Frantic Bidding on Darren Bader’s Junk Mail and Cindy Sherman Makeup at Bidoun Projects Flea Market at Frieze New York

Also up for grabs is Hans-Ulrich Obrist's old passport.

Larry Gagosian. (Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills/©Patrick McMullan/Thursday, February 24, 2011/Photo - CLINT SPAULDING/
Photo 3

Darren Bader’s junk mail.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

You can get blue chip art from any gallery at Frieze, but only one booth is selling Hans-Ulrich Obrist’s old passport, Julie Mehretu’s golf ball, and Lawrence Weiner’s gold tooth: the art magazine Bidoun Projects, which is hosting a quirky artist flea market and auction in a booth. When we visited, a slew of people including celebrities were bidding for Darren Bader’s junk mail. (See Leonardo DiCaprio, Mike Myers, and Arnold Lehman Grace Celebrity VIP Frieze New York Preview.)

The offbeat event, at which the items on view in the booth are being auctioned off online at a sale that kicked off today and runs through May 17, is inspired by the often-invasive world of celebrity eBay auctions, in which personal objects stolen from the star’s dumpsters, such as Britney Spears’s pregnancy test, sell for huge sums. Other artists known for creating flea markets from their stuff or the stuff of their friends and other artists are Martha Rosler and Rob Pruitt (see Rob Pruitt Turns the Brant Foundation into a Frenzied Flea Market and Rob Pruitt Responds to Our Wacky Word Prompts for His 50th Birthday).

“We thought we’d ask a lot of artists who are close to us, who are also quite famous, for banal objects,” explained Negar Azimi, a senior editor at the magazine, told artnet News. Hence Tony Shafrazi’s painkillers.

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Orhan Pamuk’s annotated copy of The Anatomy of Melancholy.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

And while the magazine is situated with the other publications, it got a gallery-sized booth, gratis, thanks to Frieze.

The offerings, all neatly framed and mounted are being auctioned off at quite reasonable prices.

There is one big ticket item: a 1638 edition of the Anatomy of Melancholy, with contemporary illustrations painted in by Orhan Pamuk. Bidoun estimates that the manuscript could be worth as much as $25,000, based on auction sales of other similar manuscripts, factoring in the value of this particular edition, which has been annotated and painted in by the Turkish Nobel Laureate.

As for the rest of the items, they are all decidedly more disposable in nature. While the appeal of Cindy Sherman’s mask and eyeliner might seem limited, they’re also probably the best bargain at the fair.


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