Katya Kazakina wraps up the Armory Show week with this report on Bloomberg:
All over Manhattan, high-value sales of contemporary art were hard to come by at last week’s eight fairs, including the blue-chip Armory Show, that form New York’s largest contemporary-art event of the year.
At the Armory Show, which featured 243 exhibitors from 55 countries, the number of transactions fell compared with last year, dealers said. Lower-priced pieces — those costing less than $100,000 — moved better than pricier works.
Collectors bought eye-catching sheets of acrylic, resembling folds of gold fabric, by Peruvian artist Aldo Chaparro at Mexico’s OMR gallery. They were priced at $8,000. Two conceptual pieces by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer were a harder sell at $100,000 and $120,000.
At New York’s Lombard-Freid Projects, Michael Rakowitz’s Saddam Hussein helmets, inspired by “Star Wars” and lined with recycled G.I. Joe toys, were a hit. The gallery sold five, as of Friday, at $1,500 a pop. “They are like candy,” said partner Lea Freid.
While many higher priced pieces failed to sell, one notable exception was a $1 million cast-bronze sculpture by Louise Bourgeois at the booth of New York gallery Cheim & Read. The piece looked like an old sweater stretched over a pole. [ . . . ]
The die-hards who continued buying included Miami collectors Mera and Don Rubell, Whitney Museum trustees Raymond Learsy and Melva Bucksbaum, and New York and Moscow real estate developer Janna Bullock.
“Our budget is to spend as little as possible,” said Learsy, who bought a Byzantine-style mosaic of Barack Obama made of 30,000 cereal flakes by Ryan Alexiev and Hank Willis Thomas. Its asking price was $20,000 at the Philadelphia-based Cerealart gallery at the Armory Show.
Over at the Pulse Contemporary Art Fair, the Rubells bought several paintings by Cordy Ryman from New York’s DCKT Contemporary. The works, priced between $3,000 and $8,500, are painted on wood and have a rough, unfinished look with exposed nails and staples.
At Volta, Bullock picked up a $12,000 painting by Christian Curiel at Paris-based Galerie Baumet Sultana.