The reviews are in for the New Museum’s provocatively titled "Younger than Jesus," featuring works by 50 artists from 25 countries "who have yet to blow out 33 candles on a birthday cake," as New Yorker critic Peter Schjeldahl put it. What’s the verdict? Who knows! We can tell you one thing -- the artworks are eminently collectible!
Among the blue-ribbon collectors lending works to the exhibition are the Hort Family (works by Kerstin Brätsch and Jakub Julian Ziolkowski), the Fondation Louis Vuitton (Loris Gréaud) and Dakis Joannou (Haris Epaminonda). And top art dealers are on the case as well -- they’re the ones with the goods.
One of the stars of the show, the French artist Cyprien Galliard, whose 30-minute-long video Desniansky Raion (2006) is an ode to social collapse in the former Soviet Union, is already hot stuff in Europe. "Enthusiasm for his work was instant," said London dealer Laura Bartlett, who first showed him in 2006. Though Desniansky Raion is long sold out, Bartlett is taking the artist’s other video works, which are now priced between €8,500 and €20,000, to Art Cologne, Apr. 22-26, 2009.
Especially charming are the short videos of Romanian artist Ciprian Muresan, whose 45-second-long vid titled Choose… (2005), shows a little boy (the artist’s son) combining Coke and Pepsi into what is presumably a perfect post-communist beverage. The tape is a visitor favorite, and the edition of three is sold out -- L.A. collector Dean Valentine was an early fan. A second tape, with the same boy struggling to tie his shoelaces, can be had for $6,000. The Sofia-based Muresan, who works with Mihai Nicodim Gallery in Los Angeles, represents Romania in this summer’s Venice Biennale.
The critics seemed bored by Cory Arcangel’s large and lovely color photograph, derived from a Photoshop color spectrum but resembling a New York School abstraction. It’s digital postmodernism: "Take an object, and leave it alone," as Jasper Johns might have said, had he been born in 1976. The particular work in "Jesus" was sold before the show opened, but Team Gallery has works from the series, each unique, priced between $8,000 and $18,000.
One much-remarked work in the show, British artist Ryan Gander’s conceptual-art piece in which a gallery attendant wears a white track suit embroidered with a spot of blood, is still available for adventurous collectors. It’s £2,250, in an edition of five, from his New York dealer, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery.
The small paintings by the Amsterdam-based feminist Tala Madani, which combine a Matissean palette with a withering critique of Iranian patriarchy, were all but ignored by the critics, perhaps because they had been seen over the past several years at Lombard-Freid Projects here in New York. Her prices are still reasonable, starting at $8,000 and climbing to $32,000 for really large paintings.
The two large paintings by San Francisco transplant Tauba Auerbach, one of ben-day dots and the other of a broken mirror, which look machine-made but are nevertheless hand-crafted, were sold long ago for $30,000-$40,000, but Auerbach’s color photographs of TV static, images of pictorial chaos done in editions of three and fairly manageable at 61 x 43 in., are $8,000 a piece. "Since the show opened I’ve had at least 10 times as many calls and emails of interest," said Nicola Vassell, a director of Deitch Projects, which represents Auerbach.
One of the quieter galleries in "Jesus" features a mysterious group of small mirrored lightboxes, which cast crystalline bands of light from their seams onto the gallery walls. They are the work of neo-minimalist German sculptor Kitty Kraus, who is represented by Galerie Neu in Berlin. The sculpture in "Jesus" is already sold, but other works can be had for €3,500 to ca. €15,000. Work by Kraus can be seen in an "emerging talent" show at the Guggenheim Museum this fall.
ROSETTA STONE is a New York writer.