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Roundup, including an item to go 'round your person

Post #900 • November 3, 2006, 11:59 AM • 37 Comments

"Conservators trying to restore a 1,900-year-old statue of Venus have put their heads together [cough - F.] with airline maintenance inspectors who usually scrutinize welds and repairs in jet engines for any cracks."

Holland Cotter's political moralizing usually irks me, but I have to admit that this is very astute.

"The Hollywood entertainment magnate David Geffen has sold a classic drip painting by Jackson Pollock for about $140 million, art experts with knowledge of the transaction said yesterday. That price, if officially confirmed, would be the highest sum ever known to have been paid for a painting, exceeding the $135 million that the cosmetics heir Ronald S. Lauder paid in June for Gustav Klimt's 'Adele Bloch-Bauer I.'" (Opie)

There's a joke about watching paint dry in here somewhere.

"Swedish design group FRONT has svelte, blue-eyed Scandinavian vixens in pearls stand at the triangulation point of a series of motion-sensor tripods. There, they use their lithe fingers to trace invisible strokes in their air, creating phantasmic works of furniture that are captured by the motion sensory equipment and made incarnate in liquid plastic by rapid prototyping technology."

Drawn is on the tutorials this week: scratchboard, oils.

Yeah. And no CGI. (Kottke) Why care? The beautiful graphic novel by Kent Williams. And Pi. And Requiem for a Dream.

Untitled, the cat. (Tyler) Tyler recently confessed his obsession with Project Runway. This is good, because it allows me to come out of the closet about my profound affection for Cute Overload.

Department of Skills: Danny Way. (Kottke)

Department of Unbridled Commerce: Here's a little something we call Shirt #1.

Comment

1.

Jack

November 3, 2006, 1:20 PM

Well, I'm so happy for Mr. Geffen. He got his wish of beating the sale price of the Lauder Klimt. He would have done it with a Picasso, but he elbowed a hole in it, so Pollock had to be it. This whole story has true art lover written all over it, doesn't it? I meant trophy art lover; sorry for the typo. Somebody please get these people out of my consciousness.

2.

dot dot dot

November 3, 2006, 2:04 PM

Rumor has it that Geffen is selling his collection to raise money to buy the LA Times.

3.

AF

November 3, 2006, 3:32 PM

Long time reader, first post.

Thanks for the scratchboard website. I've been working with it for years, and have often wondered why more artists don't use this medium. There's nothing like that crisp white line against the black background - beautiful.
Loved the cat photos too.

4.

Franklin

November 3, 2006, 5:16 PM

Welcome, AF. Scratchboard is great fun, and this is the first time I've seen decent tutorials for it online.

Jack, if that tide lifts other formalist works, so much the better. If not, well, our lives go on unaltered.

5.

Jack

November 3, 2006, 5:39 PM

Franklin, I doubt this is about the nature of the work as such. I expect it's first and foremost about Pollock's name and the rarity of his work outside museums, especially on this scale. I admit this is preferable to the hedge fund dingbat who paid millions for a rotting shark in formaldehyde, but I'm afraid what's behind it may be similar.

6.

ahab

November 3, 2006, 11:50 PM

I'm totally getting a t-shirt, even if it is a little cute.

7.

George

November 4, 2006, 5:07 AM

Pollocks, No 5, 1948

"The experts, who spoke on condition of anonymity, identified the buyer as David Martinez, a Mexican financier, who the Times described as obsessively private and a mega-buyer of modern and contemporary art."[1]

Twenty years ago 140 million dollars was a lot of money. When I was a kid watermelon was a penny a pound, by the time I could drive gas was 23 cents a gallon, my first studio was $90 a month. Things just keep getting more expensive. The economists have a word for that, they call it "good taste"

8.

Franklin

November 4, 2006, 7:11 AM

...even if it is a little cute.

If it puts it in perspective at all, one of the original t-shirt concepts had a kitty.

9.

jordan

November 4, 2006, 7:16 AM

What is it that this painting by Pollack embodies to demand such a price ?

10.

jordan

November 4, 2006, 8:24 AM

What motivated Manet to repaint this execution - was he disatisfied with the sketchier painting of the two?

The familiar version is quite formal: clearer, cleaner, and illustrative... but perhapes not as mysteriously attractive. By this I mean scruffy in terms of appearence, ambiguous, and energetically concieved/created.

The formal version projects or conveys it's pictorial reference or source. The sketchy picture does not. It reveals an interpretation through Manet's memory and imagination. Look at the smoke from those gun blasts - it is a more (passive clause) physical, palpable, dirty and thus 'real' picture than the cleaned-up version; one for himself and his perceptions and the other for the audience and a formal context. (damn stupid f#&$en art audience.)

I saw the familiar version recently at the Rena Sophia.
Spaniards love painting - especially (their own) history painting.

11.

jordan

November 4, 2006, 8:36 AM

No - that was the third of May...

12.

George

November 4, 2006, 8:47 AM

Jordan,

The pic I linked isn't all that good either, it's too dark and desaturated.
Why the high price? Tried to buy a used Pollock lately? There aren't too many large drip paintings left in private hands and rarity drives the price up. Quality and price are not directly related, at least as the supply starts to shrink. As the better works get locked up in museums, the available works may fetch higher prices because supply and demand become inbalanced. The higher prices do acknowledge that the artist in question has been accorded a degree of historical status.

The art market feels too frenzied, it's a sign of an impending top when the buyers feel they will "miss out" but this situation can continue for awhile. I think the insiders know this and are 'taking profits' at this point. What people aren't talking about is that a lot of money is leaving the art market for good. Geffen sold, or is selling, $250 Million plus dollars worth of art in the last six months, that money isn't going back into the art market. Nor is, I suspect, the proceeds from the sale of the Klimts etc. This means that probably a half billion dollars is leaving the art market, think about that. It's all too wierd.

13.

opie

November 4, 2006, 9:25 AM

"How did I get rich?" the wise man said, "by always selling too soon".

14.

Jack

November 4, 2006, 1:18 PM

Yes, the Spanish may be more generally attuned to painting than is the norm. They've certainly done very well at it.

I will always remember my first visit to the Prado in Madrid, which was the first time I'd ever been in an art museum. I was 11, and was only taken there because it was a "required" sight in Madrid, so my parents duly complied. I knew nothing about art, except, vaguely, that such a thing existed. It was, of course, overkill, way too much at once with no preparation at all, no background or frame of reference, nothing.

It was very strange and intimidating. I remember especially how huge the pictures seemed, and were; the seriousness and the darkness, and the light. It was, in fact, a different world, real and unreal, sort of like a magnified and heightened version of life. That's not what I was thinking at the time, not in those terms, but it's what I sensed.

The odd thing was I felt somehow at home despite the strangeness; it bewildered me but, despite the stern and imposing nature of the place, it was still welcoming. It was like being told, "Someday, when you know better and understand more, you'll be completely at ease here, because you were made to be."

15.

Elizabeth

November 4, 2006, 4:44 PM

The Klimt paintngs were old by Maria Altmann, a Holocaust survivor and the rightful heir to the paintings....it has taken her 60 years to finally get justice and accountability concerning an art theft of massive proportion by those sweethearts' the Austrians.
I hope she and her heirs enjoy the money .....good for them!

16.

Elizabeth

November 4, 2006, 4:45 PM

sorry typo...old =sold

17.

jordan

November 4, 2006, 8:58 PM

Wow George, thats' something to think about.

Jack, they probably didn't have all the guided tours in every language and histrionic tour guids - let alone personal audio headsets as is the case now. At least you got to make up you own mind regarding what you where looking at.
Cool.

18.

jordan

November 4, 2006, 9:01 PM

...and guids = guides!

19.

Jack

November 4, 2006, 9:48 PM

No, Jordan, there was nothing like that. I was simply left to look around and explore on my own. I expect at the time there was no particular attempt made by the museum to be "user friendly" in the current sense. It was more or less up to the visitor to rise to the occasion, so to speak.

I think it's ultimately better that way. When people have to work for something and basically earn it, they not only appreciate it more, they get more out of it. That has certainly been true in my experience with art. Nobody ever spoon-fed me or held my hand--I had no one to do that for me when it came to art, and I didn't need it. I was more than interested enough to do it myself, and I think I did a pretty decent job.

20.

ahab

November 4, 2006, 10:15 PM

No GPS back then or anything, so I guess you probably carried a candleabra to find your way around and look at the paintings by?

21.

Jack

November 4, 2006, 11:11 PM

Ahab, it wasn't that long ago. But I do think museums have become over-solicitous if not intrusive. Some of the new "visitor aids" are OK for some people, I guess, but I refuse to go anywhere near those damn audio guides. There's something to be said for the old approach: Here's the art; now you deal with it.

22.

jordan

November 4, 2006, 11:40 PM

I'm with you Jack,
I have often thought of ways to get locked into museums overnight - painting has allways moved me in ways that T.V. etc. does not. Paintings are more exhilarating in dim light anyhow. Bright light is for openings where people can check out each others complexion, clothing labels, tatoos, ass, whatever.

23.

Jack

November 5, 2006, 1:50 PM

I have often thought about having the museum all (or mostly) to myself, especially the ones that are typically crowded. If only people would just keep firmly in mind not to disturb others! The last thing I want there is to hear anybody think out loud. If I don't want the "professional" audio guide, I most certainly don't want lesser versions.

Of course, people don't even keep quiet at the opera during a performance, when it's beyond obvious they're supposed to be. I've had a critical aria ruined by some clueless dingbat or other who insisted on commenting to a companion while the singing was going on.

The trouble is, too many people go to these places for the wrong reasons, and tend tend to get in the way of those who are there for the right ones.

24.

George

November 5, 2006, 3:48 PM

Once again I find myself in agreement with Jack, people go to museums for all the wrong reasons. Fortunately this problem could be easily solved if the museums just asked your reason for coming right at the front door. People with the wrong reasons could then be sent for proper indoctrination in the right reasons for attending the museum. A little like traffic school.

25.

opie

November 5, 2006, 3:59 PM

Fascist! Nazi! Control freak! Enemy of individual freedom! How could you suggest such a thing!?

26.

Elizabeth

November 5, 2006, 7:20 PM

Jordan, your a very funny guy....and Jack needs to be adopted by the Getty family.....at the opera people should receive handout warnings preshow that they will be zapped with an electrical current each time they disturb others....that would shut them up:)

27.

Elizabeth

November 5, 2006, 7:23 PM

George has a little 'Big Brother' thing going on....I like my zaps idea, works fast and gets their attention and no time wasted on indoctrination!!:)

28.

opie

November 5, 2006, 7:39 PM

Good grief, cattle prods, even!

29.

George

November 5, 2006, 11:07 PM

A 140 million dollars for a Pollock is peanuts compared to what the US spends on the most current war (estimated cost is 340 billion dollars at the moment).

A 140 million dollars worth of gold, at $600 an ounce, would make a cube 28 inches on a side weighing 8 tons. Sort of a shiny, tiny serra that won't rust.

In Pollocks lifetime one could have bought the same 28 inch gold cube for about $7.5 million, obviously the Pollock appreciated faster.

For a mere 300 Billion dollars, our wise and willing goverment could have sent a 30 foot cube of solid gold to Iraq. The bad guys would have killed themselves off or made peace just trying to chip a piece off of it before it was gone.

Note: It would weigh 16000 tons, shipping is included in the calculations.

VOTE

30.

Jack

November 5, 2006, 11:36 PM

Note to self:

Write David Geffen a nice note asking him to send me some peanuts.

31.

Elizabeth

November 5, 2006, 11:36 PM

OP; I wasnt even thinking cattle prods..cattle prods seem somehow apropro dealing with rude people though, so your idea does have merits .my idea was more along the lines of a gentle electric chair @ the opera....:) the question is 'who' gets control of the buzzer....maybe someone like Jack?

32.

opie

November 6, 2006, 12:19 AM

I have a few rude types I 'd like to invite to the performance, whenever you're ready.

33.

Elizabeth

November 6, 2006, 12:32 AM

OP: they would have to sign a disclaimer in case death occurs........but the pro side to that is one less rude person to upset Jack :)

34.

jordan

November 6, 2006, 12:37 AM

Hmm, the Pollack or the gold...

35.

George

November 6, 2006, 12:51 AM

Ran across this interesting Wiki article with a list for the highest selling prices for a painting It includes both the inflation adjusted price and the original sale price.

Pollock is still NUMERO UNO, yea team, rah rah rah,

36.

Caleb

November 6, 2006, 11:21 AM

Very nice roundup. A bit of off-humor here in there helps to bring it all together.
The shirts are very nice, if i come into any spare change you'll be the first to get it.

Keep it up.

37.

George

November 7, 2006, 2:02 AM

Unison.ie, Ireland: 'Borat' movie success takes the US by surprise

This is a landmark cultural event signaling a change in the psyche of the country.

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