The Armory Show opened to press and invited guests on Wednesday, and celebrities and collectors were out in force. There was Neil Patrick Harris! And over there, Sofia Coppola! John Waters! That guy who plays Cyclops in the X-Men movie! Art was for sale. Business was being conducted. Below, a running list of sales, reserves, and prices, which we’ll update as we come across more news.
Three big Kehinde Wileys sold big: at Roberts & Tilton, Equestrian Portrait of Prince Tommaso of Savoy-Carignan (2015), measuring 102 by 108 inches, for $250,000; at Galerie Daniel Templon, Jose Alberto de la Cruz Diaz and Luis Ninez (2016), 120 by 70 inches, for $250,000; and at Sean Kelly, Equestrian Portrait of Philip III (2016) , 114 by 119 inches, for $300,000. All three are from the same series, recently made, of a similar size, and they sold quickly. What’s interesting is the different bases for the selling galleries: Los Angeles, Paris/Brussels, and New York, respectively.
Robert & Tilton’s was also offering a Betye Saar sculpture, which had been placed on hold by an institution, and many more works were selling fast—a good first day for the Los Angeles gallery.
The big Ugo Rondinone built with bluestone and steel at the front of the Eva Presenhuber sold for $350,000. (Those heading to Europe soon, take note: Ugo’s epic show/love letter to John Giorno is still up at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris until October.)
Sterling Ruby’s big sculpture M S40-2947 (2010), which was taking up a ton of space at the Sprüth Magers booth, went for $200,000. Director Sarah Watson came to work the Armory Show booth even though she just spent a crazy last few months prepping for the opening of the gallery’s new Los Angeles space. “The Armory isn’t just the 1 percenters. People who save up to buy one thing a year—they come here,” she said. “I actually meet people here. And we don’t have a New York gallery, so the collectors we work with come by.”
Marianne Boesky sold out its booth, Frank Stella’s Split Star (2015) going for $850,000. It was difficult to place in a collection because it has to be installed outside—it’s pretty big, 43 by 57 by 51 inches—but can’t be placed anywhere with salty air because of the type of steel it’s made out of. Rules, rules, rules.
Paul Kasmin is back at the Armory after a few years away and had something to say about it: “I love being back at the Armory Show.” He added, “We have a remarkable Venet sculpture on view to coincide with a monumental sculpture installation at Union Square.” The Bernar Venet—a rolled steel work coming in at a hulking 98 by 102 by 78 inches—is called Indeterminate Line, and it’s priced at $525,000, but had not sold as of Wednesday evening.
Over at GRIMM was an untitled triptych by Dustin Yellin. Like many other works by the Brooklyn artist, it featured images encased in sheets of glass and was worth a lot of money—a whopping $300,000. A prospective buyer had placed it on hold. (Twelve more like it are going to be shown at the Amsterdam gallery later this year.)
Lisson Gallery had on view a diverse grouping of works, from post-Internet video to ink drawings, and its sales included a Cory Arcangel video featuring Lindsay Lohan over a pool of rippling water ($60,000) and a multicolored Spencer Finch light work ($50,000). It also sent an e-mail to press saying it had moved works by Stanley Whitney, Ryan Gander, and Julian Opie.
New York’s 11R gallery (née Eleven Rivington) had lured many viewers into its booth with a formidable Jackie Saccoccio painting. With a large beige splotch in the middle and eye-popping splashes on it, the work was priced at $45,000.
In the first hour of the fair, Michael Rosenfeld had on offer an Alice Neel triple portrait of three young children, from around 1952, for $650,000; a wall of four Alma Thomases (one of red chunky forms atop a blue ground, from 1976, for $580,000); and a Barbara Chase-Riboud bronze-and-silk piece from 2007 for $350,000.
Nate Freeman and Alex Greenberger contributed reporting.