Zwirner's Unlimited Sales

Installation view, Jason Rhoades. My Madinah: In pursuit of my ermitage..., Sammlung Hauser und Wirth in der Lokremise, St. Gallen, 2004 Courtesy Estate of Jason Rhoades; Galerie Hauser & Wirth; David Zwirner, New York

David Zwirner gallery sold its two most prominent works on display at Art Unlimited to major international collections.

JASON RHOADES (“close to $1 million“)

Untitled (From the body of work: My Madinah: In pursuit of my ermitage…), 2004.

96 neon phrases, 96 colored Plexiglas panels, 96 transformers, 96 metal hooks, wire, cable, rubber end caps, and power strips. Overall dimensions vary with each installation.

Originally part of the artist’s seminal exhibition My Madinah: In pursuit of my ermitage… at Sammlung Hauser und Wirth in der Lokremise, St. Gallen in 2004, each of the multi-colored neon words or phrases presents a synonym for female genitalia. The work relates to the artist’s complex investigation of contemporary manifestations of religion, culture, sexuality, and consumerism, which was inspired, in part, by the collective trauma caused by 9/11.

FRED SANDBACK (“just under $500,000“)
Untitled (Sculptural Study, Seven-part Right-angled Triangular Construction), 1982/2010.

Black acrylic yarn. A room-size installation that is composed from 21 lengths of black acrylic yarn arranged to form 7 right-angled triangles, with the vertical elements flat against the wall and the horizontal elements flat against the floor. This work represents a significant large-scale example of the artist’s explorations of the phenomenological experience of space and volume.

Donald Judd $700,000 – to a European collection

Francis Alÿs – a few works sold, including 1 sale for $250,000 to a European collector; then other works (drawings, mixed-media) ranging from $35,000 – $85,000

Adel Abdessemed $200,000 large-scale metal map, sold to European collection

Kassay Bids for Museums at ArtBasel Unlimited

Sarah Douglas reports the latest inflection point in the Jacob Kassay sensation making. After dramatic day sale action last November and a strong first-lot punch up at Phillips de Pury in New York this May, the 26-year-old painter’s silver canvasses are being hawked for $400,000 at ArtBasel Unlimited (an eight-canvas installation that isn’t quite at the Unlimited scale) only to museums:

Mr. Kassay has become quite an art market darling in the past year, but he doesn’t yet figure in museum collections — a key element in building long-term support. So two of his dealers — Art:Concept Gallery of Paris and Xavier Hufkens of Brussels — have come up with a clever solution: the sprawling, brand new eight-panel piece on offer at Art Unlimited will only be sold to a museum. […]

Mr. Hufkens added that a museum, in this case, means “a real museum.” “We won’t sell to a private foundation open to the public.”

Want to Buy Jacob Kassay’s Piece at Art Basel? If You’re Not a Museum, Fuggedaboutit (Observer)


Latin Americans and Young Euros New to ArtBasel This Year

Forbes’s Karen Blankfeld gets talked to Marc Spiegler about ArtBasel this year:

While last summer Asian and Middle Eastern collectors made a strong showing at Basel, this year Spiegler expects to see the rapidly expanding group of collectors in Latin America — not just in Brazil and Mexico — to make a strong appearance, too. Young European collectors have also become increasingly active, he adds.[…]

Last year Picasso’s “Personnage” sculpture sold for $15 million; Barbara Kruger’s “Are We Having Fun Yet” sold for $700,000. Artists displayed ranged from Andy Warhol to Wassily Kandinksy and Giacometti.

Billionaires, Collectors, Celebrities and Artists Gather at Art Basel (

Ten $100m Works at ArtBasel?

ArtBasel’s preview opens tomorrow with the usual high-level of gallery presence—including 15% of the 300 galleries having just shown at ArtHK—and, according to Scott Reyburn’s Bloomberg preview, the top end of the market will include 10 different works averaging $100m in insured value:

The total value of the works insured this year is about $1.75 billion, said Robert Read, head of art and private clients at Hiscox Ltd. (HSX)That’s higher than last year, with the 10 most expensive works accounting for $1 billion, Read said.

Warhol, Rothko to Tempt Buyers at $1.75 Billion Biggest Art Fair in Basel (Bloomberg)

Miami's Brasil-ArtBasel Connection

The Miami Herald says Brazilians are buying up apartments in South Beach with gusto. They’re attracted to the city for many reasons but one is ArtBasel and the city’s role as an art and antiques hub:

An ultra-wealthy crowd of Brazilian real estate buyers is creating a boomlet for local real estate agents and other businesses that cater to their tastes. […] In addition to the beach, the climate and the shopping, interior designer Mirtha Arrarian says her clients like Miami’s location as a half-way point between South America and the art objects, antiques and fashion of European capitals.Continue Reading

More ArtBasel Sales

The Financial Times adds its own list of gallery sales at ArtBasel:

  • Spruth Magers: a film still by Cindy Sherman, “Untitled, #11” (1978) for $450,000, Karen Kilimnik’s “Kitrit + her court in Spain” (2010) for $250,000 and John Baldessari’s “Hands and/or Feet (Part Two) Skeleton/Food/Killer Whale” (2009) for $275,000.
  • London’s White Cube gallery: Damien Hirst’s “Remembrance” (2008), a white spot painting on a white background, sold for £850,000 ($1.33m).
  • Timothy Taylor Gallery: Alex Katz’s “Swimming Cap Girl” (2010) selling for $350,000 “to international collectors”.
  • Kurimansuto Gallery: sold Jonathan Hernández’s collage “RongWrong” (2010) to the Miami Art Museum for $15,000 and the politically charged Abraham Cruzvillegas’ “La Familia” to The Art Institute of Chicago for $35,000

Miami: Crowds and Collectors (Financial Times)

Waiting for the Spendorphins to Kick In

David Velasco coins new words and ponders the fate of dying celebrity at ArtBasel:

The rich have their rituals, Art Basel among them. They also have “spendorphins,” a new term (not hers, she assured me) that I acquired from writer Sarah Thornton. Spendorphins seemed to be running freely this year. “No complaints—and for good reason!” Hauser & Wirth director Anna Helwing happily announced. (The “good reason” might have been a sale of a set of Paul McCarthy sculptures that sold Tuesday for $3 million.) Dealers weren’t taking low bidders, either. “I don’t bother with them,” one dealer sniffed at a pair of collectors. “Their limit is twenty thousand dollars—they can’t afford anything here.”

Since it’s not a Venice year, this fair was low on celebrity wattage: Bianca Jagger shipped in for her first Basel experience, and Val Kilmer hit the ground running with collector Peter Brant. (“I guess becoming an art collector is a better fate than Dancing with the Stars,” meowed one observer.) But then we spotted Jeanne Greenberg Rohaytn, who now has a reality show on Bravo—that counts, right?

Tony Basel (Scene&Herd/ArtForum)

Homogenizing International Art

Sarah Thorton went to Art Basel for The Economist and discovered a little bit of grousing about the homogenizing nature of the international art market:

To be a good bet against near-zero interest rates and unpredictable currency fluctuations, art needs the potential of a global market. Thus, “local artist” has become a synonym for insignificant artist and “national” damns with faint praise. “International” is now a selling point in itself. […]

As Lucy Mitchell-Innes of Mitchell-Innes & Nash, a New York gallery, warns: “It’s a problem if four or five booths have the same artist’s work. A good international fair wants Chinese galleries to bring talented Chinese artists, not another Anthony Gormley.”

Global Frameworks (The Economist)

Basel Sales . . . Belatedly

Here are a few more sales from ArtBasel recorded by Carol Vogel and published late last week:

Barbara Kruger’s “Are We Having Fun Yet,” a 1987 photographic silk-screen of a woman’s hands covering her face was, until recently, hanging in the Dallas Museum of Art, where it had been on loan since 1988. Sandy Heller, a Manhattan art adviser who works with hedge-fund billionaires, bought it for $700,000 from the Skarstedt Gallery of New York within hours of the fair’s opening. He declined to say for whom he had purchased it.

Bigger sales were reported too. At Jan Krugier, a gallery in Geneva and New York, Picasso’s “Personnage,” a 1960 plaster sculpture, sold to an unidentified collector for $15 million. Hauser & Wirth, dealers with spaces in Zurich, London and New York, sold a set of five dwarf sculptures from Paul McCarthy’s “White Snow” series, to a European collector for $3 million.Continue Reading