Sarah Douglas


Flying Solo

Lévy with sculptures by Germaine Richier. (Photo by Emily Assiran for The New York Observer)

Last year, the contemporary art dealer Marianne Boesky visited the artist Frank Stella’s studio to discuss a project. They spoke about working together on a more formal basis. Mr. Stella, a titan of postwar art whose early paintings sell for millions of dollars, told her that a dealer hadn’t officially represented him in a long while. Ms. Boesky jumped at the chance and, in an art world known more for competitiveness than collegiality, made a fairly unorthodox proposal. She suggested she team up with another dealer, who would concentrate on Mr. Stella’s secondary, or resale, market while Ms. Boesky focused on his new work.

She had in mind the 46-year-old, Swiss-born Dominique Lévy, who over the past 15 years has emerged as a major force in the world of secondary-market art dealing and exhibition making. It wasn’t just that Ms. Lévy had exhibited and dealt in Mr. Stella’s work and had done an exhibition of his black, aluminum and copper paintings from the late 1950s and early 1960s at her previous gallery, L&M Arts, in 2012—works that, in the words of the Times’ Roberta Smith, “represent the cornerstone of Mr. Stella’s reputation.” It was that “it’s rare to have someone in the art world that you know for 18 years and trust.” Read More

armory week 2014

At the Armory Show, the Old Masters of Contemporary Art

L.H.O.O.Q. (1916/1964) by Marcel Duchamp, at Sean Kelly

So focused is the Armory Show on the art of our times—not so long ago, it was devoted entirely to works by living artists—that the artworks that end up being talked about here often tend to be the older ones, rather than the wet-paint ones.  One piece that had people talking at the Wednesday VIP preview was Marcel Duchamp’s famous L.H.O.O.Q.—a reproduction of the Mona Lisa with a drawn-on mustache—dated 1916/1964, and on view at the booth of Sean Kelly Gallery. Mr. Kelly placed the small Duchamp, one of an edition of 35, next to a piece by Joseph Kosuth, which in turn was next to a two-sided joke drawing by Richard Prince. His point? “That L.H.O.O.Q. is the original joke painting,” Mr. Kelly’s daughter Lauren, a director at the gallery, told us. Mr. Kelly, who had helpfully placed QR codes on all of his artwork labels, was having a busy day. He’d already parted with that Prince, for $70,000, and had sold a Leandro Ehrlich and a number of other works by midday. “The fair feels solid and strong,” he said. Read More


Baibakova Joins Barnard’s Board

Baibakova. (Courtesy Maria Baibakova)

The 28-year-old, Russian-born entrepreneur and philanthropist Maria Baibakova has been making waves in the art world in recent years—she is a collector, is involved with the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim, Lincoln Center, the Tate, the Chinati Foundation and Art Dubai and is a strategic director and a member of the board of directors at the website Artspace. Now she is taking on a significant role in a different kind of institution: Last month, she became the youngest member of the board of Barnard College. Read More

human resources

Madison Square Park Conservancy President Will Step Down

Landau. (Courtesy PMC)

After 12 years as president of the Madison Square Park Conservancy, Debbie Landau is leaving the organization, which runs the park’s popular public art program.

Ms. Landau told The Observer that she is leaving to work independently as a public-art adviser. “My plan is to continue what I was doing with Madison Square Park,” she said, “giving artists an opportunity to bust out of the white box and giving the public an opportunity to see urban spaces cultivated with art.” She said she will be advising museums and other institutions on public art projects, as well as working with artists directly. Read More

Frieze London 2013

‘For a Man Who Is Unemployed at the Moment, Isn’t He Brilliant?’ Mimi Foundation Auction Totals $2.1 M.

Emin. (Courtesy Mimi Foundation)

A couple weeks ago, Sotheby’s sold Chinese painter Zeng Fanzhi’s painting The Last Supper for $23.2 million. The consignor was Belgian collector Guy Ullens who, with his wife Myriam, is the founder of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. The other night, here in London, Sotheby’s was once again with the Ullenses, this time hosting an auction and dinner to benefit Myriam Ullens’s Mimi Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of cancer patients. There were eight pieces in the charity sale, which totaled £1.3 million ($2.1 million), and was notable for the gusto with which it was conducted by Simon de Pury, who started things off by advising that everyone “just ignore” the estimates on the artworks, which he characterized as “ridiculously low.” Read More