I tend to blog during art fairs, but rarely in the immediate aftermath. That’s because I’m usually too busy catching up on all the work that piles up during time away.
It’s too bad, because some of the better stories come down once the fairs are over.
Take-down at Art Miami: Clark, Ryan, Brent and Remy struggle to remake a packing puzzle….
Like, what happens to all the art that we work so passionately to put before the public, talk about, blog about, share booth space with, and then part with in the bittersweet event of a sale?
Of course there’s no simple answer. The dénouement of sold art is as variable as the work itself. What follows are the abbreviated stories of two works sold at two recent fairs.
Ted’s Towering Inferno
At SOFA Chicago in November, Ted Sawyer’s quadriptych Notes I-IV was available as a set of four or individually. As much as we would have loved the quadruplets to go to a single home, the first clients had the perfect place for two of the four panels, but not room for the entire grouping.
So the twins on the far left and far right went to live with a couple in Northern California.
Note III – third from the left – was acquired by a gentleman from Denver. After the fair the work returned to Portland and was then shipped out to the client via a carrier who routed it through Los Angeles.
The day it was to arrive in Denver, however, it was MIA.
That’s not MIA as in the airport that Jamie, Ryan and I had just flown into for Art Miami. That’s Missing In Action as in “where the hell is it?” – the client was about to leave town and understandably didn’t want his art left sitting on the curb next to his empty home.
Well, sitting on the side of the road turned out to be just where Note III had ended up – in a flaming puddle on the shoulder of Interstate 70, to be precise. Our beloved third puppy had tragically found a berth on a truck moving from LA to Denver. It made the evening news just south of town.
See the full story here.
A Peek into Paradise
Our second story has a happier ending.
You may remember this Richard Whiteley piece from my last blog post. Periscope was blessed first by a visit from Richard’s former grad school prof, Bill Carlson, but it had caught an even more important set of eyes on opening night.
I knew when I met the buyers again on the following Saturday – they came back to our Art Miami booth to seal the deal – that Periscope had found a good home. Context is critical with art and something told me that Periscope had a magic future ahead.
Suspecting that the client would have a home as rich, resonant and gracious as the warmth of her soothingly Southern accent, I suggested that we personally deliver the piece once the show closed.
My suspicions – aka insatiable curiosity – were rewarded beyond my richest domestic fantasies. The buyers’ home, in an older section of Miami Beach, was a breathtaking 1934 architectural concoction whose infinite, eclectic layers of garden, sea, art, history, and owners made the perfect backdrop for Periscope’s quiet elegance – and its inquisitive essence.
…that it was easy to see reflected in the home’s exterior entryway….
…a mysterious series of portals leading past lush gardens (to the left), punctuated with tree orchids, staghorn ferns and the odd bit of patinated statuary…
Passing by the magical details of the home’s interior….
…we eventually landed in a casually comfortable room that looked out onto a Rothko-esque sky/water view that seemed the perfect inversion of the artwork itself.
We left Periscope perched atop a stone table, aimed at the porthole-shaped window on the opposite bayside wall, while behind it, another window tugged at the garden of palms (and encouraged me to step behind it for this multiply-exposed view), mixing interiors, exteriors, and art together in one of the headiest brews of art placement I’ve ever enjoyed in a home.
When art dies and goes to heaven, I’m pretty sure that this is what it feels like.
A footnote to Hell:
Although Note III was lost in the I-70 inferno, it too looks to be embarking on a happy afterlife. Ted is replicating the panel this weekend – which he is able to do because he took voluminous notes on the making of the original (take heed, all you impulsive and note-less kilnworkers!) – and the client will (if satisfied with the born-again baby) finally get his artwork in early January.