French artist Joseph's collage at the Envie d'Art booth at the AAF
Last week, I attended two very interesting events in NYC, both art related; one was the Affordable Art Fair which comes to NYC every year with more than 70 galleries from around the world! The AAF represents both cutting-edge artists and new up and comers. I’m always excited to see which new artists my friends Yann and Cathy Bombard from Envie d’Art in Paris bring to the fair and they did not disappoint--there was an amazing selection of pieces by the coolest French artists. One of my favorites was Joseph and his fabulous pop collages full of color and emotion. I also loved the works from the Canadian gallery AWOL, including a very special collection of “inflated” canvas by Sandra Tarantino and the photorealist work of Paul Robert Turner, reminiscent of Eric Fischl. Mike Speller, who is represented by Woolf Gallery in London, also deserves special mention. Speller works with toys that he positions in the shape of a map of the world, on top of big indigo acrylic panels, creating a very cool effect. The AAF offers young collectors (and seasoned ones on the lookout for the next best thing) entry to international galleries that represent contemporary artists at a price point that doesn’t exceed $10,000 per artwork.
Paul Robert Turner's Record Shop
Sandra Tarantino's "shaped" canvases
The second event that I attended was a brunch and preview for the May auction of contemporary art at Sotheby’s. With an outstanding selection of works ranging from Jackson Pollock to Damien Hirst and everything in between, the exhibit was curated as well as any contemporary museum in the world. There were two works that were obviously the superstars of the collection; a 1986 self-portrait of Andy Warhol of monumental dimensions (108 in x 108 in) in black and purple, which is owned by Tom Ford (they don’t say that at Sotheby’s but I know it!) and whose estimated is $10-$15 Million! The second is an Untitled Rothko from 1961 with red and brown tones, it’s almost styled in 3D, 8-feet tall and it’s estimated to fetch $18-$25 Million (as a curious note, the same painting sold for $1.87 million at Christie’s in New York in 1997). In my personal opinion, although the two superstars are really stunning (particularly the Warhol, which is outstanding), my favorite pieces were a 1984, rare untitled mixed media canvas painted in collaboration by both Basquiat and Warhol also of great dimensions (116 in x 165 in), which has been rarely exhibited and it’s hitting the auctions for the first time (estimate is $2-$3 Million) and a photograph called “Rimini” by the one-and-only Andreas Gursky (estimate is $500,000-$700,000). The rest of the pieces up for auction were impressive and unique, meant to attract the most serious and the richest collectors in the whole world.
Warhol's Self Portrait at Sotheby's
My favorite piece, the Warhol-Basquiat, Untitled
For the majority of art collectors, an event such as the Sotheby's Contemporary Art Auction, is quite limiting because the prices are prohibitive. That's why it works to have other events, like the AAF happening at the same time, which makes the art scene more fun and a contrast in styles and affordability for the interested collector. It is events like these that make me even more grateful to be living in New York City, where there are so many stimulating chances to see art in so many different contexts.