There are many ways to open a new gallery. On Tuesday night, the irrepressible Frenchman Emmanuel Perrotin opted to inaugurate his new Upper East Side space, at East 73rd and Madison, with a ridiculous, remarkable carnival-themed blowout at the Russian Team Room, the sort of party that seems likely to be remembered with mixtures of affection and horror for years to come.
And then, last night, it was another dealer’s turn, as Dominique Lévy, formerly of L&M, opened her debut show, “Audible Presence: Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Cy Twombly,” in the space just above Mr. Perrotin’s. Her post-show affair was at a church, Madison Avenue Presbyterian, just across the street.
Tonight auctioneer Christopher Burge hammered down an impressive $388.5 million total with premium during Christie’s post-war and contemporary auction, his last sale at the rostrum. It was the highest sum ever recorded for a contemporary art auction, and easily surpassed the sale’s $330 million high estimate.
The packed room was lively and saw a frenzy of bids for the key lots, led by a Mark Rothko work, Orange, Red, Yellow, from 1961 that hammered at $77.5 million ($86.9 million with the buyer’s premium), a new world record for any contemporary work sold at auction, and a new record for the artist. Artist records were shattered throughout the evening with a total of 11 new artist highs by the end of the 59-lot sale.
Flipping through this week’s New Yorker, Gallerist was thrilled to find a gorgeous black-and-white full-page photograph by Bettina Rheims showing French President Nicolas Sarkozy smoking a fat cigar. It is a stunner.