Price Check! Here’s What Sold—and for How Much—at the Online Editions of the Dallas Art Fair, Art Basel Hong Kong, and David Zwirner’s ‘Platform’

We've adapted our art-fair sales column for our new virtual world.

Outside, (2019) at Platform New York. Image courtesy the artist and James Fuentes
Keegan Monaghan, Outside, (2019) at Platform New York. Image courtesy the artist and James Fuentes

Conventional wisdom has it that there is no such thing as “the art market”—only many mini-markets with overlapping clientele. But over the past two months, all of these markets have collapsed into one: the big convention center in the sky, also known as… the Internet.

Here, the Dallas Art Fair, Art Basel Hong Kong, and David Zwirner’s new “Platform” initiative for smaller galleries in New York and London have all been testing the waters to see what a jittery market will bear and what sort of material moves in this new paradigm. So we’ve adapted our traditional “Price Check!” art-fair column for this moment accordingly.

The good news: most dealers seem to agree that online sales are most effective when prices are listed, so price transparency is growing. The bad news: it’s still not always clear how much is selling—and, for that matter, whether those who are buying will actually come through with the cash.

Nevertheless, prices provide a snapshot of where individual artists stand in the matrix of the art market today. (We did not include reported sales unaccompanied by a price or price range in our list, so the galleries that tend to disclose figures are disproportionately represented here.) And it’s helpful to know that for some galleries, on some level, some works are indeed selling.

To find out exactly what, and for how much, read on.

PLATFORM NEW YORK AND LONDON HOSTED BY DAVID ZWIRNER GALLERY

Kyle Thurman, <i>Suggested Occupation 36 (Salvatore)</i> (2020) at Platform New York. Image courtesy the artist and David Lewis.

Kyle Thurman, Suggested Occupation 36 (Salvatore) (2020) at Platform New York. Image courtesy the artist and David Lewis.

One of the most buzzed-about initiatives—which came together at warp speed after the shutdown—is David Zwirner Gallery’s “Platform,” which threw open the gallery’s digital doors to host a dozen smaller New York City galleries starting in early April. The gallery soon expanded the program with a London edition for another dozen galleries (through May 15). The lucky dealers—who were chosen by the gallery’s younger staff and invited to participate at no cost—were, perhaps unsurprisingly, thrilled to have the chance to gain exposure from Zwirner’s considerably larger audience. (Although some in the trade grumbled that Zwirner would gain access, in the process, to valuable client data, visitors to Platform are not required to enter their email addresses, as they are to enter the gallery’s own viewing rooms.)

Lower East Side dealer James Fuentes said Platform “allowed for us to have a project to tackle really early on a few weeks into isolation. When they approached us about this, we were still just processing and sort of in shock.” The experience, he said, was “extremely positive,” with interest from existing and new clients alike from Europe and Asia, as well as six figures’ worth of sales. At a time when many dealers are not comfortable overtly pushing sales on clients who may be confronting illness or other stresses, “It’s more of nuanced approach and the democratic nature of is that anyone can see the price. People can dig in if they want.”

$40,000: Keegan Monaghan, Outside (2019) at James Fuentes

$20,700: Reginald Sylvester II, 003 (Transfer Painting) (2020) at James Fuentes

$15,000: Jessie Homer French, Seasonal Fires (2013) at mother’s tankstation

$12,000: Kyle Thurman, Suggested Occupation 36 (Salvatore) (2020) at David Lewis Gallery

$12,000: Kyle Thurman, Suggested Occupation 40 (the other rumor) (2020) at David Lewis Gallery

$7,000: Zsófia Keresztes, Easy targets, heavy bites I (2020) at Elijah Wheat Showroom

$5,500: Max Wade, Red Pan (2019) at Sid Motion Gallery

$5,500: Max Wade, The Smell of Dens (2019) at Sid Motion Gallery

$5,500: Max Wade, Sea Saw Sea (2019) at Sid Motion Gallery

 

DALLAS ART FAIR

Fred Tomaselli, March 16, 2020, 2020. Courtesy the artist and James Cohan, New York.

Fred Tomaselli, March 16, 2020, 2020. Courtesy the artist and James Cohan, New York.

Although the digital edition of the Dallas Art Fair, which closed on April 23, stayed south of the loftiest sales heights achieved at Art Basel’s inaugural online-sales effort—most exhibitors came armed with works priced at $25,000 and under—a cross-section of participating dealers came away satisfied. A spokesperson for James Cohan Gallery in New York relayed that “strong interest in, and an engaged audience for” the artists they featured led to positive takeaways from the fair, including “several” sales. Dealer Susan Inglett admitted “the virtual experience will never replace IRL—not as much fun, no personal connection, and no BBQ—but that being said, we ‘met’ some new folks, and that’s why we all go to art fairs!” In fact, Inglett was so encouraged by the event, where she found buyers for works by Robyn O’Neil and Hope Gangloff, that her gallery is now building out its own online viewing room.

The features of Dallas’s digital infrastructure received high marks from other dealers. Rob Dimin of New York’s Denny Dimin Gallery commended the organizers for doing “a really fantastic job in creating the virtual fair space… with enough room for extra content to contextualize the artists.” Julia Voloshyna of Voloshyn Gallery in Kiev, Ukraine also appreciated that the fair organized virtual tours of the show, which gave attendees a truer sense of the exhibitors and more “live contact with art” than a web interface alone. Overall, then, the fair seems to have laid a useful digital runway for the scheduled return of its physical fair in October.

$100,000: Franz Kline, Untitled (n.d.) at Hollis Taggart

$75,000: Joan Snyder, The Summer Becomes a Room (2018) at Canada

$50,000: Katherine Bernhardt, Phone Home (2019) at Canada

$47,500: Richard Pousette-Dart, Untitled (ca. 1940s) at Hollis Taggart

$35,000: Summer Wheat, Faucets (2020) at SOCO Gallery

$30,000: Adam Parker Smith, Setting Sun (Fade) (2019) at The Hole

$25,000: Fred Tomaselli, March 16, 2020 (2020) at James Cohan

$25,000: Eric Shaw, Sip Stream (2020) at The Hole

$22,000: Robert Janitz, Skip to Content (2019) at Canada

$18,000: Katherine Bradford, Two Guys Green Blue (2019) at Canada

$15,000: Morgan Blair, Here at Penetron… (2020) at The Hole

$12,000: Jonathan Chapline, Foyer (2020) at The Hole

$12,000: Scott Reeder, Bread & Butter (Tropical Beach) (2020) at Canada

$12,000: Scott Reeder, Bread & Butter (Boat) (2020) at Canada

$11,500: Ted Pim, Young and Numb (2019) at Half Gallery

$9,500: Robert Moreland, Untitled Switchback II (2020) at The Hole

$7,500: Joakim Ojanen, Activities for Everyone (2020) at The Hole

$7,000: Eric Yahnker, Pandemic Lovers (After Magritte) (2020) at The Hole

$7,000–$13,000 each: Three works by Emily Mae Smith at Rodolphe Janssen

$6,500: Anders Oinonen, Hedberg (2014) at The Hole

$6,000: Oleksiy Sai, Open Space 2 (2008) at Voloshyn Gallery

$5,000: Aurel Schmidt, Cookie (2020) at The Hole

$5,000: Aurel Schmidt, Trash Doll (Caviar) (2020) at The Hole

$5,000: Koichi Sato, Def Oscar Gamble (2020) at The Hole

$5,000: Koichi Sato, Keith Hernandez??? (2020) at The Hole

$5,000: Koichi Sato, Patrick Ewing? (2020) at The Hole

$4,500: Scott Kahn, Kitchen Table (2020) at Harper’s Books

$4,500: Robert Moreland, Untitled Three Green Bars (2020) at The Hole

$3,500: Ruby Sky Stiler, No Title (2020) at Nicelle Beauchene

$3,250: Mark Leonard, Still Life IV, January (2020) at Louis Stern Fine Arts

$3,000: Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Royal Cloth II (2019) at Nicelle Beauchene

$2,500: Bianca Beck, Untitled, 2019 at Rachel Uffner Gallery

Under $10,000: Isaac Mann, Three in One (2019) at Thierry Goldberg

Under $10,000: Isaac Mann, The Cloud (2019) at Thierry Goldberg

Under $10,000: Bony Ramirez, Will the Sun Shine Over Me (2019) at Thierry Goldberg

Under $10,000: Bony Ramirez, Feeding a Child of the Ocean (2020) at Thierry Goldberg

Under $10,000: Bony Ramirez, The Red Rope (2018) at Thierry Goldberg

Under $10,000: Bony Ramirez, The Desire of Power (2019) at Thierry Goldberg

Under $5,000 each: Three untitled paintings (each 2020) by Marjorie Norman Schwarz at Gallery 12.26

 

ART BASEL HONG KONG

Mary Weatherfod, Splendor in the Grass (2019) ©️ Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio. Courtesy Gagosian.

Mary Weatherfod, Splendor in the Grass (2019) ©️ Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio. Courtesy Gagosian.

The online version of Art Basel Hong Kong seemed to be effective for mega-dealers like Hauser & Wirth, which, despite early technical glitches with the platform, managed to sell a work by Jenny Holzer for $350,000 within the opening hour, with more sales to follow. Less voluble about transactions were smaller and midsize dealers, for whom it was more challenging to conduct the requisite outreach and less effective to cross-promote on their own digital platforms.

While the online version of the fair proved that people are willing to transact in the seven figures online (something that may not have happened in the context of a virtual fair before, though it certainly had in private JPG exchanges), it remains to be seen whether a fair as large as Art Basel Hong Kong can serve as any kind of genuine platform for discovery—or offer sustaining sales for smaller dealers.

“These online viewing rooms augment reality, especially when they include information that wouldn’t already be available to read or explore, and because of this current moment, this digital mode of communication has become essential—but they don’t replace the experience in the flesh,” says Tim Blum of Blum & Poe. “We find sales trends to be akin to models from the past.”

Others were more blunt. “Art Basel Hong Kong online was a very interesting experiment because I think what it showed us was that it doesn’t work,” the dealer Dominique Lévy recently told CNN Money. “Everyone rushed to see what it was, but it’s not friendly: you go on a website, you are forced to look at art on a digital way. you aren’t having a conversation, you aren’t having fun, you aren’t seeing your friends…. I think the only sales that were made was when you made the outreach before. Therefore, you don’t need an online art fair.”

$2.6 million: Marlene Dumas, Like Don Quixote (2002) at David Zwirner

$2 million: Luc Tuymans, Tree (2019) at David Zwirner

$1.3 million: Georg Baselitz, Die andere Seite vom Ölfleck (2019) at Gagosian

$850,000: Carmen Herrera, Camino Negro (2017) at Lisson

$750,000: Mary Weatherford, Splendor in the Grass (2019) at Gagosian

$600,000: Josef Albers, Study for Homage to the Square: Late Silence (1960) at Hauser & Wirth

$560,000: Hong Ling, Splendid (2019) at Soka Art

$500,000–1 million: a work by George Condo at Almine Rech

$500,000–600,000: Cecily Brown, In the sort of a kind of a something mapped (2019–20) at Paula Cooper Gallery

$500,000: Liu Ye, Book Painting No. 21 (Karl Blossfeldt, The Complete Published Work, Taschen GMBH, 2017) (2018) at David Zwirner

$500,000: Tetsuya Ishida, Derelict Building Worker’s Chair (1996) at Gagosian

$482,000: Antony Gormley, Slump IV at Galleria Continua

$450,000: Zeng Fanzhi, Untitled (2019) at Gagosian

$400,000: Mamma Andersson, Incantation (2020) at David Zwirner

$360,000: Noah Davis, Untitled (Man on Couch) (2009) at David Zwirner

$350,000: Jenny Holzer, XX 8 (2015) at Hauser & Wirth

$300,000: Jennifer Guidi, An Instance of Becoming (2019) at Gagosian

$275,000: Yoshitomo Nara, Untitled, (2018) at Blum & Poe

$260,000: Jia Aili, Youth and Ultramarine (2019) at Gagosian

$250,000: Josh Smith, Karma Palms #4 (2019) at David Zwirner

$150,000: Yoshitomo Nara, Untitled (1997) at Blum & Poe

$150,000: Antonio Dias, Trama (1968-1977) at Galeria Nara Roesler

$140,000: Pipilotti Rist, Wasserschatz (Schwarzlicht) (2019) at Hauser & Wirth

$110,000: The combined total for five works from Yeoh Choo Kuan’s series A DAY AND FOREVER #7, #8, #9, #10 and #11 (2019) at Richard Koh Fine Art

$100,000: Lucas Arruda, Untitled (from the Deserto-Modelo series) (2018) at David Zwirner

$55,000: Friedrich Kunath, The Last Perfect Day (2019) at Blum & Poe

$50,000–100,000: a work by Rudolf Polanszky at Almine Rech

$48,000: Asuka Anastacia Ogawa, Walking (2020) at Blum & Poe

$45,000Tony Lewis, Notion (2019) at Blum & Poe

$45,000: an Issy Wood painting at Carlos/Ishikawa

$35,000: Zhang Lingnan, Lost in Trek 2020 at Soka Art

$32,000: Samuel Levi Jones, Invisible (2019) at Galerie Lelong & Co.

$25,000: Zhang Yingnan, Journey (2019) at Soka Art

$25,000: Zhang Yingnan, Night Breeze (2020) at Soka Art

$20,000:  Zhang Yingnan, Amber (2013) at Soka Art

$15,000: Teppei Takeda, Painting of Painting #34 at Maho Kubota Gallery

$15,000: Teppei Takeda, Painting of Painting #36 at at Maho Kubota Gallery

$10,000–25,000: A work by Kim Tschang-Yeul at Almine Rech

$10,000–25,000: Woody De Othello, Pushing Away Keeping Out (2020) at Jessica Silverman

$10,000–25,000: Woody De Othello, Looking Out on the Inside (2020) at Jessica Silverman

$10,000–25,000: Woody De Othello, Oval Clocking 2020 at Jessica Silverman


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