Silly Picassos and the Nature of the Market

What could you have bought if you wanted to spend a $104,168,000
at the auctions this season:

*A loose, easy and chaotic, very early ink drawing by Phillip Guston, from a period that is vastly under valued and
*A graphite de Kooning Grotesquerie that prefigured the best of this madonna/whore women paintings and
*A midnight blue melancholy reliquary, by Cornell, featuring a Plaster owl. and
*A charming DeBuffet Cow and a
* A wise and startling pencil sketch by Andy Warhols of his brother, done before ads and pop, reminding one of why Jamie Wyeth was in the factory and a
*One of Krasners tangled, pink brambles, looser and more gestural then Pollock could ever manage. and a
*two amusingly naughty Wessleman pin up (cock and tits) and
* Ruschas 9 swimming pools, that seem loving and savage, wry and graceful, and calming and ambiguous and are like a min version of his baseball Fields and sunset strips,
* and some of his seminal Gas Station photographs (10 of them) and
* A smooth, accomplished and elderly artists pencil sketch by Hockney
* One of Alex Katz’s graceful, semi abstracted, sky and leaf, nature paintings, with colour like Bonnard.
* A Cy Twombly where a sheet of granite seeps down the page, imposing its will on a crimson scrawl of writing, censorious and chilling. and
* Two Christo sketches for the Umbrellas in Japan and California and
* An epic Gursky Print (8×6), just a bunch of white and black buildings against desert and sky
* One of Richard Princes ironic emasculations of the Marlborough Man and
* Jeff Koons and his wife sorting out the implications of the protestant marriage bed in the Made in Heaven Series and
*5 early, violently psychedelic, superflat and retchingly cute, in a good way, Mr Dob Paintings by Murakami and
* A Black Mountain Albers and
* a dark, brooding, tan, plum, indigo and grey Rothko and
* a solid, lonely, late Ocean Park by Dieborken and
* One of Richters Colour testing digitalized abstractions, like snow on a television and
* one of the light sculptures Dan Flavin dedicated to Donald Judd , in lemon yellow and candy apple red and
*a hyper realist, haunted sea by Celimens and
* and a ugly, honest, pointilist portrait by Close
* and a v. late, blocky, pastel blue square by Agnes Martin
* 7 cerulean boxes, in joyous formation by Judd, and
* Andy Warhols Silver Screen Lone Gunman, Elvis and
* one of those rigid and formalist attempts at medium, when Brice Marden painted in Graphite and Beeswax and
*a casual, and deeply erotic portrait of a woman dressing by Vuillard
*a twisted, voluptuous Degas broad getting out of a bath
* A kelly Green and Turquoise sketch of Provence trees and lakes by Pissaro
* A Rodin bust of Victor Hugo, where he looks angry and canonical and
* A sweet, quick red chalk Toulouse Le Trec drawing of a bull fight, made chilling
by implied violence and death and
* pen and ink of a pair of Matisses fat bottom girls.
*A Marquet landscape of cold, nordic sea fisheries, rigid and unfeeling and
* a charmingly naif Kees Van Dorgen cityscape
* A Schiele sketch where a nude looks like a contorting amputee dwarf, strange and gorgeous
* and the one with the woman flashing her cunt for the world to see
* and two savage anti american cartoons by Grosz, including a famous study for his evil kilroy
*and Klee’s silly, childish faeries
* and Giocemettis starving, thorny Ostrich that holds its egg on its back
* and the heavy black, imposing ritual contraption Ernst called Torture
*and a copper, sanguine biomorphic sphere by Arp
* and a pell mell, sweet and bountiful still life by Lipschitz
* and a very early, very japanese chrysanthemum before Mondrian went all square eyed
* and two Balthus nymphettes
* and a peasant girl bronze w. birthing hips and jutting breasts by Malloloi
*and a claustrophobic depiction of a girl washing her feet by Bonnard
*and one of Roulats Gold Kings, before he worked on the King of Kings
*and Duchamps two artist Boxes, full of Museums and Labyrinths
* a Box Elder Manquette by Hepworth
* and the Jigsaw Puzzle of Sophie Tauber Arp’s wood Reliefs
* and Blakes metaphysical masterpiece about the struggle for good and evil

And you could hire a name architect for the 75 million dollars that was left over as change

or you could have one sentimental, mediocre picasso, more then the acquisition budgets of most major museums, more then the rest of the world spends in years, and they blew it on a boring, obvious, dull, grating, kitschy, chintzy, decorative piece of tripe, a portrait of a type that is common to tourist images of spain, and proves that any of the energy that picasso had it never amounted to much. (Cubism-Gris and Cezanne;Neo-Classicism-Balthus and De Chirico to name two)

The ever so conservative Whitneys (which might explain this years bienelle as well) bought it as a status piece, with the same fuck you energy of the very rich that means we cannot see any of the larger Van Goghs in private collections, though he did sickly sweet, fake and inauthentic romanticizations of peasant classes too. (Poor, and misunderstood, the romantic myth of genius.)

A smart collector could have had some steals this year, cause everyone was paying attention to the same Horatio Alger bullshit thats been coming from the art world faster than anywhere else. The sad thing is that people still believe it.