Thursday, December 11, 2008

Brobdingnagian Excess On Display At Art Basel

(Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton in a painting by Wayne Coe at Jonathan Shorr Gallery at Fountain via artnet)

We are pleased to relate that Nate Lowman and Mary-Kate Olsen are the new darlings of Contemporary Art. Charmed, I'm sure. As the economy tumbles, Miami Beach's Art Basel featured the Neroan excess one would expect (though not as much as in previous years). Instead of fiddling as the American Empire teeters, however, the uneconomically insecure bought art -- or what passes for it these days, anyway (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment). $30,000, it seems, was the general starting price for much of the "Arts (Averted Gaze)."

No word yet on whether or not the "Arts" was priced by the yard. From New York:

"At the main fair, Sheikh Majed Al-Sabah, one of world’s richest men, snapped up one of Karl Lagerfeld’s photos of the Jeff Koons exhibition at Versailles. It shows a Koons vacuum cleaner alongside a portrait of Marie Antoinette and was originally priced at $30,000. 'It was controversial [in France] — and I got a deal,' bragged the grinning Sheikh, who added he’d like New York readers to know he’s opening one of his Villa Moda luxury malls in Dubai in March. Real-estate developer Craig Robins went shopping for several works and announced he and partners are building a museum of design in Miami."

Joy. We're sure it will be a goddam classy affair, frequented, no doubt, by Russian oligarchs and their mistresses angling to rub elbows with such modern day masters of the craft as Marilyn Manson. Also:

"One trend we’re sorry about: Collectors often opted to buy works by 'famous names' that weren’t priced as high as art by traditional artists: Lagerfeld, Hadid, Marilyn Manson, and Naomi Campbell all had shows."

The full report here.

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