Paris – Yue Minjun: “L’ombre du fou rire” at the Fondation Cartier through March 17th, 2013

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Yue Minjun, Great Joy (1993). All images courtesy of Cartier Foundation.

On view through March 17 at the Fondation Cartier in Paris is an exhibition of the emblematic work of Yue Minjun. Appropriately titled “L’ombre du fou rire (The shadow of crazy laughter),” the show features Minjun’s large-scale paintings easily identified by caricatured self-portraits frozen in laughter that have rapidly gained international popularity in recent years.


Go See – Beijing: Yue Minjun’s “The Road” at Pace Gallery until July 16th, 2011

Saturday, July 9th, 2011


Yue Minjun, The Crowing with Thorns, 2009 via Pace Beijing

The Road, an exhibition of recent paintings by Chinese artist Yue Minjun (born 1962) is on view at the Pace Gallery, Beijing from June 6th to July 16th, 2011.  Minjun gained international recognition in the 1990’s for his political allegories, epitomized by rows of figures with grotesque smiles, commenting on Chinese communist ideology. The Road features Minjun’s signature grinning characters with strong reference to Christian iconography.

More text after the jump….


Go See – Derbyshire, England: Sotheby's London Presents 5th Annual Selling Exhibition of Sculpture at Chatsworth House, September 13 through October 31, 2010

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Manolo Valdés, Butterflies, via

From September 13 to October 31, 2010, Sotheby’s London will exhibit 24 works of sculpture at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire. Each of the pieces is offered for sale in the auction house’s fifth Selling Exhibition of Modern and Contemporary Sculpture, titled Beyond Limits. Among the artists featured are Lynn Chadwick, Yue Minjun, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Damien Hirst, Marc Quinn, Subodh Gupta, Ju Ming, Eduardo Chillida, Germaine Richer and Barry Flanagan.

more photos, images and links after the jump…


Go See-New York: Yue Minjun’s ‘Smile-isms’ at Arario Gallery through January 16th 2010

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Yue Minjun-Untitled (Smile-ism No.14)-2006
Untitled (Smile-ism No.14) (2006) by Yue Minjun, via Arario Gallery

Smile-isms, an exhibition of a new set of 28 original prints by the internationally renowned Chinese artist Yue Minjun, is now on view at the Arario Gallery in New York City. The prints depict the iconic laughing face of the artist in various states from solitary play to humorous camaraderie. The joyful self-portraits reveal an unexpected viewpoint on the idea of personal freedom and satisfaction in contemporary Chinese society.

Exhibition Page [Arario Gallery ]
Yue Minjun Smile-isms at Arario Gallery in Chelsea [The Me Magazine]
Yue Minjun [Artinfo]
Yue Minjun “Smile-isms” [NY Artbeat]
Yue Minjun: Arario Gallery [Arthag]


AO Auction Results: Phillips de Pury & Company Contemporary Art Evening Sale, London Monday, June 29, 2009 – Comes Just Short of Low Estimate

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Ed Rusha - That Was Then This Is Now
Ed Ruscha’s ‘That Was Then This Is Now’ sold for £713,250, falling between estimates of £600,000-800,000, via Phillips de Pury

Phillips de Pury’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale realized £5.1 million last night, missing its low estimate of £5.4 million.  With a much smaller and deeply discounted offering compared to last year’s sale, Phillips sold 30 out of 39 lots for a 77% sold-by-lot rate, beating last year’s rate of 66%.  However, this year’s totals represent a 79% decrease in value as last year’s sale brought in £24.5 million.  Conservative estimates helped, with many lots selling above their estimates.  The highest selling lot was Ed Ruscha’s fittingly titled ‘That Was Then This Is Now,’ going for £713,250, including buyer’s premium, putting it in the middle of estimates of £600,000-800,000.

Contemporary Art Evening Sale [Phillips de Pury]
Ruscha Canvas Leads a London Sale [NY Times]
Phillips Contemporary: That Was Then, This Is Now [Artinfo]
Phillips Sells 77% of Contemporary Art in London on Discounts [Bloomberg]


AO Roundup: 2008 Frieze Art Fair, Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips London Auctions; Art Market Inflection Point Reached

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Duane Hanson’s Flea Market Lady
Duane Hanson’s “Flea Market Lady” staffs Emmanuel Perrotin’s booth at Frieze via New York Magazine

In the midst of perhaps the most spectacular global financial and credit market cave-ins ever experienced, The Frieze Art Fair in London, one of the three largest contemporary art fairs, felt a slowdown in some attendance indicators, sales volume and pricing; a harbinger of similar buyer sentiment reflected in anemic sales totals from all of the three major contemporary art auctions that followed in London over the weekend from Sotheby’s, Phillips and Christie’s respectively. In light of the true magnitude of the global wealth disrupted in recent weeks, overall, the output of the Frieze art fair and the concurrent contemporary art auctions likely could have been worse. The following is a roundup of the news and images looking back from the close of the Frieze fair as well as detailed summaries of each auction.

TAKASHI MURAKAMI - Tongari-kun, 2003-2004
Takashi Murakami’s “Tongari-Kun” 2004. Though it was headliner of the Phillips Auction on Saturday, it failed to sell. Image via Phillips

Newslinks, images and more on the Frieze Art Fair and on the Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips auctions after the jump…


With a sweeping survey of Chinese contemporary art, Charles Saatchi opens much anticipated new gallery in Duke of York Headquarters Building, Chelsea, London

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

A silica gel sculpture “Communication” by Cang Xn in the new Saatchi Gallery via Reuters

One of the most influential art collectors, Charles Saatchi, who years ago jump started the careers of the Young British Artists such as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, has opened his new gallery in Chelsea in Central, London. The neoclassical former military barracks from 1801 known as the Duke of York Headquarters building is the now home to Saatchi’s gallery and his opening exhibit called “The Revolution Continues: New Art From China.” Within the space, a standard “white cube” internal architecture, the inaugural group show features works of art from the most of the top contemporary Chinese artists. Duke of York Headquarters buildings provides an impressive 70,000 square feet of space of gallery space, and in its past life was the military headquarters and barracks for the Duke’s soldiers.

Also notable is that the new Saatchi Gallery, a huge space that compares with City or National arts spaces in its scope and quality of offerings, is entirely free, due to a corporate sponsorship by Phillips de Pury & Company, which only this week was purchased by the Mercury Group of Russia, as reported by Art Observed yesterday here.

Saatchi Gallery Website
Saatchi Gallery Opens at Duke of York’s HQ Building, Chelsea
Saatchi leads Chinese revolution with video here, and more video here [BBC]
Classical frame for Saatchi’s brand-new look [Financial Times]
Art guru Saatchi back with new gallery, China show [Reuters]
Saatchi’s New London Gallery Hails Britart, Chinese Revolution [Bloomberg]
Charles Saatchi’s old favourites – made in China [TimesUK]
Stuck with Saatchi [ArtReview]
The Revolution continues at the new Saatchi Gallery [TimesUK]
The verdict on Saatchi’s new gallery and Dog chews and Mao [Independent]
Saatchi Gallery: great space, shame about the art
and Saatchi gallery: a study in blandness [GuardianUK]
Last scene by Saatchi and Charles Saatchi: Did I say that? and Is it third time lucky for Saatchi gallery? [GuardianUK]
Saatchi Gallery Opening – London [Jean Pigozzi for Colette]
Update: Opening of the Week: Saatchi rolls out the red carpet [Independent]


Sotheby’s stock drops 14% (down 75.7% from its high) following dismal Asian auction results

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Sotheby\'s Stock Chart
Sotheby’s (NYSE: BID) 1-year stock chart, via Yahoo! Finance

Sotheby’s (BID) stock declined by 14% on Monday, October 6th, 2008, to close at the lowest levels since July 2005 according to Bloomberg.  By ArtObserved’s calculations, Sotheby’s has lost more than 75% of its value since falling from its October 12th, 2007 high of $57.12 to today’s close of $13.86.  Besides the general buckling of the US Stock markets, Sotheby’s stock’s decline has presumably also been due to concerns about the buoyancy of the art market (as specifically reflected in this past weekend’s Asian art sales by Sotheby’s) which some analysts consider to be overheated and on the verge of a decline, especially in light of the global financial contagion.  Despite the overwhelming success of the landmark Damien Hirst direct to market auction less than a month ago in London (as reported by AO here), overall in the past month, Sotheby’s shares have dropped three times that of Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Evidence supporting the decline in the market is mounting: several recent auctions have failed to make the grade, including one recently featuring previously extremely in-demand artwork of Banksy. Some hoped that the continued influx of funds into the art market from collectors in ‘new markets’ such as Russia, China, India and the Persian Gulf, would prop up prices in Western markets and in burgeoning domestic contemporary art scenes. The results of Sotheby’s fall sale of Asian contemporary art however, selling a sector of the market which had previous momentum that seemed relentless, poke holes in that assertion. The auction failed to sell 19 of 47 of its headline lots, including pieces by Subodh Gupta, Zheng Xiaogang, Yue Minjun and Takashi Murakami. “Today’s results aren’t acceptable, they’re very poor. The contemporary Chinese art market has raced ahead too quickly and now people can’t prop it up anymore,” a Taiwanese dealer was quoted as saying in the Wall Street Journal.

Hong Kong tests art buyers’ courage [Financial Times]
Weak Sales for Sotheby’s in Hong Kong
[Wall Street Journal]
Sotheby’s Shares Fall Amid Concern About Art Market
Top Lots Shunned in Post-Lehman Art Sale at Sotheby’s Hong Kong [Bloomberg]
Chinese contemporary art palls in Sotheby’s HK sale [Reuters]
Pop Goes the Bubble in Chinese & Indian Art
Credit crunch crushes art auction [BBC]
Sotheby’s Sale of Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings Brings US$9,165,947 [ArtDaily]
Sotheby’s Website


Saatchi Gallery reopens with Asian art exhibit on October 9th, 2008

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Untitled by Yue Minjun
The Revolution Continues, ‘Untitled’
‘ (1999) by Yue Minjun, via Saatchi Gallery

Charles Saatchi, one of the UK’s wealthiest and largest art collectors, will re-open his renowned contemporary art gallery at its new home in the Duke of York’s former military barracks, following several delays and false starts due in part to construction issues. The gallery’s first exhibition will be The Revolution Continues: New Art from China, which will run from the gallery’s opening on October 9th until January 18th, 2009. The inaugural exhibit will feature 30 artists China’s white-hot contemporary art scene, including marquee names such as Yue Minjun, Fang Lijun, and Zhang Xiaogang. In line with fulfilling the new Saatchi gallery’s goal of introducing contemporary art to a broader (and younger) audience, admission to the gallery’s exhibits will be free thanks to a sponsorship deal with Phillips de Pury & Company.

Saatchi Gallery
Saatchi Gallery London: Virtual Tour

Saatchi Gallery Moves to New Home [GuardianUK]
Saatchi Finds a Home [NY Times]


Saatchi to open new London site October 9, beginning with Chinese focus

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Untitled, Yue Minjun (2005) via Saatchi Gallery

The Saatchi Gallery will open its new London site on October 9th in the Duke of York’s Headquarters building on King’s Road. The gallery, founded by advertising executive Charles Saatchi, will feature contemporary Chinese artists in its inaugural exhibition: “The Revolution Continues: New Art from China.” According to the gallery’s publicists, Freud Communications, the show will feature works from 30 leading painters, sculptors, and installation artists, such as Yue Minjun, Feng Zhengjie, Zhang Xiaogang, Zeng Fanzhi, Zhang Dali, Zhang Haiying, Qiu Jie, and many more.

Saatchi’s pledge for new art gallery [Guardian]
The Revolution Continues: New Chinese Art [Saatchi Gallery]
Saatchi Gallery to Open at New London Site With Chinese Artists [Bloomberg]
Saatchi Gallery to Open at New London Site With Chinese Artists [GG-Art]
View a virtual tour of the gallery here [Saatchi Gallery]


Newslinks: Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Sculpture from “Art for the Masses”, Yue Minjun via Supertouchart

KAWS does a Yue Minjun figurine [Supertouchart]
Are commodity-rich buyers propping up the market for trophy art? [CNN]
Damien Hirst’s rumored collaboration with ultra-pricey cell phone brand Vertu
Applications for an MA degree in art business see a strong increase [Financial Times]
Damien Hirst, other bold-faced names keep it swanky at Annabel’s in London for Richard Prince at Serpentine Gallery [The Independent]

Amtrak warned of Acela ‘defect'; Train spokesman denies lawsuit.(PAGE ONE)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC) October 22, 2002 Byline: Tom Ramstack, THE WASHINGTON TIMES Amtrak was warned by the manufacturer of its troubled high-speed Acela Express trains about potential “defects” in the undercarriages but forced early delivery.

Court documents in a lawsuit by Bombardier Corp. against Amtrak say trains were delivered before the design was certified as safe.

Bombardier, based in Montreal, said it gave its warning of a “trainset truck defect” in a letter dated Aug. 29, 2000. A trainset refers to locomotives and the rail cars they pull. Trucks are the wheel assemblies on the undersides of rail cars and locomotives.

Amtrak yesterday denied Bombardier’s accusations.

“At no time did Bombardier ever raise issues relating to the safe operation of the trainsets,” said Amtrak spokesman Bill Schulz. “If it had, neither Amtrak nor [the Federal Railroad Administration] would have permitted the trainsets to be operated.

“Amtrak was not aware of the specific defect,” he said, referring to cracks in the suspension systems.

Two months ago, an Amtrak mechanic discovered cracks in the undercarriage suspension system of an Acela Express locomotive when a bracket dislodged during routine maintenance in Boston. Additional inspections turned up cracks in other Acela Express trains, which travel at speeds up to 150 mph along the Northeast Corridor. Amtrak was forced to interrupt the popular service and lost millions of dollars in ticket revenue.

Amtrak found that the suspension assembly brackets appeared to be too weak to withstand the side-to-side movement of the locomotives. web site amtrak promotion code

Bombardier delivered the first Acela Express trainset on Oct. 18, 2000. Regular service along the Northeast Corridor started in December 2000.

Amtrak owns 18 Acela Express trainsets, 15 of which normally operate 50 daily departures. Three are kept in reserve. Because of the suspension problems, the operation is down to 12 trains making 40 daily departures.

Bombardier in November filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking compensation from Amtrak for cost overruns resulting from repeated design changes and tests ordered by the national passenger railroad.

On Aug. 18, 2000, Amtrak submitted a “claim,” or demand, that the trains in the $800 million contract be delivered. They already were more than a year late.

Bombardier responded by saying it was reluctant to deliver the trains before all of Amtrak’s requested design changes were complete.

“What Amtrak proposes is nothing short of a unilateral rewriting of the contract that would permit Amtrak to force the delivery of equipment which Amtrak itself asserts is defective in major respects,” wrote Germain Lafontaine, director of program management for the Bombardier Transportation-Alstom consortium that built the trains.

Richard Sarles, Amtrak’s vice president for high-speed rail, knew disagreements involving design of the undercarriage were unresolved but submitted the claim anyway, Mr. Lafontaine said in his letter. Mr. Sarles also knew that the unresolved design issues “could require operation of the trainsets at reduced speeds.” In addition, “these defects would allegedly increase the trainset’s trip time and require post-delivery repairs by the contractor or other commercial resolution.” Bombardier spokeswoman Carol Sharpe repeated the company’s position that any problems resulted from Amtrak’s design changes.

“What we said was that there were certain technical issues with which we disagreed,” she said. “They were imposing certain designs on us and we would disagree. We can’t discuss the specifics.” After Bombardier filed suit, Amtrak issued a statement blaming the manufacturer for delays and cost overruns.

“After five years of delays, performance failures and self-inflicted financial losses, it is no shock that Bombardier is now attempting to shift the blame for the consortium’s mismanagement of the high-speed trainset contract to Amtrak,” said an Amtrak statement dated Nov. 8, 2001.

Among Amtrak’s complaints against Bombardier were “speed restrictions, because the trainsets do not meet contract specifications when operated on track that complies fully with all FRA requirements.” Amtrak appeared to be aware of the undercarriage problems before delivery of the trainsets when it told Bombardier in an Aug. 14, 2000, letter that it was suspending payment for failure to meet design specifications. site amtrak promotion code

Payments in the contract were due as the Bombardier-Alstom consortium progressed in intervals toward completing the contract, referred to in letters as “milestones.” “Milestone payment amounts associated with trainset truck performance and the related qualification tests are not yet due because these milestones have never been achieved,” John Bell, Amtrak’s program director for high-speed trainsets, said in the letter.

Amtrak withheld $51 million in payments because of the equipment problems. Bombardier is seeking $200 million in its lawsuit as compensation for the cost overruns incurred from Amtrak’s design changes.

Meanwhile, Bombardier says it has engineered a permanent repair for the suspension systems, a sturdier bracket that reduces side-to-side motion.

The cracked support brackets were rewelded as a temporary fix in August to get the trains back into service.

Amtrak said Bombardier’s new bracket is undergoing field testing and must be approved by the FRA before it can be certified as a permanent repair.

Acela Express, one of Amtrak’s most popular and profitable business ventures, was a linchpin in the railroad’s failed efforts to free itself from federal subsidies. Congress is considering restructuring Amtrak because of its persistent inability to operate profitably.


Amtrak says Bombardier Corp.’s suspension assembly brackets are too weak to withstand the side-to-side movements of Acela Express trains, which travel up to 150 mph. [Photo by AP]

Hong Kong Art Auction Roundup

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Yue Minjun, “Gweong-Gweong” via ArtNet

This weekend marked Christie’s first Hong Kong Evening Sale with artists such as Zeng Fanzhi, Zao Wou-ki, Yue Minjun setting auction records. Monday’s sale was the second day of Christie’s six-day auction of 2,400 paintings, gems and antiques that the company expects could tally HK$1.7 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Gun-Slinging Robot, Wooden Beams Mark Quiet Hong Kong Art Sale [Bloomberg]
Smiling Bombs, 101-Carat Diamond Lead Christie’s Hong Kong Sale [Bloomberg]
Picasso Women, Hirst Spots Mark Hong Kong Bid for Art-Fair Fame [Bloomberg]
Asian Contemporary Art Sets a Record [NYTimes]
Asian art records tumble at Christie’s Hong Kong auction
[China Post] 5.26.08