Happy Mick Jagger Day

If it seems like I've been phoning in my posts all week, it's because I kinda have been. The inlaws arrived last Sunday and are staying until today (woo hoo for free babysitting!). Meanwhile I have a raging sinus infection, tons of work to do, and SXSW has been going on this week. So if I owe you an email, or if I haven't commented on your blog, please accept my apologies.

Mick would like to make it up to you.

You can't be mad at Mr. Pouty Pants, and so by proxy you can't be mad at me.

Happy weekend!

[Magnus Marding, Elle Decor, James McInroe]

I Just Got the Best Present Ever

Yes -- the best present ever, because when I opened the link Raina sent me I almost stroked out from the insanity of it all. I love art, I love houses, and when the two get together and do the horizontal mambo, they make beautiful, very expensive babies. Just how expensive?  Well, if you sold every organ in your body on the black market, you still couldn't afford any of the art in this house (plus you'd be dead).

I mean, you know you're rich when Warhol's rorschach paintings don't even rate a mention in the listed "pieces of note." And that's just the office.

Or maybe the author simply tired of referencing Warhol 8,567 times, since the home of fabulously wealthy psychiatrist Samantha Boardman and her real estate mogul husband Aby Rosen has more Warhol pieces in it than a museum.

Apparently they are also nonplussed by the proximity of so much fragile cash to two tiny toddlers. According to Boardman, “We have taught the kids how to live with [art]  and how to learn from it, but we have also taught them how to respect it.” That's code for: the nannies steer them around it. Because even the best kid will wait until you turn your back and then drive their Big Wheels into a temptingly towering stack of cardboard boxes... by Andy Warhol.

Still, you have to give the Boardman-Rosens respect for using their superrich powers for good and not evil. They probably could have single handedly bailed out Goldman Sachs, but instead they bought art. Really good art. Francis Bacon is perhaps my favorite painter in the whole universe, and that Damien Hirst sculpture ain't shabby, either. But that's not to say that I would have made exactly the same curatorial choices if I were obscenely wealthy.

William de Kooning + Richard Prince = Yes. The table is gorgeous, too, but that terrarium-as-art thingie confuses me.

Cy Twombly = hell to the yes, but Jeff Koons will never be my favorite artist. I know it's conceptual and all, but it still looks like they decided to hang the kids' pool toy next to one of the greatest painters of all time. The rug, however, gets my seal of approval (as if they need it).

Taxidermy may be out, but Maurizio Cattelan is the original gangsta. Props.

Check out the rest of the Vogue sildeshow, where you will learn that the kids are adorable but perhaps a wee bit spoiled (not judging -- I'd happily move into their life), the library is a hot mess (judging), and outdoor space is at a premium in NYC even for the uber wealthy.

Thanks again to Raina at If the Lampshade Fits for the tip!

Pop Goes the Weasel

What are the chances that I'll discover the next big art movement, purchase an entire show's worth of loot, and make a fortune before the rest of the art world even knows what hit them? Probably about as good as inventing time travel. But as unlikely as it sounds, way back in the early 60s, Robert and Ethel Scull had the prescience (and cash) to make pop art The Next Big Thing.

robert ethel scull

Robert and Ethel Scull, flanked by James Rosenquist, sculptor George Segal, and a little someone you may have heard of named Andy Warhol (played here by Andy Warhol). Not too shabby a lineup of art buddies, and in fact the Sculls had the foresight to be first in line to commission a Warhol portrait:

warhol ethel scull

Ethel Scull 36 Times

As reported by The New York Times, the story of The Scull collection is almost laughable. They bought enormous quantities of what is now blue chip art at bargain basement prices. Somehow an entire Jasper Johns show (at Leo Castelli's now famous gallery, no less) was overlooked -- poor JJ didn't sell a thing until Mr. Scull scooped up the whole show. He also snagged a Rauschenburg combine painting for $900.

Oh, and a Warhol canvas for $3500.

When many of the works they collected in the 60s were auctioned off during the 70s and 80, the art world was "scandalized" at the profits these pieces yielded, seeing such brash and aggressive collecting as crass and vulgar.

warhol 200 dollar bills

But what's really funny is that, compared to today's ridiculously inflated art market -- which increasingly treats art as a commodity to be traded exclusively within the highest echelon of wealth and privilege -- they didn't even make that much money. To wit, their Warhol piece 200 Dollar Bills sold at a 1986 auction for the paltry sum of $385,000. At a Sotheby's auction last fall it sold for $46 million.

Which makes each dollar bill worth $230,000.

jasper johns map

Here's a fancy Jasper Johns painting in the home of Agnes Gund. A similar piece from the original Scull collection is on view at Acquavella Galleries.

Well, Robert and Ethel, this round up of pop hits is for you, because I like the way you think, and I'm glad you rescued pop art from the gaping maws of history. Ok, that may be a small largeish overstatement, but without your keen sensibility, who knows whether the Jasper Johns show would have sold, or whether Andy's work would be as widespread as it is today. Or whether Pruitt and Early would have made these post pop homages to Warhol's Campbell Soup prints:

pruitt early


Hilarious. The rest of my decidedly less humorous roundup is as follows:

warhol living etc

Living Etc


Reto Guntli

warhol elvis

via Head Over Heels

warhol todd romano

Todd Romano


Martha Angus via Eye Spy

pop art

Reto Guntli



angie hranowsky

Angie Hranowsky

Even though their contemporaries felt the Sculls made out like bandits, you get the sense that their philosophy of collecting was much different than today's point of view. Scull's son Jonathan says that his father "bought all that art because he was crazy for it, and nothing was going to get in his way." Seems a far cry from today's collectors, who more often than not view paintings as investments.

On the other hand, if the Sculls hadn't discovered these guys, maybe Jonathan could afford to buy back the painting that Jasper Johns gave him as a Bar Mitzvah present.

I suppose being ahead of one's time does have its disadvantages.