The opening in New York of the Museum of Modern Art's
vastly enlarged and beautiful new facility appears to be bringing a host
of out of towners from around the United States and abroad to our City.
The fall auctions and Basel/Miami were major successes and from all appearances
the trend is continuing in 2005.
The Magic of The Gates
On a beautiful winter weekend, Christo and Jeanne-Claude unveiled their massive art project, The Gates, Central Park, New York, to an audience of art lovers from New York, the United States and around the world. Twenty-five years in the making, The Gates created a magical moment in the life of the city and its beloved oasis of green. The $20-million artwork, paid for exclusively by the artists, features 7,500 16-foot-tall gates installed along 23 miles of Central Park walkways, each hung with a curtain of saffron-colored fabric.
The Gates project seems to have given a boost to Christo’s auction market, which can sometimes be undervalued. For instance, at the contemporary sales in London last week, a drawing and collage from the artist’s The Umbrellas project in Japan and the U.S. sold for the equivalent of about $100,000, well above its presale high estimate of $75,000, and a Wrapped Reichstag collage from 1992 was bought for about $160,000, also above its presale estimate.
The market for works by Christo and Jeanne-Claude has its own special characteristics. For one thing, Christo only makes drawings and collages of major projects until the project is realized, and then he stops -- putting an immediate ceiling on the number of works in any one series. Unlike most artists, Christo and Jeanne-Claude have no dedicated primary dealer, though many galleries handle their works, as is evident from the artnet Gallery Network.
"As I walk through the gates near 110th street I
see Christo and Jeanne-Claude walking toward me, surrounded by a small
entourage. People stand back and applaud. A woman approaches Christo.
Yes, it's nice, she says, but wouldn't it be better if the gates had little
decorations on top? He smiles politely. This is New York, after all; everybody
has an opinion. I shake his hand and then spontaneously place my hand
over my heart. It's wonderful, I say, thank you."
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