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Phillips Sale Totals Less Than Half the Low Estimate

arts-phillips-auctionIt was perhaps a bad omen that before the auction of contemporary art even began at Phillips de Pury & Company on Thursday night, five works were withdrawn, including examples by such popular artists as John Currin, Richard Prince and Anselm Kiefer. And as the evening progressed, the results proved dreary, with about 40 percent of the art unsold and those works that did sell going for a fraction of their estimates.

The sales totaled just $9.6 million, less than half of the low estimate of $23 million. Yet the diehards came — collectors and dealers who hung in after a tough two days and nights of auctions.

At Phillips’s Chelsea headquarters, the struggling boutique firm had trouble putting together a strong selection. For sale was a disparate array of 51 works — lesser examples by trendy artists. The quality of the offerings was on a par with that of Sotheby’s or Christie’s lower-priced day sales.

Anything estimated at more than $1 million was either withdrawn or went unsold, with the exception of Donald Judd’s “Untitled (77/23-Bernstein),” one of the artist’s so-called stack sculptures. Fashioned from stainless steel and blue Plexiglas, the 1977 work was the cover image of the sale’s catalog. Simon de Pury, chairman of Phillips and the evening’s auctioneer, looked relieved when a lone telephone bidder wanted the sculpture, which he sold for $2.8 million, or $3.2 million with fees, well below its estimate of $4 million to $6 million.

(Final prices include the commission to Phillips: 25 percent of the first $50,000, 20 percent of the next $50,000 to $1 million, and 12 percent of the rest. Estimates do not reflect commissions.)

One of the few works that several people wanted was “Untitled (Mirror),” a 2003 stainless-steel sculpture painted deep blue by the English artist Anish Kapoor. Four bidders vied for the work, which was estimated at $500,000 to $700,000, and it sold for $650,000, or $782,500 including commission.

The Warhol market has been disappointing all week, and Phillips was selling three undistinguished paintings. The first, “$,” a 1981 version of the artist’s dollar-sign image, was estimated at $350,000 to $450,000. (At Sotheby’s on Tuesday, “Dollar Sign,” from 1981, was put on the block at $2.5 million to $3.5 million. Three bottom feeders bid on it, and the designer Valentino bought it for $2 million.) On Thursday, not a hand went up, and “$” remained unsold, as did another Warhol, “Portrait of R. C. Gorman” from the 1980s, depicting an American Indian artist in profile. It was estimated at $400,000 to $600,000.

But the artist’s “Details of Renaissance Paintings (Paolo Uccello, St. George and the Dragon, 1460),” from 1984, had one taker, bringing $582,500, well below its $600,000 to $800,000 estimate.

When a seminal work by Jean-Michel Basquiat is up for sale, it brings a high price. That’s what “Untitled (Boxer),” a 1982 painting, did on Wednesday at Christie’s, where it sold for $13.5 million. Phillips had two others, but neither measured up. “J. D. Card,” a 1984 cartoonlike painting with images and words, like “coal” and “rake,” was estimated at $2.2 million to $2.8 million, and “Thirty-Sixth Figure,” a 1983 canvas of an angry-looking angel, was expected to bring $1.5 million to $2 million. Both remained unsold.

The enthusiasm for work by Damien Hirst that had seemed endless at the artist’s landmark auction in London in September has cooled enormously. Phillips was selling three works by the artist, all made in the past two years. The most expensive was “Beautiful Artemis Thor Neptune Odin Delusional Sapphic Inspirational Hypnosis Painting,” an amalgam of the artist’s skulls and spin paintings, this one measuring 8 feet by 20 feet. Phillips had expected it to bring $3 million to $4 million, but it went unsold. So did one of the artist’s dot paintings.

But the salesroom came alive when a resin skull sculpture, “Happy Head No. 7,” also from 2007, was on the block. Four bidders wanted it, and it made $95,000 ($116,500 with the commission), above its high estimate of $90,000.

“It’s been a phenomenally tough season,” said Michael McGinnis, director of contemporary art worldwide for Phillips, after the sale, explaining that the company had cobbled the auction together during the summer, before the economic picture grew ugly. He said that the house’s experts had been trying for days to persuade sellers to lower their expectations.

“Obviously we’ve seen a modification in the art market,” he added.

Via: The New York Times

November 17, 2008 Posted by | Artists, Auction, News, photography, raw art gallery | | Leave a comment

High Museum of Art presents Record-Breaking Terracotta Army Exhibition

seated_musicianThe High Museum of Art presents “The First Emperor: China’s Terracotta Army,” an exhibition inspired by one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. Featuring 100 works, including 15 terracotta figures, the exhibition represents one of the largest group of important works relating to the First Emperor ever to be loaned to the U.S. by the Museum of the Terracotta Army and the Cultural Relics Bureau of Shaanxi Province in Xi’an, China. With rarely seen and recently discovered objects from his famed tomb complex, the exhibition will provide insight into the legacy of China’s First Emperor, Qin Shihuangdi, who reigned from 221–210 B.C.

High Museum of Art

November 17, 2008 Posted by | Art Exhibitions, Artists, News, raw art gallery | , | Leave a comment

Victoria & Albert Museum announces ” Baroque 1620-1800: Style in the Age of Magnificence “

victoria_baroqueThe magnificence and splendour of Baroque, one of the most opulent styles of the 17th and 18th centuries, will be the subject of the V&A’s spring exhibition. The exhibition will reflect the complexity and grandeur of the Baroque style, from the Rome of Borromini and Bernini to the magnificence of Louis XIV’s Versailles and the lavishness of Baroque theatre and performance. On display will be religious paintings by Rubens and Tiepolo while silver furniture, portraits, sculpture, a regal bed and court tapestries will conjure up the rooms of a Baroque palace.

Baroque 1620 – 1800 will bring together around 200 objects to examine the flourishing of the Baroque style during the era that saw the establishment of great European and colonial empires ruled by absolute monarchs and the continuing power of the Roman Catholic Church. Displays will cover architecture, furniture, silver, ceramics, painting, sculpture, and textiles. The exhibition will explore the Baroque style in performance and the theatre; the public city square; religious spaces including St Peter’s Basilica in Rome and secular spaces such as Louis XIV’s Palace of Versailles. On exhibition 4 April – 19 July 2009.

Highlights of the exhibition will include:

Depictions of the Palace of Versailles from the 17th and 18th centuries, including the Hall of Mirrors, and designs for the gardens;

  • Portraits of Louis XIV;
  • Rare, historic furniture and a Gobelins tapestry made for Louis XIV. The furniture will include a 17th century cabinet made by Domenico Cucci in the Gobelins workshop in Paris, one of only two surviving pieces from the Versailles of Louis XIV. There will also be a majestic state bed given by Louis XIV to the Swedish ambassador;
  • An oil sketch of Descent from the Cross painted by Rubens for the cathedral in Antwerp ;
  • Sculpture and architectural designs by the originators of Roman Baroque, Borromini and Bernini, for St Peter’s Basilica and for the Cornaro Chapel;
  • Stage sets from Baroque theatres such as Ceský Krumlov in the Czech Republic, costumes from Italian court theatre of the 18th century and musical instruments;
  • The original model for James Gibbs’s English Baroque church St-Mary-Le-Strand in London;
  • Superb examples of silver bedroom furniture from Knole, commissioned by the Countess of Dorset.
  • A bust of Charles II by Honoré Pelle;
  • Baroque pearls from the Green Vaults of Augustus the Strong at Dresden;
  • Costume from the Swedish Royal court and candelabrum made for the Swedish Royal Chapel;
  • An altarpiece, sculpture, painting and furniture from Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Indonesia, the Philippines and India.
  • Mark Jones, Director of the V&A said: “2009 will see a year of celebrations of Baroque music and style. Baroque is one of the most exuberant and dazzling design styles there has even been, an expression of European power and magnificence in the 17th and 18th centuries. Our exhibition will be the first to examine all the elements of Baroque including architecture, art and design and will look at how it established itself through Europe and then internationally as European power grew overseas.” 


    November 17, 2008 Posted by | Art Exhibitions, Artists, News, raw art gallery | , | Leave a comment

    Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) premieres ‘Filmmaker in Focus – Ferzan Ozpetek’

    sacred_heartThe Museum of Modern Art, in association with Cinecittà Holding, presents the New York premiere of Ferzan Ozpetek’s most recent film, Un giorno perfetto (A Perfect Day) (2008), as one of the features of Filmmaker in Focus: Ferzan Ozpetek, a seven-film exhibition of one of the most successful contemporary Italian filmmakers. The premiere of A Perfect Day on Friday, December 5, at 6:00 p.m., will be introduced by actress Isabella Ferrari, and followed by a Q&A with Ozpetek (b. 1959, Istanbul) and Laura Delli Colli, film critic and author of a monograph that will be released in conjunction with the exhibition, titled Ferzan Ozpetek: Eyes Wide Open, edited by Mondadori.

    Museum of Modern Art

    November 17, 2008 Posted by | Artists, News, photography, raw art gallery | , , , | Leave a comment

    Sol LeWitt Restrospective of Large-Scale Drawings at MASS MoCA

    lewittAfter nearly six months of intensive drafting and painting by a team of some sixty-five artists and art students, Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective is fully installed. The historic exhibition opens to the public at MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art), on November 16, 2008, and will remain on view for twenty-five years. Conceived by the Yale University Art Gallery, in collaboration with the artist before his death in April 2007, the project has been undertaken by the Gallery, MASS MoCA, and the Williams College Museum of Art. 

    Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective comprises 105 of LeWitt’s large-scale wall drawings, spanning the artist’s career from 1969 to 2007. These occupy nearly an acre of specially built interior walls that have been installed—per LeWitt’s own specifications—over three stories of a historic mill building situated at the heart of MASS MoCA’s campus. The 27,000-square-foot structure, known as Building #7, has been fully restored for the exhibition by Bruner/Cott & Associates architects, which has closely integrated the building into the museum’s main circulation plan through a series of elevated walkways, a dramatic new vertical lightwell, and new stairways.

    The works in the exhibition are on loan from numerous private and public collections worldwide, including the Yale University Art Gallery, to which LeWitt designated the gift of a major representation of his wall drawings, as well as his wall-drawing archive.

    Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery, states, “Watching this grand installation of Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings progress over the past six months has been nothing short of thrilling. In addition to providing an enduring exhibition of great beauty, this retrospective will enable visitors to behold for the first time the full trajectory of a major aspect of Sol’s artistic career. Until today, the only way to view multiple LeWitt wall drawings has been to travel far and wide, pursuing them individually in situ or in temporary museum exhibitions. Now, visitors will be able to return to MASS MoCA again and again to experience this visual feast of Sol’s wall drawings in a single location, doing so at their leisure over the next twenty-five years.”

    LeWitt—who stressed the idea behind his work over its execution—is widely regarded as one of the leading exponents of Minimalism and Conceptual art, and is known primarily for his deceptively simple geometric structures and architecturally scaled wall drawings. His experiments with the latter commenced in 1968 and were considered radical, in part because this new form of drawing was purposely temporal and often executed not just by LeWitt but also by other artists and students whom he invited to assist him in the installation of his artworks.

    Each wall drawing begins as a set of instructions or simple diagram to be followed in executing the work. As the exhibition makes clear, these straightforward instructions yield an astonishing—and stunningly beautiful—variety of work that is at once simple and highly complex, rigorous and sensual. The drawings in the exhibition range from layers of straight lines meticulously drawn in black graphite pencil lead, to rows of delicately rendered wavy lines in colored pencil; from bold black-and-white geometric forms, to bright planes in acrylic paint arranged like the panels of a folding screen; from sensuous drawings created by dozens of layers of transparent washes, to a tangle of vibratory orange lines on a green wall, and much more. Forms may appear to be flat, to recede in space, or to project into the viewer’s space, while others meld to the structure of the wall itself. 

    Project History
    The impetus for Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective was a 2004 conversation between Reynolds and LeWitt. This evolved and resulted in a commitment by the artist to give a substantial number of his wall drawings and his entire wall-drawing archive to the Yale University Art Gallery, which already owned an extensive array of LeWitt’s art in multiple mediums. Realizing that the Gallery did not have enough space to install and maintain a large number of the artist’s wall drawings at any one time, Reynolds suggested to LeWitt that MASS MoCA, with its historic mill complex, growing audience, and history of realizing ambitious new works of art, might be able to accommodate an extended retrospective of the works.

    Reynolds and LeWitt then met with Thompson, who introduced the artist to Building #7. The structure, situated at the center of MASS MoCA’s multi-building complex and featuring large banks of windows that open onto two flanking courtyards, appealed to LeWitt as an ideal site for a multi-floor installation of his work. In addition to the new interior walls, which he designed in consultation with Bruner/Cott & Associates, his specifications for the space included a plan that would leave nearly all of the existing exterior masonry walls and large windows intact, providing direct side lighting and offering beautiful views to surrounding courtyards and the Berkshire Hills beyond.

    Retrospective Installation and Education Opportunities
    “Detailed,” “painstaking,” and “strangely liberating” are terms that have been used to describe the experience of creating Sol LeWitt’s monumental wall drawings. The drawings at MASS MoCA were executed over a six-month period by a team comprising twenty-two of the senior and experienced assistants who worked with the artist over many years; thirty-three student interns from Yale University, Williams College, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and fourteen other colleges and universities; and thirteen local artists and recent graduates and post-graduates from many of the nation’s leading studio-art programs.

    MASS MoCA’s North Adams location, just five miles from Williams College, offers a unique educational opportunity for Williams’s undergraduates and those enrolled in its graduate art-history program at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute to participate in this special exhibition. Like Yale, Williams is among the primary training grounds for professionals in the field of art history, and the LeWitt collaboration, to be accompanied by a variety of educational programs, will offer students many opportunities to study the work of this important artist.

    In conjunction with the project, the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) is creating a series of programs and shorter-term companion “teaching exhibitions” in a space at the entrance of Building #7 and at the WCMA. The first of these, The ABCDs of Sol LeWitt, opens at WCMA on November 14, 2008. It includes important works from LeWitt’s private collection that help elucidate the underlying grammar of the artist’s work and ideas.


    November 17, 2008 Posted by | Art Exhibitions, Artists, News, raw art gallery | , , , | Leave a comment

    Norton To Release Gamer-Friendly Antivirus Software

    norton2When it comes to a PC gamer, they need certain things that other users might not need in a computer. High-end graphics cards, lots of RAM, fancy keyboards and special mice are all things than you might find attached to a gaming rig. So when it comes to fighting computer viruses, gamers need special software for that, right? Norton seems to think so.

    Norton Antivirus isn’t know for its low memory usage. In fact, it can be one of the biggest resource hogs on your computer, which isn’t good for framerates. So what has Norton done? They’ve cooked up a special Gaming Edition of their 2009 antivirus software. This release is supposed to use 80% less memory, and allow for more lax security in leu of better performance. You can even set it to “Gamers Mode” which will suspend all update downloads and antivirus alerts, thus not interrupting your gaming experience. If this special version doesn’t cost anything extra, then it might be worth looking into, that is if you can stand to have Norton on your computer in the first place.

    November 17, 2008 Posted by | Geeks, News, raw art gallery, Technology | | 2 Comments