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    Palestinian Duo Basel and Ruanne Win 2016 Abraaj Art Prize

    Palestinian artist duo Basel and Ruanne has won the 2016 Abraaj Group Art Prize, the most influential art prize in the MENASA region. Basel and Ruanne receive $100,000 towards a “dream project” which will be revealed as part of a group exhibition at Art Dubai 2016. The exhibition will be curated by Guest Curator Nav Haq and will also feature works by the three shortlisted artists, who have been announced as Dina Danish, Mahmood Khaled, and Basir Mahmood.

    Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme began their collaborative practice in 2007 and work across a range of mediums to explore themes of “surrounding returns, amnesia, déjà vu, what is, and what could.” The duo explained that their experiences in their native Palestine shape their practice “not in isolation, but in the sense of how that experience speaks to other moments elsewhere and provides a critical vantage point from which to read the contemporary moment.”

    Commenting on the winning duo, Nav Haq said: “Basel and Ruanne have demonstrated that they possess maturity in how they use sound, image and space in their practice, but also a real sense of experimentation in their artistic visions of a social and political imaginary. There is a rare complexity to their art that I feel makes them genuinely significant artists, and I’m looking forward very much to working with them to develop their project for the upcoming exhibition at Art Dubai.”

    The Abraaj Group Art Prize recognises notable artists from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. Each year a jury awards the winning artist a major commission based on a proposal (rather than a completed work) which is then showcased alongside the work of three shortlisted artists in a thematic group exhibition at Art Dubai. The 2016-17 jury consists of Defne Ayas, Antonia Carver, Omar Kholief, Fayeeza Naqvi, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Sandhini Poddar, and Frederic Sicre.

    Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme

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  • 10/13/15--08:42: Vorschau: FIAC 2015

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    5 Films to See This Week in New York: “Jane B. par Agnes V,” “The Bus,” and More

    “Jane B. par Agnes V” and “Kung-Fu Master!,” directed by Agnes Varda, Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, opens October 16

    Two old films from Agnes Varda are making their U.S. debut in an under-the-radar screening at Lincoln Plaza Cinema. “Jane B.” and “Kung-Fu Master!” (both originally released in 1988) are deliberately linked, one film flowing out of the other. The first is a portrait of the actress/singer/model Jane Birkin, best known as the former wife and muse of Serge Gainsbourg who sang the seductive vocals alongside him on his most famous song, “Je t’aime moi non plus.” Varda herself appears in the film, along with Birkin’s children (Charlotte Gainsbourg, Lou Doillon) and Varda’s son (Mathieu Demy). At one point in “Jane B.,” in between autobiographical tangents and explorations of dreams and desires, Birkin mentions an idea she has for a film about an older woman who falls in love with a much younger boy. We see rough scenes of the film in Birkin’s head, with the young boy played by Demy.

    “Kung-Fu Master!” is that idea fleshed out, with the initial scenes that appeared in “Jane B.” making up the beginning of the film. Controversial at the time of its release for obvious reasons, it’s a film that’s more interesting on screen than it is on paper, and not quite as scandalous as critics made it out to be. It’s still more of an experiment, like its predecessor, and makes more sense in the context of “Jane B.” than watching it as a standalone film.

    “The Bus,” directed by Haskell Wexler, UnionDocs, October 14

    This work is a seminal documentary and the first made by Haskell Wexler, a cinematographer who has been behind the camera on films such as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” (he would go on to make many other films). “The Bus” follows a group of people traveling from San Francisco to the March on Washington in 1963, where Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his “I Have a Dream” speech to 250,000 people from a podium in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The film will screen at UnionDocs along with “Whose Streets?” by Sabaah Jordan, and will be followed by a discussion with Pamela Yates (whose documentary about Wexler, “Rebel Citizen,” was one of the highlights of the recent New York Film Festival), Jordan, and Wexler (via Skype).

    “The Forbidden Room,” directed by Guy Maddin, Film Forum, ongoing

    A film that defies explanation, Guy Maddin’s latest, which recently screened at the New York Film Festival, is filled with what he called, in a recent interview with ARTINFO, “paranormal revisualizations.” The project was born out of the creative energy of another film, “Séances,” concocted at the Centre Georges Pompidou in 2012 and at the Phi Centre in Montreal in 2013. “The Forbidden Room” roams around in the murky bottom of the cinematic sewer, pulling forgotten film debris from the dirt and bringing it back to the surface.

    “For the Plasma,” directed by Bingham Bryant and Kyle Molzan, Anthology Film Archives, October 13

    This strange and exciting no-budget film, which screened at BAMCinemaFest in 2014 and was (and still is) in danger of disappearing into a cinematic black hole, has popped up once again, thankfully, with a single screening at Anthology Film Archives. “I may forever be trying to piece together this puzzle of film,” I wrote when first seeing the film over a year ago, “which is just one of its many positive attributes.”

    “A Ballerina’s Tale, Film Society of Lincoln Center, opens October 14

    Directed by journalist Nelson George, “A Ballerina’s Tale” looks at Misty Copeland, the first African-American female principal dancer in the 75-year history of New York’s American Ballet Theatre. “As we watch Copeland at such a close perspective, it truly does feel as if every movement, its finesse almost unbearable, is more beautiful than the last,” wrote ARTINFO’s Regina Mogilevskaya after the film’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year. “Copeland’s dancing is eternal, its radiance forever committed to your memory once you’ve encountered it.”

    Other films to check out:

    “Rocco and his Brothers,” Film Forum, through October 29

    “Local Color: The Short Films of Dustin Guy Defa,” FSLC, through October 19

    “The Feature,” Brooklyn Academy of Music, October 14

    “Ballet Down the Highway,” Spectacle Theater, October 14

    “New York Portrait, Part I & Part II,” Peter Hutton, MoMA P.S.1, through October 17

    Agnés Varda

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    Q&A With Murray Macaulay, Director of the Multiplied Art Fair

    The only fair in the UK dedicated exclusively to contemporary art in editions, Multiplied is a great place for collectors both established and young who are looking for art that is unique and cutting-edge. Ahead of the sixth edition of this fair, which is hosted by Christie’s and runs October 16-18, director Murray Macaulay (also the senior prints specialist at Christie’s), spoke to ARTINFO about the fair, its role in nurturing its unique market, and the current trends in the field.

    As the Multiplied art fair heads into the sixth edition, could you sum up the experience so far? How has the fair grown in these years?

    Multiplied’s appeal in an era of mega art-fairs is its focus, on editions, and its intimate scale, with a maximum of 40 exhibitors. It has been a steep learning curve for us as fair organisers and has taken time, but it has now achieved an established place in the art world calendar as the place to see the best new editions by emerging and established artists.    

    It’s implicit in the name of the fair that your target buyers are those who are looking at slightly more affordable art than the top original pieces available in the market. Is that the only reason why buyers come to Multiplied or there are other reasons too? Could you elaborate?

    There are lots of reasons why editions are attractive. Accessibility is one, especially in the light of the price inflation of contemporary art over the last decade. But it is by no means limited to it. Artists are making compelling work in editions; in traditional media like printmaking or photography, but also with high tech digital and 3-D printing techniques. Sometimes it is the aesthetic they are after; the gouge and grain of a woodcut; the acid bite lines of etching; the cool detachment of a digital print. Or it’s the conceptual potential of a multiple image or object. It seems strange to me that the misconception persists that an art work’s merit is judged by its closeness to the artist’s hand. Didn’t Duchamp change all that?  

    Could you give some insights into the prints market? How has it evolved in the past decade or so? What are its current highlights? Is it expanding globally or are there some concentrated pockets of interest?

    At Christie’s we deal with prints from the late 15th century to the present day. So it is more accurate to speak of several markets in one category, each subject to its own trends and shifts in taste. In the last decade the main area of expansion in terms of buyers and value have been in Pop and Post-War editions, reflecting the wider trend across the whole art market. Modern prints remain a main stay, and are still our top sellers in terms of single value items, as are important Old Master prints, often exceptionally rare in fine impressions and very desirable to connoisseurs. In the auction world it is sometimes said that the print market is a bellwether for the health of the wider market, with robust sales reflecting consumer confidence. If our sale at King Street last week was anything to go by then things are looking very positive.      

    As part of the larger umbrella of art at Christie’s, what makes Multiplied special? How have the two — the Multiplied art fair and the Prints department at Christie’s — benefitted each other? 

    In the past my experience as a print specialist was of works in the secondary market. That remains the core of what we do, with regular prints and multiples sales in London, New York and online. What Multiplied has done is connect us to a network of new artists, printers and publishers, and their audiences, as well as introducing our clients to this vibrant contemporary scene. It nurtures a new market and collector base, expands our horizons as specialists, and opens up new opportunities for collaboration. 

    What are the highlights of the sixth edition of Multiplied?

    This year we are launching Multiplied Selects – an offering of editions sourced exclusively from exhibitors and available for instant purchase on Christie’s Online Only e-commerce sale platform. Multiplied Selects will extend the experience of Multiplied Art Fair to a wider audience and will run in conjunction with the fair, offering editions for sale at a fixed price, from 15 - 29 October. We also have a fantastic line up of events and talks, including Iwona Blaswick OBE, Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, in conversation with Cornelia Parker OBE RA on Friday 16 October. 

    Of all the categories showcased at Multiplied — prints, digital art, 3D multiples, artists’ books and photographs — which one offers the most robust potential for growth in present times and why?

    There is an established culture of collecting prints, photographs and artist’s books, whereas multiples and the newer digital and 3-D printing technologies are still quite new to the art buying public. In terms of investment return it isn’t really about the medium but much more about the career development of the artist.  

    Given the wide global network of Christie’s in the world of art, do you plan to take this fair to other locations in the world?

    There was a niche for a contemporary editions fair in the UK and an obvious synergy between Multiplied and Christie’s South Kensington. As there are already contemporary editions fairs in other major centres there isn’t the same incentive to replicate it elsewhere.   

    What would you advise a young collector who is just beginning to build his own collection? What are the prints he should be investing in right now? 

    Having an eye on the potential investment return of a work of art is one reason for buying it, but, in my view, can be limiting. Buying art is all about curiosity, about being open to new ideas and other people and the way they see the world. I think buying editions by early career artists is a great place to ‘cut your teeth’ as a collector. The work is fresh and often very affordable, and, although there are no guarantees that they’ll be the next big thing, each acquisition makes an important contribution to the cultural economy, helping to sustain the next generation of artists. 

    Could you also comment on the 40 years of Christie’s South Kensington? What makes this auction room special in a field that is so competitive and forever creating new challenges for itself?

    Christie’s South Kensington is a very special place. It is open 7 days a week, and almost every week offers visitors something completely different. Christie’s South Kensington Chairman, Nic McElhatton aptly describes it as ‘the alternative museum’ and it really is a treasure trove of fine and decorative arts, with estimates starting from £700. Such is its appeal that in 2014 bids were registered from around 100 countries, with 25% of buyers at South Kensington new to Christie’s. With approximately 100 sales per year, across 30 different sale categories, it is the busiest saleroom in the UK.

    With this year marking its 40th year, we are celebrating the anniversary with ‘Christie’s Lates’. On the 1st Tuesday of each month anybody can drop in, for free, between 6-8.30 to hear experts talk about art, interior design and collecting. We’ll also be hosting a special Christie’s Lates Multiplied Edition on Friday 16th October from 6pm.

    Multiplied Art Fair Christies

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    Abraham Cruzvillegas Fills Tate Turbine Hall with “Empty Lot”

    London’s Tate Modern has unveiled the inaugural Hyundai Commission in its cavernous Turbine Hall by Mexican artist Abraham Cruzvillegas who is best known for creating conceptual installations out of discarded materials and objects.   

    Titled “Empty Lot,” the epic installation consists of two stepped triangular platforms that hold a geometric grid of 240 wooden planters filled with compost and more than 23 tonnes of soil collected from parks and gardens all across London from Peckham Rye to Regent’s Park.

    Extending across the entire Hall, the “floating piece of land” can be viewed from underneath or from above on the Turbine Hall bridge.

    With “Empty Lot,” Cruzvillegas explores ideas of unpredictability, hope, chance, change, and the relationship between the city and nature by initiating a space where “nothing is produced but where change might happen.”

    Nothing has been planted in the soil by the artist, but flowers, mushrooms, or other plant life could grow depending on what seeds were already in the soil. Lampposts constructed using found materials will light the soil for the duration of the project.

    “It’s a sculpture made out of hope – that would the main material,” Cruzvillegas explains. And when I say this it is because of transformation. Even in the worst conditions you cannot lose hope, because something can happen there; something can happen here.”

    “Empty Lot” is the first in a new series of annual site-specific commissions by renowned international artists made possible by a unique long-term partnership between Tate and Hyundai Motor. It is on show until April 3, 2016. More info here.

    Hyundai Commission 2015 Abraham Cruzvillegas: Empty Lot © Abraham Cruzvillegas

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  • 10/13/15--17:40: Tamara De Lempicka a Verona

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    Frieze and Frieze Masters Open With Steady Sales

    LONDON — The 13th edition of Frieze London in Regent’s Park opened to V.I.P. cardholders on Tuesday morning, the same moment as its younger sister fair, the four-year-old Frieze Masters, opened its doors far across the manicured park.

    Since it’s impossible to be in two places at once, choices were made and it appeared the bigger queue was at the contemporary fair where visitors were greeted in the entry hallway by rather grim collaborative sayings painted in white on black backgrounds, including “Overcome your challenges or they will reappear” and “Don’t Stop Now—The End is Near.”

    That sobering, black on black hallway, dotted with what appeared to be reclaimed prisoner benches, complete with stationary metal hoops to accommodate handcuffs or chains, wasn’t exactly inviting. But things perked up once in the central meeting point of the grandly proportioned and bespoke tent, as the more familiar rituals of art commerce slowly kicked into gear.

    At London’s White Cube, a brand new Damien Hirst, “Holbein (Artists’ Watercolours)” from 2015 in couch enamel and sign writing paint on canvas, sold right away for £750,000 to a US collector. The piece could be viewed as a very distant cousin to the stunning “Gerhard Richter Colour Charts” exhibition at London’s Dominique Levy, which includes nine paintings from the original 1996 series. Hirst’s mammoth chart at 94 by 158 inches consists of rectangular shaped color swatches running nine rows across and nine rows down the busy canvas.

    At New York/London’s David Zwirner Gallery, Kerry James Marshall’s exuberant figurative painting “Untitled (Toe Painter)” from 2015, in acrylic on PVC panel and measuring 60 by 60 inches, sold to another American collector, but the gallery declined to disclose the price. The gallery now represents Marshall in London. Also at Zwirner, Chris Ofili’s large-scale painting “Midnight Cocktail” sold for $750,000.

    At London’s Lisson Gallery, a vibrantly colored and patterned abstraction by New York painter Stanley Whitney, “Inside Out” from 2013, scaled at 96 by 96 inches in oil on linen and representing his debut at the gallery, sold for $85,000. At least three of the artist’s six untitled smaller works, each measuring 12 by 12 inches, sold for $15,000 apiece during the first hour of the V.I.P. preview.

    Lisson also sold Ai Wei Wei’s purple hued “Iron Root,” in cast iron and auto paint from 2015, for around half a million euros to a Middle Eastern client, according to the gallery. The artist is currently featured in a survey exhibition at the Royal Academy, including an inviting ensemble of sculpted trees installed in the courtyard.

    New York/London/Zurich/Los Angeles’s Hauser & Wirth presented small scale sculptures by gallery artists on identically sized pedestals, affording pleasurable, 360 degree views of the little forest of sculptures that gallery partner Paul Schimmel described as “field of dreams.” A coated glasswork by Larry Bell, “Cube #10-1-92” from 1992 and standing 10 inches high, sold for $135,000.

    At Paris/Salzburg Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery, a huge Robert Longo diptych, “Untitled (Holy Tree/Cedar)” in charcoal on paper from 2015 and measuring 102 by 128 by 4 inches, sold to a European collector for $650,000, and a 72 by 72 inch landscape by Alex Katz, “The Road” from 2015 and evocative of the Maine woods and its stellar light, sold for $390,000. Ropac also sold Sturtevant’s appropriated damsel, “Warhol Licorice Marilyn” from 2004, for around $275,000.

    “I was very impressed with the energy of the fair this year,” said Polly Robinson Gaer, executive director of Ropac in London, “especially since our price points are very high compared to the other booths, so we’re really pleased with the outcome.”

    It was about at this juncture, some 2 ½ hours into Frieze London with its 164 galleries, that I remembered my mission was across the park at Frieze Masters.

    A brisk 15-minute walk later, the dirigible-like silver outline of the Masters’ tent appeared and London’s mini-answer to TEFAF, the European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht, but with better 20th-century art, unfolded.

    It quickly became evident that last year’s iteration with Helly Nahmad Gallery’s exquisitely entertaining “The Collector” installation has gone viral here, with a number of galleries trying it on, bringing a mix of art and furniture together with a patron saint dealer or character added to the flavorful mix.

    London’s Richard Nagy Gallery did it with German Expressionist works and vintage Austrian furniture, Dickinson staged an ambitious “Masters of Cubism” art salon as a homage to Paris dealer Leonce Rosenberg, and cooperating dealers Moretti (London) and Hauser & Wirth combined 14th-century Italian painters with a modernist and contemporary cast of Hauser & Wirth’s deep back room, including a sultry yet somehow religious Marlene Dumas, an ink on paper of a nude girl, “Magdalena (de Pelsie)” from 1996. The Dumas hung alongside the 14th-century Luca de Tomme’s “Madonna and Child with Christ Blessing” in tempera on panel. It doesn’t take long to get the idea that the dealers and Frieze Masters would like you to embrace (and collect) the sweep of those centuries.

    The acquiring pace at Frieze Masters appeared slower this year as even top guns, such as New York’s Van de Wegh Gallery, with works by Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Acquavella Galleries, armed with a stunning Claude Monet landscape of Monte Carlo from 1883 and a rare and beautiful family portrait by Edgar Degas (“Henri Rouart et sa fille Helene”) from circa 1877, priced at $10.5 and $8 million respectively, had no initial takers.

    There was some action at New York/London’s Skarstedt Gallery, usually a hotbed of notable transactions, as Alighiero Boetti’s  “841/ Beige Sahara” from 1967, consisting of industrial spray paint on cardboard and cork lettering at 27 1/8 by 27 1/8, sold in the $500,000 range and Albert Oehlen’s untitled and rather biomorphic abstraction from 1991 sold for around $700,000 to a European collector.

    “It’s O.K.,” said Per Skarstedt, shortly after chatting with American painter Eric Fischl, who was visiting the stand. “We’re hoping to sell more art.”  

    Similarly, at New York’s Sperone Westwater Gallery, an early and rarely seen Joseph Kosuth, “One and seven-Description II” from 1965 and consisting of seven acrylic on canvas panels, each measuring 15 by 15 inches, sold for $300,000.

    The hottest sector sales wise appeared to be the so-called “Spotlight” section of galleries hosting one-person stands, led by Seoul/Beijing’s Hakgojae Gallery and the Minimalist, Robert Ryman-esque work of Korean artist Chung Sang-hwa. The booth sold out, with the seven featured paintings from the 1970s and ’80s going for $500,000 to approximately $1 million.

    “His prices have jumped five times what they were last year,” said Eunsoo Woo, Hakgojae’s art director. “Still, we were surprised at how quickly they’ve sold.” Buyers for Sang-hwa hailed from the US, Europe, Korea, and China. His name will become more familiar to Westerners soon, as Dominique Levy and New York’s Greene Naftali will mount joint New York shows in 2016.

    The Dominique Levy stand here also sold a Chung Sang-hwa, “87-12-7” from 1987 in acrylic on canvas for $540,000, the first work of the artist the gallery has sold.

    Back to the Spotlight stands, London’s Stephen Friedman sold New York sculptor Melvin Edwards’s untitled installation from 1970, comprised of hung barbed wire and chains, and installed here for the first time, for $300,000 to an American collector. The gallery also sold a group of Edwards’s spray paint and watercolor on paper works from 1974 at $25,000 each.

    In that same rich and relatively undiscovered vein, the late African-American abstract painter Sam Gilliam was featured at Los Angeles’s David Kordansky Gallery with a lyrical presentation of the artist’s Drape series, which sold at prices ranging from $225,000 to $500,000. Of those uplifting works, “Swing Sketch” from 1968, comprised of acrylic on canvas with a leather cord, sold for $350,000.

    Frieze and Frieze Masters run through October 18.

    Frieze London 2015

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    The Met Explores Hand-made Versus Machine-made in Spring 2016 Exhibition

    It looks like the future of fashion — from styles to materials to manufacture — weighs not merely on designers’ minds at the recently concluded Spring-Summer 2016 shows. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which announced the topic of The Costume Institute’s spring 2016 exhibition on October 14, is eager to know how the way clothes are being made now shape the way we view how they were made in the good old days.

    So the battle of the hand-made garments versus the machine-made garments is on at the exhibition manus x machina: fashion in an age of technology (which, in a nod to its sponsor Apple Inc., is aptly titled entirely in lowercase).

    Exploring the impact of technology on fashion, the show will feature more than 100 examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear, tracing various craftsmanship methods starting with when the sewing machine was invented in the 19th century, through the age of industrialization, and up till the current period of mass production.

    The aim is to study the ongoing dichotomy in which hand and machine are presented as opposing instruments in the creative processes that lead to the distinction between the haute couture and ready-to-wear, respectively.

    “Traditionally, the distinction between the haute couture and prêt-à-porter was based on the handmade and the machine-made, but recently this distinction has become increasingly blurred as both disciplines have embraced the practices and techniques of the other,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in The Costume Institute. “manus x machina will challenge the conventions of the hand/machine dichotomy, and propose a new paradigm germane to our age of digital technology.”

    Jonathan Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, added, “Both the automated and handcrafted process require similar amounts of thoughtfulness and expertise. There are instances where technology is optimized, but ultimately it’s the amount of care put into the craftsmanship, whether it’s machine-made or hand-made, that transforms ordinary materials into something extraordinary.”

    The show will be presented in both the Robert Lehman Wing and Anna Wintour Costume Center. In the former, a series of pairings of handmade haute couture garments and their machine-made ready-to-wear counterparts will be arranged enfilade, to carefully show the various constituent petites mains workshops (for embroidery, feathers, pleating, knitting, lacework, leatherwork, braiding, and fringe work) of a couturier’s atelier. These will be juxtaposed against garments that have incorporated 21st century technology, such as 3D-printing, laser cutting, thermo shaping, computer modeling, circular knitting, ultrasonic welding, and bonding and laminating.

    Meanwhile, the Anna Wintour Costume Center galleries will function like a group of workshops, where visitors can get an in-depth look at several of the abovementioned techniques while they are “in process”.

    The long list of designers represented in the exhibition include boldfaced names from the past and present, such as Charles James, Paul Poiret, Hubert de Givenchy, Madame Grès, Christian Dior, Cristobal Balenciaga, Azzedine Alaïa, Hussein Chalayan, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Giles Deacon, Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garçons), Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel), and Iris van Herpen.

    manus x machina: fashion in an age of technology will run from May 5 through August 14, 2016 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. To view some early highlights from the exhibition, click on the slideshow.

    Ensemble, Sarah Burton (British, born 1974) for Alexander McQueen, Fall-Winter 2

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    Phillips Scores a White Glove Sale

    LONDON — Phillips uncorked the London evening sale week of contemporary art auctions with a “white glove,” 100 percent sold performance that tallied £31,502,000/$47.8 million.

    All of the 36 lots offered sold and the tally fell comfortably midway between the £24.1-36.1 million pre-sale estimate. Perhaps most impressively, the result doubled last October’s tepid £14.8/$23.6 million sale at Phillips’ inaugural contemporary art auction at its posh Berkeley Square headquarters. Three artist records were set and eight works sold for over a million pounds and 10 made over a million dollars.

    “We were worried about the market going into the sale,” said Edward Dolman, CEO and chairman of Phillips, moments after the auction, “but there’s nothing to worry about.”

    It seemed that way.

    The boutique auction house was front-loaded with 18 fresh-to-market works from the late society dermatologist Dr. Frederic Brandt, known in the tabloids as “the prince of Botox,” who committed suicide in Miami last year. All of the Brandt works were backed by third party guarantees, meaning they were assured to sell, with a chunk of any upside going to those anonymous backers.

    Highlights from Brandt’s trove included Mark Grotjahn’s color-charged, geometric abstraction “Untitled (Three-Tiered Perspective)” from 2000, executed in oil on linen over panel that sold for £842,500/$1,280,600 (est. £700,000- 1 million) and Christopher Wool’s swirling abstraction “Untitled” from 1994, in alkyd on aluminum and measuring 42 7/8 by 30 1/8 inches, which sold to New York private dealer Philippe Segalot for £2,266,500/$3,445,080 (est. £1.5-2.5 million).

    There was plenty of bidding in the room as further evidenced by Rudolf Stingel’s densely patterned, large-scale abstraction “Untitled” from 1996-97, another Brandt entry, which sold to New York dealer Joe Nahmad for £1,930,500/$2,934,360 (est. £700,000-1 million).

    “Do you have a paddle?” asked auctioneer Hugues Joffre, Phillips’ freshly hired world-wide head of 20th-century art, who steered the sale with calm precision. When Nahmad shook his head “no,” the auctioneer smiled and said, “We know you very well.” London old master dealer Fabrizio Moretti, who is participating in the current Frieze Masters fair in collaboration with the contemporary dealership Hauser & Wirth, was the underbidder.

    One of the evening’s over-achieving favorites, Yoshitomo Nara’s deceptively innocent “Missing in Action” figurative painting of a doll-like girl set against a blank background, another Brandt entry, sold to the telephone for a record £1,986,500/$3,019,480. The single owner section garnered £9.3/$14.2 million of the evening tally.

    There was also reassuring action beyond Brandt as Lucio Fontana’s slashed abstraction, “Concetto Spaziale Attese” from 1964, without any boost of a financial guarantee, sold to a telephone bidder for £1,314,500/$1,998,040 (est. £1.2-18 million) and the large and late Cy Twombly scribbled abstraction “Untitled” from 2006, as the rather juicy cover lot, sold to another telephone bidder for the top lot price of £7,922500/$12,042,200 (est. £8-12 million). It last sold at Phillips de Pury  & Company in New York in November 2011 for $9,042,500.

    More impressively, art star Mark Bradford’s massive, mixed media composition “Constitution” from 2013, scaled at 132 by 120 inches, sold to New York/London dealer Daniella Luxembourg for a record £3,778,500/$5,743,320 (Est. £2-3 million). Hauser & Wirth was the underbidder, unwilling to go beyond the winning £3.3 hammer price, before the add-on freight of the buyer’s premium.

    It was also hard to miss the pork pie hat visage of Los Angeles-based dealer/collector/marketeer Stefan Simchowitz, seated on an aisle and outgunning telephone bid competition for Tauba Auerbach’s crinkled and creased abstraction “Untitled (Fold)” from 2011, which realized £1,426,500/$2,168,280 (est £1.2-1.8 million). Simchowitz departed the packed salesroom immediately after his purchase.

    Surprisingly, or so it seemed to this observer, there was barely any interest in Jonas Wood’s figurative painting of a freckle-faced basketball star, “D.J.” from 2009, which sold to a telephone bidder for £62,500/$95,000 (est. £50-70,0000). Woods is currently starring in a major, one-person show at Gagosian Gallery on Britannia Street, and larger and later works are coming up at both Sotheby’s and Christie’s.

    The last lot of the evening was KAWS’s “Snoopy: Red Baron” from 2014, executed in acrylic on canvas and laid on panel, which sold to London collector Robert Beecham for £128,500/$195,320 (est. £80-120,000).

    “I’m very happy with the price,” said Beecham moments later. “I think in Europe they don’t have any idea about this guy, but I do.”

    The evening action resumes on Thursday at Sotheby’s, and judging by Phillips’ sale this evening and the daylong action at Christie’s (in Association with de Pury) at its King Street salesroom with “A Visual Odyssey—Selections From LAC (Lambert Art Collection)” that delivered £14.9/$22.8 million (est. £10.8-16.8 million), the market appears to be in fine fettle.

    In the Lambert marathon of 306 lots, Christopher Wool’s yellow hued, black floral patterned abstraction “Untitled” from 1995, in enamel on aluminum, took the top lot at £4,898,500/$7,480,010 (est. £3-5 million).

    Francois Pinault, Christie’s owner, looked happy standing at the back of the salesroom during the morning session after buying a Lambert memento, Damien Hirst’s “Pharmaceuticals,” an inkjet print in colors from a 2005 edition of 75 plus 10 artist’s proofs, for a hammer price of £9,500.

    Pinault didn’t have a paddle either. 

    Cy Twombly

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    Sotheby’s London to Offer Rediscovered Lucian Freud Drawing

    Sotheby’s will offer a rediscovered drawing by Lucien Freud during its Modern & Post-War British Art Evening Sale in London on November 17.

    Titled “Girl and Self Portrait,” the drawing is the artist’s only known self-portrait featuring Kitty Garman, his first wife and muse.

    Executed in pen and ink and heightened with coloured crayon, the arresting composition “pulsates with the emotional intensity between the artist and model/lover,” according to Sotheby’s

    “Girl and Self Portrait” was originally intended to illustrate a reproduction of the book “Flyda of the Seas: a Fairy Tale for Grown Ups” by Princess Marie Bonaparte, a disciple and patron of Sigmund Freud. But Freud’s illustrations did not end up being included in the edition.

    Between 1947 and 1948 the drawing was gifted by Freud to the second wife of George Orwell, the late Sonia Brownell (1918-1980), in whose possession it remained.

    It was only lent once for exhibition for Freud’s show at the London Gallery in 1948, shortly after it was gifted to Brownell, and now comes to the market for the first time with an estimate of £600,000-800,000.

    For more information visit the Sotheby’s website here.

    Girl and Self Portrait by Lucian Freud

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    Frieze Sculpture Park Extends Its Stay

    One of the many attractions returning for this year’s Frieze Week is the Frieze Sculpture Park, featuring contemporary and historical sculptures as curated for the fourth year running by Clare Lilley. This year, however, seven of the 16 works on view this week will remain in Regent’s Park and open to the public through January 17, 2016. 

    “Frieze Art Fair is one of the largest art fairs in the world, not only cementing London’s reputation as a global center for culture and the art market, but contributing significantly to London’s economy,” said London mayor Boris Johnson in a statement. “The Sculpture Park is a terrific free attraction and extending its run means that many more Londoners and tourists will be able to see it.”

    Works sticking around include Carol Bove’s “Open Screen,” 2014; a Richard Serra piece that hasn’t been exhibited since 1977, when it was shown at the Whitney; and a tree-like structure by Conrad Shawcross that was recently displayed in the courtyard of London’s Royal Academy of Arts. During the fair, Anri Sala will present a live performance originally commissioned for this year’s Havana Biennial, alongside works by Tony Cragg, Kathleen Ryan, Leo Fitzmaurice, and more.

    Click on the slideshow to see more of the works on view.

     

     Frieze Sculpture Park

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