrien
Fred Tomaselli
Jim Torok
Rosemarie Trockel
Keith Tyson
Aya Uekawa
Julia Venske & Gregor Spanle
Mark Wagner
Lawrence Weiner
Terry Winters

The show is accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue featuring essays by Lisa Dennison and James Frey and an interview with Ed Ruscha by Bill Powers.

The FLAG Art Foundation is located in theChelsea Arts Tower at 545 West 25th Street, 9th floor.

For further information, visit their website:

September 26, 2008

Lehman CEO's wife to sell $20 Million in Art....

Kathy Fuld, the wife of bankrupt Lehman Brothers CEO, Dick Fuld, is selling her Abstract Expressionist drawings at Christies in November.

It is just one of many examples, why the fate of the Art Market, and Wall Street are so closely linked.

Matsue_Cell40 MAO sadly has attended some very empty NYC art Charity events the last few weeks, one where the live auction was abruptly canceled due to the high potential for total embarrassment limited bidders.

As the Winkleman appointed reluctant leader of the Art Market Death Toll Cheerleaders, we unfortunately welcome our readers to the US Art Recession of 2008.

(Photo #1, by Taiji Matsue, Cell Photo 40EDI 2008, 19" x 19", 2008, edition of 5, c-print)

Here's the details of the Fuld story... from Lindsay Pollock of Bloomberg news.


Kathy Fuld, Wife of Lehman CEO, to Sell $20 Million of Artworks

2008-09-26 04:57:30.740 GMT By Lindsay Pollock

Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Kathy Fuld, the art-collecting wife of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Officer Richard Fuld, is selling a $20 million set of rare Abstract Expressionist drawings at a November auction, according to two art dealers.

Christie's International, which is offering the works in New York on Nov. 12, declined to reveal the seller's identity. The auction house announced the sale of the drawings, including three by Willem de Kooning, four days after Lehman filed the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history on Sept. 15. Two New York-based dealers who specialize in similar works said Fuld is the seller. They declined to be named.

``These kinds of drawings are extremely rare,'' said Amy Cappellazzo, co-head of Christie's Postwar and contemporary art department. ``The collector considers drawing as a primary art form.''

Richard Fuld earned $34.4 million in 2007 running the fourth-largest U.S. investment bank -- pay that lawyers said may be the target of lawsuits by creditors. He sold Lehman shares that were worth $247 million a year and a half ago for less than $500,000 last week after the stock price collapsed.

The Christie's auction includes the de Koonings, five Barnett Newmans, four Arshile Gorkys and four Agnes Martins. De Kooning's kinetic orange-haired 1951 ``Woman'' in graphite, charcoal, pastel and oil on paper is expected to fetch as much as $4 million.

The collection was assembled over a number of years, according to Cappellazzo, who said the seller first approached Christie's and rival Sotheby's about an auction in the summer.

Christie's completed the deal in August, she said. Fuld is well known in the art world for her passion for works on paper.

High-Level Buyer

``She buys at the highest level,'' said New York dealer Joan Washburn. ``If you have a great drawing, you offer it to her.''

Fuld is vice-chairman of the board of trustees at New York's Museum of Modern Art and has promised a number of artworks to the museum including works by Jasper Johns and Louise Bourgeois.

Phone calls and emails to the press offices of Lehman and MoMA seeking comment from Fuld were unanswered.

Among the drawings slated for sale is a 1946-47 Gorky drawing titled ``Study for Agony I,'' estimated to sell for up to

$2.8 million. The drawing is a study for ``Agony,'' a 1947 red and brown abstract painting owned by MoMA.

Newman's 1960 black-and-white ink-on-paper ``Untitled'' is expected to fetch up to $2 million. The same work sold at Sotheby's in New York in 1997 for $244,500, according to the Artnet pricing database. Billionaire Ronald Lauder is listed among prior owners in the 2004 Yale University Press ``Barnett Newman: a Catalogue Raisonne,'' a directory of the artist's output.

The Fulds lent two other Newmans to the artist's 2002 retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, curated by Ann Temkin, who was recently named MoMA's chief curator.

Larger Collection

Dealers say the works at auction are a small part of a larger collection which also includes contemporary artists such as Brice Marden. A New York dealer said a Jackson Pollock drawing owned by Fuld was offered for sale this summer at the Art Basel art fair held in June in Switzerland.

Since the Lehman collapse, Kathy Fuld has kept up her public appearances. Guests noticed her on Tuesday night at a farewell cocktail party at MoMA for retiring curator Kynaston McShine.

September 23, 2008

Artist Tara Donovan wins MacArthur Foundation Genius Award

Artist Tara Donovan wins the MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, story in today's New York Times.

Tara_Donovan-UntInk Life could not be better for artist Tara Donovan, her new retrospective is opening up at the wonderful

Boston ICA in just a few weeks.. and Today, she is one of the only visual fine artists to join in winning the $500,000 MacArthur Genius award. Congrats Tara!

(photo #1, Tara Donovan, Untitled, 2003,Ink on Paper, 6'H x 4' 11"W)

We've long been a fan of Tara's obsessive art work. Hello... of course!!

Tara_Danovan-UntCupsLABut, from the immediate OMG impact everyone has when first seeing her work, to the thoughtful attention to detail you come to appreciate once you spend some time with her creations... MAO thinks you will fall in total love with Tara Donovan's work.

(Photo #2, Tara Donovan, Untitled, 2003, Styrofoam Cups, Hot Glue, Dimensions Variable)

If you don't know Tara's work.. you really need to! There's a reason why she won the GENIUS AWARD!

Check her work out the ACE Gallery Website.

Luckily, Monacelli Press has published a major new retrospective catalog for the show. A beautiful book, and it really illustrates how deep the breath of Tara's art work really has become. FYI, The Strand has them for only $35

Also for all you signed book junkies collectors, on November 12th, Tara Donovan and Lawrence Weschler will be appearing for a discussion about her work at Strand Books in NYC from 7 to 8:30pm.

Sadly.. while the show will be traveling to 4 museum in the USA, it will not be coming to any of the NYC museums. Like, don't they know NYC is the center of the contemporary art universe?

Our Loss!! MAO might actually have to get on a damn plane to go see this show!

September 11, 2008

MAO Art Buy of the Month - Edward Burtynsky at Blind Spot !

MAO Art Buy of the Month - Edward Burtynsky at Blind Spot !

OK... my little better act quick..cause these will be sold out in a few days or maybe even hours.

Click here.. but you have to click the right arrow a few times to find it..

 BurtynskyRefne Edward Burtynsky

Oil Refineries, No 22, Saint John,

New Brunswick, 1999


Digital c-Print

16 x 20

Edition of 15

These were just posted a few minutes ago..and MAO already bought 4 !

(And NO..!! MAO didn't buy 4 of these Burtynsky prints.. but 4 from the new set of Bind Spot's 15th Anniversary Editions )

They also have totally amazing new prints from Stephen Shore, Roe Ethridge, Alec Soth, Richard Misrach, James Welling , Larry Sultan, and Katy Grannan in the 15th Anniversary Editions.. all at super deals, many at $900.  Even in this crashing US economy, These editions will not last long, so get them fast!!

September 02, 2008

David Humphrey and Sam Reveles work coming up at the DPA re:FORM Art Auction

David Humphrey and Sam Reveles work coming up at the DPA re:FORM Art Charity Auction.

The big charity auction is tomorrow, Wednesday, September 3rd at Cheim and Read Gallery from 6 to 9pm.  Buy your tickets here.

There's still time to get your tickets, and place absentee bids for the great works they have up for sale.

Check out the 55 amazing items up for auction.. including significant work by artist Andres Serrano, Josh Azzarella, Kara Walker, Fred Tomaselli,  Donald Baechler, Louise Lawler, and Julie Mehretu that MAO didn't get a chance to blog about!

But, two additional works we want to bring to the MAO readers attention to are by 2 our of our favorite artists who you might not know well.

HumphreyDavid_Alone The first is a whimsical painting by Sikkema Jenkins & Co. artist, David Humphrey.

We've always been impressed with David's provocative work.

His surreal paintings remind you of Koons, and Kenny Scharf but with an energized  style all his own.

David's works are in some super impressive collections, such as the NY Metropolitan Museum, and the Boston Museum of Fine Art.

(Photo #1, by David Humphrey,

Alone in the Tropics, 2006, Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 inches

Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, $2,800)

The Second work is by CRG artist, Sam Reveles. Sam's paintings are full of energy and motion. Your eyes can't help but be excited with his explosions of color and depth in many of his art work. MAO frequently thinks of them as Brice Marden paintings on speed!  Sam's last exhibition this year at CRG was a total sensory overload.

RevelesSam_wilderness_study Sam's work is also in some amazing museums, including The Whitney, The Saint Louis Art Museum, and the Dallas Museum of Art. 

(Photo #2, by Sam Reveles, Wilderness Study #9, 2006, Gouache and pencil on paper, 22 3/4 x 30 1/8 inches,  Courtesy of the artist and CRG Gallery , New York )

So MAO hopes to see you all at the event..

Please say hi. With all these generous artist donations it should be a great night!

August 29, 2008

A Tsunami of Damien Hirst Art Works....

It's not just a flood of Damien Hirst art's the Katrina of the Art World!

There are several reports out that his art dealers are already choking on having trouble "selectively placing" tons of unsold art works by Damien Hirst.

Plus.. Let us not forget, the famous 100 million dollar folly diamond skull was never sold.

Like lambs (or sheep) to the slaughter, Now, Sotheby's is also holding a 100% Damien Hirst art selling marathon in mid September at their London Offices.

Damien_Hirst_TheBlack_sheep Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, a major auction of works by Damien Hirst, will include an important series of new pieces which have been created over the past two years, including monumental formaldehyde sculptures; paintings which expand on the artist's classic themes such as butterflies, cancer cells and pills; exquisite new cabinets and insightful preparatory drawings.

56 Lots on September 15th at night.

Lots 101 to 180on September 16th in the morning

Lots 201 - 287on September 16th in the afternoon.

(Photo #1, Lot 9, Damien Hirst, 1965 The Black Sheep with The Golden Horn, Executed in 2008, sheep, 18 carat gold, glass, steel, acrylic, silicone and formaldehyde solution, 43 x 64 x 25", price est 2 - 3 Million Pounds Sterling..about $4 million USD)

Sheeps, Sharks, Butterflies, Pills, pok-a-dots..etc.. you name it.. there's at least one or 2 of freshly made Hirst works for sale... so much for scarcity! I guess Damien's army of art "collaborative artists" have been very busy make his art to sell.

If MAO was rich enough to be, stupid enough to be, fortunate enough to be a collector of Damien Hirst works... we would be very worried!  It looks like this auction may become the watershed Big Fall benchmark event for the contemporary art world.

August 23, 2008

Jeremy Kost's photo of Amanda Lepore at the DPA re:Form Charity Auction

We at MAO just love Jeremy Kost's new photo of Amanda Lepore which will be at the DPA re:Form Charity Auction on September 3rd.

The DPA has managed to get quite an impressive list of amazing art donations.  But one that stood out from the pack was Jeremy's boobolicious photo of Amanda Lepore.  Amanda is the self proclaimed Number 1 Transsexual in the world, she is a walking piece of plastic ass performance art.

Amanda de Milo

(Photo #1, Jeremy Kost, "Amanda de Milo", 2008, 33" x 24", injket on paper, edition of 5)

This work, a digital print is made from 3 collaged and enlarged Polaroids,it addresses issues of Objectification, Celebrity, Beauty and Sexuality.  The fabulous print, clearly and suggestively references the 1970's work of Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe and David Hockney.  Kost lets the viewer get a peek into his underworld of the exclusive and subversive NYC club kid scene.

Much of Jeremy Kost's artwork borders on intense voyeurism. Like Nan Goldin (insider-as-diarist), he documents his nightlife activities, following around the tragic Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan hip celebrities types of the moment trying their best to be fabulous.

Most recently Jeremy has focused his Polaroid camera on steamy hot young hookers, entrepreneurs,would be models beautiful boys. Where he has been deconstructing them into pure objects of beauty and sexuality. Checkout his recent hot hot hot Fawbush edition.

You can also see more of Jeremy Kost's work at his DC gallery Conner Contemporary, and his own artist website.

MAO had a chance to catch up and ask this hot up and coming artist a few questions..

MAO Q : Why photo's of Celebrities? Club kids, Drag Queens, hustlers/boys

JK : Well, I think that they all relate to each other... My work really started with the East Village (tranny, drag queen, go-go boy) work and transcended to Celebrities, Boys, and international work (a la Thailand)... To me they all build subtle narratives without being so direct, and I think they also all speak to different notions of celebrity... the  boys are a little different b/c they speak to ideas of intimacy, vulnerability, and so forth... the series of boys is really inspired quite a bit by Mapplethorpe, Warhol, and Pierson to be honest...

MAO Q : Where did you take this photo? When?

JK : It was in a dressing room at the old Boys Room.. I'd guess about 7 months ago maybe...

MAO Q : Why is it in 3 parts? Is one polaroid not big enough for Amanda?

JK : Well, I had been making these photographs of boys for my "Total Package" edition to coincide with my show at Colette in Paris... I was shooting 6 polaroids (3 from the front and 3 from the back).  When one thinks about plastic surgery, the connotation of cutting and reassembling flesh is fairly apparent...   I titled it "Amanda de Milo" b/c for some reason, well, I thought the posture reminded me of Venus in a very twisted downtown NYC way

MAO Q : How does this work fit into your body of work?

JK : It sort of ties a few different things together.... Amanda is well represented in my "downtown NYC work" for sure... how could she not be?  As I continue the development of these Hockney and Mapplethorpe inspired collage works, which are scanned and then printed much larger as inkjet on paper prints, currently in an edition of 5... as they get MUCH larger, I think the edition size will decrease significantly.

Amanda de Milo!! What an exciting artwork for the Drug Policy Alliance! Thanks Jeremy for the generous donation.

So, If you've not bought your tickets to the DPA's re:FORM art charity auction..get them quick before the event sells out. Go Here to Buy your ticket.

August 22, 2008

Did you know.. AMAZON bought ?

So. we're not sure how we missed this story.. but today we found out that our favorite rare book bought by a few weeks ago.

We've used and loved the Victoria, British Columbia based for years.

By the way.. ABE stands for "Advanced Book Exchange", which was the initial name of the website.

Thomas_allen_Knockout_06 So it will be interesting to see how the new  monster owner changes the little

Here's the story from Buys AbeBooks to Offer More Rare Books (Update2)

2008-08-01 20:13:52.340 GMT

By Michael J. Moore

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Inc., the world's largest Internet retailer, agreed to purchase AbeBooks to expand its selection of rare books.

AbeBooks lists used, rare and out-of-print volumes for independent booksellers, said today in a statement without specifying the value of the transaction. The deal should be completed by the end of 2008, the Seattle-based company said., which got its start selling primarily books on the Internet, has been expanding into new areas. It bought online sewing-supplies retailer in June and purchased Audible Inc., which sells audio versions of books and newspapers, in March. Talk Market, a shopping channel, said made an equity investment in the company in May. fell 59 cents to $75.75 at 4:10 p.m. in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. The shares have fallen 18 percent this year.

For Related News:

Stories about Amazon: AMZN US CN

--Editors: Andrea Snyder, Pete Young

It's been  traggic sad in NYC to see all our favorite small private thoughtful bookshops close..and to see the spread of the huge bland mall-like Barnes and Noble/Starbucks take over.

 (photo by Thomas Allen, Knockout, 2006, 24 x 20, c-print)

Now it's happening on the Internet.


August 21, 2008

Work by Ryan Humphrey at the DPA re:FORM art auction

Work by Ryan Humphrey at the DPA re:FORM art auction.

So we're going to continue to highlight some of the exceptional items artists donated to the DPA's re:FORM art auction on September 3rd at Cheim and Read Gallery.. If you missed our last post on the donation by Andy Diaz Hope..check it out. Don't forget to get your tickets now.. right here!

Ryan_Humphrey_Axe Today's focus is on artist Ryan Humphrey and his cool AX..

You may know his work from the hot hot hot cutting edge DCKT Contemporary Galleryon the Lower East Side.. where Ryan has his next  new solo show opening on September 18th.

Or you couch potatoes may know Ryan from his TV appearance on the Bravo show Top Design (Season 1) last year. Ryan didn't win.. but he certainly added to the reality TV Drama.

Recently Ryan has completed a big commission for The Progressive Corporation ( where he turned a John Deere riding tractor into a mini big-rig for a campaign.

He's been in a bunch of group shows including Five by Five: Contemporary Artists on Contemporary Art at The Whitney, a Touring group show- "Boys Will be Boys" curated by Shamim Momin

Plus, Ryan has had a solo show at the Kemper Museum of Fine Art curated by Elizabeth Dunbar

Here's a few questions we got to ask Ryan about his generous donation. (photo #1, Ryan Humphrey, Ax, 2008, Wood, steel, and enamel, 36 x 7x 1.5")

Q : Tell me a bit about your donation ?

The axe is painted to look like Eddie Van Halen's guitar.  This technique of layering tape and spray paint is a sort of personal folk art that he came up so that he would stand out on stage. 

 I see this technique as being visually symbolic for the will and desire to be outstanding and innovative. I do a couple of objects every year or so with this pattern, the same way Duchamp would release a couple of readymade's every year.

Q : Why did you make this Ax ?

I've done everything from a rotary phone, to a Saarinen chair, to a BMW hood.  I chose the axe for several reasons.  Firstly, guitars are often called axes, secondly I like that it is utilitarian tool that has nothing to do with music but still alludes to a particular lifestyle and thirdly it can be seen as potentially violent. Thousands of law enforcement agents die each year at the hands Marijuana drug cartels in Mexico.  At least if it were legalized it could be regulated.  Think of it as a prop from a Quentin Tarentino film.

Thanks Ryan for such a thoughtful donation.. perfect for DPA! And certainly it's a work of art that any fireman or  ax murderer collector would be proud to have in their collection.

August 19, 2008

Ryan James MacFarland, a young photographer worth checking out

Ryan James MacFarland, a young photographer worth checking out.

Ryan_James_macfarland If you like the work of Ryan McGinley or even 2008 Whitney Biennial star Melanie Schiff, you should take a look at the work of this still wet behind the lens recent NYU graduate.

Ryan James MacFarland has a small solo show up at the tiny emerging  MERGE gallery on west 20th street.

And you can see more of his work on this website.

This 2006 graduate, Ryan James MacFarland, worked briefly for photographer Ryan McGinley, and you can see he learned quite a bit from his boss. His use of light, water and his focus on today's youth culture lifestyle is all somewhat similar to McGinley's.

(Photo #1, Ryan James MacFarland, Suspended, 36 x 24, c-print)

Ryan_James_MacFarland_gaelan2 The works in the show range in size from 36" x 20" to small 8" x 10".. it's nice to see a photographer not caught up in the bigger is better circus. It's also nice to see a young photographer's work priced accordingly.. some of these images start as cheap as $350.

(Photo #2, Ryan James MacFarland, Greece, c-print)

The show, titled, "almost", is at Merge Gallery and is running from July 17 through August 30, 2008.

If you have some time to spend in Chelsea.. it's worth checking out.

August 15, 2008

Doug Keyes photography book, Collective Memory

Doug Keyes, Collective Memory is a must have for all those smart obsessed photobook collectors.  

Doug_keyes_collective_Memorry It just came out a few days ago from Decode Books, and is already selling out. It's a small book, but packs an powerful punch. We just got our copy in the mail yesterday, and it's already one we've gone back to several times. Amazon was already sold out.. but you can get a copy here.

It's Doug's first monograph with an essay by Sheryl Conkelton. Here's the description from Amazon..

Doug Keyes's photographs investigate the ways that knowledge stacks upon itself over time, leaving an impression or "collective memory.' In his first monograph, Collective Doug_Keyes_BecherWaterTowers Memory, Keyes's luminous color images of books literally reveal and sometimes conceal this stacking by capturing through multiple exposure the experience of reading the book. The resulting single image is a condensed document of the experience, the ideas contained within, and the physical identity of the book itself. The books Keyes chooses to photograph from art books and works of fiction, to poetry books and books on scientific theory hold personal meaning or remembrance for him and become sites to revisit. Keyes's photographs in fact make visible the pleasure of leafing through a text and the memory of that experience.

(photo #2, Doug Keyes, Bernd and Hilla Becher Water Towers, dye coupler print)

Doug_Keyes_Donald_Judd_colorist_01 We first saw his work at The Foley Gallery in Chelsea.. but this book project is his best work to date.

(photo #3, Doug Keyes, Donald Judd Colorist, 2001, dye coupler print, 15 x 25")

A must have for any photobook library.

August 12, 2008

Andy Diaz Hope artwork at the DPA re:FORM Charity Auction

Andy Diaz Hope artwork at the Drug Policy Alliance re:FORM art Auction, September 3rd.

Since we at MAO love the DPA, and think the re:FORM event is going to be an ART night not to be missed

(get your tickets here)

We at MAO were going to highlight a few of the amazing and generous artist donations over the next few weeks.

The first one.. is from artist Andy Diaz Hope.

Andy_Diaz_Hope_Fuck_You_Im_A_Model It's a photographic portrait which has been obsessively meticulously encased in small individual drug capsules.

Title : "Fuck you, I'm a Model"  2006
C-prints, U.V. coated gel capsules, artist frame
edition 2/3 size : 15" x 18" x 0.5"

Courtesy of the artist, Catherine Clark Gallery, San Francisco and Schroeder Romero, New York | Estimated retail value: $4,900

Here's a brief description from the artist :

The photo was taken on Nov. 1st, 2005.  The woman in the photo was still wearing part of her costume from the night before when she had been Kate Moss, with a baby doll and a big bag of flour representing another less legal substance.  Over the course of the evening, she sprinkled powder over everyone and replied to their protests with "Fuck you. I'm a model!"  Eventually she lost the baby and was seen wandering the party looking for it.

The work is from Andy's "Morning After Series" which is included in the permanent collection of the NY MoMA think BIG MONEY!. The morning after portraits are portraits of people in front of their medicine cabinets or in their local pharmacies with hangovers, migraines, morning sickness and other maladies self-inflicted or bestowed by nature.  The project began as the artists attempt to represent how, through pharmaceutical and recreational  drugs, we have moved beyond merely representing our natural heredity to representing our natural heredity +/- our drug intake used to modify, improve or forget parts of our heredity we're not so fond of.

When MAO asked the artist.. why These "Morning After" Portraits ?

Andy said.. In hindsight, I think the "morning after portraits" began as a  reaction at a time in my life where several close friends had crossed the line in their drug usage and began to have serious problems.  At the same time, a friend suffering from depression went to a psychiatrist to talk about it and instead received a 4 page questionnaire and a prescription for anti-depressants.

Clearly.. the work from this artist is perfect for a DPA charity event.. 

Here's a note from the artist's website :

The series looks behind the mirror to expose the inner workings of our medicine cabinets and our relationship to them as our doctor, psychologist, cosmetician and spiritual healer. It appeals to the viewer’s voyeuristic desire to look inside another’s hidden cabinet of frailties and insecurities. To see another’s vulnerabilities through the medicines they take strips away that person’s invincibility while bolstering one’s own.

We find these portraits thoughtful, powerful, and images with important social context for our time. Andy's work will also be included in the inaugaral exhibition of the Museum of Art and Design in NYC this fall, so we're lucky glad one is already in the MAO family art collection.

Thanks Andy for such a generous donation. 

August 01, 2008

The Life of a successful artist... Jennifer Bartlett

The Life of a successful artist... Jennifer Bartlett

Jennifer-bartlett_house_dots_Hatches We've always loved the work of contemporary artist Jennifer Bartlett. We've written about her several times, Here, and here. (Photo #1, by Jennifer Bartlett, House: Dots, Hatches, 1999, print, 38 x 38")

In today's Wall Street Journal, there was a somewhat revealing story, of how good life can be, when you're a rich over hyped successful contemporary artist.

By living in NYC, and being an active collector, we've been lucky enough to know several artists. Sadly none of the artists we know live this large!

But we wonder, do stories like this totally shatter that image of the starving tortured artist doing everything for the love and devotion of their art work? 

Well...We guess times have been too very good for over hyped successful contemporary artists. Sadly, MAO aka..debbie downer would guess, things are probably not staying this good for most successful artists for much longer. As Bob Dylan once said...The Times.. they are a-changing !

Here's the story that was in the paper...

Artist Bartlett Sells NYC Townhouse for $17 Million 2008-07-30 22:06:24.170 (New York)

By Laura Marcinek

July 30 (Bloomberg) -- Jennifer Bartlett, a realist painter whose work is in the collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art, sold her townhouse in Manhattan's West Village for $17 million, according to public records.

The five-bedroom home at 134 Charles St. has 12,800 square feet of interior space and 2,500 square feet of multilevel gardens and terraces, according to its listing on Sotheby's International Realty's Web site. The house also has an indoor lap pool, wood- burning fireplaces and views of the Hudson River.

Built as a warehouse in 1911, the building is the former residence and art gallery of Walter P. Chrysler Jr., according to Sotheby's. Chrysler, the son of the founder of the Detroit automaker, was an art collector and theater producer and founded Air-Temp, the first manufacturer of automotive air conditioning.

Bartlett bought the building in 1989 and redesigned it into living space, offices and studios, Sotheby's said.

The townhouse was listed in May 2007 for $17.9 million, according to, an online real estate listing service. In September 2007 the price was lowered to $17.5 million.

The price was increased in January to $19.5 million.

Roberta Golubock, the Sotheby's broker for the property, would not comment on the sale or the buyer, who was listed as 134 Charles Street LLC. She said the information listed on is not related to the listing on Sotheby's Web site.

`Post-Minimalist Style'

Bartlett is a realist painter with a post-minimalist style who is known for her landscapes and interiors. She made her mark in the 1970s along with artists such as Elizabeth Murray, Richard Serra and Chuck Close.

The highest price her work achieved at auction was the $176,000 paid in 1991 for a 1978 wall-sized canvas-and-steel-plate painting titled ``At the Lake,'' sold by collector and art investor Charles Saatchi at Sotheby's in New York.

That work is currently for sale by the buyer, a private collector from Texas, at the New York- and Chicago-based Richard Gray Gallery for $385,000, said gallery director Paul Gray.

Bartlett's work usually sells for $100,000 to $200,000 and her highest private sale was about $500,000, Gray said.

The deed for the townhouse sale was posted today on the New York City Department of Finance Web site. Bartlett was not immediately available for comment, said her assistant, Joan LiPuma.

July 29, 2008

Scope Hampton 2008.... We went.. We saw.. Here's what we liked.

SCOPE Hamptons 2008.. Yes...MAO and our many MAO-ettes were the only one there, on Saturday morning!

Most of the art dealers looked totally hungover tired from the big party the night before, but the fair was much better than we had expected. The booths looked great, there were no silly crowds of stupid people blindly buying everything, but sales were most certainly being made. We even saw some red dots!

The art at the fair was a bit uneven at best .. but there were a few MAO standouts..

1. The work of young conceptual artist, Vincent Como.

We first read about this artist on Brian Sherwin's Art Blog.

We just loved, Vincent's sold cube cast of black ink.. plus his many ink drawings.

(photo #1 Vincent Como, 4.5 Cubic in. "Volume of the Inside of My Head", 4.5x4.5x4.5 in, Cast Sumi Ink )

VincentComo at DC gallery...

2. Always a MAO favorite, Chicago gallery Carrie Secrist was at Scope

Of course they had the silly huge swirling glass pool of fluid by artist Petroc Dragon Sesti.

But, also got to meet photographer, Kim Keever. His staged fish tank photos look just like beautiful Hudson School paintings. Amazing!

(Photo #2, Kim Keever, Fallen Tree, 2005, 47 x 71",c-print)  

Kim_Keever_falletree3. We got to meet and liked the work of local hampton's artist Jeff Muhs

 at the McNeill Art Group Jeffmuhs

(Photo #3, Jeff Muhs, things that Steve gave me, Nan's Minks, 2008, cement 11 x 12 x 32")

4. We liked Andrea Cote performance based photos, at PanAmerican Art Projects.

She uses her own hair to paint and perform.Andrea Cote

(Photo # 4, Andrea Cote, self portrait,

Drawing the Body Series, digital-print)

Gerald_forster_Nocturnal11 5. Gerald Forster at a new gallery, hous projects from NYC

These night time photo's will bring out the viewer in you!

(Photo #5, Gerald Forster, Nocturnal #11, 2006, c-print)

6. And lastly,

We just love all the drawings by Michael Bilsborough at the Salomon Contemporary gallery from East Hampton.

Sadly, They only had one Michael Bilsborough drawing at the fair, but we got to see his entire show, "The Eternally Obvious" at their big warehouse space on Michael_bilsborough_drawingSunday afternoon. It is most certianly worth a stop if you're in the Hamptons this summer.

(Photo #6, Michael Bilsborough, "Smiling Through", 2008, ink on paper)

July 24, 2008

Save the Date.. re:FORM Charity Art Auction for the Drug Policy Alliance

re:FORM Art Auction & Cocktail Reception
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
6:00pm -- 9:00pm
Cheim & Read gallery
547 West 25th St .
New York , NY   10001

Event More  Details here : re:Form event website

Re_form_DPA The Drug Policy Alliance art event in 2005 was an amazing art night... this biennial event..promises to be even bigger and better.

re:FORM is about more than just the art. It's the best opportunity for the New York-area arts community to mix, mingle, be fabulous and support the work of Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)

For those clueless who don't know, the DPA seeks to promote alternatives to the drug war based on science, compassion, health and human rights.  This organization works locally, nationally, and internationally to protect our freedoms and ensure that our drug policies no longer arrest, incarcerate, disenfranchise and otherwise harm millions of nonviolent people.

Buy your tickets now -- it’s only $150 for a regular ticket and $100 for those aged 35 years and younger. All tickets will include entry to an after party being coordinated by their way cool Young Leadership Committee.

The night will honor Donald Baechler, Dr. Mathilde Krim and Fred Tomaselli.

Donations for the art auction are still coming in... but so far they have work generously donated by these amazing artists : 
Vito Acconci
Jesse Alpern
Josh Azzarella
Donald Baechler
Ross Bleckner
Fanny Bostrom
Kelie Bowman
Julia Chiang
Maxi Cohen
Julia Condon
Annabel Daou
Andy Diaz Hope
Judith Hudson
David Humphrey
Ryan Humphrey
Louise Lawler
Dan McCleary
Adam Ogilvie
Mike Quinn
Sam Reveles
Shelby Ross
Adam Stennett
Fred Tomaselli
Rhonda Tymeson
Lawrence Weiner
Eric White
Xawery Wolski
Rob Wynne

So you can see just from the preliminary list, it's going to be a great art charity auction.

And, FYI, As the event's official blog sponsor.. MAO will be posting several stories featuring some of the art items being put up for auction by these smart thoughtful generous artists.

So stay tuned my Little MAO-ettes..with the who's who of the NYC art world in attendance, this event is going to be one exciting night! So, Put September 3rd in your over booked social calendars now.

July 23, 2008

Last Opportunity to see the Chuck Close curated show at the FLAG Art Foundation

It's the last chance to see these 2 amazing shows at the FLAG Art Foundation. If you've not seen this yet... drop everything and go tomorrow!

Cindy_sherman_flag_foundation The FLAG Foundation is a great new undiscovered gem of the Chelsea Art world. The space is super impressive, and the art the entire Chuck Close "Attention To Detail" show was 100% curated out of the foundation's private collection.

(photo, by Cindy Sherman, Untitled #209, 1989, color coupler print in artist's frame, 58 x 42")

MAO was lucky enough to get to see these shows a few weeks ago..and we can't say enough positive things about them.

Here is their website with just a few of the works in the 2 shows

Here's some of the press release...

The FLAG Art Foundation invites you to the FINAL public viewing of "Attention to Detail" and "Drawn Together"


Thursday July 24th

from 11am to 2pm.

"Attention to Detail" curated by Chuck Close includes work by 50 different artists from the well known like Robert Gober, Gerhard Richter and Damien Hirst to younger artists like Ken Solomon, Cary Kwok and Tara Donovan.

"Drawn Together," on the 10th floor, features a 30 foot long work by Mark Bradford that has never been seen before in New York and multiple works by Dan Fischer, Ewan Gibbs, Jim Hodges, Ellsworth Kelly, Brice Marden, Richard Phillips and Charles Ray.

FLAG is located in the Chelsea Arts Tower at 545 West 25th Street, 9th floor.

Just let them know that MAO sent you.. and they will be sure to roll out the MAO red carpet for our dedicated Modern Art Obsessed readers.

July 22, 2008

A Photography Collector... Auction Secret...

A Photography Collector Auction Secret!!

OK.. My little MAO-ettes..There's a cool new photo auction up on IGAVEL.COM

Actually, We're almost hesitant to even tell people about this one.. cause our greedy self we would rather keep this gem all to ourself!! So if anyone sees MAO bidding.. You all have to promise, DON'T BID against MAO!! THANKS.

Herb_ritts_naomi_campbellSo..It's smaller than Sotheby's, Christies and Phillips but this up and coming photo auction is run by the almost too honest to be a NYC art dealer, a real photo professional, and ex-Sotheby's specialist Daniel Cooney Fine Art <>

This time Dan's put together a very high quality sale of 68 lots

Auction photo's include work by : Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Luis Gonzalez Palma, Herb Ritts, , Edward Steichen, Edward Curtis, Bert Stern, Todd Webb, George Tice, Helen Levitt, Wynn Bullock, Bruce Davidson, Brett Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Greg Gorman, Mona Kuhn, Candida Hofer, and John Dugdale just to name drop a few!

(Photo by Herb Ritts, Naomi Campbell, 1990, 20 x 16, signed, #15/25, Lot 1090553)

Wow!! That's one impressive list!! And many of them will sell for some really low prices.

Some of these lots have sweet low reserve levels, there's even several lots with starting bids of $200! There's also a few lots of hard to find photo books and vintage Aperture magazines... FYI...they are the next hot art collectible!!

So, you have a few (7) days left to go and inspect the lots before bidding.  They are all at a gallery in Chelsea :

Daniel Cooney Fine Art
                  511 West 25th Street
                  New York, NY 10001
                  212 255 8158
[email protected]

Oh.. and FYI.. if you meet Dan.. Please tell him Mike at MAO sent you.. I hear he gives all the smart MAO readers a special auction discount catalog!!

July 17, 2008

SCOPE Hamptons July 24-27, 2008... is anyone going?

SCOPE Hamptons July 24 - 27, 2008...

So what are the 2 biggest sports of the rich and fabulous out in the Hamptons...? Real Estate, and ART...

With stories around talking about how Hamptons Real Estate is falling like a stone... here's a sad story..

Download Hamptons_Real_Estate_08.rtf

Jill_greenberg_earth Who's going to go to SCOPE Hampton this year?

 Are the NYC rich over art faired?

(Photo by Jill Greenberg, Earth, 2005, archival pigment print)

Sadly... MAO was just looking through the SCOPE Hamptons Gallery Exhibitors list..

and it's not exactly the who's who of the contemporary art world...


July 09, 2008

David Wojnarowicz show at P.P.O.W. Gallery

History Keeps Me Awake at Night, A Genealogy of Wojnarowicz July 10th - August 2nd.

Sadly.. we're going to miss this opening.. but If you're in NYC on July 10th.. it's bound to be the best gallery group show of the summer season.

It's amazing to see which artists have all responded to David's work...

David_wojnarowicz_self_portrait The show includes... Wolfgang Tillmans, Zoe Strauss, Carrie Mae Weems, Michael Bilsborough, Ryan McGinley, and Mike Estabrook just to name a few contemporary greats!

Congrats to the super nice people at P.P.O.W. on a great show, and for keeping the memory of David Wojnarowicz alive!

Here's a part of the press release...

(photo, David Wojnarowicz in collaboration with Tom Warren
Portrait/Self Portrait of David Wojnarowicz
, 1983-85, mixed media, 60 x 40")

This show presents the work of a select group of contemporary artists that have been the beneficiaries of David Wojnarowicz’s art, writings, and voice.  Although it has been sixteen years since his death in 1992, the potency of David’s work and message still reverberates and affects those who come into contact with it.  None of these artists knew David Wojnarowicz personally but they all have work that is directly connected to him.  The work of these artists is uniquely theirs, but all of them are bound by the influence David has had on them, each in their own specific way. This is not a memorial, this is not a re-iteration or duplication, this is an exhibition that brings artists from different countries, backgrounds and aesthetics to a single space to show how the work and life of David Wojnarowicz continues to inform artists today.

On July 17th at 6-9pm.. there will also be a night of Film Screening and Readings by Zachary German, Amy King, Sara Marcus and Maz Steele.

July 05, 2008

July 4th... is such a drag!!!

Pines Invasion Full Bloom OK... Happy Holiday everyone!

The 4th of July means.. time for the Fire Island Pines Harbor Invasion Party.

Since our last post provoked such an avalanche of nasty comments..

We thought it best to keep it absolutely fabulous tragic lite today.

Here's  just a few photo's by my girl friend

Python from this years 2008 Fire Island Pines Invasion!

Boyz who would be Boyz BigGIRLS.. So LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

Photo #1 - Miss Full Bloom....

Last year we missed her coming out.. but in 2006 he she was Miss Poison Ivy..

You say clematis..

MAO says clitoris captivating!

Just don't let her anywhere near your garden!

Pines Invasion Betsy Ross Photo #2 - In honor of the death of Jesse Helms..

MAO presents.. Miss Betsy Ross in all her glory..


If nothing else..she's got patriotic spirit.. !!

Pines Invasion Dorothy Photo #3 - There's no place like home..!!

We present Dorthy and Big Gay Al...

The All Seeing, all knowing MAO says....  This boy girl..

has been somewhere over the rainbow and back again...or more like her face has seen 100 miles of bad yellow brick road!! least...

It's nice to see children getting exposed enlightened to the wonders of drag at an early age.

Pines Invasion Sunshines Photo #4 - The Sunshine Girls!

This was their finest hour ! One might say they gave new meaning to the term Old-Yella!

Art photography at it's worst best...

well..not exactly their golden hour..

Never before in the course of human events..has so much been owed by so many to so few ! Yikes!

Pines Invasion Dr Quiz Photo # 5 -  Tragic... Just Tragic!

Her mother must be so proud.

Happy July 4th.

July 03, 2008

Something to get excited about, Guggenheim's Catherine Opie Mid-Career Survey

Guggenheim's Catherine Opie Mid-Career Survey show to open in the fall!

We at MAO are very excited to see a major NYC museum FINALLY doing something risque a large scale cutting edge contemporary photography show. We just love love love Catherine Opie and her brilliant photography!!

This show also marks one of the first major museum shows by a living OUT female artist to ever be exhibited in NYC. It's about time!! Congrats Catherine!!

Catherine_Opie_Self_Portrait As they say... one picture is worth a thousand words...'s 2,000 at least !!

(Photo #1 by Catherine Opie, Self Portrait / Nursing, 2004, C-Print, edition of 8, 40 x 32 inches)

(Photo #2, by Catherine Opie; Self Portrait/Cutting, 1993; Chromogenic color print; 39 5/8 x 29 15/16 in.)

Here are all the details...We can't wait!!! 

Catherine Opie: American Photographer
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue, New York
On View: September 26, 2008 – January 7, 2009
Media Preview: September 25, 10AM - 12PM

Since the early 1990s, Catherine Opie has produced a complex body of photographic work, adopting such diverse genres as studio portraiture, landscape photography, and urban street photography to explore notions of communal, sexual, and cultural identity. From her early portraits of queer subcultures to her expansive urban landscapes, Opie has offered profound insights into the conditions in which communities form and the terms by which they are defined. All the while she has maintained a strict formal rigor, working in stark and provocative color as well as richly toned black and white. Influenced by social documentary photographers such as Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and August Sander, Opie underscores and elevates the poignant yet unsettling veracity of her subjects.

Catherine_Opie_self_portrait_cutting Catherine Opie: American Photographeris organized by Jennifer Blessing, Curator of Photography; with Nat Trotman, Assistant Curator.

This exhibition is supported by The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc.

The Guggenheim Museum gratefully acknowledges the Leadership Committee for Catherine Opie: American Photographer.

The exhibition will gather together significant examples from several of Opie’s most important series in a major mid-career survey. Though Opie’s photographs have been shown extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan—including one-person exhibitions at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut; Artpace, San Antonio; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California; St. Louis Art Museum; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Photographers’ Gallery, London—no single exhibition has yet offered an overview of her richly diverse artistic projects. Catherine Opie: American Photographer will serve to fill this void.

Opie first came to prominence with her Portraitsseries (1993–97), which celebrates the queer community in San Francisco and Los Angeles, including practitioners of drag, transgendered people, and performance artists. Set against brilliantly colored backgrounds, these figures confront the viewer with intense gazes, asserting their individuality and destabilizing conventional notions of gender. Opie describes these sitters, all of whom she knew personally, as her “royal family”; by adopting a style inspired by portraitists like the 16th-century German painter Hans Holbein, she offers an affirmative and even tender portrayal of a subculture often rendered invisible by dominant cultural norms.

Concurrently with the Portraits, in the mid-1990s Opie began to photograph urban landscapes throughout Los Angeles. Her first city series, Freeways (1994–95), pictures the city’s highways devoid of human presence, their sweeping slabs of concrete set against the sky. Nearly abstract and printed on an intimate scale, these photographs are nonetheless analogous to Opie’s portraits in their majesty. As documents of a primary aspect of daily travel in Los Angeles, the Freeways suggest that the strategies and structures intended to connect people can in fact divide them.

The Houses series (1995) continued Opie’s urban exploration through crisp, frontal views of Beverly Hills and Bel Air mansions that, like the Freeways, appear devoid of human presence. Yet each pristine façade retains as distinct a character as each of the friends Opie portrays—these houses structure and signify the community within which their occupants exist. Symbols of the archetypal “American Dream,” they are nonetheless armed with complex security systems, massive doors, and ornate gates, marking an entirely separate community, one closed off to the artist, the viewer, and the rest of the surrounding city.

Opie’s interests in portraiture and domestic architecture continued to develop, and began to merge, in her series Domestic(1995-98). Produced during a three-month trip across the country, these large-scale, color photographs document lesbian families engaged in everyday household activities, in settings varying from city apartments to country homes. Repositioning these unconventional families within the iconography of the classic American home, Opie envisions a more inclusive, complex image of the contemporary family. More recently, Opie has turned to her own domestic life in the series In and Around Home(2004–05), in which she photographs her own family and friends amidst the diverse cultural setting of her Los Angeles neighborhood.

Following the Freeways, Opie has continued to investigate the ways communities form and display themselves within urban settings, in an extended series of panoramic black-and-white photographs called American Cities(1997–present). Exploring the urban environments of Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Chicago, and St. Louis, among others, Opie reveals the variety of communities that exist within each city. For example, the Mini-Malls, the group of photographs that initiated American Cities, focuses insistently on the billboards, signs, and architectural elements that identify various ethnic and cultural groups in each eponymous setting. Characteristically, all the series’ photographs are emptied of human presence. With their romantic purity, each of the American Cities becomes an iconic, ideal platform for potential community interaction.

Ever seeking to diversify her artistic work, Opie has also turned away from the city, looking toward nature and the itinerant communities that exist upon it. In Icehouses(2001), she turns to the brightly painted structures built by ice fishers on frozen lakes in Minnesota. Viewed from afar, surrounded by an infinite vista of misty snow and atmosphere, the patchy assemblage of icehouses seems diminutive and immaterial. Similarly, the subjects of Surfers(2003) are virtually engulfed in the vast and gloomy shoreline of Malibu, where they watch and wait to be swept up by oncoming waves. Picturing their changing positions over the course of fourteen photographs, Opie presents a rich visual metaphor for the shifting and contingent nature of community itself, as it exists in any environment.

Catherine Opie: American Photographerwill be accompanied by a major publication, the first to gather all of Opie’s various projects in one volume. Each of the artist’s series will be reproduced in full color plates made under the artist’s supervision, including works beyond those displayed in the exhibition, in order to give the most complete overview of Opie’s work ever available. The catalogue will feature a lead essay by Jennifer Blessing, the Guggenheim’s Curator of Photography, which will survey Opie’s artistic career and its historical contexts, as well as a series of interviews with the artist by Russell Ferguson.

In addition, the museum has commissioned a brief personal reflection by internationally renowned novelist Dorothy Allison, whose work explores concerns similar to Opie’s. Finally, the catalogue will also include introductory essays on each of the artist's series by Nat Trotman, Assistant Curator at the Guggenheim, as well as a newly researched, exhaustive exhibition history and bibliography. Together, the exhibition and catalogue will prove to be the primary source for an understanding of Opie’s work, providing audiences with a valuable opportunity to examine firsthand the interconnections between the artists’ various styles and subjects.

July 02, 2008

Photograph Magazine.. takes notice of Photography Blogs

Photograph Magazine.. takes notice of Photography Blogs. It's about time!!

Photograph_Magazine_July_Aug_08 If you have not yet picked up your deadwood media copy of the July/August 2008 Photograph out and get it NOW!

FYI...For those who've never seen this small but cool magazine.. It's the holy bible for the totally art photography obsessed collectors.

This month, on page 6 "Eye on the Scene", writer Peggy Roalf gives a nice report on the most influential  photography blogs.

And, Yes... my little MAO-ettes... of course MAO is there... along with some of our long time favorite bloggers... Lisa Hunter, James Danziger, Jen Bekman, Zoe Strauss... and more... Congrats to everyone!

Or. If you're too cheap to buy the 5 dollar magazine... you can read the story here online... Eye On The Scene.July/August 2008.

(Photo, Photograph Magazine July/Aug 08 cover, Top by Ernest C. Withers, First Desegregated Bus Ride, Montgomery, Alabama, 1956

Middle by Bob Adelman, Box in Frank Robinson’s CORE Voter Registration Office, Sumter, South Carolina, 1962 

Bottom image by Dennis Brack, Garbagemen’s Parade, Memphis, Tennessee, 1968, all three photographs from the collection of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA )

A big MAO Thanks go out to Peggy Roalf, and Dan Cooney. You guys ROCK!!

June 26, 2008

Show me the Monet....!!

Claude Monet's Water Lilies painting, "Le Bassin aux Nympheas," sells for a record of $80.45 Million this week.

Monet_Le_Bassin_aux_nympheas_1919 (Photo # 1, Claude Monet, Le bassin aux nymphéas,

signed and dated 'Claude Monet 1919'

oil on canvas,

39½ x 79 1/8 in. )

OK.. so the art world is not totally crashing yet... and clearly quality is always in strong demand. Here's a story by Scott Reyburn about this Claude Monet Sale.

Download Monet_record_waterLilies.txt

But the real question is.. Do high end record sales like this one, translate in to higher prices for more "affordable" contemporary art?'s an interesting lot coming up in one huge Contemporary photography sale at Phillips in London on Monday, June 30.

 Lot 52.  Vik Muniz

Waterlilies, after Claude Monet (Pictures of Magazines, Still-life), 2004
Colour coupler print, flush-mounted to aluminium. 185.4 x 180.3 cm (73 x 71 in).  Signed and dated in ink, printed title, date and number 4/4 AP on a gallery label affixed to the reverse of the frame.

Vik_Muniz_Waterlilies_Monet_a Estimate... 12,000 - 18,000 Sterling, or

$24,000 - 36,000 US Dollars.

Here's the Phillips description about this lot :

Muniz works from the premise that art and popular culture strive to create the illusion of reality, whether of glamour, coherence or physical space, through suspension of disbelief. With gleeful perversity, he flings a monkey wrench into the gears of that verisimilitude, setting out to create, in his words, the worst possible illusion. He begins by using unexpected materials to re-create familiar, iconic images from art history and popular culture – paintings by Monet, Goya and Warhol, well-known photographs from Life magazine, images of film actors and characters. He then documents his re-creations in crisp, vibrant photographs.

So, If you didn't have a spare $80 million, and missed your chance to buy an original Monet painting...

Maybe you can still buy a much more hip cool contemporary photographic interpretation of it...

Here you little MAO-ettes..get your auction paddles ready!

So what do you think the final sale price for this beauty will be??

MAO's uneducated guess : $50,000

June 25, 2008

MAO Art Buy of the Month - photo by Hank Willis Thomas

MAO Art Buy of the Month - photo by Hank Willis Thomas. OK...My little greedy MAO-ettes..we have a deal for you!

Hank_Willis_Thomas_Branded_Chest_2003 So, some MAO readers may have seen this print already... but the nice people at Light Work just cut the price by 10%.

Branded Chest, 2003
Platinum print, 10 x 6.5"

Hank Willis Thomas $450.00 $405.00
Order your print on-line here

It was a great deal even at the original price.. but now it's that much better!

We've loved this young artists work ever since we first saw his show of the B®anded Series at the hot Jack Shainman Gallery in 2006. We at MAO, think this image is one of the most powerful works by Mr. Thomas. It's going to be iconic!

Additionally, the career of  Mr. Thomas is on the rise.. with recipient of the 2007 Renew Media Arts Fellowship (Rockefeller Foundation) and the Aperture West Book Prize for a publication of his work in 2008.

FYI..with your purchase of this Platinum also get a free 1 year subscription to Contact Sheet. It's one of the most cutting edge publications of emerging art photographers. They also have a $900 Benefactor Category..which is a great deal as well!

June 24, 2008

Free Artist talks by Bill Owens, and Christopher Wool at Strand Books

Free Artists talks, and book signings by Bill Owens, and  Christopher Wool at Strand Books in downtown NYC.

The MAO favorite NYC bookshop is holding 2 events the next 2 nights. Both are well worth checking out.

Bill_Owens_Richie_Playing_with_GunsBoth artists have new books out...

1. Legendary photographer Bill Owens has a new monograph with images from 1969 to present. 

  (Photo  #1, by Bill Owens, Richie playing with guns, from Suburbia, 1972)

2. Painter Christopher Wool has collaborated with writer/musician Richard Hell on a limited edition book titled Psychopts.

(Photo #2, by Christopher Wool, Fuckem, 1992   Enamel on aluminum, 108" X 72")


Here are the details.. get there early cause seats are always hard to get!

June 24th, 7 to 8:30 pm  - Photographer Bill Ownes talks

California photographer Bill Owens is best known for his critically acclaimed series Suburbia, which was published as a monograph in 1972, and has long been considered one of the classic photo books of the era. For this influential and evocative project, Owens simply shot friends and acquaintances in his Livermore, California, neighborhood and allowed them to speak for themselves. Ordinary people had rarely been so riveting. A comprehensive monograph, this volume consists of several sections of work from 1969 to the present, opening at the height of flower power, with images of the Beat generation, Woodstock and the protests against Vietnam.

June 25th, 7pm to 7:30pm

Richard Hell & Christopher Wool in Conversation with Artforum co-editor Barry Schwabsky

Richard Hell is a musician known for his image and his facility with words; Christopher Wool is a painter who first became famous for his words. The two are friends and they have collaborated on the creation of a series of gorgeous word images. These provocative, funny pictures comprise the content of their beautifully designed and printed new book, Psychopts. Barry Schwabsky, a poet and a frequent writer on art for The Nation and co-editor of Artforum's international review section, will moderate a discussion with the artists.

See you there!

FYI.. if you can't make it to the lectures. you can order signed copies online at

June 23, 2008

Congrats to Josh Azzarella on his inclusion in a Sean Kelly Gallery Group Show

Congrats to Josh Azzarella on his inclusion in an impressive Sean Kelly Gallery Group Show.

Josh_azzarella_Untitled_Bryan Many smart MAO readers may already know the photographic work of young artist Josh Azzarella, and it would seem some other high attitude end Chelsea art dealers have also taken notice! (See MAO's Josh Azzarella interview Part I, and Part II)

This past Friday night, Canceled, Erased & Removed, A group Showhas opened.

The entire group show is focused on the concept of artists creating a new work of art, by eliminating or canceling elements from another image or art work. Yes, we at MAO's not the most mind stretching concept for an art show.. but hey.. it's lighten up! And congratulate Josh.. cause he's been included among a list of some very important, MAO favorite, artists!

(Photo by Josh Azzarella, Untitled #38, Bryan, 2007... We believe it's based on this historic photo from Little Rock Central H.S. of Elizabeth Eckford arriving at school facing the Arkansas National Guard, on September 4,1957)

The artists included in the exhibition are: Janine Antoni, Josh Azzarella, John Baldessari, Mike Bidlo, Slater Bradley, David Ellis, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Douglas Gordon, Jenny Holzer, Marine Hugonnier, Callum Innes, Alfredo Jaar, Titus Kaphar, Idris Khan, Yves Klein, Joseph Kosuth, Peter Liversidge, Richard Long, Jorge Macchi, Anthony McCall, Ana Mendieta, Ed Ruscha, Julião Sarmento, Yuken Teruya and Gavin Turk

The Show runs till August 1.

June 12, 2008

Dumbo Arts Center's New Show... Amen Bitch

Dumbo Arts Center is pleased to announce: HOLY HOLES: ABSOLUTE STALLS
Curated by Denise Carvalho.

It's one of the few typically terrible traditional summer group shows we're looking forward to. Religion, power and economics....three of MAO's favorite issues, all in one exhibition. We at MAO just love the DAC!

Amen_bitch_Dylan_mortimer_DACArtists in the show include : Brent Wahl, Dylan Mortimer, Grady Gerbracht, Hadassa Goldvicht,
Jenny Marketou, Joseph Bennett, Adriana Varella, Angela Freiberger, Gearóid Dolan,
Tobaron Waxman, Kimberly Simpson, Karin Giusti, Marcia X, Meirav Leshem,
Kwabena Slaughter, and Neil Beloufa.

This new show opens June 14th and runs till August 3rd. There's a curator's talk: Sunday, July 27th, 2008, 6 - 7 PM.

Plus, there's just something so wonderfully irreverent about this... we just had to post a photo of the work today. 

It's a limited edition by artist Dylan Mortimer.

(photo #1, Dylan Mortimer,Amen Bitch, 2008, Brass, 3 1/4" x 1/2", Edition of 100. Initialed and numbered. Price: $99.99)

Here's some details about this work :

Dylan Mortimer has created a special edition of jewelry pendants on the occasion of the exhibition, Holy Holes: Absolute Stalls. In keeping with the theme of the exhibition, "Amen Bitch" explores the paradox of faith itself. The piece unites spontaneity and sarcasm, belief and doubt. In a larger body of work that fuses contemporary hip hop with holy scripture, the work aims to comment on the organic interaction between language and art, the sacred and the profane. Amen Bitch is hip, sexy, bling, gaudy, garish, flashy, blasphemous, irreverent and holy… Amen Bitches

June 11, 2008

NYC Photography Auction News...

NYC Photography Auction GOSSIP News...Photography expert Rick Wester has taken a new position as adviser at Bloomsbury Auctions in NYC.

Rick_wester_bloomsbury There's nothing yet on the Bloomsbury website confirming this, but there was a story in Art + Auctionmagazine this month, saying Rick is going to help start up Photography Auctions for Bloombsbury Auction house in NYC this Fall.

We at MAO love Rick.. we were sad to see him leave Phillips cause he was doing such an amazing job. But we wish him all the best in his new job, and we look forward to another auction house featuring photography in NYC.

So move over. Christies, Sotheby's, Phillips, and Swann..cause there's a new kid in town!!

P.S. and from what MAO can tell by the Bloomsbury website..they are only charging a 20% premium on the first $300,000 and 10% thereafter.

June 06, 2008

New photobook by Amy Arbus, "The Fourth Wall"

So for all those Broadway show tune queens fan out there interested in art photography, MAO has got the most amazing book for you! The Fourth Wall by Amy Arbus.


For those photo-clueless readers out there in blog land, Amy Arbus is the daughter of photography legend Diane Arbus. 


Allen_cummings_amy_Arbus An accomplished photographer in her own right, Amy has produced several thought provoking books, but this time she’s been working for the last few years taking intimate and revealing portraits of several Broadway stars.  The stars are all photographed off the Broadway stage, but many still in full costume and make-up.  

Amy has completed a remarkably insightful portfolio, by taking the actor out of their associated stage set context, and frequently photographing them in empty hall ways, and sometimes in the wacky personal surroundings of their small disheveled very un-glamorous dressing rooms. We loved so many of these portraits, and the book is totally wonderful.


(Photo, by Amy Arbus, photo of Allen Cumming in Cabaret., cover of the book)


It is MAO’s projection, that The Fourth Wall by Amy Arbus is going to be one of the most sought after photo books this year, and clearly a must have for any photography book obsessed collector.


Lastly… we apologize for the lack of new posts the last few weeks.. has irresponsibly rolled out a new shit version of their editor and it’s a total buggy piece of crap. Their spell checker doesn’t work, and we’ve lost several complete posts. It’s a total pain in the ass!!

June 05, 2008

Adam Bartos at The Drawing Room Gallery in East Hampton

If you have a few minutes to spare from what's going to be a glorious beach weekend.. MAO would strongly suggest checking out the new Adam Bartos "Yard Sales" show at The Drawing Room Gallery in East Hampton.

We think the official opening party is this Saturday..though Dr. Quiz, Janet (one of the MAO-ettes), and MAO were lucky enough to catch the show last weekend. We loved the photos in this show, the work truly captures the beautiful golden light one only experiences in the hamptons.  Here's a cut from the gallery press release.

 Akin to early 20th century photographs that celebrated the industrial gleam of the Machine Age, Bartos’ images give dignity to our 21stcentury castoffs. A close-up of the shimmering coral colored interior of a mid-century suitcase contrasted by a blue rhinestone and white linens within, is one of several photographs that invite the viewer to imagine a personal narrative.

Adam_Bartos_Yard_Sale_Sink_Stopper_07 In the spring of 2009, Damiani Editore will publish this body of work in Adam Bartos' fourth monograph

The show is up till July 7th. (Photo, Adam Bartos, Yard Sale - sink stopper, 2007, 27 1/2 x 18 1/2 in)

Also..MAO sends a big congrats to Emily Goldstein for finally putting together a first class website to meet the quality of their top notch gallery program...welcome to 1999 Emily!

May 30, 2008

Christies and Sotheby's are INCREASING the Buyers Premiums!! little MAO-ettes The greedy "nice people" over at ..Christies and Sotheby's are both raising their already outrageous auction buyers premiums!

Greedy_pig_auction_houses_at_trough As if the last round of rate increases were not stupid enough... ?

This seems totally crazy to MAO, given we're in the middle of a recession with Art fairs, and art dealers shutting down everywhere .. 

But, we guess the auction houses are feeling overly secure enough to start ripping off charging their clients even more !!! 

As we say on wall street,

Bulls make money, bears can make money, but pigs get slaughtered.

So here's the bad news..

Effective 2 June 2008

Country & Saleroom Location(s) Premium Threshold
United States Los Angeles
New York

Wine Sales only
Up to $50,000
$50,001 - $1,000,000
$1,000,001 and above
No threshold

May 29, 2008

This weeks TimeOut NY... almost as bitchy as MAO

OK..So, it would seem MAO does not have a corner on the bitchy witty comment market.... This week's Time Out NY Magazine (May 29 - June 4) had this box posted on page 21....

The Queer Factor
Gay Gayer
Logo Bravo
Melissa Etheridge Clay Aiken
Brokeback Mountain Sex and the City
Truman Capote Herman Melville
Gay Games Olympics
Black Party FDA Awards
Provincetown St. Barth
Fire Island Pines The Vatican
Madonna Dina McGreevey
Barneys Barneys
Christine Quinn Hillary Clinton
New York Blade The New York Times
Book Editor Hedge-fund Manager
Sam Champion Anderson Cooper
Porsche Boxter Ford Escape Hybrid
The L Word Brothers & Sisters
Splash Soho House
69 Missionary
Cosmopolitan Prosecco
Oscar Wild Bookshop Barnes & Noble Union Square
Citarella Trader Joe's
Gracious Home Target
Gucci loafers Converse All Stars
Dorian Gray Albus Dumbledore
-by Erin McHugh

May 23, 2008

Summer is here!! Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

So We At MAO officially hate this new clusterfuck version of Typepad. Lost an entire post today...

But here are three fun summer photos by some great young photographers you should know...

Melanie Schiff (Underwater photographer),

John Arsenault (Pool Guy), and

Carlo Van de Roer (Untitled, Bondi Beach).

More details after we cool down..and have at least one margarita poolside! See you all at Low Tea!


John Arsenault_pool_guy

Carlo Van de Roer_Bondi_baths

May 21, 2008

Matthew Schreiber at The FIREPLACE Project in East Hampton Springs

Matthew Schreiber at The FIREPLACE Project in East Hampton Springs.

Matthew_schreiber_Guilloche_the_gas_pipe If you're lucky enough to be headed to the East End of Long Island for the long weekend and need a high quality contemporary art fix. (photo, Matthew Schreiber, Guilloche, The Gas Pipe, 2008,Aluminum ring, 40 x 635nm Diode Lasers, electroni, Projected dimensions variable, ring 5’ diameter)

Last weekend at the opening party, both Dr. Quiz and MAO were totally blown away by these light installations. The works are hard to explain, it's mostly red lasers, but we found them beautiful, graceful and disorienting. We probably heard visitors say "WOW that's totally COOL!!!" at least 100 times when we were in the main gallery space.

A past assistant to the famed light artist, James Turrell, Matthew Schreiber's first solo show in the New York area is a not to be missed exhibit.

Sadly this show will only be on view till June 2nd.. and it's over 100 miles from Manhattan.

May 19, 2008

ACRIA - Unframed 2008 Chairty Art Auction

OK..MY little MAO-ettes..Here's your big chance to help a great AIDS organization, ACRIA.. and to buy some hard to get art work for totally bargain prices.

This Tuesday, May 20th from 5 to 8pm at the Charles Cowles Gallery. There will be smart cocktails.. Plus.. Of course, MAO and his posse will be you know the night will be totally FABULOUS! Don't miss this one! Official details here.

Oh..By the way.. ACRIA has a really great limited edition print program...well worth checking out.


May 16, 2008

The Art World really needs another RED DOT Art Fair?

So with the contemporary art auctions high flying in the face of reason a slowing world wide economy.... We guess it's a totally stupid perfect time to launch yet another RED Dot art fair. 

Paul_strand_blind_2 As if the MIAMI and New York RED Dots were not bad enough.. now there will be a RED Dot in London during the Frieze Art Fair in mid October.

(Photo #1, Paul Strand, "Blind Woman", New York, 1916) little MAO-ettes, even with many of the RED Dot NY'08 art dealers not selling a single thing, the economy crashing, and several HOT NY dealers shutting down ....

RED DOT London' 08 is coming !!

We shit  kid you not!! Like, did they not see the results of our MAO Art MIAMI Fair pole?

Anyway... We wish them lots of luck! Here's the insane press release..

Red Dot Fair is pleased to announce Red Dot London, October 16 - 19, 2008. London's vibrant art scene hosts the world each October as collectors, dealers, and artists converge on the city for the annual art fairs.
Located in the heart of London's West End and within a seven minute walking distance from both Frieze Art Fair and Zoo Art Fair, Red Dot London at the Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel will showcase the work of some of the world's most exciting emerging and established artists. Up to 60 galleries from around the world will exhibit in individual hotel rooms, creating an intimate and informal setting for collectors to discover art and meet with international dealers. The fair will be held across the entire first floor of this elegant hotel, enabling art lovers to move easily amongst exhibitors.
Red Dot debuted in 2007, with successful fairs in New York City and Miami Beach, in addition to the inaugural London fair. Red Dot London is co-produced by London-based Marketing, PR and event planner Colleen Theis and New York City-based fair owner George Billis.
Red Dot London, October 16 - 19, 2008

May 14, 2008

Christies Contemporary Sale Goes Very Well!

So the much worried about anticipated Christies Post War and Contemporary Art sale went very well last night.   Oh..and in case you were wondering... that enormous rush of air everyone in NYC heard last night..was the huge sy-of-relief being let out by every bloated contemporary art dealer in Chelsea.

Mark_rothko_number_15 So at $33,641,000, Lucian Freud now rules now the roost.. a pretty average Rothko sold for over $50 millioncrazy oblivious American collectors bought 70% of the lots last night, and Sotheby's stock is now up 4% this morning.  What Gloom and Doom..?? Pish-posh! The contemporary art world is all fine and dandy...full speed ahead!  I knew that Kool Aid tasted great.

(Photo #1, Mark Rothko, No 15, 1952, 91 3/8 x 80 inches, oil on canvas)

Well... With $348.3 Million in sales just last night just at Christies.. Let the good times Roll!

Here's some more details by Lindsay Pollock and Philip Boroff of Bloomberg news.
     May 14 (Bloomberg) -- Lucian Freud, the 85-year-old flesh-
and-flab-loving British painter, became the world's priciest
living artist at auction last night when his graceful portrait of
a 280-pound civil servant named Sue fetched $33.6 million at
Christie's International in New York.
     The 1995 Freud was one of eight records smashed in an
exuberant sale featuring the male clique of auction stars that
includes Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon and Richard Prince. Tom
Wesselmann, Prince, Sam Francis and Adolph Gottlieb also fetched
new highs.
     The 57-lot sale tallied $348.3 million, the second-highest
total for the category and closer to the top of the $282 million-
to-$398.6 million presale range. Just three lots didn't sell and
Americans took home 70 percent of works sold. It was as if buyers
were oblivious to talk of recession and remnants of the credit
crisis in the world outside the Rockefeller Center salesroom.
     ``Defying gravity tonight,'' said billionaire Eli Broad as
he stepped out of the salesroom, accompanied by wife Edye, and
Joanne Heyler, director of the Broad Art Foundation.
     The top lot was a 1952 Mark Rothko painting, with red bands
on a yolk-yellow background, that fetched $50.4 million.
Estimated to sell for about $40 million, it rode the Rothko wave
that began a year ago, when David Rockefeller sold a pink-and-
yellow canvas for a record $72.8 million at Sotheby's.

                         Lanky, Tanned

     Real estate developer Aby Rosen, lanky plastics magnate
Stefan T. Edlis, Michael Ovitz and perennially tanned fashion
designer Valentino Garavani were spotted in the crowd.
     ``The very important went very high,'' said Valentino, after
the sale.
     Christie's didn't miss any marketing angles. The firm's
billionaire owner Francois Pinault hosted a dinner Monday night
honoring Jeff Koons. In November, Koons's 3,500-pound, hot-pink,
stainless-steel ``Hanging Heart (Magenta/Gold)'' sold for $23.6
million at Sotheby's New York, establishing him at the time as
the priciest living artist at auction.
     Tapping the boom market for contemporary art, the auction
house offered a famous mid-century home, the Richard Neutra-
designed ``Kaufmann House'' at the sale. The five-bedroom house
in Palm Springs, California, fetched $16.8 million, near the low
end of $15 million-to-$25 million estimate.
     Christie's sale was the first postwar and contemporary
auction of the week. Sotheby's auction, starring a Bacon triptych
expected to fetch about $70 million, is tonight. Phillips de Pury
& Co. follows on May 15.

                         Twisted Portraits

     Enviable returns studded the sale. Bacon's 1976 ``Three
Studies for Self-Portrait'' fetched $28 million. In 1999, the
somber twisted portraits sold for $2.9 million at Christie's in
London and six years later made $5.2 million in New York.
     Prince's campy ``Nurse'' series paintings went for less than
$100,000 five years ago. Last night, ``Man-Crazy Nurse #2'' went
for $7.4 million. The seller was television producer and MoMA
trustee Douglas S. Cramer. Hedge fund titans Steven Cohen and
Daniel Loeb are among Prince's devotees.
     ``I would've expected a correction by now,'' said Broad.
``It's just a question of when.''

                         `Wild One'

     Warhol dominated the field with eight lots. A spare black
1966 silkscreen ``Double Marlon,'' using a film still from Marlon
Brando's bad-boy ``Wild One'' film, fetched $32.5 million, more
than a $30 million estimate. In 1992, the work sold for $935,000
at Sotheby's in New York.
     San Francisco film producer and punk rocker Henry S.
Rosenthal sold a 1962 Warhol ``Campbell's Soup Can (Pepper
Pot),'' which he said his father bought in 1962 for a few hundred
dollars. For the last 30 years, the painting has hung in
Rosenthal's warehouse in San Francisco's skid row. Last night, it
fetched $7.1 million.
     ``It was a difficult decision to sell,'' said Rosenthal, 53.
``But as the painting became absurdly valuable, it became more
nerve-wracking to keep it.''
     Gerhard Richter's 1987 riff on abstraction, the yellow, blue
and red ``Abstraktes Bild (625)'' sold for $14.6 million. The 13-
foot-wide canvas fetched $3.4 million five years ago at
Christie's in New York.
     ``There is no recession in the art market,'' said Norman Rau,
collector and president of Sandusky Radio. ``I wish traditional
media was this good.''
     Last week, Christie's and Sotheby's held impressionist and
modern art auctions. Overall the two weeks of sales were
projected to total up to $1.8 billion.
     Sale prices include a buyer's commission of 25 percent of
the hammer price up to $20,000, 20 percent of the price from
$20,000 to $500,000, and 12 percent above $500,000. Estimates do
not include commissions.

May 13, 2008

Benefits Supervisor Sleeping by Lucian Freud... the poster child for Art Excess ?

So.. the Spring Contemporary Auctions are about to begin.. and the biggest question in what's left of MAO's mind.. is : Will "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping" by Lucian Freud...become the new poster child for Art Excess in 2008 ?

Tonight at 8pm.. we will know the answer! Christies Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale. We checked out the painting first hand.. It's big and it's beautiful..and it's nothing but flesh!

Lucian_freid_benefits_supervisor_sl Lot 37, Lucian Freud (b. 1922)
Benefits Supervisor Sleeping
oil on canvas
59 5/8 x 86¼ in. (151.3 x 219 cm.)
Painted in 1995

This heavyweight painting with a huge pre-sale estimate of $25,000,000 to $35,000,000, has the potential to break the all time record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a living artist's work, crushing the Jeff Koons' Hanging Heart which currently holds the insane record at $23,500,000. Now that's PHAT!

Go Lucian go!

Here's a story in the Telegraph with some more details about this curvaceous painting.