duminică, 30 mai 2010
“Mechanical Pig” is estimated at $2.5 million to $3.5 million.
When Phillips de Pury & Company opens its new 25,000-square-foot space on Park Avenue and 57th Street this fall, it wants to grab at least some of the spotlight from the auction giants Sotheby’s and Christie’s. So executives there have looked outside their ranks, to someone who has caused a splash in the auction world before: Philippe Ségalot.
A former head of Christie’s contemporary art department who became a private dealer in New York nine years ago, Mr. Ségalot was known for putting together sales that included show-stopping works by artists like Maurizio Cattelan and Jeff Koons. He actually persuaded those artists to become involved in the installation of their sculptures at Christie’s, creating events that drew attention. (Until then such happenings were unheard of because artists notoriously dislike the public forum of auctions.)
Mr. Ségalot is also a known quantity to Phillips. In 2004 he collaborated with the company on a sale of contemporary photographs from the collection of the Baroness Marion Lambert, wife of Baron Philippe Lambert, a member of a Belgian banking family. It was a sellout, bringing a total of $12.4 million.
This time around Mr. Ségalot has agreed to start Carte Blanche, a new initiative in which Phillips will invite a collector, dealer, artist or museum curator to put together one sale. “It’s like having a guest curator at a museum,” Simon de Pury, the chairman of Phillips, explained in a telephone interview. The initiative will not be limited to New York. It may also be expanded to London too, Mr. de Pury said.
“There will be no limitations,” Mr. de Pury added. “While the focus will be on contemporary art, there can also be design objects in the sale.”
Mr. Ségalot’s auction, which may be an individual event or the first part of Phillips’s usual evening contemporary art auction, will take place in November during the contemporary auction week. (The date has yet to be determined.)
Mr. Ségalot said that he was already putting together his sale, and that it would include “Mechanical Pig,” from 2005. A seminal work by the Los Angeles artist Paul McCarthy, it is a sculpture of a sleeping pig lying on its side atop a machine. Viewers could see the pig visibly breathing. “It’s like seeing how special effects are made in a movie,” said Mr. Ségalot, talking about the way Mr. McCarthy purposely placed the pig on top of a machine. “After all,” he continued, “the artist is from Los Angeles.”
One of an edition of three, “Mechanical Pig” is being sold by Stefan Edlis, a Chicago collector, and is estimated at $2.5 million to $3.5 million. “It looks so innocent you want to adopt it,” said Mr. Ségalot. (Another “Mechanical Pig” caused a stir when it was on view at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice in 2006 at the time that François Pinault, the luxury goods magnate and owner of Christie’s, first took over the space.)
By CAROL VOGEL
Published: May 27, 2010
The New York Times