November 15th, 2014

The Grim Centennial of Stalemate

A surprising range of news and opinion outlets have memorialized a string of anniversaries related to the Great War over the last few months: the assassination of the Archduke, the July Crisis, the start of the war, etc. Newspapers, magazines, the blog world, the top ten list sites, and Youtube channels have all feature anniversary observations.

We have now arrived at another grim centennial, but one which may not be as obvious as the murders in Sarajevo. At this moment a hundred years ago, one of the less distinct but nonetheless crucially important “events” of the First World War took shape: the end of the “war of movement” and the formation of stalemate on the Western Front.

[To read more, see the whole post at my blog on World War I]

“Welcome to Christie’s”

Con Temporary Art Auction Record–Sheep line up to be fleeced

Inflation revealed its ugly head again in New York City–where the money is.

Christie’s set another record contemporary art auction record of $852.9 million exceeding both the high estimate for the auction and also the recent record it set in May of this year.

How many do you have in your collection?

The sale saw new artist records for 11 artists, among them Cy Twombly, Ed Ruscha, Peter Doig, Martin Kippenberger, Sturtevant, and Seth Price. Seventy-five of the eighty lots on offer found buyers, for an impressive sell-through rate by lot of 94 percent.

Suckers a plenty:

But the evening was primarily made up of people buying for themselves, Brett Gorvy, Christie’s chairman and international head of postwar and contemporary art, said at the press conference after the sale, emphasizing the some 500 bidders from 43 different countries. He said that the new buyers were facilitated by recent “outreach” efforts in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and the Middle East.

“This was a collecting-buying pool tonight, rather than dealers,” he said.