by Rosetta Stone
If you were going to buy some photographs, what would you get? A color portrait of sports great Michael Jordan, posed facing left like George Washington on the quarter, taken by the notorious Annie Leibovitz in 1991? Or how about a historic 1903 photogravure of the Flatiron Building, measuring an intimate 6.75 x 3.25 in., by modernist pioneer Alfred Stieglitz? Perhaps you’d prefer something more contemporary, like Vanessa Beecroft’s color picture of a languid model in pantyhose, bra and high heels from a 1997 performance in Boston?
Bidding on these lots starts at $5,000, $3,500 and $10,000, respectively, in the new artnet Auctions "Masters of Photography" sale, Apr. 15-29, 2010.
Fans of the surreal might want to take a look at Irving Penn’s incredible Cigarette, #37, New York, a harrowing image of two cigarette butts, capturing the essence of the abject in a 1975 platinum palladium print that rarely comes up for auction (est. $100,000-$130,000), or consider Cindy Sherman’s untitled self-portrait from 1989, an unsettling photo of an eager Blonde Venus with ants swarming across her face (est. $22,000-$26,000).
Among the 300 lots in the sale is a sizeable number of works by Henri Cartier-Bresson, currently the subject of a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, as well as a trio of "pictures of ink" by Vik Muniz, in which portraits of Abraham Lincoln, Harry Houdini, and Stieglitz are rendered in ink droplets, in a meditation on the "frenzy of renown" that characterizes media culture.
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Buchmann Galerie in Berlin is closing out its exhibition of the influential French artist Daniel Buren, who has made a custom installation of his signature stripes, alternating white with pure color, that he dubs "Westwind," and that features banner-like lengths of linen hung from special platforms that include fans, making the artist’s pennants flutter in the wind.
Also in London, Osborne Samuel is having an exhibition "Henry Moore: Prints & Portfolios," to accompany the publication of a new 408-page book of the same name by David Mitchinson, charting the rich and varied history of Moore’s printmaking (£75).
In Knokke, Belgium, David LaChapelle brings his hyper-real photographic fantasias to Maruani & Noirhomme Gallery in a show featuring several photos from 2009 that cast a Michael Jackson figure in central roles, including as a white-winged archangel and as Christ taken down from the cross.
Over at Galerie Asbaek in Copenhagen, Lisa Strömbech’s "In Your Hands" features color photographs of cats or dogs cradled in the arms of their owners -- who wear fur coats of almost the same hue.
Halfway around the world in California, the crusading Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has his first major solo exhibition on the West Coast at Haines Gallery in San Francisco (in advance of his commission for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern this October), including a large wall piece employing 380 children’s backpacks as a memorial to the dead from the 2008 Sichuan Province earthquake.
Down in Los Angeles at the Shoshana Wayne Gallery are photos by Pieter Hugo inspired by the macabre dramas of "Nollywood," the Nigerian film industry centered in the cities of Enugu and Asaba. Hugo is, of course, the photographer who made such an impression five years ago or so with his photos of Africans with their pet hyenas.
At Danziger Projects in New York is the first U.S. gallery show of the German photographer Matthias Schaller, who in the postmodernist manner takes photographs of photographs, here focusing on the collection of master photos assembled by the German collector Gert Elfering as they were being installed at Christie’s New York in advance of their auction in April 2008.
Also in New York, at the Bridge Gallery on Orchard Street on the Lower East Side, is a show of work from the 1990s by the New York Pop artist Marjorie Strider, including paintings from her "Girlie Series" and sculptures from her "Fifty States."
Little-known pastel drawings made from the nude model during the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s by George Segal and Lucas Samaras -- longtime friends who exhibited together, did Fluxus performances together and posed for each other (Samaras is one of the figures in The Dinner Table, 1962) are at Senior & Shopmaker Gallery, now in 210 Eleventh Avenue.
And Kiki Smith opens her first gallery show in eight years at Pace -- in one of the super-gallery’s two spaces in Chelsea (expanding to three in September) -- with "Lodestar," a show of mouth-blown stained-glass panels depicting the cycle of a woman’s life.