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    Art Show 2000
by Meredith Mendelsohn
 
     
 
Charles Demuth
1925 Bouquet
at Greenberg Van Doren
 
Pablo Picasso
Portrait de Face
1917-18
at Jan Krugier
 
Stephane Couturier
at Laurence Miller
 
Nam June Paik
Mini George Maciunas
1994
at Holly Solomon
 
Pipilotti Rist
Bar
1999
at Luhring Augustine
 
Alice Dalton Brown
at Fischbach
 
The 12th Annual Art Show -- the biggest fair for blue-chip U.S. art dealers -- rolls into the Seventh Regiment Armory at Park Avenue and 67th Street, Feb. 23-26. Sponsored by the Art Dealers' Association of America (ADAA), the fair includes 70 ADAA members, who work hard to find stellar Modernist works to showcase. The only thing missing is a certain buzz that more international fairs seem to generate. (For that, there's the five-year-old Armory Show, which opens Feb. 24 at the New North Pavillion, 39th St. and 11th Ave.)

But if you're looking for Picasso and Leger, Pollock, Kline and Rothko, the Art Show is the place to go. It contains quite a number of works fresh to the market -- many of which will probably be snatched up by the time you read this article.

Achim Möller of New York, for example, is featuring a Charles Demuth still life of a bouquet of flowers done in 1925. Priced at $370,000, the painting has never been on the market before -- the Rockefeller family acquired it directly from the artist decades ago and is only now offering it for sale. Jan Krugier, who represents the estate of Marina Picasso, has a Cubist painting thought to be of Olga Koklova, Picasso's first wife and Marina's grandmother. The oil on canvas has never been exhibited in the U.S. and is priced at $2.5 million. And Greenberg Van Doren of St. Louis is presenting a new work from the Sam Francis estate -- Untitled Blue Balls (1962). It's big and bold, like the title of this series, and also costs $2.5 million.

Photography is somewhat scarce, with only three galleries who specialize in the medium. New York dealer Laurence Miller, who is participating in the Art Show for the first time, has the perfect find for a titan of Wall Street -- a rare Edward Steichen 1903 vintage print of a scowling J.P. Morgan, priced at $195,000. Miller also has very contemporary material, including four 65 x 52 in. color photographs from the late 1990s "Urban Archaeology" series by French artist Stephane Couturier. Large format color photos clearly have considerable appeal for collectors -- witness recent sold-out shows by Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth -- and Couturier's prints, priced at $8,500 to $12,500 in an edition of five, are a bargain.

Overall, though, there aren't many works by younger contemporary artists. ADAA galleries that are known for their avant-garde offerings -- Metro Pictures, Barbara Gladstone, Marian Goodman -- seem to have opted for the aforementioned Armory Show. Veteran dealer Holly Solomon, who closed her SoHo gallery earlier this season, is doing both fairs. Her Art Show booth is filled with works by Nam June Paik, subject of a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum. Featured prominently is Mini George Maciunas (1994) -- an homage to the Fluxus founder.

Chelsea gallery Luhring Augustine is also participating in both fairs, and boasts what may be the most alluring work at the Art Show. An installation by Swiss video goddess Pipilotti Rist called Bar (1999) features tiny video monitors that play through clear, empty glass bottles, which are displayed among real bottles of Jack Daniels, Campari and the like. An edition of five, this example of Bar has already been sold for $60,000. The work was also exhibited last fall at the Musée de l'art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

In distinct contrast to the jolly sociality of Rist's Bar, the booth of Pace Wildenstein is serene. It's filled with ten small, square canvases of very light pastel-colored stripes by Agnes Martin -- a meditative oasis amidst the hubbub of the city. Fischbach Gallery has the same idea, with a huge photo-realist painting by Alice Dalton Brown showing an open window looking out onto turquoise water and sky, white diaphanous curtains blowing in the breeze. Fischbach director Lawrence Di Carlo was certain that the $75,000 painting would sell immediately. There are a lot of apartments in New York City without views, after all.

As for Old Masters, David Tunick features a mini exhibition of over 60 Albrecht Durer prints, including a complete set of the Apocalypse (1498) series. Standing in Tunick's booth, enveloped by Durer's deliciously macabre images, it's easy to forget you're in a marketplace.


MEREDITH MENDELSOHN is associate editor of Artnet Magazine.

 
 
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