We've All Been Bansky-ed (read below)
Good afternoon from the home office in New York. It feels good to be back in the swing of things, rather than continuously living out of a suitcase. Although, if you have any idea why we still celebrate this inane holiday (Columbus Day for all our non-American readers), then we invite you to email us with your explanation. As far as we can tell, it's just an excuse to get off work for the day and go apple picking (something in which The Canvas, as you can clearly see, is not partaking in).
We have a few public service announcements before we jump right in to the final sales reported at Frieze London and Frieze Masters, and our recap and thoughts on the Sotheby's Contemporary sale that took place Friday evening (and subsequently rocked the art world). And trust us, if there's only one piece from The Canvas that you read from our Frieze London editions, make sure it's this take on all the Bansky/Sotheby's shenanigans (which you can find below).
For those of you who have been wondering about the broken links in the past few editions, we've solved the issue and adjusted accordingly. All links in this edition should work perfectly and we'll adjust the links in our past editions for when we post them in the archive section of our website.
Speaking of our website, we've heard everyone's feedback and we're going to streamline the two editions of our newsletter, The Canvas, which publishes during the major fairs and sales weeks throughout the year and is free to everyone, and The Canvas Monthly, which features in-depth interviews and analysis with the decision makers and thought leaders shaping our industry. While both will still be separate, we're going to work over the next two months to redesign the newsletters to make them easier to read, re-tool the corresponding websites so that it's easier to access past editions, and streamline the subscription process entirely so it's less confusing for everyone.
Additionally, for The Canvas Monthly, we'll be adding a new layer to our coverage going forward- reporting on and compiling all the announcements and shifts in artist and estate representations between the different galleries. And as always, if there's an area you'd like to see us cover more, or that you think would be useful for your company, then please just reply to this email with your recommendations.
And now, here are the final sales trickling in from both Frieze London and Frieze Masters:
Works at Hauser & Wirth's Frieze Masters Booth:
Arshile Gorky, Untitled, Head, for $1.6 million
Lucian Freud, The Painter's Mother, (ink on paper) for $155,000
Henry Moore, Portrait of Stephen Spender, for GBP 50,000
Works at Hauser & Wirth's Frieze Booth:
Keith Tyson, Entangled Still Life, for $100,000
Rashid Johnson, Untitled Escape Collage, for $215,000
Lorna Simpson, Blue Earth/Sky, for $375,000
Three works by Günther Förg with prices beginning at EUR 350,000 each
Works at Skarstedt's Frieze Masters Booth:
Eric Fischl, The Bed, the Chair, Crossing, sold for around $850,000
Thomas Schütte, Kleine Geister, sold for about $120,000
Works at Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert's Frieze Masters Booth:
Two Bridget Riley works for GBP 160,000 a piece
Richard Hamilton, Sketch for Super Ex-position 1, for GBP 195,000
Henry Moore, Ideas for Sculpture, for GBP 180,000
Barbara Hepworth, Three Forms (Zennor Carn), for approximately GBP 650,000
Works at Sprüeth Magers's Frieze Masters Booth:
Andreas Gursky, Dolomites, Cablecar, for EUR 680,000
A group of nine prints by Bernd & Hilla Beher, Water Towers: (Globe High), sold for EUR 135,000
It's not too late to subscribe to The Canvas Monthly for our November and December editions featuring Dominique Lévy, Victoria Siddall, Amalia Dayan and Daniella Luxembourg, and many more soon to be announced. Don't miss out on what everyone at work is sure to be talking about. We invite you to subscribe by clicking on the link below.
The Sotheby's Frieze Contemporary Evening Sale
The always cool-under-pressure, Oliver Barker, was the auctioneer for Sotheby's double sale of contemporary art and "The History of Now: The Collection of David Teiger” this past Friday evening. And while most of the attention is being lavished upon Bansky for the shredding of his 2006 canvas, Girl with Balloon which sold for $1.3 million with fees at the end of the evening (see below), let's talk about some of the other sales first.
Most importantly (and historically), Jenny Saville became the most expensive living female artist ever sold when her gut wrenching self-portrait, Propped sold for £9.5 ($12.4 million) against an estimate of £3 million to £4 million. It was the source of a heated bidding battle between Sotheby’s head of Impressionist and Modern Art, Helena Newman, and North and South America chairman, Lisa Dennison, with Newman eventually prevailing for the bidder she was representing on the phone. Apropos of nothing else (again, see the Banksy nonsense below) this alone made Sotheby's night and proved to be a masterful stroke by the auction house. At a time when female artists roles in the art world are being re-examined (see Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner, etc...) and gender dynamics throughout society are being questioned in America, the consignment of the piece in the sale was sure to make headlines. And the fact that it was two trailblazing, powerhouse, women in the art world who were the ones doing the bidding, make the sale feel all the more historically important. You could see Ollie's massive grin from the back of the room as he presided over yet another record-breaking sale (he was also at the rostrum back in May when Kerry James Marshall's Past Times sold for $21 million becoming the highest price achieved at auction for a living African-American artist).
Overall, Sotheby's brought in a total of £68.7 million ($89.6 million) for the evening with 100% of the lots in the David Teiger collection selling (of which the Jenny Saville was one), and 81% of the lots in the traditional, contemporary sale selling. Other top lots for the evening included Peter Doig's Buffalo Station 1 which hammered for £6.5 million (£7.5 million with fees) to Samuel Valette, a senior specialist for Impressionist and Modern Art representing a bidder on the phone, and Cecily Brown's Sock Monkeywhich hammered for £1.4 million (£1.6 million with fees).
And now, on to that Banksy debacle. The Canvas likes a well-executed stunt as much as anyone, and what transpired at Sotheby's this past Friday evening was nothing if not an expertly conceptualized and executed PR stunt. Did it qualify as a breathtakingly genius piece of art in and of itself? Meh. After all, what do we know? But there's no denying that it played beautifully as an advertisement for Banksy's work in general, Sotheby's role as the host for the evening's excitement in particular, and contemporary street art overall.
To argue that Sotheby's was not in on it from the beginning though, is one of the most naïve and asinine things The Canvas has ever heard.There is such a preponderance of evidence- Girl with Balloon was the last lot of the evening in order to maximize the drama, the painting's frame was exceptionally thick and conspicuous- so much so that it would have been downright impossible for Sotheby's handlers to not have noticed something was up, the piece itself was hung on the salesroom wall rather than brought into the room by staff as is traditional for most lots, Sotheby's tickets and approves everyone attending one of its evening sales so they at least knew that the Bansky camp asked for a number of seats which would have been a warning flag that the artist was planning something, and most of all, no one at Sotheby's has been fired for letting a $1.3 million work be destroyed in the middle of its annual Frieze sale- that it's tiresome to hear's Sotheby's denials to the contrary.
While clearly not everyone at the house knew of the stunt beforehand, there were at least a few key employees and executives in Sotheby's leadership who knew what was going to happen. But at the end of the day does it really matter? At a time when auctions are so choreographed and planned down to every detail, with numerous third-party guarantees, and strategically placed chandelier bids, it was nice to see a little bit of (seeming) spontaneity and drama in the salesroom for once. It got people outside of the art world talking- there was even a New York Times push notification released about the stunt- and reminded us what auctions could and should be- nights suffused with anticipation and drama where literally anything can happen. The Canvas's only complaint about the entire evening is that rather than talking about Jenny Saville's record-breaking night (both for herself and for women artists in general) as we should be, we're talking about Banksy's latest publicity stunt. In that way, Alex Branczyk, Sotheby’s head of contemporary art in Europe was right (even if we at The Canvas don't particularly believe his denial)- “We were Banksy’d”.
Five Shows You Must See in New York Before They Close
Lee Krasner "Mural Studies" at Paul Kasmin (closing October 27th)
"50 Years: An Anniversary" at Paula Cooper (closing November 10th)
Daniel Arsham "3018" at Perrotin (closing October 21st)
Mark Wallinger "Study for Self Reflection" at Hauser & Wirth (closing October 27th)
Harmony Korine "Blockbuster" at Gagosian (closing October 20th)
The Party Circuit
Lehmann Maupin Celebrates Liza Lou
(Spotted: Nari Ward, Ted Loos, Nancy Spector, Stefano Tonchi, Anne Pasternak, and Liza Lou)
Opening Reception of 'Odyssey' Jack Whitten Sculpture 1963-2017
(Spotted: Agnes Gund, Dan Brodsky, Scott Rothkopf, Mary Whitten, Dan Weiss, Sheena Wagstaff, and Max Hollein)
Follow us on our Instagram page as we hit up all the openings and previews for the fall shows back in New York. We know we've been lax on posting thus far, but don't fret, we'll be making more of a concerted effort over the coming weeks. After all, if it isn't on Instagram, did it really occur in the first place?