Miami Art Week
SALES HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE ART FAIRSDec. 6, 2011
It used to be that a reporter had to run all around the art fairs and buttonhole art dealers to get sales results. Sometimes they didn't even want to tell you. Picture this, several years ago, a stout, pony-tailed gallery director, when asked about the price of his Pablo Picasso -- said to be the most expensive artwork at the fair -- sniffed and said, "It's not all about the money, you know."
Now, well, now is different. Dealers know that sales news can drive the action, especially when it whips up a little market frenzy over the latest hot property. So, enter the publicists who hasten to disseminate sales results, especially at the smart galleries like Pace and David Zwirner, not to mention most of the art fairs themselves.
And you can't forget all the art-market coverage from Bloomberg, the New York Times, bloggers and websites that, until only a few years ago, barely considered art fairs worth mentioning. Today's art lover is flooded with sales figures, with every report from the beachfront guaranteed to mention two or three or more high-level acquisitions by various celebrity art collectors.
Herewith, then, now that the parties at A-Rod’s and Aby’s are over and the private jets have flown off, a round-up of sales highlights from Miami Art Week. The report has been assembled in the post-modern way, from a desk in New York, where we aggregated information from all the sources mentioned above.
ART BASEL MIAMI BEACH
An estimated $2.5 billion worth of art was up for grabs at Art Basel Miami Beach’s 260 booths, luring art tourists of all types as well as celebrity supercollectors like Dasha Zhukova and Eli Broad. Broad took home a large-scale Kara Walker drawing for $175,000 from Sikkema Jenkins & Co., while rap mogul P. Diddy picked up YBA bad girl Tracey Emin's white cursive neon, I Listen to the Ocean and All I Hear is You (2011), for £45,000 at Lehmann Maupin. P. Diddy also nabbed one of those interactive light installations by the collective rAndom International that were such a hit at Carpenters Workshop Gallery at the Design Miami fair.
New York dealer Christophe van de Weghe showed his blue-chip chops, with sales of a 2004 Gerhard Richter Abstraktes Bild for $2.8 million and a 1961 Frank Stella selling for $1 million. As for new talent, the bonanza was at Chicago’s Kavi Gupta Gallery, where Armory Show artist and all-around man-of-the-moment Theaster Gates, who performed at the fair’s opening ceremony with his gospel group The Black Monks of Mississippi, sold no fewer than 35 sculptures, most within the first three hours. Prices ranged from $30,000 for a plinth lodged with a porcelain plate to $250,000 for a wooden structure with a ceiling of lantern glass slides, which went to trustees of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Another hot young property, Brooklyn artist Carol Bove made something of a splash at David Zwirner, who sold all five of the Bove works on hand -- two paintings on linen and a set of sculptures -- for between $60,000 and $150,000, including one to the massive private Jumex collection in Mexico.
Now in its seventh year, Pulse and its director Cornell DeWitt are clearly atop the satellite art-fair circuit, with this year’s event drawing 15,000 visitors, including Hollywood tycoon (and recently fired Oscars producer) Brett Ratner and movie stars Adrien Brody, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, who was spotted scrutinizing Paramodel’s miniature sushi truck sculptures at Tokyo’s Mori Yu gallery, part of the fair’s IMPULSE section.
Danziger Gallery cleaned up with a series of six 1970s seascapes, “Sections of England: The Sea Horizons” by Garry Fabian Miller, selling for $20,000 apiece. And the young California artist Allison Schulnik, who layers oil paint onto her canvases like cake icing, sold 12 works out of her studio after her Culver City gallery, Mark Moore, sold both of the paintings it had brought to the fair. The artist is having a solo exhibition at the Laguna Art Museum in 2013.
Chicago dealer Carrie Secrist gallery sold two editions of Angelo Musco’s creepy five-panel photographic mural of piled naked bodies replicated into the shape of a forest’s root systems and branches, Xylem, each for $90,000. Santa Monica gallery Shoshana Wayne sold a photo triptych of Khmer Rouge prisoners by Dinh Q. Le, Cambodia: Splendour and Darkness, to a private collection in New York for $180,000. And Hasted Kraeutler sold Kim Dong Yoo's painting of Marilyn Monroe done up to resemble Einstein, Mao, JFK and other iconic figures, for $117,000.
Just ending its 22nd year, this satellite fair started out as the only one in town -- and still does plenty of business. Galerie Michael Schulz sold Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild for $1.6 million, Mark Borghi Fine Art sold works by Jean-Michel Basquiat (for $250,000) and Alexander Calder ($85,000), and Osborne Sandborne sold three Henry Moore sculptures for in the neighborhood of $500,000.
Paintings remain hot sellers, with a 1959 work by recently deceased color field artist Kenneth Noland, titled Blue Painted Blue, going for $350,000 at Bridgette Mayer Gallery. And James Barron Gallery placed Richard Diebenkorn’s Reclining Nude for $85,000, while British artist Jason Martin just about matched his auction record with his painting Kreyòl, selling at Forsblom Gallery for $135,000.
Pace Prints brought the crowd pleasers, however: Yoshitomo Nara’s shiny, white, functioning Doggy Radio sculptures. The gallery sold 45 for a healthy total of $112,000.
NEW ART DEALERS ALLIANCE
Younger artists may be the draw at NADA, but nevertheless Manhattan dealer Leo Koenig sold nine 1968 photographs by German painter Sigmar Polke for $175,000. At On Stellar Rays, a private collector snapped up the first edition of a Clifford Owens' “Anthology,” a series of photos of Owens re-enacting various pioneering performances by black artists. The series, which is currently on view at MoMA PS1, sold for $169,000.
The free-admission NADA fair didn’t announce its sales figures, but said in a statement, rather vaguely, that “the fair was widely praised by critics and exhibitors who have unanimously agreed that it was the fair’s most successful year to date.”