Why the Art Market Is Rising

The art market is rolling along with plenty of momentum, while the rest of the world still feels pretty shaky. Although I cannot fully explain this phenomenon, there are number of plausible reasons–some economic and some specific to the art world. Try them out at Christmas and New Year’s parties when the inevitable art doubters appear and, scratching their heads at record prices, ask, “How is it possible that pigs… Read more
Categorized as NY Observer

Land of 1,000 Air Kisses: Art Basel Miami Beach, With Regrets

“It’s the best game you can play in the world,” said Jonathan Meese, the sculptor whose show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami was one of the hits of the huge Art Basel Miami Beach week. Mr. Meese, talking to me about art, added, “I believe in the total power of art, and I think it will one day rule the world.”   It says a lot about… Read more

A Bronze Meddle: Doing the Math on Buying a Matisse Sculpture

I keep an eye on the Impressionist and Modern art auctions because they’re thought to be an early indicator of the contemporary art sales that follow. But talking to Impressionist and Modern art experts about my penchant for contemporary artists like Maurizio Cattelan or Urs Fischer always leaves me feeling like an insecure fashionista. They’re convinced that “real” art by historic names like Pablo Picasso or Paul Cézanne is not… Read more
Categorized as NY Observer

The Adman’s Promise: The Persistent Myth of Charles Saatchi

I owe a lot to Charles Saatchi. Most contemporary art collectors do. Though he’s hard to find, and almost impossible to gain access to, his influence has been felt everywhere in the art world. My visit to the “Sensation!” show at the Brooklyn Museum in 1999 was a formative experience, particularly seeing the Damien Hirst shark and the ridiculous controversy (remember Mayor Giuliani’s outrage?) over Chris Ofili’s dung-bearing Mother Mary… Read more

All Mixed Up

There’s a fashion in the art world these days for shows that mix the old with the new,  a vogue for hanging contemporary art in Venetian palazzos or Old Masters in modern spaces like the Menil Collection in Houston or the Schaulager in Basel.   Nowhere has this practice been as visible, and as controversial, as at the Palace of Versailles. The historic French landmark hosted a major Jeff Koons… Read more

The Last Word on Dan Colen

Dan Colen’s new show at Gagosian on West 24th Street is, by far and without reservation, the hottest spectacle of the fall season–not because of the show, but because of the intense debate it has created. It is not an exaggeration to say that the exhibition has been the topic, for good or ill, of the fall season.   To wind back the clock, Mr. Colen first appeared in about… Read more

Built for Speed? The Collector Chats With Marc Newson About His New Gagosian Show

Truth be told, I’ve been a Marc Newson fan for years. He holds a special place in the world of design: He’s famous, good-looking, represented by the biggest art gallery in the world (Gagosian) and an international jet-setting celebrity.   This all may seem rather clichéd, until one considers that industrial design has never had a superstar. There are art stars, starchitects, rock stars and movie stars, but there’s never… Read more
Categorized as NY Observer

Viewer as Voyeur: A Short History of Perfectly Dirty Art

Mark Twain described it as “the foulest, the vilest, the obscenest picture the world possesses.” I discovered it by chance one rainy weekend in Florence on the perfunctory visit to the Galleria degli Uffizi. I had seen the Uffizi’s amazing works so many times in books that I almost didn’t feel the need to see the real thing, but standing in front of them, I had a whole different and… Read more

The ’80s, Through Warhol’s Eyes

I knew Andy Warhol for a short but lively stint in 1984 and ’85, while my then-fiancée was one of his best friends. We were out every night, all night. One night, my parents had their big summer party in Greenwich; I thought Andy would like it since I had invited a few top polo players, all the Argentine pros. He arrived late, in a long white stretch limo. As… Read more

The Grand Tourist

In the art world, summer is the time to make the pilgrimage: Events in Europe, public and private, afford much to marvel at, to think about-and, possibly, to buy.     FROM BASEL: THE Swiss have a few things to teach us about art collecting, given their appetite for it and the superb way they exhibit their works. Case in point is the Schaulager. This private museum, funded by the… Read more