Caveat Emptor, Cave Canem, et

Caveat Emptor, Cave Canem, et Caveat Pontifex!

Kate took me to the Christies’ Evening Sale of contemporary art last night, at which Maurizio Cattelan’s Pope-felled-by-a-meteorite installation La Nona Ora was sold for just about $900,000.00. A Bruce Nauman cast entitled Henry Moore, Bound to Fail went for three times its estimate, at nine million dollars. The room was filled with:

  • Lean middle-aged men with expensive glasses and non-traditional suit jackets,
  • Lean younger men with longish euro-hair and tight blue suits,
  • Lean middle-aged women in expensive dark gray power suits,
  • Lean younger women in expensive sweaters and designer jeans,
  • One million cellphones, and
  • The superlatively urbane and animated presence of the auctioneer, Christopher Burge.

The whole thing was a mannered temple of Big Art and Big Money, which made it seem completely normal that, during the evening, Cattelan’s taxidermied dog (“Untitled“) was sold for $80,000.00. “Last bid? Against you, sir… (crack!) For you, ma’am. Lot 314, at eighty-two thousand dollars.” That last in a suave English accent, delivered by Christopher Burge atop a polished wooden podium. In a charcoal-grey suit. While selling a stuffed dog.

You can read the NY Times article about the sale here.

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