Christie's and Sotheby's both saw remarkable results from this week's auctions of contemporary art in London. Christie's sales on Feb. 8 and 9 set new records for several artists, including yBas Tracey Emin (£78,550), Gary Hume (£190,000) and Sarah Lucas (£135,750). The top presale estimate for both Emin's and Lucas' record-setting works was only £40,000(£1 = $1.45). Overall, Christie's sold 115 of 189 lots for a total of £3,814,680. Top lot was an untitled 1996 work by Anselm Kiefer, which was bought for £366,750. A pair of 48-inch granite Eyes by Louise Bourgeois went for £267,750, a new record for the artist.
At Sotheby's London on Feb. 7, a new auction record was set for German painter Sigmar Polke, who had the top lot with Untitled (Double Portrait) (1963-64), which fetched £1,158,500 (est. £600,000-£800,000). Other records include £751,500 for a classic Lucio Fontana Concetto Spaziale (1954); £174,000 for Gilbert and George's Bloody Life (1975); £212,500 for Andreas Gursky's O.T. VI (1997), a photograph of the Museum of Modern Art's installation of Jackson Pollock's One: Number 31; £718,500 for Yves Klein's Eponge Bleu II (SE 260) (1957) (the highest price for a sculpture by the French conceptual artist); and £355,500 for British painter Leon Kossoff's Children's Swimming Pool, 12 O'Clock, Sunday Morning, September (1971). For the full results, consult artnet.com's unique Current International Auction Results.
1980s ART REDUX
Are you ready to revisit the 1980s art boom? The era that brought us the "three Cs," Neo-Ex, graffiti art, Neo-Geo, Po-Mo and the East Village? Then get yourself down to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami (not Los Angeles, as the Wall Street Journal had it in today's "Art and Money" column), where MoCA director Bonnie Clearwater has organized "Mythic Proportions: Painting in the 1980s," Feb. 17-May 13, 2001. The show is accompanied by a penetrating catalogue essay by Clearwater that promises to reignite the critical battles for the day. "Painting in the 1980s was not a neutral medium," she writes. "Its return to the forefront of art making seriously compromised the Modernist belief in the progress of art, and its very existence prompted increased criticism of painting as such in favor of mediums like photography and video."
Who makes the cut? The retrospective survey features works by 25 artists -- Donald Baechler, Georg Baselitz, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ross Bleckner, Sandro Chia, Francesco Clemente, George Condo, Enzo Cucchi, Eric Fischl, Peter Halley, Keith Haring, Anselm Kiefer, Sherrie Levine, Allan McCollum, Elizabeth Murray, Sigmar Polke, Susan Rothenberg, Richard Prince, Gerhard Richter, David Salle, Kenny Scharf, Julian Schnabel, Phillip Taaffe, Terry Winters and Christopher Wool. Among those (admittedly) missing in action: Ashley Bickerton, Markus Lüpertz, Robert Longo and Meyer Vaisman.
ASIA SOCIETY COMMISSIONS
It's a brave museum that invites living artists to collaborate on an institutional expansion. The Asia Society is commissioning eight new works from nine Asian and Asian American artists as part of its current $30-million-dollar addition and renovation, which will double the exhibition space and provide a new sky-lit garden court. The commissions include a large-scale mural done jointly by Shahzia Sikander and Nilima Sheikh; lobby seating by Navin Rawanchaikul; electronic works installed in the garden court by Heri Dono and Vong Phaiophanit; plus as-yet-unspecified works by Yong Soon Min, Tatsuo Miyajima, Sara Sze and Xu Bing. The venturesome new project is to be unveiled at the opening of Asia Society's new world headquarters at 725 Park Avenue on New York's Upper East Side in fall 2001.
BROOKLYN GETS LANDMARK OKAY
The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has given its approval to the Brooklyn Museum of Art plan to build a new glass entrance pavilion designed by James Stewart Polshek for its landmark Beaux-Arts structure. The commission okayed the initial design after the addition of new landscaping and a reconfiguration of a pool in the plaza. Construction is scheduled to begin in fall 2001 and be completed by the end of 2002.
DAVID C. PEIRCE, 1949-2001
David C. Peirce, 52, curator of decorative art at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, died from complications of diabetes on Feb. 5, 2001. Peirce had been on the High Museum staff since 1980, where he worked on exhibitions of Emile Galle Glass, Bentwood Furniture and the Herter Brothers, as well as "The Machine Age in America" (1988). He also worked at the Brooklyn Museum.