Rothko Rockefeller Marc Glimcher of PaceWildenstein, which represents Mark Rothko’s estate, cited in Bloomberg’s report on the mindblowing new Rothko auction record, $72.8M at Sotheby’s: “While it’s a spectacular painting, it’s clear the allure of having David Rockefeller’s painting in your house is going way beyond what you might otherwise consider reasonable.”
Auctionmania at a glance Still trying to parse last week’s PostWarCon results? Check out the handy totals boards from chelseaartgalleries.com. Especially worth ruminating for art-market junkies is the data-crunching site’s “biggest surprises” category, which notes artist whose pieces showed steep and sudden jumps against their estimates. In some cases, such as the late Steven Parrino, it reflects the recent involvement of a heavy hitter (Gagosian) in the artist’s market. Likewise, Yayoi Kusama’s US representation is in flux, but clearly her market’s already spiking.
Art market=New Economy? From CultureGrrl, to whom California collector Tom Dare explained selling two Ed Ruscha pieces he had commissioned to spell his own name: “The crazy market combined with all-time high Dow indices caused me to rethink the personal nature of the commissioned pieces and do the smart thing—take money off a hot table and pay the mortgage off. I work in the dot.com business and remember the pain from the bursting bubble in 2000 and the untold dollars I left on the table as a recently IPO’d employer fell back to earth.” This time, Dare made a killing, doubling the estimate on works that he had bought before the market for Ruscha rocketed.
Collector pathology From the Judith Pascoe’s New York Times editorial Collect-Me-Nots: “The pathos of Napoleon’s penis — bandied about over the decades, barely recognizable as a human body part — conjures up the seamier side of the collecting impulse. If, as Freud suggested, the collector is a sexually maladjusted misanthrope, then the emperor’s phallus is a collector’s object nonpareil, the epitome of male potency and dominance.”
Saltz stiletto strikes again From the Jerry Saltz review of Andreas Gursky’s new show, in New York magazine: “Gursky’s new pictures are filled with visual amphetamine, but now they’re laced with psychic chloroform.”
Banksy unmasked? We’re too busy (gearing up for the European art marathon) to bother being hassled by Banksy’s lawyers - the excellently named firm Finers Stephens Innocent - but apparently Radar magazine’s not. Check out its post Making Banksy, with the image of a man purported to be the anonymous artist, before FSI makes it MIA.
Nazi looting gave us AbEx? Filmmaker Richard Berge cited in The Evening Class blog’s Interview with the makers of the new “Rape of Europa” documentary on Nazi cultural looting, based on the excellent book of the same title by Lynn Nicholas: “These Monuments Men [U.S. army cultural experts charged with handling Nazi-looted pieces] who—before the war—had never seen these works of art that they studied in graduate school, saw them for the first time in the most dire circumstances and they were responsible for them. They came back after the war and I don’t think it was a coincidence that, not only was there abstract expressionism, but there’s a reason why the art world went from Paris to New York. These men and women came back and created the post-war art establishment.”
Bluntest. Gallery. Name. Ever. Galleria S.A.L.E.S
Parents Day should be fun. London artist Melissa Scott-Miller, explaining to the Islington Gazette her ire over her work being featured in the same primary-school charity auction as that of Jake and Dinos Chapman: “I don’t want to be associated with the Chapmans’ work. I don’t think it’s right for a school.”
China’s Second Life pavillion. from Chinese arts site tom.com, curator Hou Hanru’s description of Cao Fei’s Second Life project for his Chinese pavilion in Venice: “Naming her avatar China Tracy…[and] creating a China Tracy Pavilion on the website, Cao Fei will construct a platform for dialogue and exchange open to everyone.” Honestly, if it wasn’t Cao Fei doing it, I’d be highly dubious. As it is, I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised.
Meanwhile in an alternate artworld dimension Ever-optimistic Artworld Salon reader Gallerina forwarded me this Page Six item with a “The state of the art world” subject line : “NEW DEALER: Brandon “Greasy Bear” Davis, whose grandfather was a billionaire, is trying to make some money on his own. Together with Australian playboy Andy Valmorbida, the oily heir is parlaying his party connections into a career selling art. The duo recently hosted a one-night exhibition of photos by [fashion photographer] Raphael Mazzucco in Beverly Hills - drawing Mike Tyson, Devon Aoki and Courtney Love, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan - and sold out the whole show. The bicoastal duo also threw a party at the new Legacy condo on East 84th Street for Stavros Niarchos, Petra Nemcova, Kiera Chaplin and Tommy Hilfiger who is said to have bought a Mazzucco picture for $100,000.” Uh, Tommy, for a mere $8,000 more you could have had a 1977 Cindy Sherman!