BITS| Whitney a la Carte, Hirst a Gamble, Saatchi Can’t Give it Away, Joan Mitchell

Who can resist that cute little interFACE?

Whitney: Curate Your Own Membership

The Whitney is offering a new a la Carte Membership that they are selling as Curate Your Own Membership. But is it any different than tiered memberships where customers pay more to get more benefits?

Core Memberships are $85 individual or $125 Dual with one add on “Series” free, and others available at $45/each. With Social, Insider, Learning, Family, and Philanthropy add-ons, you can pay for one, two, or three of them.

Sounds like a three tiered membership to me – even if it is wearing black Prada: you can have customized memberships at a cost ranging from $85 to $265 for individual ($125 to $305 for dual) depending on how many add-ons you like.

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Fame Game Player, Hirst Collector

Is Hirst a GAMBLE now?

As Hirst Sales plummet, collector Alberto Mugrabi has, in the past year, purchased 40% of the Hirst painting sold at auction. “I believe in the artist,” he says. But is it telling that he did not buy at Beautiful in My Mind Forever sale? He is also said to have shunned Hirst’s recent work, self-painted skulls rendered a la Bacon.

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Saatchi Can’t Give it Away

Mr. Saatchi had an itch to hand Tracey Emmin’s My Bed and Hirst’s fusty old shark to “the public” so he proposed to donate the entire holdings of his NYC Chelsea Gallery to a new contemporary art museum in London. But his idea for the Museum of Contemporary Art London, squelched by the British Arts Council.

Why?

Well, Charles Saatchi’s a business man. So, he had a business man’s plan. After the work was handed over, Saatchi wanted to partially finance the nascent museum by buying and selling items from the donated collection. But such a plan, though it would keep the collection “living” and “viable” conflicts with the Museums Association’s code of ethics.

Saatchi has switched his plans, and still hopes to donate the works to the public. It’s just a matter of finding a match for his business model. Talks have resumed with an arts institution that is not publicly funded so as avoid issues with the Museum Association.

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Joan Mitchell at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
One of the auction house’s biggest players is showing for the first time in a public gallery.

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