The NY Times Decries Its Own Banksy Distraction; Mystery de Kooning Makes a Million; Sotheby's 1st Dibs Killer
This commentary by Marion Maneker is available to AMMpro subscribers. (The first month of AMMpro is free and subscribers are welcome to sign up for the first month and cancel before they are billed.)
Who Ignored Out Jenny Saville’s Star Turn?
Blasted under the headline, “A Landmark Achievement for a Painting by a Woman, Upstaged by a Man,” the New York Times put the art world on notice on Friday. The paper’s concern was that an important milestone was getting ignored by some cheap art world hype surrounding Banksy’s late-auction stunt:
- “She should have been the center of attention, but somehow everyone got distracted. The nude self-portrait “Propped,” by Jenny Saville, was bought by a telephone bidder at Sotheby’s on Friday night for 9.5 million pounds, or about $12.4 million. That should have made plenty of headlines.”
With such a strong statement of chagrin in both the lead paragraph and the article’s headline, you might think the New York Times had resisted the cheap sensationalism of a street artist spoofing the toffs at an art auction. Yet the morning after Sotheby’s sale, the Times led with 22 paragraphs on Banksy’s prank before mentioning Saville in the 23rd.
The same author returned the next day with a second article on Banksy. This time the lead sentence was, “Everybody’s talking about it.” That was over an article analyzing the effect of the prank on Banksy’s market value. No mention was made of Saville’s sale or any other significant sale in the auction cycle that concluded the day before.
It took almost a week before the New York Times considered the Saville sale news that could lead a story.
****There’s an interesting footnote to all of this. In August, a Canadian political cartoonist who was working in Glasgow in the 1990s has tried to point out the similarities between 16 of her images and some of Banksy’s work.
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