Monday, November 24, 2014

Georgia O'Keefe; A 44.4 Million Bargain

A Georgia O'Keeffe painting has sold for $44.4 million, more than triple the previous auction record for a work by a female artist.

Sotheby's New York sold the 1932 painting, "Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1," during the auction house's sale of American art. Sold by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to benefit its acquisitions fund to undisclosed buyer. Previous Auction record by a female artist was $11.9 million for Joan Mitchell's.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

XCaret, Mexico

Now that's a cemetery! Completely unique, artistic, carefully thought out, beautiful, bright & magical. Sort of the Disneyland of cemeteries!

Monday, September 15, 2014

the Top 10 Most Expensive Living Women Artists

Cady Noland, Gibbet

Cady Noland, Gibbet (in 2 parts) (1993–1994)
1. Cady Noland
When Cady Noland’s Oozewald (1989) sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2011 for $6.6 million  it broke the record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a work by a living female artist and puts her first on this list.  Oozewald, of silkscreen ink on aluminum plate, depicts a black-and-white image of Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald as he’s being shot; he’s gagged with an American flag and his body riddled with white spots that evoke gun shot wounds. The piece captures the spirit of Noland’s work, which frequently traffics in the broken illusion of the American dream. Noland, who was born in 1956 and is the daughter of Color Field painter Kenneth Noland,

Marlene Dumas, The Visitor (1995).

2. Marlene Dumas 
2005, Dumas made headlines as the most expensive living artist when her painting The Teacher (sub a) (1987, a forbidding portrait taken from a class picture from her childhood in South Africa—sold for $3.3 million. In 2008, the year of artist  Marlene Dumas’s first US survey (which opened at the Los Angeles MOCA and then moved to New York’s MoMA), the artist’s auction record reached a new high with the sale at Sotheby’s London of The Visitor (1995), an oil painting of a group of strippers standing expectantly by an open door. Dumas’ paintings often have moribund subject matter, frequently featuring drowned and hanged people or babies with bloodied hands, and seem to drip with a nightmarish subtext that one imagines must have been informed by the politics of her early surroundings (the 60-year-old artist was raised during Apartheid). Grim as they are, though, her work caught the attention of mega-dealer David Zwirner, who in 2008, after years of courting her, finally signed the artist.
Yayoi Kusama, No. 2 (1959)
3. Yayoi Kusama
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama may now be, thanks to social media, best known for the sensation she created this past November with her celestial installation at David Zwirner gallery, “Infinity Mirrored Room.” Visitors lined up for hours to get 45 seconds in the darkened room outfitted with tiny flickering LED lights and mirrored walls that evinced the sensation of free-floating through an endless cosmos. But it is perhaps Kusama’s Infinity Nets, or paintings in which the entire canvas is filled with a hypnotic “net” of monochromatic brushstrokes, that are the 85-year-old artist’s trademark. And with the sale in 2008 of “No. 2” (1959), an early white-on-white iteration of one of her Infinity Nets, Kusama’s auction record (which was already well-established with 3463 lots at auction) hit an all-time high. Selling for $5.8 million, more than doubling its presale low estimate, the painting, which had been owned at one time by Donald Judd, brought in the highest price ever paid at auction for a work by a living female artist.
Bridget Riley, Chant 2 (1967)
4. Bridget Riley
Around 1960, while working part-time as an illustrator at an advertising firm, British artist Bridget Riley began to develop the Op Art style that would become her signature. While initially, she worked in black-and-white, in 1967, she would begin using color and created her first stripe painting. One year later she would represent Great Britain at the Venice Biennale where she scooped up the international prize for painting, and was the first woman and the first contemporary British painter to win the prize. Chant 2 (1967), a painting of alternating vertical blue and white stripes, which was part of three works that went to the Biennale, was purchased by an American collector in 2008 at Sotheby’s London for $5.1 million, outpacing her own record, set only a few months earlier, by a couple of million. (If looking at British Pound Sterling, this record was broken by the February 2014 sale of the same painting at Christie’s London, though when converted to US dollars, the 2008 sale remains the record for Riley.) Perhaps the market high was encouraged by her retrospective that year at the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris. But in 2006 Riley’s work was already attracting renewed collector interest, as indicated by the sale to Jeffrey Deitch of Untitled (Diagonal Curve) (1966) for $2.2 million, roughly four times its low estimate.
Julie Mehretu, Retopistics: A Renegade Excavation (2001)
5. Julie Mehretu
Amongst the youngest in the group is Julie Mehretu (born in Ethiopia in 1970), whose abstract painting Retopistics: A Renegade Excavation (2001) broke the artist’s record when it sold for $4.6 million at Christie’s New York in 2013. Mehretu’s abstract paintings, which are created with layers of acrylic on canvas followed by marks in pencil, ink and more layers of paint, were already fetching six figures in 2006. But it wasn’t until 2010, at the sale of works from the Neuberger Berman and Lehman Brothers corporate art collections at Sotheby’s New York in 2010, that one of her abstract paintings first garnered $1 million. That same year, Mehretu’s work was the subject of a novel high profile legal dispute brought by contemporary art collector Jean-Pierre Lehmann against Mehretu’s gallery at the time, the Project Gallery for failure to uphold a contract that granted him access to Mehretu’s work: in exchange for a $75,000 loan, the gallery was to provide the collector the right of first refusal for work by any artist represented by the gallery, at a 30 percent discount. The case, which Lehmann ultimately won, showed not only that the young artist was in high demand, but that money alone can’t secure the privilege of buying art.
Cindy Sherman, Untitled #96 (1981)
6. Cindy Sherman
When American artist Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #96, a 1981 print of Sherman in a pumpkin-colored sweater as a lovesick woman lying on the kitchen floor, sold for $3.9 million at Christie’s New York in May 2011, more than doubling the low estimate of $1.5 million, it became, at the time, the most expensive photograph ever sold at auction. By that point, Sherman’s market had already been on the rise for several years. While the 60-year-old artist is one of the best-known and most critically acclaimed artists working today, at auction she has trailed behind other artists of her generation, including Julian Schnabel and Richard Prince (who made our list of Top 10 Most Expensive American Artists). Though something of an auction darling (Sherman’s work has been offered 1738 times (according to the artnet Price Database), her staged conceptual photographs of herself in costume only broke the $1 million mark in 2007 with the sale of Untitled film still no. 48 (1979), a black-and-white image of herself as a hitchhiker on a desolate highway.
Jenny Saville Plan (1993)
7. Jenny Saville
Jenny Saville‘s unsettling massive female nudes brought her much attention during the 1990s, as she came of age among the Young British Artists. Born in 1970, Saville is best known for these large-scale paintings of nude women, some obese, with their bodies marked up as they would be before having liposuction. Plan (1993), a prime example from this body of work, is also the painting that holds her record at auction. Though Saville has been on the scene for years, she only had her first solo show in Britain in 2012. And interest in her work appears to be on the rise. In February of this year, Plan sold for $3.5 million at Christie’s London, more than doubling its low estimate of $1.3 million.
Celmins, Night Sky #14 (1996–97)
8. Vija Celmins
Latvian-American artist Vija Celmins is known for her laborious paintings and drawings of images taken from the natural world such as the surface of the moon, the night sky, and the interiors of shells. Her images, which border the photorealistic and the abstract, tend to be her most popular at auction, including Night Sky #14 (1996–97), an oil on linen painting for which her record was set at Christie’s New York in 2013 when it sold for $2.4 million. For Celmins, a 75-year-old artist who has over 40 global exhibitions under her belt since she first started showing in 1965, and whose work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, among many others, Night Sky #14 was only the third work to sell for more than $1 million and may indicate that her auction record is finally catching up to her institutional acclaim.

Beatriz Milhazes, O Mágico (2001)
9. Beatriz Milhazes
Interest in Brazilian born artist Beatriz Milhazes’s vivid kaleidoscopic paintings has been steadily growing since she was invited to participate in the 1995 Carnegie International in Pittsburgh. But it wasn’t until the Contemporary Art Day auction at Sotheby’s New York in May 2008, at which her work O Mágico (2001) sold for $1.1 million (more than quadrupling the low estimate of $250,000), that that interest seemed to take on more serious proportions. It was the first time the artist’s work would bring in $1 million at auction. But since then, it has surpassed that mark six more times, the most expensive of which was Meu Limão (2000) a work that sold at Sotheby’s New York in November 2012 for $2.1 million (tripling its low estimate of $700,000). Though her work has only been at auction some 80 times, more than three dozen of them have sold in the six figures. Fomenting interest and solidifying her global reputation over the past 10 years, Milhazes, who was born in 1960, represented Brazil at the Venice Biennale in 2003; had a 2009 show at the Fondation Cartier in Paris; and has been granted several prominent public art commissions in the UK, including a massive installation along the archways of a London Underground station.
Lee Bontecou, Untitled (1960)
10. Lee Bontecou
2003 was a good year for Lee Bontecou. On two consecutive days, the 83-year old artist astonished auction goers by breaking her own record twice. First, on November 11, at Christie’s New York, her welded steel work Untitled (1960) sold for $298,700 roughly six times its low estimate of $50,000. The very next day at Sotheby’s, another welded steel work Untitled (1959-1960), blasted past its presale low estimate, which was also $50,000, tenfold realizing $456,000. Perhaps aided in part by her retrospective that year co-organized by the Hammer Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago, the artist who had been living in relative obscurity in Pennsylvania, was yanked back into the spotlight. Her ominous welded steel sculptures (covered with recycled canvas) from 1959 to 1960, which seem to conjure, with all their insectoid armor-like carapaces, gnarly visions of the future, are among her most recognizable works and continue to command high prices at auction. Her record is held by the sale Untitled (1962), which sold at Christie’s New York for $1.9 million in 2010.

Monday, September 1, 2014

What Makes A Painting Worth 273M?

Sold at 273M, 'The Card Players' By Cezanne is the most expensive painting in the world. I have NO idea why. : /

For almost half the price at 157M, is 'Portrait of Adele' by Klimt. Now THAT'S a painting!

Monday, August 25, 2014

BBC Fake or Fortune?

'Fisherman Tony couldn't believe his luck when he stumbled upon a pile of pictures apparently dumped by a trash heap next to a favorite riverside fishing spot. Tony, accompanied by his daughter, visited an Antiques Roadshow, where he is told by Philip Mould that one of his pictures is worth £30,000. It's an unknown work by one of America's most important 19th century artists, Winslow Homer. How did it end up being dumped & who legally owns the picture?

Philip Mould & Fiona Bruce investigate & the story takes a series of unexpected turns; in the Bahamas they discover when & why the painting was made & who the mysterious sitters were, descendants of a family, Blake, who live not far from the river. In New York Sotherby's, the picture is valued closer to $250,000. Within minutes of the auction beginning, the painting is pulled & turns everything upside down when a Blake arrives & claims the picture. He offers a quarter of the value to the daughter of Tony, who resists. The ownership now is STILL in question. A fascinating video, along with several other investigations. I watch episodes on YouTube.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Georgia; Young Old & Faraway

Hand Painted 3D Collage Assemblage With B & W Photos, Flower Die Cuts from Georgia Paintings & Shells on Contrasting Electric Blue, Black and White Shadow Box. Lovely. 9" x 11" x 1.5"

Known as a loner, O'Keeffe explored the land she loved often in her Ford Model A, which she purchased and learned to drive in 1929. She often talked about her fondness for Ghost Ranch and Northern New Mexico, as in 1943, when she explained: "Such a beautiful, untouched lonely feeling place, such a fine part of what I call the 'Faraway'. It is a place I have painted before ... even now I must do it again."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Matisse Chapel

One of the ways I relax late at night, (such a night owl!), is to watch movies & lately I've been very drawn to art themes. Netflix is a great place to seek out titles I might not find otherwise. I came across ,"A Model for Matisse" & wanted to share it;

"This charming documentary explores the friendship between artist Henri Matisse and the woman who inspired him to create some of his best-loved works, Dominican nun Sister Jacques-Marie. The 83-year-old nun discusses her days as a model and muse for Matisse, including her role in what he considered his life's masterpiece: the paintings and stained-glass windows of the Chapel of the Rosary in the French Mediterranean village of Vence."

The Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence (Chapel of the Rosary), often referred to as the Matisse Chapel is a small chapel built for Dominican sisters that was built and decorated between 1949 and 1951. It houses a number of Matisse originals and was regarded by Matisse himself as his "masterpiece". Many regard it as one of the great religious structures of the 20th century.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Orchestra of Exiles

“The true artist does not create art as an end in itself; he creates art for human beings. Humanity is the goal.”
The bravery/rescue stories of World War II of the hell on earth Jews & many other unprotected groups faced, has been fairly well documented. Several historical documentaries & films have recorded the fall & rise of those persecuted, including gems like, 'No Place on Earth', 'The Lady in Number 6', 'The Reader', 'A Beautiful Life' & 'The Rape of Europa'.

Lately, with the D-Day Anniversary & having had parents in the Royal Air Force in England, I've
been taking a closer look at those events in history that prior to now literally caused me to throw up. I still cannot 'stomach' the more graphic photos of liberation, but there has been a deeper rumbling that didn't breach the surface until I watched 'Orchestra of Exiles'. It documents the life of the great Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman, who saved around a thousand Jews from the Holocaust by bringing many of Europe's leading musicians & their families to safety by forming the Palestine Philharmonic.

What has come to 'life' for me is this. THE ARTS in all it's varied forms, albeit written, musical, painted, danced, baked or privately remembered, in most ways have SURVIVED. Whole families may have been wiped out without heirs, or gays & gypsies annihilated, but the ART itself was & remains indestructible. Bombed, hidden, burned, debased or murdered, the deep memories & stories would not be driven out of our collective consciousness & that to me is a hopeful thing.

(I'll note here a story I read about in the newspaper over thirty years ago. A man was standing in a line in the room before his death. He had been shaven & numbered like a piece of garbage & was about to be thrown away. In the corner of this room he saw a broom & as he moved closer to the next door, he quietly stepped a few paces out of line & grasped the broom. Very slowly & methodically, he began sweeping up, until eventually he swept himself back out the door he had come in. Somehow he survived the camp & the liberation & was now living in New York with quite the tale to tell his grandchildren.)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Use of Infrared Imagery Technology: An Ethical Question

I've already commented on 'Tim's Veneer' & the slight creepiness I felt about the process of trying to recreate a masterpiece, no matter what 'assistive technology' Vemeer may have chosen to use during his career. What WAS created were nearly photographic images that jumped from the canvas & added to the thrill of viewing his works. Did he 'cheat' somehow? Or was he just way ahead of his time?

It seems that more & more often we're being confronted with trying to 'prove' if a Michelangelo or a DaVinci are the 'real' things by measuring noses or digging up (Mona) Lisa's bones to assess her facial structure. The mystery or intrigue of an art piece is half the fun of viewing it, for me anyway.

So, now we have...."It's a mystery that is fueling new research about the 1901 painting created early in Picasso's career while he was working in Paris at the start of his distinctive blue period of melancholy subjects. Curators & conservators revealed their findings for the first time last week. Over the past five years, experts from the Phillips Collection, National Gallery of Art, Cornell University and Delaware's Winterthur Museum have developed a clearer image of the mystery picture under the surface. It is a portrait of an unknown man painted in a vertical composition by one of the 20th century's great artists."

Really? Experts have spent five years on this? Perhaps there was a simple reason why the painting was painted over. I would assume it was because Picasso found something newer to express, while never imagining that over a hundred years later someone would be checking out a portrait under a painting that wasn't worth enough to the artist to save, or at the very least, didn't intend for others to see. I'm an artist & I have abandoned, torn down or reused parts of assemblages because they didn't feel right to me, didn't quite represent what I was trying to get across, or were experiments & not meant to be finished. Maybe Picasso thought it was a crappy painting or it wasn't relative anymore. Or maybe he just painted over it.

So the question for me here is, is Infrared Imagery when used in this way, ethical or a possible infringement on privacy or perhaps even copyright? Do artists give up their rights upon death, or otherwise, for others to utilize newly created technologies for public consumption? Let's say I have a number of assemblages in my studio, some that have been shown in galleries because I wished for them to viewed, while others are sitting in the dust, waiting to be thrown out or remade. Should I have the right to decide whether or not the discarded are dragged out, scrutinized, or for that matter, sold because they are just sitting there collecting dust?

I doubt myself or my family will ever have to grapple with this dilemma, but there is something here that is leaving a bit of 'bad taste.'

Saturday, May 31, 2014

NOT Your Grandmother's Origami


Archangel Michael 

"For the exhibition Surface to Structure: Folded Forms, which will take place at New York's Cooper Union from June 19 to July 4, Nguyen has gathered more than 130 works from 88 artists around the world. Collectively the works demonstrate how origami artists are pushing the boundaries of technique and style. But today artists have moved beyond that, with many using software that helps them dream up and then fold their elaborate works."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fabulous Ghana Coffins

"Kane Kwei’s grandmother died. She had never taken a plane, but often expressed her fascination for this revolutionary means of transport and was wishing, one day, to be able to do so.

Kane Kwei remembers then the coffin which had provoked the enthusiasm of crowds some months before. To honor his grand mother by giving her what she had not been able to accomplish of his living being, he constructs her a coffin in the form of a plane."
"The figurative palanquin connected with the totem of its owner is a special kind of litter used in the Greater Accra Region in Ghana. These palanquins called in the Ga language, okadi akpakai, belong to the royal insignias & were used only by the Ga kings or mantsemei and their sub-chiefs when they are carried in public at durburs and festivals like Homowo. With these figurative palanquins the Ga create ethnic differences between themselves and their Akan neighbors that only use simple boat or chair-shaped litters."

Tim's Vemeer

I was distracted by a recent disturbing event when I saw this movie, so in order to do it true justice, I may need to see it again. I don't think so though. My brain doesn't work this way. I felt like Jenison was being very right brained about the whole process & found myself becoming irritated by his attempt to paint the way the 17th century Flemish master Vermeer did by using the 'camera obscura' technique. Maybe if his finished product in any way conveyed the same response as a Veneer, I would have been a bit more bowled over.

When I look at 'Girl With the Pearl Earring', or any other work of art for that matter, I think about my emotional response & what the participants may have been thinking in a moment in time. The painting was created 300 years ago. Folks have had a lot of time to surmise who the girl was or how he painted her. Here's just a few of the comments made about the painting:

"The image is a tronie, the Dutch 17th-century description of a ‘head’ that was not meant to be a portrait. After the most recent restoration of the painting in 1994, the subtle color scheme and the intimacy of the girl’s gaze toward the viewer have been greatly enhanced."

"Each generation perceives and describes the impressions gained from Vermeer’s works based on the intellectual baggage and the reception they master..... His (Vermeer's) low output was rather caused by the need for a long mental process before he was satisfied with the image. He needed a long period of maturing his works in order to reach an acceptance of having reached the final and aesthetically pleasant accomplishment. As many authors in the past have observed, Vermeer in many paintings deleted earlier rendered elements from his interiors. In lectures, I have shown digital reconstructions of how crammed some of his paintings may have been at earlier stages in their making." Jørgen Wadum  (Head of 'Girl With Pearl Earring' Restoration project)

Monday, May 12, 2014

I Should Be So Lucky: Leslie Laskey

See that piece of metal in his hands that he pulled out of a burnt fire? It's an object that this 80+ man finds excitement in & transforms onto paper. Painter, Mixed Media, Printing, Collage Artist..... his living space a wonder of found & alive objects...... he's in heaven. So am I.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

How To Paint A Queen Documentary by Alaister Sooke

Alastair Sooke is my new favorite Art Critic, Broadcaster & Television Program Creator on Art & Art History for BBC television & radio. He is knowledgable, personable & passionate about the ART world. He doesn't dumb down the material, but does make it accessible & entertaining. I've watched three of his documentaries for the BBC so far on the Treasures of Ancient Egypt, The Ten Most Expensive Paintings in the World & the following called, "How to Paint a Queen." 

"There are more images of Elizabeth II than any other historical figure, but how to paint a queen is one of the trickiest of artistic challenges. Alastair Sooke looks at the depiction of Britain's female rulers, from Mary Tudor & Elizabeth I to Queen Victoria & the current monarch, Elizabeth, & discovers how queenly portraits reveal Britain's changing ideas about women & power."

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Cautionary Tale: The Big Sleep

I had a hyperactive one year old & I couldn't sleep. I was yet to find out the complicated truth about the little cherub of mine, but in the meantime I could not sleep to save myself. You know the drill; days upon days of interrupted sleep & not sleeping while they take a nap because it's the only damn time you have five minutes to yourself to do eight billion things before getting back in the mom saddle. I was a 42 year old first time, sleep deprived mom & it was time for some big guns. I had been on a low dose anti-depressant for years which kept my head above water, but anyone knows you only need to go a few days without proper sleep to end up in loony tunes land. Somehow new mothers are able to be comatose & take care of their kids, but because Gabe already had undiagnosed mania & I was old : >, this didn't work for me. I needed some help to sleep. So, after a quick call to a psychiatrist, I was introduced to a prescription drug called Seroquel & entered, for the next 12 years, THE BIG SLEEP. Thus, this cautionary tale.
(to be continued at )