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LatinArt2016GilbertoRamirezIt’s easy to lose one’s balance — with much of the Latin American contemporary art up for auction this week in NYC. Those seeking artwork — more grounded in essential truths, might consider Mujer Meditando (bottom), by Mexican muralist Gilberto Ramirez (c.1963), available through Lotus Editions.

StreetArt2016hhChristie's-O'KeeffeChristie's-O'Keeffe1921Art sales, this week in NYC, continue to reflect a decline in the market for American art, with works by Georgia O’Keeffe being a notable exception. Lake George Reflections (c.1921-2) sold for $12.9 million yesterday at Christie’s.

Seventy-years ago the Museum of Modern Art, under the direction of James Johnson Sweeney, gave Georgia O’Keeffe her first retrospective at that institution. The show was a major NY happening, with over 12,000 tickets printed for the May 14, 1946 opening. Several weeks into the show, one of the MoMA board members asked Sweeney about the possibility of buying an O’Keeffe painting from the show (White Canadian Barn, 1932). Sweeney said the price would be $2500, to which the (female) board member replied that she had thought it would be “several hundred dollars.” The present work was not in that retrospective.

Note: The painting was presented at Christie’s both vertically and horizontally.

BalletHispanico2016BalletHispanico2016kBalletHispanico2016mBallet Hispanico, billed as the “new expression of American contemporary dance,” held their annual gala fundraiser at the Plaza Hotel, 5/16. Honorees included Richard E. Feldman, President of the SHS Foundation, and Linda Celeste Sims, Ballet Hispanico Alumna & Principle Dancer of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

“Through the work of its professional company, school of dance, and community arts education programs, Ballet Hispanico celebrates the dynamic aesthetics of the Hispanic diaspora, building new avenues of cultural dialogue and sharing the joy of dance with all communities.”

Photographs: Stephen Wise

GOK-Christie's“Some such consciousness, it seems to me, is alive in the mystic and musical drawings of Georgia O’Keeffe. Here are emotional forms quite beyond the reach of conscious design, beyond the grasp of reason—yet strongly appealing to that apparently unanalyzable sensitivity in us through which we feel the grandeur and sublimity of life.” Wm. Murrell Fisher, Camera Work (#49/50, 1917)

Christie’s NY will be offering five O’Keeffe’s at their American Modern Sale, May 19, including the present works: (left) Blue I, 1916; (right) Red Hills with Pedernal, White Clouds, 1936.

OverTheWall-JKearnsThe present painting, Over The Wall (1969) by James J. Kearns, might suggest Ronald Gregor Smith’s view of humanist Martin Buber: “Buber’s wisdom may be described as the power to step over artificial boundaries for the sake of true humanity.”

Buber’s biographer Aubrey Hodes would second that notion: “And the truest symbol of the twentieth century is the border, the barbed wire fence of the heart. Buber will remain one of those rare men who both recognized it and showed us the way to bridge it.”

For Martin Buber bridging the wall came from “faithful humanism,” which meant that faith and humanity no longer appear as separate spheres. “They permeate one another and join forces, so that we can truly say, ‘Our faith is based on humanity, our humanity is based on our faith.'” Aubrey Hodes, Martin Buber: An Intimate Portrait (Viking, 1971)

The fulfillment of Martin Buber’s notion comes with our participation in the redemption wrought by the Son of Man—joined with the Father in the Spirit.

“Love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12



Dubuffet4“…It is the man in the street that I’m after, whom I feel closest to, with whom I want to make friends and enter into confidence and connivance, and he is the one I want to please and enchant by means of my work…” Jean Dubuffet, 1946

Christie's-WoolChristie's-Him2Christie's-Basquiat2From Wool to Cattelan; Picasso to Basquiat, some of the offerings at Christie’s in New York this week will likely sell for tens of millions of dollars and be paid for with looted pension fund money.

“You know, Braque is really a bastard. He finds ways of getting all my friends away from me. I don’t know what he does for them, but he must do something—something I can’t do. The result is, I don’t have any friends any more. The only people who come to see me are a bunch of imbeciles who want something from me. Oh, well, that’s life.” Pablo Picasso, as reported by Francoise Gilot, Life With Picasso, (1964)

Over at Sotheby’s three paintings owned by the Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, including a Picasso and Basquiat, were recently sold for $54 million. This after Sotheby’s had loaned Low $100 million using the paintings as collateral. No doubt the money Sotheby’s lost to Low came from its $1.3 billion line-of-credit, which came from GE Capital and pension funds. So far Sotheby’s has burned through over half of the line-of-credit, in less than a year, to buy back its own stock, pay off departing staff, and extend credit on over-valued art. Soon Sotheby’s will go the way of Fairway, with retirement prospects for many hapless pensioners far away.

Sotheby's-Bacon4Sotheby's-WalkerBurri-SaccoAction at Sotheby’s ahead of their May 11 Contemporary Art Evening Sale.

The Sale line-up includes a work by the trauma painter Alberto Burri, Sacco (1954).

Photographs: Stephen Wise

SpringMasters2016fSpringMasters2016iSpringMasters2016mSpringMasters2016aSpringMasters2016gSpringMasters2016oSpringMasters2016jOf special note at this year’s Spring Masters art show is the Bernard Goldberg Fine Arts, LLC booth dedicated to works by the modernist sculptor, Gaston Lachaise.

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg attended Thursday’s preview party at the Park Avenue Armory. When asked by LE if he was concerned about political matters in the country, he replied: “No, just petrified!”

Had society been more attentive to the treasure (wisdom) in the master artworks of the past, instead of the treasure found just in flipping them, there might be less reason to be petrified in the present.


SundaramTagore-Chotvichai3Metro-Sherman1Tai artist Kamolpan Chotvichal and American Cindy Sherman opened photography, identity-based, shows of existential significance at Sundaram Tagore Gallery and Metro Pictures respectively.


Stephen B. Wise


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