artnet
JULY 2009

artnet Gossip by Rosetta Stone

"Street Art" -- work by Banksy, Faile, Shepard Fairey, Swoon and others -- will go down in history as the first big art movement of the 21st century. Functioning outside the gallery system, Street Art still has "underground" street cred, as was proven only last week, when a judge fined Fairey $2,000 and gave him two years probation for pasting up his posters in the fine city of Boston.

Street Art has not always been easy to find for many collectors. Thus the new artnet Auctions sale of "Urban Art" dating from 1972 to the present, on view now through July 23, 2009. With 350 works by some 80 artists, the auction features lots by today’s younger Street Artists as well as classic works by members of the original graffiti art movement.

Of special interest today is Faile’s portrait of Michael Jackson, dubbed Michael Jackson Vanity (2005), a work that is all the more authentic for being made on wood. The presale estimate is $8,000-$10,000.

The sale boasts several rare examples of early graffiti art. A vintage graffiti work by Crash (John Matos), titled Hallucination #177 (1987), measures a mural-sized 10 feet wide, with images of spider webs, pink drips, psychedelic mushrooms, staring eyes and the ever-present tags (est. $78,000-$108,000). Futura 2000’s famous mashups of graffiti art with Jackson Pollock-style splatters are exemplified by his abstraction Under the Volcano (1990), measuring 30 x 30 in. (est. $10,000-$15,000).

Another top lot is Keith Haring’s Untitled (DOG) (1983), a 12 x 15 in. drawing of one of Haring’s trademark canines, this one biting its own tail. Done in oil on wood, the work is estimated at $45,000-$50,000.

Dondi (1961-1983), otherwise known as "Style Master General," is represented by a colorful spray-painted portrait from 1983 titled Boy Graff (est. $12,000-$16,000). A bright and decorative tag from 1984 by COCO 144 (b. 1957), the president of UGA (United Graffiti Artists) in the 1970s and ’80s, is estimated at $10,000-$14,000. Ronnie Cutrone’s pivotal Pop Out (1988), showing his signature Woody Woodpecker bursting through an American flag, is $3,500-$4,500.

The sale includes many works with low presale estimates, including a 2009 serigraph by Mr. Brainwash (aka Thierry Guetta) of Jackson Pollock at work on one of his splatter paintings, with bidding opening at $700. A Banksy screenprint from 2005 of his own trademark soup can, a generic tin of Tesco cream of tomato soup, starts at $2,500. And Fairey’s own Peace Bomber (Red Edition) (2008), a work that encapsulates the artist’s decorative sense and his political outlook, has a starting bid of only $550.

The sale also boasts a copy of Fairey’s famous Obama-Hope poster, which is estimated at $1,200-$1,500. A good price indeed for a piece of history.

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Steven Kasher Gallery opens its new ground-floor space on West 23rd Street in the fall (Sept. 17, 2009) with photographs from the vast National Geographic Society archive. "It’s the ‘Tut’s Tomb’ of photography," says Kasher. The inaugural show includes vintage, one-of-a-kind prints from the 1880s to the 1940s by the Alexander Graham Bell Laboratory, homoerotic photog Wilhelm von Gloeden, Antarctic explorer Herbert Ponting and seven other artists. Prices are in the $3,000-$10,000 range.

Physical endurance is the new artistic practice on the West Coast, where artist Kiki Seror is roping goats on the Northern California rodeo circuit in preparation for a solo show in Tenerife in September, while another I-20 gallery artist, Sherry Wong, worked on the July 4 fireworks barge under the Golden Gate Bridge as a tuneup for her solo show in September.

Ephemera sells. As soon as Susan Inglett Gallery opened "Lynda Benglis Robert Morris 1973-1974," a selection of announcement cards, art magazine pages, letters and more (pertaining to a pair of scandalous adverts from a quarter century ago, featuring a nude Benglis with a plastic penis and Morris in Nazi regalia), a collector snapped up an assortment of the items for $4,500. And promptly got into an argument with his girlfriend about whether the material was sexist or not.

More graffiti art -- new works by LA II, a frequent Keith Haring collaborator, can be seen at the "pop-up" Follin Gallery in the lobby of the 45 Bleecker Street theater, on view from now through Labor Day. Prices start at $800.

Gary Indiana’s new novel, the Shanghai Gesture, a genre farce about Fu Manchu’s latest quest for world domination, gets good reviews from Bookforum, Washington Post.

Charles Ray’s suite of three artworks, Ink Line, Moving Wire and Spinning Spot, recently on view at Matthew Marks Gallery, is for sale to a museum as a room installation for $1.5 million. It’s an edition of three.

Abstract painter Paul Jenkins, the master of poured pigment, celebrates his 85th birthday this month. A survey of 18 of his works, "Paul Jenkins in the 1960s and 1970s: Space, Color and Light," was recently on view at D. Wigmore Fine Art in the Crown Building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The paintings go for $35,000 to $200,000.


Faile, Michael Jackson Vanity, 2005 on artnet Auctions. est.: $8,000-$10,000 July 23, 2009

Futura 2000, Under the Volcano, 1990 on artnet Auctions. est. $10,000-$15,000 July 23, 2009

COCO 144, Pink Splash, 1984 on artnet Auctions est. $10,000-$14,000 July 23, 2009

Ronnie Cutrone, Pop Out, 1988 on artnet Auctions est. $3,500-$4,500 July 23, 2009

Mr. Brainwash, Pollock, 2009 on artnet Auctions est. $1,500-$2,000 July 19, 2009

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