Auctions: Contemporary contemptibles

Christie's New York is having a very mixed sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art on September 13.

August 31, 2006 12:44
1 minute read.
Auctions: Contemporary contemptibles

wesselman maquette 88. (photo credit: )

Christie's New York is having a very mixed sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art on September 13. There are 247 lots, many on paper, but well over half of them are not worth tuppence. In general, even the famous names are not represented with their best. And who is still interested in David Salle, Susan Rothenberg, Mel Ramos, Keith Haring and Mike Kelley? For Post-War read once-young modernists, ranging from Sam Francis, Alex Katz, Kenneth Noland and Paul Jenkins to the derivative but effective Gunther Forg. A lively Sam Francis painted in enamels is a lesson in why commercial paints should be avoided. There's an effective Franz Kline painted on the page of a telephone book from the collection of the late photographer Arnold Newman; a fine canvas collage by Conrad Marca-Relli; and a lovely minimalist drawing of a book by Philip Guston. Another good drawing is a gestural suggestion of two ruminants by Willem de Kooning. Look out too for a tiny spin-gouache by Damien Hirst. The photography is all a crashing bore, including prints by Thomas Ruff and Michal Rovner. There are several minor Tom Wesselmans, but note his fine little maquette of cigarette smoke and the bright little acrylic on paper by Karl Appel, both from Newman's home. There are also lots of colorful gouaches by Alexander Calder, none of them very serious. Warhol at his commercialized worst is a montage of two different and unrelated prints, one a propaganda portrait of Mao and the other of an electric chair.

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