beeswax, oil and human hair

Anyone interested in what rich folks spent in the fall Impressionist and Contemporary art auctions at Christie’s?

The pickings were slim this season. The theory is that the the U.S. election caused uncertainty among sellers. Nobody wanted to risk cosigning their most valuable pieces in a potentially disastrous economic downturn due to a Trump victory. The stock market has set records since the election so they all guessed wrong. Next spring you’ll see more compelling pieces.

Let’s start with my nemesis. This guy does more to give contemporary art a bad name than anyone else.

Robert Gorber
beeswax, wood, oil and, yes, human hair
Est: $2,500,000-3,500,000
Did not sell


In order to be a successful, wealthy artist, you need proper gallery representation. There isn’t a gallery rep on earth who could convince me this has any artistic merit whatsoever.

Jean-Michael Basquiat
acrylic and enamel on blanket mounted on tied wood supports with twine
Est: $5,000,000-7,000,000
Sold for $5,847,500


Basquiat is another guy I don’t respect. He held the world in the palm of his hand and threw it away on an O.D. Idiot. I find most of his work overly-simplistic and sophomoric, but I like his use of a blanket instead of canvas. I like the textures. His balance of black and red are perfect. He could’ve gone too far in either direction but it works for me.

Are you ready to get creeped out? I walked into a darkened corner of a gallery on Christie’s second floor and was greeted by this beauty:

Isn’t she scrumptious? They’re three white orbs with images projected on each.

Tony Oursler
fiberglass sculpture, master cassette tapes, 2 DVDs, DVD player and projector
Est: $30,000-40,000
Did not sell

It’s a shame it didn’t sell. I think it’s a creative use of new media. My daughter turned away and couldn’t watch it.

Here’s the big ticket item. God, it was beautiful. It really glowed in person.

Claude Monet
Estimate on Request (thought to be +/- $45,000,000)
Sold for $81,447,500


Works from Monet’s haystack series rarely come to market. And this is a particularly striking example. They’re as iconic as his water lily series. While typing this section of the post, I kept mistyping “Monet” as “Money.”

Back to the present.

Damien Hirst
Do You Know What I Like About You?
household gloss and butterflies on canvas
Est: $900,000-1,2000,000
Sold for $1,039,500


When I first encountered these butterfly paintings I thought it was cruel to kill these beautiful living things for the sake of commerce and art.


I still don’t approve but I’ve made peace with it.They’re pretty. He has some pieces with just the wings that are fashioned into cathedral windows that are particularly fetching.

Dan Colen
To be titled
rock and acrylic paint
Est: $7,000-9,000
Sold for $5,000


A rock painted like a green peanut m&m for $5,000. Go ahead. Have your say.

This is a nice Picasso. Its weirdness is easy to decipher.  It’s just different views of the same face. Click on it and look at how thick, bright and juicy his brush strokes are. That’s Picasso’s girlfriend. “Look, honey! I painted a picture of you!” No cuddles that night.

Pablo Picasso
Buste de femme (Dora Maar)
Est: $18,000,000-25,000,000
Sold for $22,647,500


This guy is a favorite of my brother. I didn’t see the merit in Kandinsky’s work until a big retrospective at the Guggenheim a few years ago. I can’t explain it but you occasionally get these ah-ha moments whereby a body of work suddenly makes sense.

Wassily Kandinsky
Rigide et courbe
oil and sand on canvas
Sold for $23,319,500


You read that right. He used SAND. it gave the piece a beautiful depth and texture. I’m thinking he must’ve worked with the canvas resting on the floor. How else could’ve he achieved these fine separations?



I was in Disney World over the election. You barely knew anything political was happening. Disney works HARD to keep the outside world outside. They don’t want the happy bubble they’ve cultivated ruptured by reality.

On election day, we inadvertently found ourselves inside the Hall of Presidents. We hadn’t planned on going but we were inside the Magic Kingdom with time to kill and there was no line, so we went in.

One by one, the audio-animatronic ex-Chief Executives spoke of the gravity of the office and their love of our country. With the weight of election day pressing down, I found myself unexpectedly deeply moved by all this (as opposed to bored to sleep, which is what I anticipated). There were representations all the way up to President Obama. Think what you want about Obama, that guy is a hell of a speaker.

Do you realize they’re going to have to make an animatronic Donald Trump? His words and voice are going to pour from it. Can you imagine? I hope that guy surprises everyone. It can happen.

Wife Swap

When four people who have four different agendas spend five days in the pressure cooker known as Disney World, disagreements can, and will, arise. Don’t ask me how I know. Just take my word for it.

This is going to be my second wife. She’s a Muslim princess. She’s RICH. Her father owns a kingdom.



My office was closed on Veteran’s Day. So, like all good veterans, I went to the Guggenheim for the Agnes Martin retrospective. Her early work is super-boring but her later stuff is fine.

While there, I waited in line for :25 minutes to piss in Maurizio Cattelan’s America. The security guard assigned to crowd control told me that, at peak times, the wait can be as long as two hours.


It’s an 18k solid gold, fully functioning, toilet. It’s said to be worth upwards of $11M. I guess it depends on the price of gold that day. That lid is very, very heavy.

america2They had some problems installing it because gold is such a soft metal. Hell, yes, I used it. You would’ve too. Something tells me these are being installed in the White House as we speak.



Another journal excerpt:

October 24, 1991

I saw the Warsaw Symphony at Carnegie Hall with Elvin last night. He works for a woman who’s a classic New York City overachiever. She has subscriptions all over town but can’t attend any of the shows because she works day and night, so she gives the tickets away. Wonderful seats. I love Carnegie Hall. The theater is nice and movies are just movies but walking into Carnegie Hall makes me feel like I finally did something right for once in my stupid life.

I took Maureen to “Breaking Legs,” a terrible play starring Philip Bosco and Vincent Gardenia. It was an insult to my Italian half. It had every negative Italian stereotype you can imagine and a stupid plot. They’d never produce a play with Stepin Fetchit and Mammy characters so why do they produce crap like this?

Maureen is really down in the dumps. It’s the first time she’s had a real job with real workplace pressures and office politics and it’s killing her. All she’s ever known is academia and artist colonies. Now she’s in publishing and it’s a shock to her delicate system. She’s got a suffocating workload and works for a woman who demeans her. I’ve seen this before. Some adapt to having their dreams crushed. Others leave town. I’d offer some platonic comfort but I’m afraid she’d run with it.

I just won tickets to see the Stray Cats at the Ritz on Halloween night.

My phone just rang and when I picked it up there was no one there. This has been happening a lot recently. I think I have a secret admirer. It’s like when you’re on the school playground and you like someone so you give them a good, hard shove.

Donna is ignoring my calls and messages. I wonder what I did this time?


The Shroud of Turin


The Waffle of Orlando



Just look at this douchebag. Not only did he take two spots, he took the two next to the handicapped parking (the blue lines). That means he took the closest possible spots. And there were TONS of empty spaces not far away. I don’t know why I let this stuff bother me so much. Maybe I’m jealous because he drives a nicer car. I wish I could be more Zen. Humanity, you dirty slut.



Okay. I’ve changed my mind. I’m not going Muslim for my second wife. I’m definitely going Native American.


Here, Pocahontas points the way to the best divorce attorney on the reservation.


It’s amazing that these girls played along with my foolishness and treated me with such good humor. Later that evening, my wife told me that 14-year old daughter came up to her and asked why she puts up with this stuff.



I know how he feels. At least he got a response.