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Contemporary Art

Cocktails & Conversations: Autumn 2016

NEW YORK – It's officially auction season, and that means the Sotheby’s Preferred Lounge on the fourth floor of our New York headquarters has opened its doors once more. To complement a viewing of our presale exhibitions of Impressionist & Modern and Contemporary art – which feature works by Picasso, van Gogh and Warhol, among others stars – we invite you to this season’s Cocktails & Conversations, a dynamic series of informal talks with industry insiders held in the Lounge. Our programme includes: Joan Quinn, a journalist, producer and arts patron, celebrated artistic directors and curators Roya Sachs and Mafalda Millies and famed collector and restaurateur Michael Chow in conversation with Sotheby’s Eric Shiner. Read on for more about our three events.

The Preferred Lounge is open 4–18 November and has been appointed by design firm Jordan Mozer & Associates, with paints by Farrow & Ball, furnishings by Pagoda Red and Mozer Studios, rugs by Cinar and a baby-grand piano courtesy of Steinway & Sons. 

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JOAN QUINN, ZANDRA RHODES, LLOYD ZIFF AND CHARLIE SCHEIPS SEATED ON STOOLS, COURTESY OF PATINA. PHOTO: JULIAN CASSADY.

Celebrating Joan: A Life in Portraits
Joan Agajanian Quinn is a natural storyteller, and on the evening of 4 November at Sotheby's, she had many anecdotes about her remarkable past to tell. A successful journalist who helped put LA on the international art map, the Beverly Hills-based Quinn befriended many artists, ranging from Jean-Michel Basquiat to Frank Gehry to Helmut Newton, who created portraits of her. The event’s panel also included author Charlie Scheips, photographer Lloyd Ziff and fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, and given how this group shared close-knit creative circles since the 1970s and 1980s, the evening felt more like a chat between old friends that the audience had the rare pleasure of eavesdropping on. Over a slideshow of Quinn’s personal photos, sketches by Rhodes and portraits by a slew of artists, the group exchanged memories of trips, art shows and, of course, parties past. Several artists who had painted Quinn, including Michael Cherney and Kristina Hagman, were on hand to chime in and share their personal memories with the LA mover and shaker. Even those who couldn’t attend made sure Quinn got their messages – Scheips, who along with Quinn was a favourite subject of long-time friend David Hockney, spoke to the artist earlier that evening. “David asked me to send Joan his love.” –Stephanie Sporn 
 

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ROYA SACHS, MAFALDA MILLIES AND KAROLE ARMITAGE. PHOTO: HARRISON EPSTEIN.

Virtually There: A Performance Inspired by Oskar Schlemmer's Triadic Ballet
A shared appreciation for the Bauhaus brought artistic directors and curators Mafalda Millies and Roya Sachs together to create Virtually There, a new performance inspired by Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet from 1922. And with this year marking the German art school’s 90th anniversary, there couldn’t be a more appropriate time for the production, hosted by Performa Visonaries at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City from 19 November to 22 November. At a panel with Virtually There’s choreographer Karole Armitage at Sotheby’s on 5 November, Sachs and Millies discussed their collaborative process (the show also includes costume design by the Campana Brothers and set design by Kate Gilmore and Heather Rowe) and admiration for Bauhaus’s all-encompassing focus on both the aesthetic and philosophical – a quality they sought to bring to their revitalized production. It was a challenge that Armitage relished, describing how she loved the number of restrictions she had to work within, because restrictions inspire your imagination and can actually allow you to be more creative. –Alexandra Owens
 

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MICHAEL CHOW AND ERIC SHINER. PHOTO: JULIAN CASSADY.

Eric Shiner in Conversation with Michael Chow
With his signature owl-eye frames and dapper suits, Los Angeles-based Michael Chow is best known for his famous upscale Chinese restauant Mr Chow. But the 77-year-old is a man of many passions: when he’s not greeting art world and celebrity friends at one of Mr Chow’s global locations, he makes abstract paintings. And it was with an artist’s sensibility that he engaged with Eric Shiner in a wide-ranging conversation at Sotheby’s on 8 November. A crowd filled Sotheby’s Preferred Lounge to hear Chow’s colourful anecdotes about the New York art world of the 1960s through the 1980s. “Artists aren’t ahead of their time,” said Chow on the nature of creativity. “But everyone else is just behind them, always catching up.” The central topic, however, was Warhol; the talk was preceded by a visit to our tenth-floor galleries with Shiner and Chow to see Warhol’s astonishing Self-Portrait (Fright Wig), 1986. The portait was a perfect starting point: Shiner most recently worked with Chow when an exhibition of Chow’s paintings travelled to the Andy Warhol Museum, where Shiner was the director until joining Sotheby’s this summer. “Andy’s wigs were a disguise but also made him instantly recognizable,” said Chow, who added jokingly, “like me with my glasses.” –Meghan Dailey
 

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PIANIST KATELAN TERRELL ON THE NEW STEINWAY SPIRIO PIANO AND SOLOIST AVERY AMEREAU. PHOTOGRAPH BY EMILY MARKERT.

Mahler Manuscript in Concert
On 12 November, Helena Newman, Benjamin Doller and Simon Maquire invited guests to celebrate the Gutsav Mahler Manuscript to be offered the upcoming sale of Music and Continental Books and Manuscripts in London on 29 November. Described as one of the great monuments of music civilization, this work (Estimate £3,500,000–4,500,000 ($4,449,550–5,720,850) is the highest estimated musical manuscript ever to appear at auction, and it also happens to have remarkable provenance. After a discussion about what makes this manuscript so exceptional, soloist Avery Amereau and pianist Katelan Terrell, on the new Steinway Spirio, performed the Ulricht movement from Mahler’s Second Symphony. –Stephanie Sporn
 

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