Picasso’s 1932 painting “Nu au Plateau de Sculpteur (Nude, Green Leaves and Bust)
Picasso’s 1932 painting “Nu au Plateau de Sculpteur (Nude, Green Leaves and Bust); photo from The New York Times Online

Because the market is looking up, and because the art world responds so quickly to upswings –and, because Picasso’s 1932 painting “Nu au Plateau de Sculpteur ” is really big and has all the bells and whistles (a lover, Marie-Thérèse, the iconic head thrown back pose, and a very Picasso-pallet), folks at the New York Times say that an auction price record is about to be broken.

According to NYT, the Picasso, on sale at Christie’s onTuesday, is  “poised to eclipse the $104.3 million paid for the current record holder, Giacometti’s “Walking Man I” purchased at Sotheby’s in February.

Art is beginning to be viewed as a good investment again, and, since the financial collapse, it seems like a safer place to put one’s money than in the stock market.

Other reasons why the hammer is expected to come down on a record price:

  • The painting is from a popular Picasso period of very large, very colorful paintings.
  • Picasso’s from the year 1932 are not likely to be sold again any time soon, if at all.
  • It was only on public view once since 1951: so it has freshness.
  • It “reeks,” according to NYT, of “Wall power.”


Sotheby’s upcoming Contemporary Art Sale is going to offer some of the most iconic works of our time — so many in one show that the outcome will definitely exceed house estimates.

In her book, Seven Days in the Art World, Sarah Thornton tells us that, in auction speak, a “good so-and-so” is not necessarily one of the artist’s highest quality works, but, rather, one that’s iconic of the artist , one that, as Thornton puts it “fetishizes” the aspects of the artist’s work when s/he emerged.

Read on:What makes it “good?”

TREND: Street Art, Outsider Art, and URGENCY

With all the Banksy, Fairey hubub this year, all the Darger-loving last year, and the current, frequent calls by curators for art that’s made from a sense of “urgency,” I’m taking away the message that art’s new direction lies in a reaction against (<– always a good jumping off point for a convo about art) academic, heavily conceptual art on the one hand, and factory style, assistant/money-driven art on the other hand.

So, out with the Gregg Crewdson budget, the Jeff Koons assembly line, the Damien Hirst branding, and in with the heartfelt scrawls and scribbles, or hard-won wheatpaste murals.

Artists Cut Out The Middleman

Squcky Roller Racoon
Squcky Roller Racoon $35

No, I don’t mean big name art celebs who go straight to auction.

I mean URGENT artists, the starch-fed masses, rabble who… well, are putting their art up for sale on Etsy, a popular handmade crafts site.

Are they doomed to obscurity for making such an inadvisable career move? Perhaps. But, if you are an enterprising curator, they are a garden of outsider artists just waiting to be picked.

That’s what Squcky (William Robert Holland) is. Self-taught, he boasts that he “has taken tried and tested mediums and developed a style all his own.”

Continue reading “Artists Cut Out The Middleman”

Quote of the Day: Mary Boone

“Get them into debt … Get them to buy lots of houses, … get expensive habits and expensive girlfriends and expensive wives.”
~ Mary Boone (on how to get artists to produce)

REVIEW: Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop

“Is this the line for the mooovie?” I heard a mystified woman ask as she applied herself to the back end of a line that had advanced from the basement to the top of the stairs.

The line at Sunshine Theater
Snaking Through the entire downstairs, the Banksy crowd

We were at the Sunshine theater to see Banksy’s Exit Throught the Gift Shop, a documentary, by label, about street art and an unlikely new star, Mr. Brainwash.

Something like this could have been expected in the UK, where folks care about art and are intimately familiar with Banksy’s beginnings as street vandal in Bristol. But here? Even in New York’s lower east side, we hadn’t expected to see a crowd like this.

It turns out the movie was worth our wait. I think it was even GEEENYUS, or something like that.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop”

Permission to Match the Sofa!

Glass Vases
IKEA eat yer heart out

Art Market Monitor’s Roberta Maneker reports that last night’s opening of  13th Annual New York edition of Chicago’s SOFA (Sculpture Objects & Functional Art) at the Park Avenue Armory was a huge success.

Throngs of joyful visitors plunked down the big bucks for colorful home-enhancing fare, with glass items stealing the show this year.

Following such great success, the show will continue for an extra optomistic day, closing on Monday, April 19th.

Big Art Taps Technology

Factum Arte's genius printer
Factum Arte's genius printer

Factum Arte, based in Madrid (with studios in London and San Francisco as well), developes high rez 3-D scanners that are used to reproduce artworks in minute detail using historically accurate materials and paints. The company was founded by Adam Lowe and Manuel Franquelo, both painters themselves.

Their amazingly accurate duplicative powers have been utilized in the name of preservation, as with their first project, in 2001, to recreate the Paleolithic paintings in Spain’s Altamira cave that had been forced to close to the public, 1977, in order to spare further carbon dioxide erosion.

But the studios, have also been used to collaborate with just about every big name in 3-D art installation and sculpture in the contemporary art world, including: Marc Quin, Anish Kapoor, Urs Fischer, Jeff Wall, and Louise Bourgeois.

One of Factum Arte’s most successful collaborations was the 2009 installation by filmmaker, Peter Greenaway , projected onto a facsimile of Paolo Veronese’s Wedding at Cana. The performance at the Palladian Refectory of San Giorgio Maggiore, which formerly housed the original painting, was a great success. Factum Arte’s copy of the painting has stayed with San Giorgio Maggiore, while the original is in the Musée de Louvre where Factum Arte had to scan it in situ in order to create their reproduction.

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