The new Phillips de Pury & Company space opening on 57th Street and Park Avenue this September, advertised with smashing photo-blow-ups in the windows of Warhol's Jackie and a Richard Prince Nurse, thrills me every time I pass it. But I sink into sadness when I read of the house's weak auction results, and consequently I rack my brain as to how to juice up the auctioneer’s performance.
So here goes:
1) CHANGE ITS NAME. to PdeP and market a whole line of PdeP handbags and accessories plus SIMON cologne, with the slogan SIMONIZE Yourself.
2) HAVE JERRY SALTZ MAN THE DOOR AT THE EVENING SALES. For a huge fee, the popular TV personality could broadcast live from the PdeP red carpet.
3) RAFFLE OFF A WARHOL. With PdeP paying the taxes and the lucky winner agreeing to hold onto the piece for a decade, people would flock to the space.
4) SELL A PIECE OF PdeP TO JAY Z. The NBA Nets have the worst record in basketball -- but now that a Russian mogul and the popular rapper have bought the team, they could sign Chris Paul.
5) USE CELEBRITY AUCTIONEERS ONLY. Lady Gaga, Robert Pattinson, Betty White, Scott Brown, all preferably nude.
6) BAN CAROL VOGEL FROM THE EVENING SALES. Nothing says "publicity" more than shutting out some big-shot reporter.
7) STOP AUCTIONING ART FOR A YEAR. Auctioning other stuff like cruises, condos, dresses and baseball cards will create pent-up demand.
8) AUCTION ONLY WORK BY BLACK ARTISTS. Even though the jazz art sale at Swann (regrettably) tanked, there's gotta be a way to skim the bling crowd.
9) DO A BIG BUCKS FUNDRAISER FOR BARACK OBAMA. The way things are going for our harried Prez, by next year he may actually need it.
10) TURN THE PLACE INTO A TV STUDIO FOR SIX MONTHS. And film a reality show called "Big Brother Survives a Work of Art," in which major art-world personalities are forced to live with work by Thomas Kinkade, Peter Max, Norman Rockwell and Victor Vasarely until they pay top dollar to bid their way back to freedom. That should put PdeP in the black!
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).