ARTnewsletter Archive

Prices Climb for Rist’s Intricate Video Installations

Purchasing a video installation by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist (b. 1962) is “an extensive commitment,” says Natalia Mager, director of Luhring Augustine Gallery, Manhattan. Rist has a team of installers who map out how the work will be displayed by the collector, and the process sometimes involves redesigning a space, carpentry and electrical work,

NEW YORK—Purchasing a video installation by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist (b. 1962) is “an extensive commitment,” says Natalia Mager, director of Luhring Augustine Gallery, Manhattan. Rist has a team of installers who map out how the work will be displayed by the collector, and the process sometimes involves redesigning a space, carpentry and electrical work, as well as acquiring projectors or video players.

Rist’s most recent gallery show took place last September at Luhring Augustine, which has represented the artist exclusively in North America since 1996. The show featured one room-size installation, priced at $350,000, and three smaller video sculptures, priced at $25,000 and $75,000, depending upon the size of the edition. All were bought by private collectors. The gallery prices of Rist’s work do not include the cost of installation and equipment, which may sometimes exceed $10,000, Mager notes.

The larger installation, which was priced at $350,000, did not sell and was “intended for an institutional buyer,” says Mager. Because of the size of some installations, there tend to be relatively few works in any given show: A current exhibition at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Conn. (through Oct. 10), will display one, while a show slated to open in September 2006 at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (which also is planning a touring exhibit of Rist’s work in 2007), will display two or three. In general Rist’s larger pieces, which are available in editions of three, start at $100,000.

The artist’s video installations have been on view at a number of venues this year including the Venice Biennale (through Nov. 6), the Aldrich Museum and, most recently, art centers in Grenoble, Paris and Mexico City. Later this year her work will be shown at Hauser & Wirth, London (Nov. 9-Dec. 7).

This will be Rist’s first exhibition at the London branch of the Zurich-based Hauser & Wirth, but the “majority of our requests since we opened here in 2003 have been for the work of Pipilotti Rist,” said Farah Ismail, manager of exhibitions at Hauser & Wirth, London.

In the lower-priced bracket, photographic stills from the videos are also for sale, usually in editions of 15-20, which cost from $3,000/15,000. The majority of Rist’s private collectors are in Europe (she was born in Switzerland and currently resides in Los Angeles) and Japan, according to Hauser & Wirth partner and director Marc Payot.

“Rising demand” from individual collectors and “huge institutional support” have led prices to increase 10-fold over the past six or seven years, he told ARTnewsletter. “Before some of the first major [European] museum exhibitions, one of her room-size installations would have been priced at $30,000.” Payot says that a number of Rist’s private collectors are associated with museums and plan to donate their work to these institutions.

Most of Rist’s private collectors are still holding on to their works, although some pieces have appeared at public sales. The highest auction price to date is $121,574 (estimate: $52,790/67,873) for the 1999 Bar (an installation with a barroom counter, bottles and videos) that sold at Christie’s in London in 2000.

  • Issues