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

Wristy Business

In the second of two essays, the co-owner of the iconic retro-futuristic Ikepod brand explains how his passion for fine art led him to fine watchmaking.   My penchant for collecting contemporary art and design is the roundabout way I actually ended up buying Ikepod and trying my hand at watchmaking. What I felt was missing in the world of watches was great design—not another pocket-watch complication for the wrist… 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
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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