Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I'll Take That...and a bag of chips!

The famous auction house Christie's had a little sale last night which, it appears, was attended by none of my closest friends for some reason (I'm looking at you Whitey). Having spammed everyone I know with a short wish list of reasonably priced artwork, I figured I could check the web this morning and see what my good pals had decided to bestow upon me this holiday season.

Imagine my dismay. My only hope is Whitey may be "anonymous telephone bidder," but knowing his flair for publicity I highly doubt it. But on to the paintings! Being the Renaissance Man I am, I feel highly qualified to critique some of the offerings from last night. While you may say, "My kid could do that...," you would be wrong. Or your kid needs better PR.

  1. Andy Warhol: "Liz" This beautiful thing was owned by Hugh Grant, and supposedly it is a "heavy-handed" version. Regardless, it sold for $21 million which netted Mr. Grant a nice return on his investment - he bought it in 2001 for $3.5 million. Rumor is her eyes follow you. Creepy. Or endearing. Goes well with white walls or Miami Vice decor. I was going to put her in the bathroom for reasons I need not divulge here. Alas.

  2. Lucian Freud: “Ib and Her Husband” Freud is still alive (this was painted in 1992) and probably looking on in dismay as I doubt he let this go for more than $100. It was sold by a woman in Seattle for $19.3 million. That's Freud's daughter (Isobel) and, one would hope, her husband in the painting. I like the radiator in the background. Charming.

  3. Ed Ruscha: "Burning Gas Station" Ed is also still alive and presumably not hurting for cash. This painting was sold by a guy in San Francisco for $6.9 million. I like it, but I tend to go for the apocalyptic more than most. Good for the kids' room if your kids happen to be named Pugsley and Wednesday.

  4. Mark Rothko: Untitled I like the name, or lack thereof. More than many other artists, except maybe Pollock, Rothko often generates the, "My kid could do that" comment. While that may be true, your kid didn't do it and isn't buying you a new fleet of Maseratis anytime soon with the $34.2 million they would have made. This was the big boy at the auction, fetching the highest price tag. Good for the geometry teacher on your Christmas list or convincing people you have a blue flat-screen TV. Worth more than the GNP of many African countries.

  5. Richard Prince: "Piney Woods Nurse" $6 million. Go figure. This is one in a series of 'Nurse' paintings by Prince, most of which I like better than this one. If you see one in a doctor's office near you it will serve as a gentle reminder as to why medical school is so #$%damn expensive...and why your insurance rates are so high.

  6. Gerhard Richter: "Düsenjäger" Jet planes! For the low, low price of $11.2 million! I think it would look better on velvet with Tom Cruise peering out of the cockpit. Probably be worth more too!

  7. Jeff Koons: "Blue Diamond" Aptly named, this monstrosity is seven feet wide and almost eight feet tall. The only reason one should spend $11.8 million on this is if you: A) have a joint bank account with the artist; B) are the artist's representative (which the buyer was) or; C) receive some documentation that it is indeed a real diamond. If you have someone present "C" to you, I have a bridge in Brooklyn in which you might be interested...

  8. Basquiat: "Sugar Ray Robinson" I'm not sure this is the actual painting which was sold last night, but it was the only representation of the same name I could find. The New York Times describes it as, "...a brightly colored hulking figure in shorts and gloves..." which this painting most definitely is not. Nevertheless, something titled "Sugar Ray Robinson" by Basquiat sold for $6.5 million last night. And yes, your kid probably could have knocked this painting out.

Most of my information came from this article in the New York Times. I would assume most of our loyal readers accidentally discarded the postcard reminder sent to them by Christie's concerning this sale. Fear not! Tonight you have a second chance to buy me some stuff to adorn my presently blank apartment walls! Without further ado, a preview of tonight's auction across town at Sotheby's...

  1. Jeff Koons: "Jim Beam - Caboose" No, it's not a painting, but it's a caboose! When Koons wasn't chopping out hideously over-sized blue diamonds he was working on the choo-choo's! A steal at $1-1.5 million. I'd like it more if it was an actual scale representation, but beggars can't be choosers.

  2. Mark Rothko: Untitled We may have missed out on a Rothko last night, but we're in luck...another is on the block tonight. I like to call this one "A View From the Moon." Goes with any decor (especially mine). Hope you saved your pennies as the starting bid is $12 million.

  3. Zeng Fanzhi: Mask Series 99-A-2 Easily the creepiest thing for sale. This is what you get that pesky in-law just to force them to have to put the thing on the wall every time you come over. In fact, I'm making this our banner just to creep y'all out. Should you want to give this to someone, bids start at $900,000. I think it's worth the look on your Mother-in-Law's face Christmas morning: "An original shouldn't have!"

  4. Mike Kelley: "Written in the Wind" This one is a bit difficult to grasp through the picture. There are a couple of these 'installation pieces' for sale, and this one is my favorite. It includes: a cardboard box, 10 found stuffed animals, coat rack with jacket and shirt, and ten wall texts. The dimensions are variable, as you could presumably heap it all a corner, graffiti the walls yourself, and then deal with your wife's sour looks for the duration. Little does she know you dropped $1.2 mil on this over-sized diorama. Trust me, the subtlety will be lost on her. Feel free to explain.

  5. Damien Hirst: "Adam and Eve (Banished From the Garden)" If the previous work didn't getcha, I offer this beauty. It includes: Painted steel and glass vitrine with 2 metal gurneys, 2 cloth dummies, 2 metal buckets, various medical instruments, 1 spool of twine, 2 needles, 2 rubber gloves, 2 rubber plugs, chicken bones, one plate and sandwich, 3 fish hooks and chain, and cloth. I like the chicken bones, three fish hooks, and sandwich. If you buy this, make sure you find those items quickly as they will probably be your only source of nourishment after whomever you live with finds out you spent $3 million on this wonderful item. Enjoy.

  6. Ellsworth Kelly: "Dark Grey Curve" Looks more like a dark black curve to me. Once you spend $1-1.5 million on this, go ahead and name it whatever you want. Whitey likes "Slice of Licorice." My personal favorite is "Bad Cheese."

  7. Andy Warhol: "Campbell's Soup Can (Pepper Pot)" We've all seen these before. You can buy a reprint of this Warhol masterpiece (in practically any flavor) for probably around $20. Or you can buy the original for $9 million. Your choice, but remember: you always get what you pay for.

  8. Francis Bacon: "Second Version of Study for Bullfight No. 1" Last but not least, this is my favorite. It looks like a miniature bull is chasing its tail in the corner of your dining room floor. Sotheby's doesn't even put a price on this on their website ("Estimate Upon Request"), but the early word on the street is it will go for at least $35 million. Don't be shy, I'm worth every penny.

Check out Sotheby's for more information and a complete list of items for sale. You have to register, but it's quick, painless and, most importantly, free. Coming Soon! Whitey & The Professors' First Annual If I Get One Toy For Christmas, It Better Be One of These Christmas List. No need to shop for the kids 'til then.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, guys! I had been getting Yahoo email notifications whenever you made a new post, but unbeknownst to me they stopped months ago. Sorry I haven't stopped by in a while, I just assumed you hadn't posted anything new. I'll spend some time this afternoon catching up on what I missed. I'm hoping you decided to poke some more fun at presidential candidates. ;-)

    By the way, these paintings (and their prices) are hilarious, and some of them are hilariously bad. LOL

    PS: I have a new wordpress blog address (embedded in my sig). I have added you to my new blogroll; you're still on the blogroll at Last Free Voice, I just checked.