Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Gravity, Schmavity...

We only stayed through the first 25 lots at Christie's last night, just long enough to decide we could toast the continued strength of the contemporary art market with a cocktail. Our friend, the irrepressible director of Von Lintel gallery,
Collette Blanchard, Bambino (who was attending his first auction), and I headed out into the crisp midtown air content that the Art Market Deathwatch Cheerleaders would have to keep their pompoms at their sides for at least another night.

Here's how The New York Times summarized the evening:
In an overflowing salesroom at Christie’s, bidders from all parts of the globe were happy to pay top dollar Tuesday night for everything from an abstract canvas by Mark Rothko to a painting of a monumentally fat woman by Lucian Freud.

The auction also included a five-bedroom Modernist house, which was snapped up for a record price.

It was the first sale in a week of nonstop postwar and contemporary art auctions, and although there were often only one or two bidders for a work of art, the offers were high enough to defy recent economic jitters and produce a strong sale.
The "overflowing salesroom" was mostly why we decided we should get some fresh air, but there were also no lots bought in by the 25th (although three would be by the auction's close) and most were respectfully being bought above their low estimate and some far above that, so...we went on to debate politics, disparity in the art world, and other topics the results gave us license to indulge ourselves in. For now at least.

Labels: art auctions, art market


Blogger George said...

Hmm, It's all about the economy which is better than people think. The US stock market is going to the moon and the dollar is bottomed. As they say...

Party on dude

5/14/2008 11:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Regina José Galindo said...

This attention to detail is also an important key to understand my own architecture. The belief in the importance of details also suggests the new hierarchy

5/14/2008 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger quirk29 said...

I'd like to see some of the billions spent on unrecognized, starving artists. What better way to foster more creativity and keep art moving forward?

5/14/2008 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I enjoy seeing the rare Rothko (he was more prolific than I imagined) or the like going from one private collection to the next, for another 10 to 20 years.

5/14/2008 12:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if that Richard Prince nurse painting sold. I remember seeing the estimate on that and being blown away. It's estimate dwarfed the estimates of the work by blue chips like Warhol and Kiefer. And they had a high estimate on that Lucian Freud painting of 35 million!
But I don't see a continued strong market for artists at the top translating to a market for mid-level and emerging artists. This just shows me that the super rich still have plenty of money to spend- and will spend it on the most well known artists. Something I already knew. Though the fact the bidding was often limited to just two folks might be telling. Perhaps there is a bit of concern even amongst the folks at the top.

5/14/2008 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Richard Prince Man-crazy nurse no.2 sold for...

hold your breath....

Sold For 7,433,000 US$

5/14/2008 01:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"quirk29 said...
I'd like to see some of the billions spent on unrecognized, starving artists. What better way to foster more creativity and keep art moving forward?"

Funny, I'd like to see it spent feeding the hungry, aiding the disaster-struck and curing the ill.

5/14/2008 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

you can play that game all day, folks.

The bottom line is the folks buying art are indeed supporting plenty of people who rely on their arts-related jobs to survive. You can spin it a millions different ways to make it sound like a lot of money that could/should be spent elsewhere, but the central implication in that is these collectors are not already giving generously to such efforts, and I usually find that not to be case.

5/14/2008 02:50:00 PM  
Anonymous pedro velez said...

and the results from last night auctions are in:

I'm still flat broke and all of my friends too!

5/14/2008 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Evan said...

Do these 'art related' jobs include mid-early career artists? It still seems like the the art market is like the rest of the Bush economy - the rich get exponentially wealthier and the rest get left behind. Quite frankly, I'd like to the market to provide more support to artists rather than for arts related jobs.

Of course, the weak dollar is probably playing a large role at this level.

"the central implication in that is these collectors are not already giving generously to such efforts, and I usually find that not to be case."

I don't doubt it, but are there any hard numbers to back this up?

This article puts a different spin on these 'strong' auction sales.

"Seasoned dealers and collectors are guessing that market cracks will emerge first in sales of less expensive works, that this is the season of the great divide between the Best and the Rest."

"Sotheby’s and Christie’s are at the point where they are often willing to forgo profits just to win commissions and beat out the other on sales totals."

"These confidential deals are so abundant that it is difficult to judge whether a strong evening sales result is a smoke screen. But if profits dry up, such face-saving strategies can’t last forever."

5/14/2008 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Mike @ MAO said...

From looking at the results from the "Lower End" auctions in the morning.. and afternoon today..

It looks like the Contemporary Art Euphoria is widespread!

I guess we'll have to put our Deathwatch Pom-Poms away till the Fall!

5/14/2008 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger Idon'tbathe said...

auction houses are exclusively profit-orientated and greedy. Everybody is profiting from high auction prices except for dealers and artists.
The real problem with the secondary market is the auction houses. They are the ones that really conflict with galleries when it comes to promoting artists. All they do is live off the artist....They just turn stuff over to make a buck they are the parasites of the art world. They have no loyalty to the long term integrity of the art world. I think its disgusting.

5/14/2008 04:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks goodness everything is A-OK over at Sotheby’s and Christie’s.

Too bad the rest of the nation's economy is in the toilet bowl and the majority of living artist's are suffering economically like the non-rich, non-artists.

5/14/2008 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger Catherine Spaeth said...

The auction house thing is freakish, but it isn't everything. Support the galleries. I guess this is why the social scene is important, Bambino's scene and herd postings are necessary.

There is also something about numbers as a form of knowledge, as opposed to words and vision. It's some kind of strange new social form, I'm trying to understand. Any thoughts?

5/14/2008 07:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if the art market is still booming why did oliver kamm and clementine close?

and as they are both in your tunnel, any word on who might be moving into those spaces?

5/14/2008 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Bacon Painting Auctioned for Record $86 Million

"A 1976 triptych painting by Francis Bacon brought a whopping $86.28 million Wednesday night at Sotheby’s big spring contemporary art sale. It was a record for the artist at auction and, seemingly, a retort to doomsayers who had predicted that the art market would falter seriously this season because of broad economic anxieties. Everyone in Sotheby’s cavernous salesroom was on the edge of their seats when..."

5/14/2008 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Main Entry:
re·dun·dant Listen to the pronunciation of redundant
Latin redundant-, redundans, present participle of redundare to overflow — more at redound

1 a: exceeding what is necessary or normal : superfluous b: characterized by or containing an excess; specifically : using more words than necessary c: characterized by similarity or repetition - a group of particularly redundant brick buildings - dchiefly British : no longer needed for a job and hence laid off2: profuse, lavish3: serving as a duplicate for preventing failure of an entire system (as a spacecraft) upon failure of a single component
— re·dun·dant·ly adverb

5/14/2008 11:55:00 PM  
Anonymous cavernous Interview said...

I think that we should pull out . . .

5/15/2008 02:25:00 AM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

you're not hurting anyone but yourself. There's a million others who;d jump at the chances you threw away. Life will go on without you. WHat are you afraid of. Just make the work it's not about the market, its about the work and doing what you love. WHo do you love what do you love. I have to work for a living you dont work how do you do it do't you care about the future what are you going to do? Bet you never had an idea in your life. No talent hack. Probably have other people make your work for you bet its not even considered. Informed by nothing. Nihilist. Lazy nihilist. Man I hate that guy. I wish he'd shut up. Art doesn't have to be about anything but his nothing is not even nothing. SO bitter so boring so lacking in anything like art. What a loser. Not even a part of the culture. What an outsider. But not exotic. Anti-intellectual hack. Doesn't even work as a post modern parody. Hasn;t even read seminal essays like art and objecthood, avant guard and kitch, notes on camp, the dematerialization of art, relational esthetics, society of the spectacle, desert of the real, had to google everything or reads wikipedia like it actually has any real knowledge. Never went to germany, never saw the ufizzi, never saw the prado, I could do what that guy does but it's so pointless. Does he think its art I bet he does. What a laughing stock. Even if he did have anything going there are thousands who do it better, what a joke. All the authority of a wet blanket. Idiot. oh buyt you're going on strike. Classic. Dont let the elevator hit you on the way down.

5/15/2008 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger George said...


5/15/2008 10:58:00 AM  

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