ART is MONEY. MONEY is ART. The spring auction report.

“There’s something slightly boastful wanting to own these things. And there’s a prevalent sense that this is also about asset gathering, not just collecting.”

Abigail Asher
Art Consultant

Well, that’s the understatement of the year. I don’t imagine this post will get a lot of play, but I find this stuff endlessly fascinating. It was a record week at the spring Contemporary and Impressionist art auctions. Christie’s alone sold over $1 billion worth of art. As always, a splendid time was had by the 1%.

Alas, poor Vincent. Only sold one lousy painting his whole life. And that was to his brother. He’s doing okay now. This was a great piece. The blue was more vibrant than what you see here.

Vincent Van Gogh
L’Alle des Alyscamps

Estimate on Request, but believed to be +/- $40,000,000.
Sold for $66,300,000

van goghIt’s hard to look at this and feel indifferent. People either love Pollock or hate him. I understand why folks might have a problem with this, but I liked it.

Jackson Pollock
Number 12, 1950
Estimate: $15,000,000-20,000,000
Sold for $18,282,000

pollockI’ve just recently developed an appreciation for sculpture. Late to the game. If I could have this piece on this pedestal with this lighting, I’d take it.

Alberto Giacometti
Buste de Diego (Amenophis)
Estimate: $6,000,000-8,000,000
Sold for $12,794,000

giacomettiContemporary art snobs disparage the Impressionists as being about as challenging as a Hallmark greeting card. Well, screw them. I like it. Art snobs should remember: Impressionism is a gateway drug. A few years of these guys and the next thing you know you’re curious about the Pre-Raphaelites. In the comic strip Doonsbury, prototype slacker Zonker Harris won $23 million in the lottery and spent $1 million on a Monet. He hung it above his refrigerator but subsequently sold it to purchase a royal title in the British aristocracy.

Claude Monet
Estimate: $30,000,000-45,000,000
Sold for $54,010,000

monet_waterliliesA smattering of contemporary pieces.

Keith Harring
Dog (Three Works)
Estimate: $500,000-700,000
Sold for $1,690,000 

Robert Indiana
Estimate: $400,000-600,000
Sold for $538,000 

Barbara Kruger
Untitled (Provenance)
Estimate: $120,000-180,000
Sold for $394,000

harringYou’ve got to hand it to Jeff Koons. He has a talent for making wealthy people look foolish. Three Hoovers in Plexiglas with fluorescent lights. The lot description said this was executed in 1980-1986. This took six years?!

Jeff Koons
New Hoover Deluxe Shampoo Polishers
Estimate: $5,000,000-7,000,000
Sold for $5,765,000

koons2This Rothko was described as being unusually bright. That’s putting it mildly! Rothko’s color palate trends towards deathly earth tones. This was owned by Bunny Melon. Pronounce her name with a clenched jaw. You can’t get Waspier than that.

Mark Rothko
Untitled (Yellow and Blue)
Estimate: $40,000,000-60,000,000
Sold for $46,450,000

rothkoI’m posting this Mondrian right after a Rothko intentionally. Rothko famously fumed that, “I am not a formalist. I have no interest in Mondrian. My paintings do not deal in space. Mondrian divides a canvas; I put thing on it.”

Piet Mondrian
Composition No. III with Red, Blue, Yellow and Black
Estimate: $15,000,000-25,000,000
Sold for: $50,565,000—a world record for a Mondrian

I love both the Rothko and the Mondrian. If I could, I’d buy both and hang them next to one anotheer. Heh.

Spooky and rich. This feeds both my desire to own an Impressionist masterpiece and my bottomless pit of Anglophilia.

Claude Monet
The Houses of Parliament at Sunset
Estimate: $35,000,000-45,000,000
Sold for $40,485,000

monet_westminsterThis Lichtenstein is thought to have missed the estimate because, believe it or not, it doesn’t contain one of his trademark comic book speech bubbles, which can add millions to a piece. WTF, art world?

Roy Lichtenstein
The Ring (Engagement)
Estimate on Request, but thought to be around $50,000,000
Sold for $41,690,000

lichtensteinAll of Gerhard Richter’s works are an insult to the brushes he loaded with paint and the canvases he dragged them across. A giant mess.

Gerhard Richter
Abstraktes Bild
Estimate on Request
Sold for $28,250,000

richterHere’s another in a series of nothings from Jean-Michael Basquiat. He threw his life away on heroin addiction. Stupid ass. A door painted on two sides.

Jean-Michael Basquiat
Estimate: $3,000,000-6,000,000
Sold for $3,610,000

basquiat-door1This O’Keeffe is being offered in the May 20th American Art auction but included it here because I think it’s magnificent. O’Keeffe was angry that people interpreted her flower paintings as female genitalia. That was never her intent.

Georgia O’Keeffe
White Calla Lily
Estimate: $8,000,000-12,000,000

I hadn’t intended to include this Rothko. I was afraid of Rothko-overkill and the photo doesn’t do it justice. This was hung in a side gallery. The lights were dim and there was a bench set in front of it. I sat down and realized there was also relaxing spa music playing at a barely-audible level. I got kind of lost in the canvas. I had an out-of-body experience, which is what I believed Rothko intended. It sold for an extraordinary amount of cash.

Mark Rothko
No. 10
Estimate on request
Sold for $81,925,000

rothko n0 10I showed this to a friend who’s an artist. He’s a master at watercolor. His comment was, “Nice flesh tones.” Well, that might be true but I couldn’t look at this hanging on my wall every day. Fun fact: Lucian Freud was the grandson of Sigmund Freud.

Lucian Freud
Benefits Supervisor Resting
Estimate: $30,000,000-50,000,000
Sold for $56,165,000

freudI like Anish Kapoor’s work. This concave disk is made of stainless steel and gold. It was mounted in a small room and smacked you as soon as you turned the corner. It’s all in the lighting, folks.

Anish Kapoor
Estimate: $750,000-1,000,000
Sold for $905,000

kapoorHere’s what happens when you stand too close to it.

FullSizeRender(5)I wasn’t going include this Damian Hirst butterfly-wing piece because I’ve done a few of them in the past and I hate being redundant, but this is a particularly striking example so I couldn’t resist.

Damian Hirst
Estimate: $500,000-700,000
Sold for $629,000

hirst1 hirst2Here’s a funny one. Oh, golly, you’re going to laugh and laugh! These are words painted on a wall. How big it is depends on you. The lot description reads:

“Any size as suits the needs and desires of the receiver.”

Which, I guess, means Weiner comes to your house and paints this on a wall. Now, THERE’S a piece that can be easily forged.

Lawrence Weiner
Balls of Wood Balls of Iron
Estimate: $80,000-120,000
Sold for $185,000


This means when the auction is over and Christie’s paints that wall, they’re painting over a $185,000 “masterpiece.”

You are looking at $181,770,000 worth of art. I walked through this gallery with my backpack on. One false turn and you’d have read about me in the paper.

Mark Rothko
No. 36 (Black Stripe)
Estimate: $30,000,000-50,000,000
Sold for $40,485,000

Alberto Giacometti
L’homme au Doigt
Estimate on Request
Sold for $141,285,000



124 thoughts on “ART is MONEY. MONEY is ART. The spring auction report.

      • Do you know–and I’m not kidding about this–that I got a new vacuum this past Christmas? No joke. I couldn’t have been happier! I didn’t know about the Roomba, though. Drat.

      • We live on a small farm in a wind tunnel in an area where the dust is like talcum powder …. and we have six large dogs. Since Stella Roomba came to live with us, dust and hair are a thing of the past. (Well, they would be if I wasn’t usually too lazy to run her more than once a day … but at least we’re no longer living in a perpetual state of siege.)

      • Sometimes, technology can really fuck you up. Look at how addicted we all are to mobile phones and the internet. But SOMETIMES things like the Roomba come along and really makes getting out of bed in the morning a lot easier.

      • When I was living in a small rural village in Africa, running a mission school, I experienced first hand what it meant to live without technology. As a result, I thoroughly appreciate the good it can do, but absolutely refused to get sucked into the hype. Got my first smart phone – a bottom-end Android – last year – and it’s great; I love when I’m out to lunch with a friend and a question comes up and we can just whip out our phones and consult Google! I love being able to listen to great music any time I want to, and I definitely love having machines to clean my house and wash my clothes! But dang, there’s a lot of stupid b-s out there too, and it makes me beyond sad to see parents raising fat, dull children who would rather shoot cartoon monsters from the comfort of their couch than get outside and invent the world from the seat of their bicycle.

      • I love my iPhone. Oh, God do I love it. I try to be all Zen and whatnot about possessions but this phone has got me by the short and curlies. And now I have to go back to work so I can pay for the data plan.

  1. You’ve mentioned being an Anglophile before. How did that go over on the Lower East Side? Or did that happen after you left the city? I was never an Anglophile, but I was pretentious enough to subscribe to NME.

    I love this post. It’s like a trip to a beautiful gallery, without ever having to leave my couch. I like the Rothkos the best. Those colors! I can understand getting lost in them.

    I like the Impressionists. Contemporary art snobs feel they’re not challenging enough? I’m just a humble peon, but does art have to be “challenging?” Can’t it be inspirational? Evocative? Just…pretty?

    Wonderful post as always.

    • I’m not sure how it happened. I love so many things that came from England. The 60’s were a particularly fruitful time for art, music and fashion. The whole Bright Young Things movement fascinated me although I didn’t understand a lot of it. What cliched it was a girl I dated from London. She’s whisper my name with the soft English lilt in her voice and I was gone, man.

      Thanks for your kind words. They mean a lot to me. Do you know that all of those pre-auction gallery showings are absolutely FREE to attend? It’s amazing! Room after room of mind-blowing, wallet-busting masterpieces. And it doesn’t cost a thing! If they displayed these at the Met the line would stretch down to 72nd Street.

  2. cbs sunday morning did a segment on the whitney this morning and it made me think of you and where you are and i was slightly jealous. and now, you post this! *sigh* the work makes me sigh and engenders a huge desire, BUT the prices make me dizzy! such a topsy turvy world we live in. or maybe i just don’t understand. xoxoxo

    • That new Whitney is supposed to be one hot tomato of a building. I can’t WAIT to see it. And just wait until I drag my poor daughters through it. Every single gallery, from top floor to bottom. They’ll hate it and then they won’t.

      • and they will remember it forever! i swear, sweetpea, when i get up to nyc, you had better be available as tour guide to your southern cousin! 😉 xoxoxo

  3. Over $5 million for Hoovers and fluorescent lighting? Janitors can get the same thing for free…

    This is fascinating, really. Partly because I know little about art and partly because I can’t believe people would spend this much for it. Call me a bleeding heart, but all I can do is think of how many mouths that money could feed or how much medicine it could buy. But I suppose the same could be said about the iPhone 6 I bought, so who am I to talk?

    • I have an old line I dust off every time I do one of these auction poses…it’s a good thing they didn’t give that money to poor people. They’d just waste it on stupid things like housing and education. Funny, but not really.

      The reason I do these posts (one in the spring and one in the fall) is for the shock value. Really, what’s going on here? What has western society come to?

      You are permitted to think and comment whatever you want. Your opinion is as valid as everyone else’s.

  4. I like the Richter as well. The Kapoor is fun. The guy she painted on the center looks vaguely familiar. Bwahahaha! This was a great post Mark – love the pictures – some of the art I really liked, some I didn’t and some was just stupid – Hoovers? , Yellow and Blue? Thanks for the tour – this is as close as I’ll ever get to these works of art and your photography did them justice.

    • Thank you, sir. While we can all debate the merits of each artist, I think the one thing we can all agree on is that this is an obscene amount of money to spend on “art.” Who am I to tell someone how to spend their bread? I’m nobody. But there’s something wrong here.

    • Hi Paul – I tried repeatedly to respond to your question to me over on Aussa’s blog but it just wouldn’t go through. 😦 Anyway, I fly Pipers and Cessnas and I hope to be instructing soon. E-mail me or come by my blog if you would like to chat airplanes or Mayday.

      • Sure Lynette. Aussa’s web site has had some problems with replies – I think they are limited to discourage discussion. So cool that you fly planes. I would love to but it does not look like it will happen in my lifetime. I do enjoy listening to those who fly describe their observations and experiences.I drove tractor-trailer all over North America for years. i love the freedom and the travel and the driving – very Zen-like. I imagine the freedom in three dimensions vs two is a whole level greater. Thanks so much for your response.

      • I can’t imagine Aussa putting a governor on comment discussions. Why wouldn’t someone want to encourage a dialog? I’m betting it’s a technical glitch.

        I have an ambiguous relationship with flying. I don’t have a irrational fear and don’t dread boarding a plane, but I have to admit that I *am* happy when it’s all over. Louis CK has a great bit about hearing people complain on his flights. He has to remind them of the miracle of sitting in a chair and flying through the air.

      • I agree Mark – I am sure that Aussa did not do that deliberately – i think it is a default that she has struggled with. When she first started the new site and format it wasn’t even possible to comment on a comment. that’s improved but there still seem to be limits.

      • She went self-hosted and had/has odd things going on. When I click over to read a post, I get subscription pop-ups. Last time I saw pop-up ad was on my AOL dial-up account.

      • To be honest, yes, I looked at the entire collection and read each narrative or description and the un-godly amount of money that was spent to purchase the putrid art.

        If I had a choice with that kind of money I would consider buying maybe two or three pieces that made sense and these were by long deceased artists.

        It is difficult to imagine a home that would actually display most of the pieces that were called art.

        Hoover appliances x3 is the nth degree of absurdity plus many more. And some others such as the board/canvas painted in yellow and blue. Anyone can do that. I’m still trying to figure how those artists became “known.”

      • I have to confess that this is exactly the kind of reaction I like to provoke with these art posts. Everything you say is true and although I enjoy some of the work, the prices paid make me question what society has become. We are like ancient Rome before it fell.

  5. My head is truly spinning. This is an obscene amount of money. I just really can’t comprehend it. It’s a world I’ve never known. The art is great. Thanks for the art gallery tour and posting all these photos. Love it! I’ve always liked the Impressionists. Call me naive, I guess. In particular, here I like the Anish Kapoor. Hey, it’s not even a mil! That one is on the cheap side. I can see how you might get lost in the Mark Rothko No 10. At 81 mil, man it better have some nice spa music and maybe a little waterfall in the background. Just wow.

    • Can you imagine having the kind of disposable income that would allow this sort of frivolity? I agree with you that a lot of these pieces ARE great. But not a single one of them is worth the amount being paid. It defies logic. Even if I had that kind of money, I doubt I would pay $10 million or more for a painting. [But, then again, you never know.]

      For $81M it would have to come with a lithe Japanese girl who would give me a foot rub every time I looked at it. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

      • I have a great line I pull out of my back pocket. When we’re at a catered event for work, I like to ask my pretty colleague if she’ll peel the skins off the grapes and drop them into my mouth. You can imagine her reply.

      • Okay … I didn’t read it properly … I assumed the painting was of a man, Freud – of course he was the artist. Blame it on the time of year – I’m all stupided out on allergy medications. And anyway, looking at the painting, it’s not as though one could tell! I still want it for my fridge – the bigger it is, the more effective it’ll be.

      • A Japanese girl and maybe an island, too! I totally agree this defies logic, especially when so many people in the world are suffering. It’s painful, actually.

      • You’d like to think you’re immune. That You’re above all that. That if you had that kind of wealth, there’s no WAY you (or I) would behave like that. But until you have that money in your hand, you never know how you’ll behave. I could wind up with that foot rub. I sure hope I wouldn’t go that route but who knows?

      • Those who have money invest and it becomes all about keeping it. So, I bet to them it’s practical even though it seems frivolous to us. I could never pass up a foot rub though. An interesting thing about the rich is they’re often handed stuff they don’t need. Money begets more money. It’s hard not to judge, but you’re right. Who knows?

    • Not caring what anybody else thinks is an incredibly liberating feeling. It’s the sound of one hand clapping. If I was all wrapped up in how the bourgeoisie felt about my liking the Impressionists, I’d miss out on some lovely work. But they’re right about Renoir. Too pretty. 😉

  6. Honestly, that Pollock painting left me indifferent. It would normally cause me to go on a rant how modern art is too often overpriced crap, including many pieces in this post, but today I was just, Meh.
    I don’t know if I’m starting to get it, or I’m just tired.
    There’s some kind of an optical illusion thing going on in the second Rothko, but nothing worth $80 million.

    • But modern art IS overpriced crap! That’s the core message of my post. A shame that it doesn’t light a fuse under your ass anymore. Maybe you can get some of that anger back.

      I wonder if I was mesmerized by the Rothko or by the spacey spa music playing gently in the background? Perhaps they were putting something in the air as well. I’ve heard rumors that casinos enhance the air with oxygen to keep people awake longer. Maybe they took a page from Caesars Palace. No matter. I refuse to pay their $81M blood money.

      • You’re much kinder to modern art than I am. At least you still see some pieces as worthy of admiration, while i rarely do. But since I don’t think of art spending as money that could have gone to feed the poor or something like that (because we don’t think of our own expenses in this way), i’m more concerned with the lack of artistic merits than with the price.

      • That’s true. I’m more forgiving when it comes to this stuff. I don’t want to say I have low standards, but Im less judgmental than most about everything. Food. Literature. Movies. Art. I’m more willing to forgive. But even I have my limits. I can’t get past $185K for some stupid words painted on a wall. The artist and buyer deserve one another.

  7. I’ve always liked Mondrian, since I was a teenager. I was slightly disappointed when I saw one for real to see that the edges bleed quite a bit — not the hard edges you see in reproductions.

    The Love piece looks like some bit of junk in a secondhand shop and the entire works of Basquiat need to be thrown on the tip.

    Thanks for these reports — it’s quite interesting seeing how artists are ranked and what kind of value attaches to different artworks.

    • I’m a big fan of Mondrian’s as well and feel a bizarre satisfaction that he is now achieving $50M along with the big boys. It’s like he’s been discovered by the moneyed elite and I’ve known about him all along. Very satisfying.

      Poor Robert Indiana. A whole lifetime or work but he’s going to be known for that love logo. They’ll make it his tombstone.

  8. I sort of half dread and half look forward to your art auction posts; in my head I read your words in a ranty way, which soften when you describe something you admire. I do an appalling American accent, so you always rant with an Essex twang.

  9. Love this post, Mark! My favorite is the Rothko – I could definitely just stare at that for a while. I guess I could understand higher prices for older, master works, just by virtue of the effort put forth in creating them. But of course it’s all so subjective. My daughter paints and recently told me a painting by Paul Gauguin sold for 300 million this year! It would be interesting to know everything involved in setting those prices. Didn’t catch the title of the one with you – what do you think the asking price of that one is?? Does it come with spa music? lol

    • Your daughter paints?! That’s interesting. What’s her medium? Did she study anywhere or does she have raw talent? Make sure she reads this post so she can gauge her earning potential! You guys are lucky to have a world-class art museum at your doorstep.

      • She uses oils and watercolors sometimes. She has taken dozens of classes and attends en plein air workshops often. I have her work hanging all over my house. I posted a piece she gave me for Mother’s day on Twitter – you can see it there if you go to my Twitter page. She had a few pieces displayed at Bay Arts last summer and we had to price them – we had no idea how to do it, so we looked at similar works and went off theirs. She is taking art classes at BW as well. Thanks for asking!

      • I love watercolors. They’re SO difficult. Oils can be re-worked but with watercolor, once it hits the paper, you’re done. I’ve been to the Bay Arts show in my past life! I’d love to see her work but I don’t have a Twitter account. I don’t have Facebook, either. I’m a philistine when it comes to that stuff. It’s a shame because I could probably build a bigger audience for my blog, which I’d love very much. BW is a great school! Pricing your work SUCKS. It’s a painful exercise.

  10. Love the combination of your notes and the photos, truly delectable walk-about. Reminds me of first really ‘connecting’ with art in this way, and yes, it was with Rothko, in a London museum — just these big, dimly lit rooms with his paintings and realizing they could really make you feel different, which hadn’t happened to me before. You’re really lucky you can take all this in, for free — and then share it with the world, how cool. Have a fun week of more art consumption.

    • I wonder how the curators at Christie’s and Sotheby’s would feel about my wry comments? Good thing my blog is just a drop in the ocean or the estate of Jean-Michael Basquiat would be gunning for my hide. Those instances where you turn a corner and are really gobsmacked by a piece of art are few and far between, but they’re worth waiting for. Theater is the same way. One exceptional show makes up for five mediocre ones.

  11. Love, love, LOVE Van Gogh. Yes, I know, I’m very boring and unadventurous. Pollock gives me a headache. I like Rothko but … fuckadoodledoo, 40-plus MILLION??? Dear Georgia … I think her paintings are very pretty and sometimes glorious, but, yeah, she might have been a little bit in denial. I would like the picture of Lucian Freud to hang on my refrigerator door.

    • Oh – and yes, out of body experience … Can’t really see it in a photograph on a monitor, of course, but I can see enough to believe it would happen. How wonderful – and how blessed you are to be able to see things like this just any time you want to!

      • I am very, very, very lucky to have this stuff at my disposal. I can’t believe all the people who can go on their lunch hour to see this stuff but don’t give a damn about it. To each his/her own. I consider it a lost opportunity.

    • Stop saying your tastes are boring and unadventurous. You’re playing right into their hands. Don’d give them so much power over you. I don’t! I call ’em out! You should see this Vinny Van G. It’s beautiful and it’s never been seen in public. That’s the beauty of these pre-auction previews. Once they’re over, all of these pieces pass into private hands, never to be seen again. That Freud painting was HUGE. It’d cover the fridge and a sidecar to boot.

      • Thank you for the reminder. It is so hard not to buy into the pseudo-intellectual trap! I remember when I discovered Pachelbel’s “Canon” … I thought it was the purest, most lovely thing I had ever heard. (I still love it.) I was sharing an office with a young woman who “loved good music”, so I unplugged my headphones and played it for her. Just a few bars in, her nose wrinkled, her eyes glazed over, and she said, disparagingly, “Yes, very pretty – no wonder it’s so popular.” It took me a while to shake off my feeling of being inferior because I don’t know what’s what with the latest stuff.

      • I stopped buying into elitist crapola a long time ago. Took some doing and some meditation classes but I finally got it all sorted out. You can’t BELIEVE the difference. There’s so much more to enjoy. It’s incredibly liberating.

  12. I would hazard a guess that 95% of the price of each work is derived from who created it rather than what it is. I wonder how much they’d fetch at auction if we knew for certain that an asteroid would destroy life on earth in 25 years time.

  13. I’ve always been partial to Piet and Vincent, since my new gig is full-time daddio i’m looking forward to September when the boyos both go to school all day and i can slip off to the Warhol and Carnegie and wander around, the Warhol had a great show on Mondrian a few years back and always have some interesting stuff going on… how much do you think Basquiat’s work would have been worth had he lived? and i have to admit that Lucian Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Resting might be my favorite one, brilliant title for that piece for anyone who’s had the pleasure of dealing with a benefits supervisor.

    • There’s nothing better than walking around a museum on Tuesday right after it opens. You’ve got all those galleries to yourself while the commoners are working. I’ve had a taste of it and it’s something to look forward to.

      Basquiat’s work would’ve been just as expensive had he lived. That guy was hooked into the Warhol promotion machine. They knew how to game the system.

  14. Thank you for the art tour, I enjoyed it.

    I like to hear from the artists about their thinking behind pieces, I know you shouldn’t have to hear the explanation, it should speak for itself, but hearing what it’s actually meant to be about, or why it was created, helps me appreciate it more. Like I bet there’s a good reason for why he created the hoover piece and I’d like to know what it is. I recently heard Tracy Emin on the radio talking about her unmade bed piece, and then I understood it.

    • That is an EXCELLENT point. I’ve often said that the best way to enjoy an art museum is with an artist in tow. Having a painting explained to you opens up a whiole new vista on the artist’s intent. Even that throwaway line I quoted by Rothko sheds light. Well done. Leave it to the Brits.

  15. Two pieces of art recently smacked me upside the head. We missed the crowds, fortunately, and weren’t sardined when we were able to see Picasso’s Guernica in a recent visit to Spain. Just the memory of that piece and my short hairs stand on end. I was floored. I swear, the people at the Sioux City Art Museum who exhibited Jackson Pollack’s Mural had the same exhibit in mind. Pollack’s fury shone through that piece as well. That piece has the same proportions of PIcasso’s piece, the same weight. I had to stare for awhile.
    Thanks for your tour.

    • A pilgrimage to Spain to see that painting is on my to-do list. (I refuse to use the hyper-modern term ‘bucket list.’ I’m stodgy that way.) I wonder if I’ll ever get to see it? And I can certainly understand why people think Pollock’s drip paintings are pretentious junk science–I get that–but I disagree with them. To me, they show movement and, to borrow your excellent and appropriate term, fury. Thanks for the note, sir.

  16. These Tours of Art are great for the average Joe. I can understand YOUR descriptions. I think I’ve seen some of these (Hoover polishers and Mark Rothko) at the Whitney last year. Back in the early eighties I had a plastic LOVE clock in my kitchen (9.99 from Harriet Carter). Now I know the origin. You always teach me something about art, even when you’re whimsical witty! The Benefits Supervisor Resting looks like the women I dated. You need to frame that self portrait from Anish Kapoor. It could be worth millions in the future, a modern day twist on Picasso or Dali. That White Calla Lily is definitely, unequivocally a vagina with clitoris, but upside down. Thank you Mark for the Spring Auction Report.

    • Hi Tom. This is the role I see myself as…everyman. I honestly think I could make a living by interpreting all things from an everyman’s perspective. I could review movies and art exhibits and food and whatever else, not as a highly educated “authority,” but as…well…everyone else. Am I special because I’m NOT special? If I could only get some traction on that idea I could stop these ridiculous morning commutes. I mean, really. How much more can I take?

  17. Out of all of those pieces, the only ones I think even remotely worth the price are the Monets and the Van Gogh. I like Lichtenstein, but I wouldn’t want one in my house. Why someone would pay millions for lines on a canvas or paint splatters is beyond my comprehension. Come on, I could do that. And the Hoovers? Don’t get me started. People are awesome.

    • I like more than just the Van G and the Monet, but I don’t think ANY of them are worth the selling price. Where do people get this kind of money from, I wonder? Do they own diamond mines? Are they arms dealers? These are not just your run-of-the mill Bergdorf Goodman shoppers. These people are people with something way outside my realm of experience.

      • My hope was that the only “people” with that kind of money were foundations and museums. I guess I was wrong, huh? There really are people who can hand over $40M for a picture?

        My mind truly cannot compute that kind of personal wealth. I understand having a “net worth” in the hundreds of millions, but having that kind of cash on hand? And spending it all in a few hours? It boggles the mind.

        Also, I’m kind of offended that people purchase such famous works of art for private consumption. (And now I feel like Indiana Jones – It should be in a MUSEUM!)

      • But thank God there ARE wealthy philanthropists who endow museums, or we wouldn’t see ANY of these works. Ronald Lauder just handed over his world-class cubist collection to the Met. For every greedy Sheik or hedge fund douche bag, there’s someone who will provide for the common man. May it always be so.

    • You should hang a Monet above your refrigerator. Zonker did. I think at one point, he got mayonnaise on it. Did you follow Doonsbury?

      Kitchens and bath. The two of them can’t be beat for being both a money suck and a major pain in the ass. Next time, put a driveway in. It’s considerably less intrusive.

  18. Your impressionistic photos are quite artful in their own right, Mark. Cool you in the vintage funhouse mirror feel from Anish Kapor’s disc, by the way. Didn’t we experience something like that for two bits at any portable carnival when we were kids? When I’ve gone to see traveling exhibits of major import at our Everson Museum here in Syracuse — building designed by I.M. Pei, by the way, but it fails to impress me much — what strikes me is how some of the pieces are so small and some are so large.

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