Friday, February 27, 2009

Sotheby's 2008 Financial Highlights ~ Sales of $5.3 Billion in a Down Year

New York, NY - “The global economic crisis which erupted in the autumn of 2008 had a major impact on our business in the fourth quarter,” said Bill Ruprecht, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sotheby’s. “For the first nine months of 2008, our aggregate auction sales were at record levels. But from October onwards, virtually every auction around the world experienced declines. As a result, we immediately took steps to strengthen our business. We began a worldwide restructuring, initiated global cost-cutting measures and dramatically curtailed the use of guarantees. And to date in 2009, auction commission margins are 17.3%, up 27% from the 13.6% in the first quarter of 2008.”

“As we begin 2009 our financial condition remains healthy. We are well-positioned to operate in this very challenging economic environment. And, very importantly, as we saw in our recent London sales, demand remains positive for great works which are well estimated and fresh to the market. In a turbulent world, art continues to represent both value and relevance.”

Consolidated * sales of $5.3 billion
Sotheby’s sold the top lot of the year, Francis Bacon’s Triptych 1976 ($86.3 million).
The world record price for Contemporary Art, Francis Bacon’s Triptych 1976, was set at Sotheby’s in 2008
Sotheby’s sold the top lot of the autumn season, Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist Composition ($60 million)
Sotheby’s sold the top Contemporary lot of the autumn season, Yves Klein’s Archisponge ($21.4 million)
Sotheby’s sold six out of the top ten lots in 2008.
Sotheby’s sold 726 lots for over $1 million
Sotheby’s sold 114 lots for over $5 million
Sotheby’s sold 41 lots for over $10 million
Sotheby’s sold 14 lots for over $20 million.
*Consolidated sales include auction sales, private sales and dealer revenue.


• Full Year Revenues of $691.6 million and Net Income of $28.3 million February 26, 2009, New York -- Sotheby’s (NYSE: BID) today announced results for the fourth quarter and twelve months ended December 31, 2008.

For the quarter ended December 31, 2008, the Company reported operating revenues of $166.2 million, a $179.6 million, or 52%, decrease from the fourth quarter of 2007. This deterioration is primarily due to a 46% decline in net auction sales from $1.9 billion to $1.0 billion, significant auction guarantee losses and inventory writedowns, all attributable to a downturn in the international art market that began in September 2008, and which resulted from a weakening global economy, as well as turbulence in the global financial and credit markets. For the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2008, the Company reported an operating loss of ($0.7) million and a net loss of ($8.5) million, or ($0.13) per share compared to operating income of $141.6 million and net income of $102.4 million, or $1.55 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2007.

This decline is largely due to the aforementioned revenue decreases as well as a $13.2 million impairment loss in the Company’s Dealer segment related to goodwill and intangible assets and $4.3 million in restructuring charges. Partially offsetting the impact of these factors is a $44.4 million, or 45%, decrease in salaries and related costs over the period primarily due to a $26.7 million, or 75% decline in accrued incentive bonus costs as a result of the much lower profitability of the quarter as compared to the prior period. Fourth quarter adjusted operating income*, which excludes the $13.2 million impairment loss as well as the $4.3 million in restructuring charges, is $16.8 million*.

For the full year 2008, consolidated sales (aggregate auction sales, private sales and dealer revenues) were $5.3 billion and operating revenues were $691.6 million, representing decreases from the prior year of 14% and 25%, respectively, primarily due to the previously mentioned sales decline, auction guarantee losses and inventory write-downs experienced in the fourth quarter of 2008. Net income for the full year 2008 was $28.3 million, a $184.9 million, or 87%, decrease from the prior year largely due to the fourth quarter revenue shortfalls. Also contributing to the decreased profitability is a lower level of private sale commissions, higher borrowing costs and a higher effective tax rate, partially offset by lower salaries and related costs.

Sotheby’s sold the top lot of the year, Francis Bacon’s Triptych, 1976, ($86.3 million), the top lot of the autumn auction season, Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist Composition ($60.0 million) and the top Contemporary lot of the autumn season, Yves Klein’s Archisponge ($21.4 million) while continuing to reduce lot volume in 2008.


Collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé Realises $483.8 Million at Christie's

PARIS - The three-day sale of the magnificent Collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé at the Grand Palais, offered by Christie’s in association with Pierre Bergé & Associates auctioneers, realised in total €373,935,500 / £332,802,595 / $483,835,144. A remarkable 95.5% of lots sold by lot, and 93% sold by value. This historic sale set a world record for the most valuable private collection sold at auction, was the highest grossing sale in Europe on record, and set multiple world records for Impressionist and Modern Art, 20th Century Decorative Arts, Silver, Sculpture and Works of Art. One of the most exceptional and significant collections of art in private hands, it generated unprecedented interest from bidders throughout the world and pre-sale estimates for both the sale as a whole and the individual works, were significantly exceeded.

Other major highlights of the sale included:

Madame L.R. (Portrait de Mme L.R.), a magnificent example of Constantin Brancusi’s earliest and enigmatic sculptures in wood sold for €29.1 million / £25.9 million / $37.7 million (estimate: €15,000,000 – 20,000,000), a world record for the artist at auction.
Three abstract paintings by Piet Mondrian, which each belong to key stages in the artist’s work, and express degrees of tension between line, form and colour were all sold above their high estimates. Composition avec bleu, rouge, jaune et noir, 1922 sold for €21.5 million / £19.1 million / $27.9 million (estimate: €7,000,000-10,000,000), a world record for the artist at auction; Composition avec grille 2, 1918 sold for €14.4 million / £12.8 million / $18.6 million (estimate: €7,000,000-10,000,000), and Composition I, 1920, sold for €7.0 million / £6.2 million / $9.0 million (estimate: €5,000,000-7,000,000).
Fernand Léger’s great mechanical paintings of 1918 and 1919, painted during one of his most brilliant periods drew significant attention: Composition, dans l’usine, 1918 sold for € 5.5 million / £4.9 million / $7.1 million (estimate: €6,000,000 – 8,000,000). La tasse de thé, 1921, sold for € 11.4 million / £10.2 million / $14.8 million (estimate: €10,000,000 – 15,000,000).
The ready-made masterpiece “La Belle Haleine – Eau de Voilette” by Marcel Duchamp, with the assistance by Man Ray in 1921, witnessed fierce bidding in the room and realized € 8.9 million / £7.9 million / $11.5 million, nearly 9 times its estimate of €1,000,000 – 1,500,000, a world auction record for the artist.

To continue reading the article in its entirety, click here.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Video Box-"Visit to Picasso"

Flick of the Week: Artist NECK FACE

Real Talk: 2.25.09

I was a really lousy artist as a kid. Too abstract expressionist, or I'd draw a ram's head, really messy. I'd never win painting contests. I remember losing to a guy who did a perfect spiderman.
::: Jean Michel Basquiat :::

SAMO as an end to to mindwash religion, nowhere politics and bogus philosophy.

SAMO as an escape clause.

SAMO as an end to playing art.

SAMO as an end to bogus pseudo intellectual. My mouth, therefore an error. Plush safe.. he think.

SAMO as an alternative 2 playing art with the 'radical chic' sect on Daddy's $ funds.

SOURCE: Artquotes



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Images: Cliffedge

Coming Attraction: SKAM for Louis Vuitton Toronto

Images: inqmnd

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

YSL auction fetches record price for Matisse

PARIS – A painting by Henri Matisse sold Monday for euro32.1 million ($41.1 million) — a record auction price for a work by the artist — at an art sale from the estate of Yves Saint Laurent, Christie's said.

The sale came at the start of a three-day Paris auction of art from the collection of the late French fashion designer that some are calling "the sale of the century."

A Piet Mondrian painting that had inspired one of Saint Laurent's most memorable dresses sold for nearly euro20 million.

Sales reached euro206 million ($263.6 million) in the auction's first day — marked by six world record prices for works by individual artists at auction, Christie's auction house said. Fierce bidding in the cavernous, glass-topped Grand Palais museum hall quieted concerns that the global financial crisis might damage the auction's prospects.

"I never doubted the success of this sale," Pierre Berge, Saint Laurent's longtime partner, told reporters after the auction. "When you have a collection of this importance, and of this demand, you stop being an amateur art lover — and you become more or less an expert."

Matisse's 1911 oil painting "Les coucous, tapis bleu et rose," (The Cowslips, Blue and Rose Fabric) sold for a total of euro35.9 million, including the buyer's premium, Christie's said.

Mondrian's 1922 painting "Composition in Blue, Red, Yellow and Black," with rectangles of saturated colors that had inspired Saint Laurent's 1965 shift dress, sold for euro19.2 million ($24.6 million), or about twice the pre-auction estimate. A wood sculpture by Constantin Brancusi entitled "Madame L.R." went for euro26 million ($33.3 million). Those prices exclude the buyer's premium.

Christie's officials said they were still working on confirming the identities of the buyers, who mostly came from North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

The night's big surprise was that the lot that had been expected to fetch the highest price — a 1914-1915 Picasso "Instruments de musique sur un gueridon," (Musical Instruments on a Table) — didn't even sell.

The painting of a guitar from the Spanish artist's cubist period had been estimated to sell for euro25 million to euro30 million, but the bidding never got past euro21 million. Berge said he and Saint Laurent bought the painting themselves from Picasso.

"I don't understand" why the Picasso didn't sell, Berge confessed, before adding: "I hope that I'm not going to surprise you because I am very happy that I can keep this painting."

The sale came as the auction sidestepped a legal controversy earlier Monday. A French judge refused to halt the sale of disputed Chinese bronze fountainheads due for sale later during the three-day auction.

The bronze heads — of a rabbit and a rat — disappeared from the summer Imperial Palace on the outskirts of Beijing when French and British forces sacked it at the close of the second Opium War in 1860.

The dispute had cast a shadow over the three-day auction at Paris' Grand Palais museum of 733 works collected over half a century by Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge, his longtime companion. The Chinese artifacts are to be sold later in the auction. News reports say they are expected to fetch up euro10 million ($13 million) each.

Lawyers for a China-linked association, known as APACE, sought to block the sale of the bronzes. The group acknowledged that Saint Laurent acquired the bronzes legally, but said they should be returned to China or at least displayed in a museum.

Berge displayed political defiance toward China.

"I'm absolutely ready to give myself to China, with my two heads of the sculpture," he said in English. "The only thing I ask is, for the Chinese government to have human rights, to give liberty to the Tibet people and to welcome the Dalai Lama."

The fountainheads date to the early Qing Dynasty, established by invading Manchu tribesmen in 1644. The Christie's catalog says they were made for the Zodiac fountain of the summer Imperial Palace.

Other lots include sculptures from ancient Egypt and Rome, ivory crucifixes and silver German beer steins that once covered every available surface of Saint Laurent's homes. Also on sale is his Art Deco furniture and his bed.

The sale had been expected to gross euro200 million-euro300 million ($250 million-$380 million). A portion of the proceeds will go to support AIDS research.

Saint Laurent died in June at age 71 of brain cancer.


Associated Press Writer Julien Proult contributed to this report.

SOURCE: Yahoo News

COLETTE for Lomography Diana F + Camera

The French clothing store colette continuously keeps its consumers interested and excited by not just providing t-shirts and jeans but by collaborating with respected brands and artists to bring the public exciting and unexpected items. The latest in it’s many collaborations is created in respect of the International Women’s Day. The Diana F+ colette collection is a small plastic Diana camera created in the image of vintage cameras worshiped for their glossy, lo-fi images. The design has a classic appeal topped off with the trademark Colette blue dots. The camera will include a gorgeous booklet entitled “Dianalogues Part 1: Through a Woman’s Lens”. The booklet will contain 10 women from all over the world to contribute their images and words to this project. The Colette special edition is exclusively sold at colette and on


Monday, February 23, 2009

SAVE THE DATE: El Anatsui: Process and Project

Exhibition Opening
March 25, 2009
BRIC Rotunda Gallery
33 Clinton Street
Brooklyn Heights
New York

Process and Project offers a rare look at the working methods of internationally acclaimed sculptor, El Anatsui, featuring never-before-seen sketches and drawings, as well as the glittering installation, Peak Project. On view at BRIC Rotunda Gallery, 33 Clinton Street, Brooklyn Heights, New York, March 25-May 2, 2009.

Image: Peak Project (1999) Courtesy of El Anatsui.

Gering and Lopez/David Levinthal BARBIE!

FEBRUARY 28 - APRIL 11, 2009

In honor of the iconic doll's 50th birthday, GERING & LóPEZ GALLERY presents Barbie!, an exhibition of large-format Polaroids by acclaimed photographer David Levinthal. The subjects of these photographs are not toys but rather representations of popular culture, as Levinthal seeks to explore the subliminal effects of the Barbie doll image on the American collective subconscious.

A familiar and often polarizing image, the Barbie doll has served as a figure of the idealized female form and the quintessence of glamour as well as a taboo symbol of the oppressive currents in society that have affected generations of American youths. Mattel first manufactured Barbie fifty years ago after the conclusion of World War II, a time when couture houses boomed in France after the ending of wartime restrictions. The Barbie dolls in the photographs featured in this exhibition lack the populist sentiments that later models displayed, instead reflecting a microcosm of mid-century American life inhabited by predominantly white, upper-middle class women. A far subtler series than others in Levinthal's oeuvre, these unbiased society portraits allow viewers to form their own interpretations of the impact of Barbie's image on American popular culture. Appropriately, the exhibition is located on Fifth Avenue mere blocks away from both Bergdorf Goodman and F.A.O. Schwartz, titans of haute couture and children's luxury items, in one of Manhattan's most highly trafficked shopping areas.

Couched in the style of early high fashion photographers such as Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, these dolls showcase the height of post-war fashion from 1959 to the early 1970s. The Barbie doll's limited range of motion produces deliberately stiff and artificial poses that are strikingly similar to those seen in early fashion photography, creating a parallel compositional effect between the two bodies of work. Levinthal combines white light and sharply contrasting shadows with intensely saturated color, a technique that elevates the dolls out of the realm of kitsch and into the glamorous echelons of high society. Solid monochromatic color backgrounds help to eliminate any sense of scale. Levinthal's standard use of a narrow depth of field, soft focus, and the photographic trope of enlargement seen in his close-up shots bring a sense of life to the objects in the foreground. These photographic techniques result in an unnerving sense of ambiguity as the dolls appear to be made of both plastic and fles h.

David Levinthal was born in San Francisco and received his MFA in Photography from Yale University. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions at institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; the San Jose Museum of Art, CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Japan; the Museum of Modern Art, NY; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Bologna, Italy; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Spain; Neues Museum Weserburg Bremen, Germany; and the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich, Switzerland, among others. His work is featured in many public collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, IL; The Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the International Center of Photography, NY; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; the Museum of Modern Art, NY; the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; and the Polaroid Collection, MA. This will be the artist's first solo exhibition at Gering & López Gallery.

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 6pm. For further information please contact Lauren Cicione at 646.336.7183 or

The Armory Show
New York
PIER 94, BOOTH 1058
March 5-8, 2009

Louis Vuitton/SS09 Campaign Preview

Photographer: Ola Rindal
Creative director: Paul Helbers
Styling: David Vandewal

Craig "KR" Costello| New Work Exhibition

Don’t Come Gallery
Lvl 2, Royal Arcade
314 Lt Collins St.
Melbourne, VIC

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Location: SOHO, NYC, FEBRUARY 2009

Image credit: tyrus rochell townsend

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Avedon Exhibition...Hosted.. by... Versace

The ART OF GRACE, Part Deuce

On newsstands now!

Book of the Month Club: STEVEN SPROUSE by Roger/Maurico Padilha


Inventive, enigmatic, and supremely creative, Stephen Sprouse made art and clothing that captured the mood of the eighties. One of the first American designers to mix graffiti and a punk aesthetic with fashion, Sprouse manipulated conventional notions of style, and his unique sensibility has inspired designers from John Galliano to Raf Simmons to Marc Jacobs. Sprouse’s career started in the late seventies, when, after working for Halston, he migrated to a warehouse on the Bowery and started making outfits for his neighbor, Debbie Harry. The fashion world quickly embraced his innovative, culturally relevant sensibility and downtown edge. But Sprouse’s inability to compromise his artistic vision for the rigid fashion business compromised his commercial success. The Padilhas possess the largest private collection of Sprouse’s work, and were given exclusive access to his archives by his family for this project. They also obtained never-before-published images from photographers such as Steven Meisel, Bob Gruen, and Mert and Marcus. The book features a foreword by the novelist Tama Janowitz, one of Sprouse’s closest friends. The release of this book coincides with a retrospective at Deitch Projects. The book will be available with four different jackets, each featuring a different Day-Glo color, an homage to Sprouse’s iconic album cover for Debbie Harry’s Rockbird.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Contemporary Jewish Museum honors "Jews on Vinyl"

- What do Bagels and Bongos, Israeli Disco Fever, and When You are in Love the Whole World is Jewish have in common? They are just a few of the vintage record titles featured in the Contemporary Jewish Museum's exhibition, 'Jews on Vinyl'. On view through June 9, 2009, Jews on Vinyl is a unique exhibition based on the new book by Roger Bennett and Josh Kun-And You Shall Know Us by the Trail of Our Vinyl: The Jewish Past as Told by the Records We Have Loved and Lost (Crown Press, 2008), which spans the history of Jewish recorded music from the 1940s to the 1980s.

What started out as a mutual affinity for kitschy Jewish album covers-think Neil Diamond baring his chest hair on the cover of Hot August Night or Barbara Streisand in hot pants on the cover of Streisand Superman-soon became a quest for identity, history, and culture between the grooves of LPs. Together, guest curators Bennett and Kun embarked on a thrilling journey, scouring the world to collect thousands of vinyl LPs from attics, garage sales, and dusty archives. Pieced together, these scratched, once-loved and now-forgotten audio gems tell a vibrant tale: the story of Jews in America.

Jews on Vinyl will feature a soundtrack of highlights from these LPs to provide opportunities for Museum visitors to experience forgotten moments in Jewish-American pop history. Featuring music, comedy, storytelling and other hybrid sounds, the collection reflects a rich heritage and raises important questions about the evolution of tradition and cultural assimilation in America's melting pot. Jews on Vinyl celebrates the universality of records while offering new perspectives on Jewish identity and history. Much of the music is no longer available in any format, and through this exhibition audiences will have the unprecedented opportunity to experience this collective history come to life through sound.

"We are thrilled to partner with Josh Kun and Roger Bennett to bring their fantastic book alive by bringing their unique exhibition of LPs to the Bay Area," stated Director and CEO Connie Wolf. "From the famous Barry Sisters to Sammy Davis Jr., from comedy to cantors, from Yiddish lessons to Charlton Heston reading the Old Testament, Jews on Vinyl has something for everyone."

The Barry SistersThe exhibition will occupy the Museum's dramatic Stephen and Maribelle Leavitt "Yud" Gallery, which features a 65-foot ceiling and 36 diamond-shaped skylights. A 1950s style suburban living room will occupy the center of the room where visitors can sit comfortably and listen to sound clips from two listening stations. One wall of the Gallery will be papered with facsimiles of the records featured in the book. Projections of album covers corresponding to a soundtrack of highlights played throughout the space will be projected on an adjacent wall. Throughout the exhibition, the Museum will offer a series of monthly programs designed to delve deeper into the various genres represented in the exhibition.

Guest curated by Roger Bennett and Josh Kun. They are the creators of and co-founders of The Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation (, a nonprofit record label dedicated to re-releasing lost classics from the Jewish past. Jews on Vinyl was organized by the Contemporary Jewish Museum with guest co-curators Roger Bennett and Josh Kun. Lead support is provided by from Kenneth and Anna Zankel. Inaugural Year Support: Koret and Taube Foundations.

Visit The Contemporary Jewish Museum at:


ART FOR A CAUSE: J. DILLA'S "A Personal Appreciation" Print by OBEY

Shepard Fairey, alongside Brian Cross, has teamed up with ObeyGiant to create a special print of late music producer J. Dilla to aid in fundraising efforts to support "Ma Dukes" Yancey who also suffers from lupus which took the life of her son. Ma Yancey's condition has worsened so now is the time for everyone to pitch in and help her in time of need. Limited edition of only 400 prints have been created and will retail for $55 USD (18 in x 24 in) so be one of the first to own one starting today. Also 50 of the prints will be sold at the Benefit Event on Sunday, February 22, 2009. For more information concerning J. Dilla, check out

KAWS "THe Long Way Home" Exhibition Review

As we all get prepared for KAWS massive opening this weekend at Honor Fraser, some further imagery from “The Long Way Home” has surfaced. As expected, the paintings take on iconic pop culture references with KAWS signature spin. New works include sculptures, paintings and a life-sized Chum character among other extraordinary masterpieces. “The Long Way Home” opens on Saturday, February 21st from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm.

Honor Fraser
2622 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

SOURCE: SuperTouch

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"imma shoot you in the pinky toe...."

NAME: Ricoh CX1


POPULARITY: Quickness of the GRD series to the reliable wide-angle GX series.

MAIN SUPER POWER: Its ability to process in-camera HDR (High-Dynamic Range).

OTHER STRENGTHS: A 120 fps movie mode, 9.3 MP CMOS sensor and a 28mm-200mm focal length.



THE ART OF STYLE: Photographer Peggy Sirota for GQ's "10 Most Stylish Men in America

GQ's March 2009 issue reveals the "top" 10 Stylish Men in America today. Shot by famed fashion photographer Peggy Sirota in typical GQ form (bland gray background), the list includes Justin Timberlake, Mark Ronson, Kanye West and many others. Honestly, I am not sure if these guys are really "stylish" or have a good stylist. To read the article
in its entirety, click here.