Auction Envy—Christie’s First Open

It’s Christie’s First Open Post-War and Contemporary, um, right now, which means two things: 1) I’m running late today (sorry!), and 2) I have more than one favorite, and in a first, a favorite page in the catalog.

First, though, let’s get to the things I’d give up a healthy retirement plan to own.

Lot 192/ Ed Ruschka/ Two Books, 2001/ Oil on canvas/ 20 x 18 in./ Est. $150,000-$200,000

This Ed Ruschka painting is definitely my favorite. Obviously, especially if you can read the title, it’s just two books. But it’s more than that, or maybe less. Take the details away (the inscriptions on the books, etc.) and what you have here are two long rectangles. That’s it. Two motherfucking rectangles! But it’s this simplicity that makes it so appealing. It’s constructivism with a twist; an abstract painting within a realist work. It’s amazing. Sold.

Lot 78/ Os Gemeos/ Carnavale, 2005/ Acrylic, latex, spray enamel on canvas/ 72 3/4 x 55 in./ Est. $40,000-$60,000

Next on my get list is this supersized Os Gemeos work. This is street art at its best. Why? Because it’s more than just a stencil (sorry, Shepard Fairey). Os Gemeos means “the twins” in Portuguese. And for once, there’s no metaphor there. Os Gemeos really are twins. Two twin brothers from Brazil to be exact and their work is astonishing. This piece in particular is probably one of the best of theirs I’ve seen on canvas. And here’s where I’ll reinsert the metaphor: It’s two works in one. You see the anarchistic stencil in the background contrasts heavily with the native folk in the foreground. I could stare at this painting for hours…

But I won’t because we have to get to the comic relief of this post, which thanks to the page designer at Christie’s is this page from the auction catalog:

Lot 100/ Jonathan Borofsky/ Flying Molecule Man, 1986/ Acrylic on urethane foam/ 62 x 36 x 27 in./ Est. $20,000-$30,000 AND Lot 101/ Maurizio Cattelan/ Untitled, 2009/ Polyurethanic rubber/ 8 x 4 x 3 in./ Est. $15,000-$20,000

I know these works aren’t related, but if I was into either (by the way, I am not), I’d insist on getting both. They just work so perfectly as a set. It looks like the finger was saying “fuck you” literally to the hole-poked flying man. Weird.


Lot 78: $134,500
Lot 100: $60,000
Lot 101: Bought In (Failed to sell)
Lot 192: $218,500

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