Kenny Schachter is a London-based art dealer, curator and writer. His writing has appeared in books on architect Zaha Hadid and artists Vito Acconci and Paul Thek, and he is a contributor to the British edition of GQ. The opinions expressed here are his own.
I’ve always been a hesitant skier, even before the Sonny Bono and Michael Kennedy mountain misfortunes. This week, I turned my back on the slopes for an hour and a half, gathered together a group of enthusiastic New York friends, and made the rounds of St. Moritz’s handful of galleries, all of them within walking distance of each other.
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s sisters, Lisane and Jeanine, are taking the Internal Revenue Service to court, claiming that it overvalued their brother’s estate, DNAinfo reports. The siblings are pursuing a suit filed by their father, Gerard Basquiat, in May, a few months before his death in July. The late artist’s estate includes over 1,300 of his drawings and paintings as well as 36 works by other artists, including Andy Warhol.
A quarter-century after he died of a drug overdose at the age of 27 in downtown Manhattan, Jean-Michel Basquiat needs no introduction. The fame that he pursued relentlessly and recklessly throughout his brief career seems secure, buoyed by museum retrospectives, films, books, sympathetic critics and a bounty of supremely wealthy collectors, who now buy major works by him for $20 million or more. For anyone who needed proof that this last part isn’t just the result of market hype, there is Gagosian Gallery’s current exhibition of more than 50 works.
The fall’s auction season in New York is turning out to be a record-breaking one. Tuesday night Sotheby’s made its highest-ever total with a postwar and contemporary auction that came to $375.1 million. And earlier this evening, a Christie’s sale in the same category brought in $412.3 million, the highest total ever for an auction of contemporary art. Led by house auctioneer Jussi Pylkkänen, the lively sale, which topped its high estimate of $411.8 million, saw new records for Richard Serra, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Franz Kline, Richard Diebenkorn, Donald Judd, Mark Grotjahn and Jeff Koons. Mr. Koons is now the second most expensive living artist at auction, after Gerhard Richter.
The Authentication Committee of the estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat will disband in September, according to a Jan. 7 message on the estate’s web site:
“The Authentication Committee has been in existence for eighteen years and has reviewed over 2,000 works of art. It believes that it has fulfilled its goal of providing the public with an opportunity to obtain an opinion as to the authenticity of works purportedly created by Jean-Michel Basquiat. The Committee wishes to take this opportunity to thank all the people who worked on its behalf.”