Archive for May, 2010

Go See – New York: Pablo Picasso ‘Picasso: Themes and Variations,’ Museum of Modern Art through August 30th, 2010

Monday, May 17th, 2010

The Bull, state VII (Le Taureau), Pablo Picasso, December 26th, 1945. Lithograph, Museum of Modern Art, via the MoMA.

“Picasso: Themes and Variations,” at the Museum of Modern Art on West 53rd Street, presents 123 prints from the museum’s collection, representing the major developments in Pablo Picasso’s work and providing insight into decades worth of artistic experimentation.  The exhibition explores the artist’s creative process, following his prints from the early 1900’s Blue and Rose periods through his Cubist discovery.  The collection spans almost 20 themes, including animals, saltimbanques, and mistresses.

More text, image and related links after the jump…

Go See-New York: Roy Lichtenstein at Gagosian through July 30, 2010

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Roy Lichtenstein, Still Life with Palette, 1972, oil and magna on canvas, 60 x 96 inches. All images courtesy of Gagosian Gallery.

Recently opened at Gagosian Gallery‘s location on 555 West 24th Street is Roy Lichtenstein: Still Lifes. This exhibition is the first devoted solely to the artist’s still lifes spanning from 1972 to the early 1980s. The show, which brings together 50 works from prominent private collections and museums worldwide, includes still lifes in three media: paintings, sculptures and drawings.

Installation view, Roy Lichtenstein: Still Lifes

More images and text after the jump…


Go See-London: Tacita Dean’s Craneway Event at Frith Street Gallery through June 23, 2010

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Craneway Event Still (2010) by Tacita Dean, via Frith Street Gallery

Currently on view at London’s Frith Street Gallery is “Craneway Event” by Tacita Dean, a one hour and forty-eight minute film featuring legendary modern dance choreographer Merce Cunningham (1919-2009) and his dancers rehearsing for an event in a former Ford Assembly plant in Richmond, California. It became Cunningham’s last performance captured on film. He died just a few months later after premiering his last work “Nearly Ninety” on his 90th birthday.

More text and related links after the jump…. (more…)

AO Onsite – Auction Results: works from the Halsey Minor Collection fetch $21.1 at Phillips de Pury & Company, New York

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Richard Prince, Nurse in Hollywood #4 (2004)

Fueled by 22 choice works from the collection of the embattled CNET founder Halsey Minor, which sold for $21.1 million, Phillips de Pury & Company’s evening sale last night wrapped-up a hugely successful week of contemporary art auctions in New York. Overall, the boutique-sized auction house sold 58 of the 74 lots on offer for a grand total of $37.9 million. Unlike its uptown rivals, Phillips saw no lots make over $5 million with only seven exceeding the $1 million mark. Nevertheless, the result is superior to the auction house’s last Contemporary evening sale in New York in November 2009, when they managed to bring in only $7,099,250. While a few familiar faces featured in the crowd, including Miami collector Donald Rubell and the fashion mogul Marc Jacobs, most of the action was dominated by anonymous telephone bidders – with the majority of winning bids being taken by Michaela de Pury and Michael McGinnis, head of Phillips’s contemporary art department worldwide.

In March this year Halsey Minor was instructed by a court order to give up dozens of artworks to satisfy a $21.6 million delinquent loan to ML Private Finance L.L.C., an affiliate of Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch. While last night’s sales may cover the majority of this payment, Minor is also under a court order to pay Sotheby’s a further $6.64 million in a dispute over three artworks he had purchased at auction and later refused to pay for. Meanwhile, in the state of California, a trial is underway on issues between him and Christie’s auction house. More works from Minor’s collection are coming on the block at Phillips today and on June 9.

More images, related links and a full round-up of the sale after the jump….

AO Onsite Auction Results: A rare self-portrait by Andy Warhol headlines Sotheby’s Contemporary evening sale Wednesday, May 12th, in New York

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Untitled, Maurizio Cattelan (2001) Estimate: $3–4 million Price Realized: $7.9 million

Last night, Sotheby’s confirmed the art market’s return to form as 50 of the 53 lots on offer sold at its Contemporary art sale.  Tallying $189,969,000 in sales, well over the house’s $162 million pre-sale estimate, 39 works fetched more than one million dollars, with two selling for more than $30 million, and seven making more than $5 million. Further to this, the sale achieved the two top lots achieved so far at New York’s Contemporary sales week, surpassing Christie’s sale of Jasper Johns Flag for $29 million on Tuesday night  – Andy Warhol’s Self-Portrait more than doubled its high estimate to sell for $32,562,500, and an Untitled Mark Rothko painting from 1961 soared over the high estimate to sell for $31,442,500.

Self Portrait, Andy Warhol (1986). Estimate: $10-15 million. Price Realized: $32,562,500

More images, text and related links after the jump….

Go See – New York: Anne Truitt at Matthew Marks Gallery through June 26th, 2010

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Anne Truitt, Pith 1969. Courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery.

Currently on view at Matthew Marks Gallery are sixteen sculptures by Anne Truitt (1921-2004), marking the first time her works have been shown in New York in twenty years.  At first glance, the sculptures appear to align with the Minimalist ethos of Donald Judd, Robert Morris, and Mel Bochner, and indeed, Truitt was championed by Clement Greenberg in the sixties.  However, unlike the industrial methods of the Minimalists, her sculptures are hand-made investigations of color as a sensation, and how color relates to the sculptural presence.  Truitt explained that her “idea was not to get rid of life but to keep it and to see what it is.”


AO Auction Preview – New York: White Columns Benefit Exhibition and Auction this Saturday, May 15th at White Columns

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Dirty Brian, Nigel Cooke (2010) Retail value: $2,500 – 3,500+ Opening bid: $2,000

This Saturday, May 15, New York’s oldest alternative and non-profit art space, White Columns, will host a special reception featuring a live auction.  Silent bidding has already begun on many of the works that are currently on view at the gallery on West 13th Street, New York – and a select group of works are to be sold at the live auction, conducted by White Columns director Matthew Higgs. White Columns wanted the works in the auction to be viewed as a curated exhibition, and indeed, the works have been on view for the past two weeks.  Last Saturday White Columns hosted a preview breakfast as part of New York Gallery Week.  Director Matthew Higgs explains, “we think it is important that the donated works have a chance to be seen by a wide public, and seen within the context of an exhibition…as opposed to the works being sold at a one-night only, ticketed event.”

Fallen Angels – Julie London, David Byrne (2010) Retail value: $1,000+ Opening bid: $500

Now entering their fifth decade of operation, White Columns has supported and launched the careers of literally thousands of artists.  Founded in 1970 by Jeffrey Lew and Gordon Matta-Clark, the space is one of the first artist-run organizations  intended to promote artistic communal solidarity. Many of the 75 artists who have contributed works have a historic, or more recent, connection to the organization – emphasizing an inter-generational ‘peer’ philanthropy so inherent to not-for-profit gallery culture. Among the artists who donated works are Peter Doig, Maurizio Cattelan, David Byrne and many others.  Bidders should have the opportunity to acquire choice works at a variety of price ranges. The top lot of the live auction is Mary Heilmann’s For Malcolm – a tribute to the recently deceased London-born impresario Malcolm McLaren, the work is one of a number of music-inspired works that feature in both the silent and live auctions.

As a special feature of the 2010 benfit, Higgs invited more than 30 artists to create a new work that incorporates an existing record sleeve, or to create a work that uses a record sleeve as its point of departure.  in this section include: Nigel Cooke, Brendan Fowler, Wade Guyton, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Jutta Koether, Josephine Meckseper, Dave Muller, David Noonan, Raymond Pettibon, Jack Pierson, Richard Phillips, Cheyney Thompson, Kelley Walker, among others.

Musicians of the British Empire, Peter Doig (2010) Retail value: $25,000+ Opening bid: $12,500

More images and lot info after the jump…..

AO Onsite – Auction Results: Christie’s New York Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale and works from the Collection of Michael Crichton – headlined by Jasper Johns $29 million Flag

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Jasper Johns’ Flag from the estate of author Michael Crichton fetched a record $28.6 million

Last night Christie’s delivered a top result of $231,907,000 in its New York contemporary-art evening sale, easily hurdling the pre-sale estimate of $142.9 – 207.4 million and making it Christie’s biggest New York contemporary sale since May 2008, which totaled $331.4 million. This remarkable total was powered by a trove of 31 choice works from the estate of Michael Crichton, the author of bestselling science-fiction thrillers like Jurassic Park, who died of throat cancer in 2008. In total the Crichton sale fetched a handsome $93.3 million – exceeding pre-sale expectations by $23.7 million, making it one of the most successful single-owner sales ever. The group’s top performer was Jasper Johns Flag (est. $10 – 15 million) which sold to New York dealer Michael Altman for $23.7 million.Fifty-one of the evening’s 79 works offered sold for over one million dollars, and of those, 5 cracked the 10 million dollar mark. Remarkably, only five lots went unsold, or six percent by lot and a tiny two percent by value; 5 artist records were set.The geographic breakdown of buyers according to lots sold saw the United States take the lead with 74% of works going to Americans – unsurprising giving the depth of bidding witnessed in the sales room. Europe accounted for 21 percent of the sales and 0% went to Asian buyers – in complete contrast to last week’s sales of Impressionist and Modern art which were dominated by the Asian market.

Bidders squeezed into a packed salesroom last night at Christie’s – many being forced to stand.

More images, text and related links after the jump…..

Go See-New York: Richard Prince’s Tiffany Paintings at Gagosian Gallery from May 7th to June 19th 2010

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Moon (2007) by Richard Prince, via Gagosian Gallery

Currently on view at Gagosian’s Madison Avenue Gallery in New York is “Tiffany Paintings” by Richard Prince. The exhibition includes recent large-scale paintings and newsprint collages which reflect the artist’s continual interest in the recurring patterns of advertising. These large monochrome abstract paintings recall the Tiffany’s advertisement which was run daily for many years in the upper right hand corner of the same page of the New York Times.

More text and related links after the jump….


AO On Site – New York: Friday, May 7th, Roni Horn at Hauser & Wirth through June 19th, 2010

Monday, May 10th, 2010

All photographs by Oskar Proctor for ArtObserved

Currently on view at Hauser & Wirth New York is “Else,” the first exhibition in the United States devoted exclusively to the drawings of Roni Horn.  The show, composed of six new large-scale works up to eight by ten feet in size, will remain on view through June 19, 2010 at 32 East 69th Street.

The new works lend themselves to multiple viewing angles: from far away they appear as densely-packed thumbprints and dissipating hearts. A closer look reveals involved diagrams reminiscent of tesselations and multiplying cells. The heavily textured images are composed of cut paper, red painted lines, and the artist’s fractured pencil notes. Ever aware of the material, the stamp of the paper manufacturer feature prominently on the outer edges of several works. The intricacy and density of the compositions are contrasted with the artist’s simple, large scrawled signature, which floats, relaxed, detached from the rest in a sea of oaktag.

Björk at Friday night’s opening

More text, images and related links after the jump…


Go See – Paris: Paul Klee ‘The Ernst Beyeler Collection,’ Musée de l’Orangerie through July 19th, 2010

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Ohne Titel (Gefangen) / Without a Title (Caught), Paul Klee, 1940.  Musée de l’Orangerie, The Ernst Beyeler Collection, Paris, via The Beyeler Foundation

The Ernst Beyeler Collection at the Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris, coheres twenty-six of Expressionist painter Paul Klee‘s masterpieces, primarily from his later work.  The Musée d’Orsay, Musée de l’Orangerie, and Beyeler Foundation collaborated to organize this presentation of paintings and drawings, as a tribute to the late Ernst Beyeler, who passed away in February.  As a gallery owner from Switzerland and a patron of modern art, Beyeler was central to the development of Klee’s career.  Seventeen of the works displayed come from his and wife Hildy’s collection.

Klee, born in Switzerland in 1897, influenced modernist painting throughout the 1900s.  He collaborated with artists such as Vassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc in Italy.  Post World War II, Klee worked as a professor in Germany at Bauhaus and the Dusseldorf Academy.  The Nazi Party deemed Klee a “degenerate” for the modern and provocative nature of his work, forcing him to return to Switzerland.  This trajectory led him to experiment with new techniques and varying styles.

More text, image and related links after the jump…


AO On Site – New York: Knight’s Move at SculptureCenter, through July 26, 2010

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Uri Aran, All This Is Yours, (Detail), Mixed Media, 2010.

Over 900 people were in attendance at the opening last Sunday, May 2 for “Knight’s Move,” the new show at SculptureCenter, running through July 26, 2010. The exhibition brings together artists prominent to the dialog of New York’s recent past as well as those at the very beginning of their careers.  Curated by Fionn Meade, this survey of new sculpture in New York embodies an informed yet playful and questioning view of the contemporary.  Working within this theme, the exhibition’s title refers to the chess piece whose move is tactical, stealthy, and surprising.

The exhibited artists include Uri Aran, David Brooks, Nikolas Gambaroff, Tamar Halpern, Alex Hubbard, Esther Kläs, Daniel Lefcourt, Joanna Malinowska, Ohad Meromi, Virginia Poundstone, Cassie Raihl, Erin Shirreff, Alexandre Singh, Matt Sheridan Smith, Mika Tajima, Tom Thayer, Sara VanDerBeek, and Allyson Vieira.

No Neck Blues Band performs on David Brook’s installation in SculptureCenter courtyard. All opening images by Su Beyazit, courtesy of SculptureCenter.

More text and images after the jump…


Go See – New York: Thomas Struth at Marian Goodman Gallery through June 19th, 2010

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Tokamak Asdex Upgrade Interior 2 Max Planck IPP, Garching (2009) by Thomas Struth, via Marian Goodman

Currently on view at Marion Goodman Gallery are new works by German photographer Thomas Struth. The new body of works explores the rarely investigated subjects of mechanical engines, industrial and scientific research institutes, and pharmaceutical plants. The works were taken throughout Asia, the Americas, and Europe and reveal an almost beauty in architectural machinery.

More text and related links after the jump….


AO News – New York: New York Gallery Week begins today May 7 through May, 10th 2010

Friday, May 7th, 2010

In an attempt to encourage the public to visit gallery exhibits, Casey Kaplan, David Zwirner, Friedrich Petzel, and other gallerists organized the first ever New York Gallery Week occurring this weekend from May 7-10th 2010. The event brings together fifty galleries and non profit organizations, spanning Chelsea, Midtown, SoHo, the Lower East Side, and the Upper East Side. In addition to the galleries remaining open for extended late hours and on Mondays, the events program includes numerous free lectures, performances, book signings, panel discussions, and gallery tours with prominent art historians and gallerists.  Art Observed will be on site to selectively cover the happenings.

More on the event after the jump…


AO Onsite – New York: Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening sale provides another boost of confidence for the recovering art market

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Tobias Meyer, International Head of Sotheby’s contemporary art department. leads the Impressionist and Modern evening sale last night.

As with Christie’s historic sale of Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust for a record $106.5 million on Tuesday evening, Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern evening sale last night struck another strong note for the recovering art market.  The sale achieved $195,697,000, nearly reaching the high end of the pre-sale estimate ($141 – 204 million).  Fifty of the 57 lots offered sold.  Forty-three works achieved prices over $1 million, ten works exceeded $5 million, four works brought prices over $10 million, and two works sold for over $15 million; two artist records were broken. That compares very favorably to the 36-lot sale that generated $61,370,500 at Sotheby’s last May. Despite a packed salesroom, absent bidders on telephones dominated the evening’s sales – while a constant feature of this secretive market where anonymity is key, the many languages spoken by Sotheby’s representatives on the telephones last night acted as a strong indicator of the global demand for these top-quality works. Most notably, Asian buyers dominated the phones – pushing-up the prices of many of the night’s big sales and eventually winning four of the top ten lots.

Bouquet de fleurs pour le Quatorze Juillet, Henri Matisse Estimate: $18 – 25 million. Price Realized: $28,642,500.

More images, related links and a full report after the jump….

AO Onsite Auction Results – New York: Art Market History witnessed at Christie’s Impressionist/Modern evening sale

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Les buveurs d’absinthe (Les Déclassés) by Jean-Francois Raffaelli quadruples its pre-sale estimate of $400-600,000 and sells for $2,994,500 at Christie’s Impressionist/Modern sale.  Photo by Art Observed.

The art market received another, enormous boost of confidence last night at Christie’s Impressionist and Modern evening sale, as Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust (1932) sold to anonymous telephone bidder for a record-breaking $106,482,500. The staggering price comes hot on the heels of Sotheby’s historic sale of Alberto Giacometti’s iconic bronze, L’Homme Qui Marche I (1961), for $104,327,00 in February this year. The Picasso helped drive the sale’s overall total to $335,548,000, making it the third biggest sale ever witnessed at Christie’s in New York.  Of the 69 lots offered, 56 sold with over 30 lots exceeding $1 million, and of those, 9 exceeded the $10 million mark. Nude, Green Leaves and Bust was part of a 27-lot single-owner sale from the collection of Mrs. Sidney F. Brody, a noted Los Angeles collector.  The Brody group was 100% sold by lot and value and realized $224,177,500 making it the biggest single-owner sale offered at Christie’s New York, surpassing the landmark sale of the Collection of Victor and Sally Ganz sale in 1997, and coming second only to the mammoth Yves Saint Laurent/Pierre Berge sale that made $443 million at Christie’s, Paris in February 2009.

More images, a detailed report and related links after the jump….

AO Breaking Auction News: Record $106.5 million paid for Pablo Picasso's 1932 portrait of his mistress at Christie's, New York

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, Pablo Picasso

A 1932 portrait of Picasso’s busty mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter, titled Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, became the most expensive work of art ever to sell at auction this evening when it realized $106,482,500 at Christie’s Impressionist and Modern evening sale. The previous record was set only three months ago when Alberto Giacometti’s bronze sculpture L’homme qui marche I went for $104,327,006 at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale in London. Estimated to sell for $70 to 90 million, bidding for the much-talked-about from the estate of the Los Angeles philanthropist Frances Lasker Brody started at $58 million, eventually hitting the $95 million mark after nine minutes of furious contest between eight rivals – buyers premium takes the price of the painting to the record-breaking figure. The eventual winner was an anonymous client on the telephone with Nicholas Hall, International Department Head of Old Master Paintings at the auction house.

More news from the sale will follow shortly..


The Boston Globe (Boston, MA) December 22, 2004 | Wesley Morris, Globe Staff The last shot of Pedro Almodovar’s “Bad Education” is a close-up of the word “passion.” For anybody who’s had the pleasure of luxuriating in one of his movies, that’s a glorious redundancy like “Nightline” deciding to end its broadcasts with a shot of the word “news.” “Bad Education” is all-consumed with passion, and the way it brings out the crazy, the bad, and the beautiful in people. This is a brilliantly structured hall of mirrors that wraps Catholicism and the movie industry into a tasty film noir. It’s Almodovar’s most ingenious movie since the days of his punk experiments in 1980s Madrid, where, incidentally, a lot of this movie unfolds.

After a credit sequence that pays direct homage to Saul Bass and his opening titles work for Hitchcock, we move right into the office of Enrique (Fele Martinez), a film director cruising the newspaper for a movie idea. In walks his childhood friend Ignacio (Gael Garcia Bernal). The two were paramours in Catholic school in the mid-’60s until Father Manolo, a priest obsessed with the angelic choirboy Ignacio, expelled Enrique from the boys’ self-made Eden so he could have Ignacio to himself. go to website movies to watch

In the 16 years since they last saw each other, Ignacio, now a starving actor who wants to be called Angel, has written a screenplay about their childhood. He wants Enrique to direct the script, called “The Visit.” The director takes it home to read while Almodovar transports us inside its pages.

Ignacio/Angel is now a transvestite/junkie/prostitute named Zahara, whom we meet performing in a dive bar. The audience is less than riveted, which is a put-on because Bernal is so utterly mesmerizing in drag. (His performance in pants is also audacious). What’s especially astounding about Bernal in a curly red wig is the way it hilariously consolidates the movie-star universe: Zahara could be Julia Roberts’s “Pretty Woman” hooker trapped in the same body as Veronica Forque, the star of Almodovar’s 1993 “Kika.” On their way home Zahara and her raunchier girlfriend Paca (the great Javier Camara) run into a very drunk hunk who’s falling over on his motorcycle. It’s Enrique, the movie-in-the-movie’s version, played by a different actor. The encounter reminds the destitute Zahara of their mutual troubled past. She shows up at their old school and tries to blackmail Father Manolo (Daniel Gimenez-Cacho) to pay for his past transgressions. website movies to watch

Enrique is drawn to this and everything else in Angel’s script, including its memory of those beautiful, doomed school years. He even overlooks the depiction of him as a cheap trick, presumably because he knows good material when it lands on his desk. Angel, meanwhile, wants to play Zahara, but Enrique doesn’t think he’s woman enough. Angel pulls out the figurative casting couch and tries to change Enrique’s mind.

Precious little in “Bad Education” is what it appears to be. As the layers of deception are peeled away, the movie begins to defy a satisfying synopsis. (You try explaining a jigsaw puzzle!) Then again, Almodovar doesn’t make movies to summarize, he make movies to watch. That sounds self-explanatory, I know. But the stories here are inextricable from the sounds and images Albert Iglesias did the haunting music, Jose Luis Alcaine the luscious photography and most of the images defy easy description. When someone falls over dead into the keys of a typewriter, its metallic arms fly toward the screen in an operatic burst and then collapse back into place. “Bad Education” is a movie so vividly constructed that its greatness lies just outside meer words, anyway.

It’s tempting to think in the initial passages we see of “The Visit” that what’s unfolding is Enrique’s vision of how his movie will go. But if you buy that he’s a stand-in for Almodovar at the birth of his film career, then that’s impossible. There’s no way he’d be as incredible a filmmaker then as Almodovar is now.

This is the movie the director has been leading up to since he turned a corner in 1995 with “The Flower of My Secret.” The elements of his outlaw days that produced such early highs as “What Have I Done to Deserve This” and “Law of Desire” are still intact; the farcical volume of “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” and “High Heels” has been turned down; and the perfume and occasional preciousness of “All About My Mother” and “Talk to Her” has faded.

“Bad Education” is a marvelously dirty, ultimately heartbroken movie about, among other things, the instability of identities. After Ignacio’s first sexual encounter with Father Manolo, the screen splits in two, dividing along the trickle of blood on the boy’s forehead and warning us that, psychologically, he is irreparably broken.

Almodovar’s own filmmaking identity has evolved dramatically through the years. His movies typically disguise themselves as lurid. But what’s always made him a terrific artist and great entertainer is his gift for finding human sadness and great beauty in what on the surface looks trashy. He pulls this off without seeming tasteless, naive, or cheap.

The achievement of “Bad Education” is its surprising emotional truth, which Almodovar introduces through innocent kids and complicates with exploitative adults. Young Ignacio and Enrique have what looks to be a perversely premature connection (how old are they again?), but it’s the purest mutual love I’ve ever seen in an Almodovar film, however short-lived it is.

When their religion fails them (and therefore their schooling), they find a new church and a new classroom in the only place of worship and higher learning that matters to Almodovar: the movies.

Wesley Morris can be reached at .

Wesley Morris, Globe Staff

AO Auction Preview – New York: The Spring Auctions begin tonight with the highly anticipated sale of Picasso’s ‘Nude, Green Leaves and Bust’

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

The spring auctions in New York, which form the bellwether of the art market, get under way tonight with the Impressionist and modern art sale at Christie’s.  Over the next two weeks, Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips de Pury & Co are offering up to $1.2 billion of Impressionist, modern and contemporary art – twice as much as they sold last May. During the Impressionist and modern evening sales in May 2009 only three works carried price tags of $10 million or more – this month 10 works by Edvard Munch, Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso and others are priced as high. Another six works are expected to fetch at least $5 million, up from four a year ago.  Judging by these optimistic pre-sale estimates, the auction houses clearly hope that things will play out as they did three months ago in London when Sotheby’s set the record for any work of art ever sold at auction with the $104 million sale of Alberto Giacometti’s L’Homme qui marche I to Lily Safra, wife of the late Lebanese banker Edmond Safra.  Now a Pablo Picasso nude bears the largest pre-sale estimate in history ($70m to $90m) and an anonymous third-guarantor who has agreed to bid at least $70 million (that’s more than the auction house got last fall for its entire evening sale of Impressionist and modern art). Christie’s are set to dominate the fortnight because of two art-stocked estates. Tonight, paintings and sculptures owned by the late Los Angeles collector Frances Brody are expected to fetch as much as $194 million.  98 lots from the estate of the bestselling author and filmmaker, Michael Crichton, are estimated to sell for as much as $75 million and form the backbone of their Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on Tuesday, May 11.

More images, text and related links after the jump…. (more…)

Go See – New York: ‘Leslie Hewitt: On Beauty, Objects, and Dissonance’ at the Kitchen on view through May 10th

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Leslie Hewitt Riffs on Real Time 7 of 10 2008 The Kitchen
Leslie Hewitt Riffs on Real Time (7 of 10), 2008 via Leslie Hewitt

In On Beauty, Objects, and Dissonance currently exhibited at The Kitchen, Rashida Bumbray presents selections from three diverse bodies of Leslie Hewitt’s photographs: A Series of Projections from 2010, Midday from 2009, and Riffs on Real Time from 2008, in addition to a new film installation created in collaboration with experimental cinematographer Bradford Young. Pieces from multiple bodies of work may seem inharmonious at first, but spend more time and the conversations of perception, narrative, and undertones of politics running through the room become more apparent.

More text, photos, and related links after the jump. . . (more…)

AO On Site – New York: Shepard Fairey ‘May Day’ at Deitch Projects, Saturday, May 1st through May 29th, 2010

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

‘May Day’, the final exhibition before Deitch Projects closes it’s doors, exhibits significant new works by Shepard Fairey executed in his familiar palette of reds, black, and white. The show opens in conjunction with four other mural works by Fairey; a mural covering an 80 foot wall surrounding the Ace Hotel, one on Houston and Bowery, one for the Cooper Square Hotel, and a mural for the Music Hall of Williamsburg.  Both public and private murals, highlight Fairey’s play on constructed binaries–primarily between fine art and design, street art and galleries–as a means of stimulating curiosity about the surrounding visual culture.

Opening Night for May Day, Saturday May 1st at Deitch Projects


Go See – New York: ‘Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection’ at The New Museum through June 6, 2010

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Masters of the Universe, Tim Noble & Sue Webster (1998-2000). All photographs by Oskar Proctor for ArtObserved.

“Skin Fruit,” the much-anticipated, Jeff Koons­-curated exhibition featuring million-dollar works by the biggest names in contemporary art continues at the New Museum through June 6, 2010. The New Museum’s questionable decision to exhibit works from the collection of one of its trustees, Greek billionaire Dakis Joannou, resulted in an art world controversy that threatened to upstage the show itself from the very beginning. When a large mix of celebrities and art-world-insiders flooded the Museum for the opening reception – attendees included Cyndi Lauper, U2’s the Edge, and collectors Don and Mera Rubell – the irony of placing the ritzy collection in a museum that was once championed for its promotion of the underdog was only exaggerated. And the critics responded accordingly. Christian Viveros-Fauné lambasted that the show is totally wrong for our times “in just about every possible way.” According to the exhibition press release, the featured works by Franz West, Charles Ray, Matthew Barney, Richard Prince, Robert Gober, Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Kiki Smith, Kara Walker, Maurizio Cattelan, Tauba Auerbach, Chris Ofili, Dan Colen and Terence Koh, amongst others, aim to “evoke the tensions between exterior and interior, between what we see and what we consume” – a curatorial spin critics say was invented in an effort to disguise a “rudderless display of art as trophy hunting” as an art exhibition. While this may be true, Skin Fruit essentially offers the common man an opportunity to view important works from one of the finest and most original collections of contemporary art in the world that have rarely, or never been seen in New York.

Revolution Counter-Revolution, Charles Ray (1990/2010)

Photo-essay and full round-up of links after the jump….

AO On Site – New York: Scott Campbell ‘If You Don’t Belong, Don’t Be Long’ at OHWOW, Crosby Street, On View Through May 30th

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

Scott Campbell Skull Cube 2010 OHWOW NYC
Scott Campbell Skull Cube, 2010 via OHWOW

Thursday’s opening for Scott Campbell’s current show, If You Don’t Belong, Don’t Be Long, with OHWOW at 109 Crosby was inspired by the dreams of art students everywhere. There were celebrities, models, art superstars, and just plain crowds lining up at the door to see the work. Those in attendance, to name just a few, were Dan Colen, Aurel Schmidt, Nate Lowman, and countless others.  In addition to the block seeming to be the place to be at that moment in New York, the art set new standards for the artist and also helped to further establish Miami’s OHWOW gallery in New York.

Scott Campbell Opening at OHWOW NYC Crowd
Crowd at Scott Campbell’s opening April 29th, 2010. Photo By Oskar Proctor

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Go See – New York: Robert & Ethel Scull 'Portrait of a Collection' at Aquavella Galleries through May 27, 2010

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

Portrait of Robert and Ethel Scull (1967) by George Segal, via Acquavella Galleries

Currently on view at Acquavella Galleries is an exhibition which brings together many works from the collection of Robert and Ethen Scull. Pioneers of Pop Art (known as the Mom and Pop of Pop), the Sculls dominated the art world during the 1960s and and early 1970s.  The exhibition is comprised of forty-four works of art made by twenty-three artists. Works by Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg, Rauschenberg, and Any Warhol are reunited again and emphasize the extraordinary collecting personality of Robert and Ethen Scull.

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