The Upper East Side

Moving on Up: The Avant-Garde Returns to the Upper East Side

(Illustration by Breet Alfrunti)

It’s possible that the Upper East Side changed the night last September when the fire department broke up the disco party at 980 Madison. The building houses, among other businesses, a luxury spa and Gagosian Gallery. Soon it will have a Gagosian-owned “neighborhood restaurant,” as Larry Gagosian described it in a recent interview with Peter Brant. There will be chili. And waffles.

On the third floor of 980 Madison is Venus Over Manhattan, an art space opened last year by Adam Lindemann, a contributor to this paper and the disco party’s host. The crowd had gathered to celebrate a show by the artist Peter Coffin. Young women carried trays of tequila shots. Around 8 p.m., the festivities moved down the hall to a room dimly lit with red lights. From the street, you could hear DJ Harvey playing records. Professional roller skaters skated around on glowing LED wheels. A cluster of young men and women nonchalantly smoked near the entrance.

When the fire trucks came, part of the crowd decamped across Madison Avenue to Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle, where a pianist played selections from the Great American Songbook and the martinis cost $21. Read More

fairs

Notorious VIP: After a Stumble, an Online Art Fair Embraces Its Tech Side

A screen capture from VIP 1.0.

Let’s assume for a moment that Amazon.com is the best way to sell something to someone else online, the Platonic ideal of website retail. Imagine a version of Amazon.com that exists for just one week a year and requires you to have a little instant message conversation with a salesman as the first step to any transaction. If he likes you, or you’re known to him, he might take you to a “private room,” identical to any other inventory page, but where they keep the really good thriller novels. Fair warning! This version of Amazon.com has a reputation for being a little quirky technically as well. The chat function isn’t reliable, and the whole site once had to be taken offline for several hours, during that week of its existence. Read More

Auctions

‘Marathon’ 91-Lot Contemporary Art Sale at Christie’s Garners $247.6 M.

"I Can See the Whole Room!...and There's Nobody in it!" (1961) by Roy Lichtenstein sold for $43.2 million. (Courtesy Christie's)

A grueling 91-lot contemporary art sale at Christie’s last night paid off, bringing in a total of $247.6 million with premium included, within its pre-sale estimate of $226.5 million-$312.3 million. At least 13 auction records were set over the course of the evening, including new high marks for Paul McCarthy ($4,562,500), Barbara Kruger ($902,500), Louise Bourgeois ($10,722,500), Charles Ray ($3,106,500) and Roy Lichtenstein ($43,202,500). It was a “marathon sale” in the words of department head Brett Gorvy, but a lively one for the most part. Read More