NOV 13, 2008 – NEW YORK – 7pm

a few selections that caught our eye, for one reason – or another.
note: prices achieved – will be posted as soon as the info goes live on PHILLIPS.

UP-DATE: THURS NOV 13, 2008 – 11:56 PM

. . . word just back from the auction – “it was a blood bath” !!

our man on the scene, SIMON CERIGO relates that he arrived late, at 8:15 – and it was already over !! the Thursday night auction starts at 7 PM and usually the action is still going strong til 9.
the chairs were all empty and pretty much everybody had left, except about 10 people who were sipping champagne – around the podium.
SIMON de PURY … was talking to JUDD TULLY of ART & AUCTION, and JOSH BAER, a New York ‘blue chip’ art consultant. Meanwhile, MICHAEL McGINNIS, PHILLIPS’ Worldwide Head for Contemporary Art was surrounded by about 5 or 6 other notebook scribbling – art world scribes, including ANTHONY HADEN-GUEST, and ALEXANDRA PEERS, the former Wall Street Journal contributor, now freelance writing for NEW YORK Magazine’s Intelligencer section – all looking like they had just witnessed a ‘car crash in the street’ and wanting to know – what happened !!.

and, FILE UNDER: INTERESTING TIMING – PHILLIPS de PURY, as in … the whole auction house company – was recently sold, about a month or two ago, to a group of Russian investors – names unknown. SIMON de PURY remains with the company – as day-to-day manager and auctioneer.

on the lighter side – ANTHONY HADEN-GUEST was overheard bragging about his (supposed) big art world scoop – an interview with DAMIEN HIRST – which took place just after the recent SOTHEBY – DAMIEN HIRST – SALE in LONDON, about Damien’s new paintings – the scoop ? that he is, here’s the (supposedly) exciting part – painting the paintings himself. The Haden-Guest essay is coming out in the new INTERVIEW, to hit the stands in a few days, and Anthony was pleased as punch – to report it also includes photos of the new paintings.

Simon was also amazed that the JOHN CURRIN – LOT 24 (in the PHILLIPS Thursday night offering) did not sell. especially because it was an early piece, (1993) and to his eye – a beautiful one, and … “an important work that started his career rolling”. As reported in the New York Times of WED NOV 12, 2008 – CAROL VOGEL – relates that Los Angeles collector DEAN VALENTINE had no trouble selling his John Currin painting – ‘Nice ‘n’ Easy’, “a 1999 painting of two renaissance-inspired nude women that Sotheby’s had priced at $3.5 million to $4.5 million. Three people bid for it, and it sold for a record price of $5.4 million”. ok. thanks, Simon.

back to the auction:
out of 56 LOTS, only 30 sold – meaning the rest didn’t reach their (secret) minimum !!
the only stuff that sold – was real crusty – like ol’ school x 1000 – I mean is DAN FLAVIN (ok. a gorgeous piece – but come on – that was ages ago), DONALD JUDD or ROY LICHTENSTEIN – contemporary, any more ? are they even alive. no, they are not !! can you be dead by a decade, and still be considered contemporary by definition ?
[DAN FLAVIN 1933-1996/DONALD JUDD 1928-1994/ROY LICHTENSTEIN 1923-1997]
[contemporary – “a person of the present age” – AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY]
. . . and even their blue chip works, sold pretty much low ball. As stated above – even the JOHN CURRIN – LOT 24 – failed to find a buyer. The only truly interesting !! edgey contemporary piece that sold, (and above its high estimate) – was the TERRENCE KOH – LOT 2 – which had a pre-sale estimate of $80,000-120,000 and went for: a high bid of $122,500.
and the true story behind that – is unknown. sometimes dealers, or other parties with vested interests – and deep pockets – make sure their pet projects don’t go down the drain, in such a public manner. or it could be totally legit. I mean, no one stepped in to save the other – almost 50% – that failed to make it worth while for their sellers to let go – at what must have been vicious fire sale bidding.

UP-DATE: SAT NOV 15, 2008 – 12:41 PM

about that JOHN CURRIN – that did not sell.
according to CAROL VOGEL in the NEW YORK TIMES, FRIDAY, NOV 14, 2008:
” . . . before the auction … even began five works were withdrawn, including examples by such popular artists as JOHN CURRIN, RICHARD PRINCE and ANSELM KIEFER.”
as well – “as the evening progressed, the results proved dreary, with about 40% of the art unsold and those works that did sell going for a fraction of their estimates. The sales totalled just $9.6 million, less than half of the (total) low estimate of $23 million.”
note: “Final prices include the commission to Phillips: 25 percent of the first $50,000, 20 percent of the next $50,000 to $1 million, and 12 percent of the rest. Estimates do not reflect commissions.”

auction 2008 -Terrence Koh


The Road to the Winterland of My Discontent, I Know Not Where I Lead, 2007
Bronze with black patina, wax and oil in 12 parts. 4 x 6 x 16 in. each.
This work is from an edition of one plus one artist’s proof and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

ESTIMATE: $80,000 – 120,000
SOLD FOR: $122,000

auction 2008 # 1


Untitled (Tire Planter), 1999
Rubber tire and paint. 13 x 26 x 26 in.

ESTIMATE: $120,000 – 180,000

auction 2008 #4

LOT 23

Saulenweilige, 2004
Color coupler print Diasec mounted. 19-1/2 x 57-3/4 in.
Signed, titled and dated and marked as unique on the reverse.

ESTIMATE: $200,000 – 300,000

auction 2008 - John Currin

LOT 24

Standing Nude, 1993
Oil on canvas. 48 x 36 in. Signed and dated on the overlap.

ESTIMATE: $500,000 -700,000

auction 2008 # 5

LOT 25

Untitled # 212, 1989
Color photograph in artit’s wooden frame. 41-1/4 x 32-1/4 in.
Signed and dated and numbered of six on the reverse.

ESTIMATE: $200,000 – 300,000

auction 2008 # 7

LOT 48

Crated Room # 4, 2006
Fiberglass, oil paint, metal, adhesive labels & wood with electrical lights.
78-5/8 x78-5/8 x 46 in.
Dated 2006 on interior frame.

ESTIMATE: $200,000 – 300,000

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