It is not uncommon for auction houses, sensing movement in an artist's market, to have rival works in the same sales cycles. But next month we will see very different strategies from Sotheby's and Christie's in the first sales of Mike Kelley's Memory Ware Flats works since the artist's death in 2012.
Although the artist's estate has gone to Hauser + Wirth where curator Paul Schimmel is now a partner, Per Skarstedt was the first to organize a show around the Memory Ware Flats body of work. Kelley died in January of 2012. In October, Skarstedt displayed a number of the works in his Upper East Side gallery.
Kelley's work often involves non-traditional objects like stuffed animals. The Memory Ware Flats are also composed of objects but they're mounted on conventional two-dimensional rectangles thus solving one of the inherent problems with Kelley's work (in market terms, if not aesthetically.)
Kenny Schachter, who is a collector and holder of Kelley's Memory Ware Flats, describes the appeal:
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