Art auction addendum: A piece that disgusts me

Typically, I don’t do back-to-back auction posts but there are extenuating circumstances. Some of the galleries at Christie’s were vacated after an auction last week so they put more pieces on display from this week’s Post-War and Contemporary Art auction. Here are a few more high (low?) lights and one piece that I found deeply offensive and depressing.

This frivolity is by Maurizio Cattelan.

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Frank and Jamie. $1,500,000–2,500,000
Sold for $965,000. What a deal!

This was good for a laugh but, again, I have to wonder about the practicality of a piece like this. Where would you put it? In the foyer? The estimate may provide the biggest laugh.

But this isn’t the one that offended me.

This beauty is by British bad boy (no, not Banksy) Damian Hirst

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Inviolability. $900,000–1,200,000
Sold for $1,205,000

I saw one of these in the Cleveland Museum of Art over the summer. A security guard yelled at me for taking a picture of it. You know what is is made of, don’t you? Butterfly wings.

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Thousands and thousands of butterfly wings. He breeds them specifically for these pieces. Here’s the center.

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The materials used are listed as “…butterflies and household gloss on canvas mounted on panel.” Here’s another piece that’s smaller.

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Psalm 28: Ad Te, Domine. $150,000–200,000
Sold for $305,000

And the detail.

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They’re beautiful but cruel. Yet, they didn’t offended me.

This sculpture is by Antony Gormley and I loved it.

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Domain LXVI. $400,000–600,000
Sold for $545,000

There’s something about the way it stood in a pool of light and glistened when you walked by that really worked for me. It somehow manages the trick of being both slight and powerful at the same time. Obviously, this isn’t the one that offended me.

I was offended by this.

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3-Meter Girl. $2,000,000–3,000,000
DID NOT SELL. Of course, it didn’t.

Horrible. This ugly objectification of women is courtesy of Takashi Murakami. Do you know how you’re supposed to respect other cultures and not criticize what they might consider art? That it’s okay to not like something, but to condemn is it in poor taste? Well, in the words of Le Clown, fuck that noise. Can anyone tell me what’s wrong with Japanese men? They seem to have a proclivity towards sex-up little girls. Do they feel threatened and intimidated by adult women?

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All I kept thinking was that I’ve got two beautiful daughters at home and how, no matter what age, I wouldn’t want them looking at this. I wondered what it would do to their body image and self esteem.

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Or, do I just need to lighten up? Go ahead. You can tell me. I can take it. I do like how this last photo came out, though. Good composition and shadowing.

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Complementary, not opposing, forces.

Last week while visiting my family in Cleveland, I treated the girlies to two diametrically opposing forms of entertainment. As I’ve stated previously, it’s important to expand their tiny little minds by exposing them to high art, but it’s just as important to keep them grounded by sampling the more visceral forms of fun.

The Cleveland Museum of Art has a kick ass, world class collection. Their special exhibits will also whoop yo’ ass. The museum recently had a major structural revamping. The results are spectacular. Currently on display in the new, humongous, light-filled atrium is Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads. Twelve bronze sculptures represent the Chinese zodiac.

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I saw this exhibit last year when it was mounted around the fountains outside the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan and am happy to make their acquaintance again. They’re playful and a little bit nightmarish. The detail is extraordinary.

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Do you know your Chinese zodiac symbol? I’m a bore. Oh…excuse me…I mean a boar. Daughter the First is a snake.

art3Currently on a five-year loan is Damien Hirst’s Bringing Forth the Fruits of Righteousness from Darkness. These beautiful cathedral windows are made of…wait for it…

art4Butterfly wings. For real. He bred the butterflies specifically for these works. A lot of people think Hirst is a joke and I agree, he can irritate. His Spot paintings are idiotic. But I also think this guy can really turn out a spectacle. I still think his great white shark in formaldehyde was a scream.

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My bride explaining to Daughter #2 that Degas was laughed at for painting dancers tying their shoes instead of dancing.

art6Here’s another special exhibit to die for. Damián Ortega’s The Blast and Other Embers. It’s a suspended sculpture of found objects and tools. Every object emanates from the center outward. Its shape looks globular from a few paces back. Beautiful.

art7They only allow ten people at a time into the “glass box” space. Any more would spoil the effect. The sculpture has an opening in the center that allows you to walk through it.

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*     *     *

A few evenings later, I dragged their now-cultured asses to the premier event of the Cuyahoga County Fair: the demolition derby. Do you guys know what a demolition derby is? Have you ever been to one?

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For the uninitiated, some wildly spray-painted, beat-up cars with their windows knocked out drive into a ring and then repeatedly smash into one another until only one is still running. It’s awesome. There are a half dozen races, all segmented by car size, my favorite being suburban minivans. Here’s a clip of the compact car division.

If you’re having a hard time viewing the video, it’s a lot of this:

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Of course, something went horribly wrong.

The girlies were actually pretty freaked out about the fire. At the :16 second mark Daughter #1 says:

“Daddy! I want to leave now!”

“It’s okay.”

“No it’s not! It’s going to blow up!”

“No, it won’t.”

Then, of course, a giant flare-up at :27 seconds. Probably the gas tank.

Again, for those without video:demo3

My brother, brother-in-law, and I, along with the rest of the toothless clods in the grandstand, couldn’t stop laughing. Fathers of the year. It probably wouldn’t have been quite so funny if one of the drivers had crawled out of the wreckage engulfed in flames.