Tag Archive | Art Auction

The George Michael Collection at Christie’s

George Michael Collection
All Photos By Gail

For true pop music devotees — and particularly for those who came of age in the ’70s and ’80s2016 delivered a year of The Day The Music Died-level emotional trauma on a monthly basis. Like some kind of Plague Upon the Rock Stars, 2016 wiped out an entire lifetimes’ worth of legends, including David Bowie in early January, then Keith Emerson in March, Prince in April, Leonard Cohen in November and, as the year’s final fuck you — on Christmas day no less — we lost George Michael.

George Michael’s death at age 53 was especially devastating to my close friend Geoffrey, for whom Michael was not only a favorite recording artist but also a creative inspiration and role model. In March, George Michael’s personal art collection will be sold by Christie’s Auction House in London, with all proceeds going towards continuance of Michael’s philanthropic work. But before the collection hits the block to be sold worldwide for millions of pounds, an exhibit of representative pieces is touring a few cities where Christie’s has offices, so that George Michael fans can experience the joy that Michael surely felt while living with these beautiful and moving works of fine contemporary  art — many of which are by artists with whom Michael had personal relationships. Geoffrey recently relocated from Manhattan to Chicago, so when he asked me if I would attend the exhibit at Christie’s headquarters in Rockefeller Center, I said that I would. “Take Pictures of Everything,” he implored me, and I did. Sadly, out of the 200 pieces to be sold, the NYC leg of the exhibit only had twelve artworks on display. This is what I saw.

Handcuffs

Handcuffs (2002) by Michael Craig-Martin is expected to sell for between 30,000 to 50,000 GBP (Great British Pounds). This is my favorite piece among the collection on exhibit in New York.

Portrait

Portrait (2009) is a Bronze and California Redwood-based sculpture by Thomas Houseago. It is expected to fetch 40,000 to 60,000 GBP.

In The Park and American Tan XXIV

In The Park (1997) above left, and American Tan XXIV (2006-07), on the right, both by Gary Hume, are estimated to sell for 40,000 to 60,000 GBP each

Incorruptible Crown

Incorruptible Crown (2006) is one of four works by Damien Hirst in this collection. The kaleidoscopic design is created from butterfly wings under glass. It is expected to sell for between 300,000 to 400,000 GBP.

Video and Quote

The art is displayed in just two galleries, and in the second gallery there was a short video playing on a loop that tells you something about the collection and about who George Michael was as an artist and philanthropist. There were also quotes on the walls attributed to Michael, as well as a few quotes from various artists that he knew. It is in this room that I felt his spirit.

Immaculate Heart Sacred with Quote

Immaculate Heart Sacred

Photograph of Immaculate Heart-Sacred (2008) by Damien Hirst. The physical work is estimated to sell for between 120,000 and 180,000 GBP.

If you had any doubt that George Michael became rich beyond his wildest dreams, understand that there are three of Damien Hirst’s Natural History formaldehyde series works coming up for auction in London, which, owing to their potentially fragile nature, are represented in the exhibit only by photographs. The work pictured above is comprised of a pickled bull’s heart and dove wings skewered with a dagger and suspended in a glass vitrine of formaldehyde. I am sure that it will sell for much higher than the estimated price.

Paul McCartney Quote

Installation View

The Incomplete Truth

Photograph of The Incomplete Truth (2006) by Damien Hirst. Comprised of a Taxidermy Dove suspended in a vitrine of formaldehyde solution, the physical work is estimated to sell for between 1,000,000 and 1,500,000 GBP.

San Sebastian, Exquisite Pain

Photograph of San Sebastian, Exquisite Pain (2007) by Damien Hirst is the artist’s take on the Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian. Comprised of a Bullock (a young bull) pierced with arrows and suspended in a formaldehyde-filled vitrine, it is expected to fetch between 1,000,000 to 1,500,00 GBP.

Untitled 2008 By Cecily Brown

Untitled (2008) oil painting by Cecily Brown, estimated to sell for between 350,000 to 550,000 GBP.

Drunk to the Bottom of My Soul

Tracey Emin’s Drunk to the Bottom of My Soul (2002) is a large-scale example of the artist’s celebrated appliquéd blankets, which transform traditional textile-based media into vehicles for raw, confessional poetry. This piece is estimated to sell for as high as 180,000 to 250,000 GBP.

Tracey Emin Quote

Installation View with Bridget Riley.

Bridget Riley’s Songbird (1982) (striped painting above, left), among Michael’s favorite works which hung above the fireplace in one of his homes, has an estimated final sale price of 400,000 to 600,000 GBP. Rebecca Warren’s Untiled (2002) (above, right) is a bronze and gold-painted statue with an estimated final sale price of between 120,000 and 180,000 GBP.

Installation View

Although the NYC exhibit is now closed, the George Michael Collection will make stops in Los Angeles (February 11th16th) and Hong Kong (February 19th22nd), before concluding with a special public view at Christie’s London headquarters (March 9th14th). These exhibits are free and open to the public, so if you live in one of these cities you can consult the Christie’s website for their location and hours.

Best of luck to all bidders!

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Jeff Koons Must Die!: The Video Game

May 10th is big day for Sotheby’s New York Auction House, as they are auctioning off a dozen or so expensive works of fine art later this evening. Two of the higher price tag items up for sale are Andy Warhol’s Sixteen Jackies and a Jeff Koons porcelain sculpture entitled Pink Panther (see image above). As I was trolling around online looking for a picture of the Pink Panther sculpture I came across some Old News (i.e. over 30 days) about a video game created by Multi-media artist Hunter Jonakin called Jeff Koons Must Die! Check out this video:

Jeff Koons Must Die!!! The Video Game from Hunter Jonakin on Vimeo.

I’m not much of a video game player, but this one looks like fun! Jonakin explains what the game is all about below:

Jeff Koons Must Die!!! is made up of a fabricated 80’s style stand-up arcade cabinet and a simulated digital environment presented in a first-person perspective. Viewers must pay twenty-five cents to play the game and the virtual environment is traversed with a joystick and two arcade buttons. The premise of the video game is to allow the viewer to virtually destroy work by the artist, Jeff Koons.

An Iconic Balloon Dog Sculpture is Destroyed in a Scene from Jeff Koons Must Die!

Jeff Koons is one of the most polarizing and well known contemporary artists living today. He attempts to elevate the banal by constructing large metal sculptures that resemble balloon animals, oil paintings that contain subject matter derived from digital collage, and large-scale pornographic photographs featuring the artist and his former wife, to name a few. All of Koons’s art is constructed by assistants. In general, viewers love or hate Koons and his work, and that is why he was chosen as the subject matter for this piece.

The game is set in a large museum during a Jeff Koons retrospective. The viewer is given a rocket launcher and the choice to destroy any of the work displayed in the gallery. If nothing is destroyed the player is allowed to look around for a couple of minutes and then the game ends. However, if one or more pieces are destroyed, an animated model of Jeff Koons walks out and chastises the viewer for annihilating his art. He then sends guards to kill the player. If the player survives this round then he or she is afforded the ability to enter a room where waves of curators, lawyers, assistants, and guards spawn until the player is dead. In the end, the game is unwinnable, and acts as a comment on the fine art studio system, museum culture, art and commerce, hierarchical power structures, and the destructive tendencies of gallery goers, to name a few.”

Jeff Koons’ Pink Panther is expected to sell for between $30 and $40 Million Dollars at tonight’s auction.