To give you a sense of present pricing, $425,000 will get you a large Julian Schnabel on the outside wall at Blum & Poe (again), they had an especially vital installation within, while over at Per Skarstedt you can fetch a new Eric Fischl for $575,000 and some David Salles for $275,000 each (Skarstedt reported five recent sales between the fair and galleries). George Condo’s new primary is $700,000 while his auction results have inched up to the million-dollar mark. A fresh out of the studio Joe Bradley was $850,000 at Eva Presenhuber Gallery and a small Vito Acconci archival text documentation work from 1969 sold for $75,000 at Marc Selwyn that was worth a load more in my opinion, especially after last summer’s sleeper of an exceptional exhibition at MoMA PS1.
Luhring Augustine had tucked away in the closet (always a destination in fairs), a tiny text painting on aluminum by Christopher Wool that read: YOU MAKE ME (in my case, write). At $900,000 it was a crazy good deal considering the actual value is closer to $2.5 million; primary dealers can misgauge the secondary. There was a buzzing beehive of interest before it quickly sold, an art market Black Friday sale, and nice arbitrage. […]
Mark Grotjan had a half dozen works on paper dispersed in multiple venues from $175,000 at Gagosian to $1,300,000 at Richard Gray. There were no others on view—it’s the cardboards mounted to canvas that garner the mega money. I can’t think of a scenario quite like the meteoric rise of Mark Grotjahn’s market other than…Adrian Ghenie, Peter Doig, and Mark Bradford; I guess I can think of other instances of rampant painting price inflation. Stories abound of his open (studio) door policy if you rock up with sufficient millions but there are no deals to be had unless you believe prices in the range of four or five to ten million and up is sustainable. If not, it will be a hard fall. There is as much speculation as to who remains a Grotjahn supporter as there is in the unremitting flipping of his works.