October 26, 2001
Okay, summer's over - at least in New York, anyway. The temperature began
to plunge today and the word is that we're in for a chilly weekend. Sounds
like a good one to spend in a comfy chair with a good book.
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES
The New York Times reports that Damien Hirst, one of those Young British Artists who are currently the darlings of the art world (though why is a mystery to me. Hirst's previous works have included animal parts in formaldehyde), and whose work commands obscene prices, assembled an installation in the window of a London art gallery. There followed a gala reception, a pre-opening party as it were, after which everyone went home. Then the gallery's maintenance man came by, cleaned up the installation, and threw it away. The installation, according to The Times, consisted of "a collection of half-full coffee cups, ashtrays with cigarette butts, empty beer bottles, a paint-smeared palette, an easel, a ladder, paintbrushes, candy wrappers and newspaper pages strewn about the floor." In short, it looked like garbage. The cleaning man, Emmanuel Asare, 54, said, "As soon as I clapped eyes on it, I sighed because there was so much mess. It didn't look much like art to me. So I cleared it all in bin bags, and I dumped it." The installation, priced at six figures, according to a spokesperson for the Eyestorm Gallery, was quickly reconstructed (how difficult could it be?) from photographs. It is considered to be identical to the original. Except for the new sign that says, "Keep Off". Mr. Hirst, according to the gallery spokesperson, found the whole thing "hysterically funny". I'm sure he laughed all the way to the bank. No word on the cleaning man's new job as art critic for The London Times.
MORE WORK FOR THE CHINESE DEPARTMENT
Lionel's Berkshire, which hit the market last June, is the last Lionel train to be produced in America. It has loads of fancy features, including realistic smoke and working lights, and it retails for $749.95. No wonder they're going to stop making them! It was produced in a "limited edition" - the quotation marks are there because the company hasn't disclosed how many are in the edition. Probably as many as they get orders for. Each one comes with a commemorative plate and a letter from the President of Lionel. Oh, NOW I understand the price tag. The plate and the letter make all the difference, right?
WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT
Surely a candidate for the Shaking My Head Award for collections no one can figure out why you collect, there was recently a meeting in St. Louis, Missouri of collectors of "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" monkeys. Rumors abound about the convention. It is said that some of the participants made rude noises, climbed up the draperies, and scratched themselves in public. Supposedly, there were many bananas consumed as well. But we'll never know for sure. Nobody's talking.
Okay, Accumulators, enough silliness for one afternoon. Don't forget to
turn your clocks back Saturday night. I absolutely hate this every year.
Because Sunday afternoon it's going to be getting dark in the middle of the
afternoon. This is my least favorite day of the year. Well, don't succumb
to the early dark. Go to an auction, visit a shop, drink a hot toddy and
hug your Significant Other. In just about eight weeks, the days will start
getting longer again! Have a great week, Accumulators. Happy hunting!
© 2001 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #159
U.S. Library of Congress
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