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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Art Noir: Black Lists and Speculators

Charles Saatchi: photo via

When a big name collector “offloads” the art of a specific artist from his collection, it can, we have heard, have a chilling effect on the market for that artist’s work. Sometimes this makes the artist very angry. Sometimes things escalate.

All the same, Charles Saatchi feels that a collector should do as they will with the artwork they buy.

Asked about a long-standing rumor that he had “ruined” the career of Sandro Chia when he purged his collection all of his Chias at once,  Saatchi said:

“At last count I read that I had flooded the market with 23 of his paintings. In fact, I only ever owned seven paintings by Chia. One morning I offered three of  them back to Angela Water, his New York dealer, where I had originally bought them, and four back to Bruno Bischofberger, his European dealer, where, again I had bought those. Chia’s work was tremendously desirable at the time a all seven went to big-shot collectors or museums by close of day.”

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ESSAY: How to Say Hirst Was First

Who's on first?

Heraclitus was right. When the waters are everflowing, you can never step into the same river twice.

It is therefore, always safe to claim that some work of art, some event, some person, is a “first” — nothing will be the same after so and so, after thus and such, after this.

The controversial Damien Hirst sale at Sotheby’s in 2008 was a first: the contemporary art market would never be the same afterward.

Go ahead and say that, Google it: you won’t lack for support. The press was, after all, in a frenzy, mounting stories about the show, Beautiful in My Mind Forever, and the subsequent two day sale, onto the background blitz of financial failures and the Lehman Brothers collapse.

But what kind of “first” was it?

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