Contemporary Art

Cocktails & Conversations: Spring 2017

By Sotheby's

NEW YORK – This May, Sotheby's Preferred Members’ Lounge returns to our New York Headquarters as a relaxing, beautifully appointed space for clients and friends to enjoy refreshments, browse catalogues and meet with our specialists. Open each spring and autumn season to coincide with our exhibitions and sales of Impressionist & Modern and Contemporary Art, the Lounge is available daily to Sotheby’s Preferred cardholders and features special programming on the weekends and evenings, including the Cocktails & Conversations event series. We look forward to welcoming our clients and guests to this elegant and comfortable space with furnishing by Patina and a baby grand piano courtesy of Steinway. 


Thomas Girst and Magnus Resch Share 100 Secrets of the Art World  
On 6 May, an audience was all ears for a conversation between Thomas Girst and Magnus Resch, the editors of the new book, 100 Secrets of the Art World. After holding a signing and panel as part of Sotheby’s event series during Miami Art Week, the insider duo came to our New York galleries for our spring sale season, where they revealed more quips from prominent figures in the art world, including dealer Larry Gagosian, artist John Baldessari, collector Adrian Cheng and Sotheby’s Allan Schwartzman. As Resch and Girst took turns reading aloud some of their favourite passages, it seemed every quote came with an intriguing or coincidental anecdote – take Resch’s persistence in hunting down painter George Condo, who happened to live on the same street in New York City as he did, or Girst, who conveniently nabbed a secret from Marina Abramović upon being seated next to her at a dinner in Qatar. “The book as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts because you keep making connections,” Resch said of recurring themes, such as the artist’s fear of failure or the need for transparency, among contributors. While Girst and Resch remained tight-lipped as far as contributing their own secrets to their book, the two were more forthcoming in an exclusive Q&A with Sotheby’s. –Stephanie Sporn 


Who Owns Creativity: A Panel on  Artistic Collaboration, Appropriation and Ownership 
Late Sunday morning 7 May, guests gathered with mimosas in hand for Who Owns Creativity, a lively and timely panel discussion about artistic ownership moderated by Sotheby’s Eric Shiner. Next to a work by master of appropriation Andy Warhol, panelists considered the tricky terrain of artistic collaboration and appropriation. Taking place on the last day of Frieze Art Fair, the conversation delved into social media’s influence on art viewership and creation. Jesse Finkelstein, Founder of Print All Over Me, a company that allows designers to upload images to be printed onto a variety of textiles, saw social media’s value in democratizing the art world for a larger audience. Yet the daily barrage of art world selfies left others on the hunt for authenticity. “Sometimes I’ve come to believe I’ve seen an exhibition because I’ve seen an image,” admitted Emie Diamond, Founder of The Curateur Collective, “But the experience of an artwork is being with it and understanding its scale and relationship to the body.” Casey Fremont, Executive Director of Art Production Fund, suggested that art itself might be able to provide solutions to digital malaise with artworks that are participatory or activated by viewers. Changing understandings of appropriation and ownership were a double-edged sword, the panelists agreed, offering seemingly as many benefits as drawbacks. “We live in a very interesting and exciting time... It all depends on how you want to view it,” said artist Nir Hod, “Is art something pure that nobody can touch and that you believe in no matter what? Or do you want to see how it translates in different worlds?” The panelists themselves were undecided. After the thought-provoking conversation, guests were invited to peruse a curated selection of items presented by The Line, the innovative retail source for refined goods from home to wardrobe.  –Kathleen White


Food Activists Claus Meyer & Lucas Denton Combat Poverty with Deliciousness (Watch Facebook Live)
On 12 May at Sotheby’s, New Nordic Cuisine guru Claus Meyer spoke alongside Lucas Denton, ‎Executive Director of Content and Communications at The Melting Pot Foundation, created by Meyer in 2010 to offer culinary and career opportunities to communities in need. Having been raised on sauerkraut, frozen vegetables and cheap scraps of meat, Meyer discussed his upbringing in Denmark during the 1960s, which he called “the darkest period of food in history.” After spending a summer in France, where the meals he’d cook with a foreign family were the antithesis of his parents’ cooking, a fourteen-year-old Meyer was determined to change the food culture of his country by restoring the link between cooking and nature. After sampling his famous wholegrain bread, guests could attest to Meyer’s philosophy of using humble and healthy ingredients to redefine culinary luxury. But despite producing delicious food and Michelin-Starred restaurants, something was missing for the Danish entrepreneur. Denton shared how The Melting Pot Foundation fills this void. The organisation’s latest project is the Brownsville Community Culinary Center, which will bring world-class resources to the Brooklyn neighbourhood later this spring. In addition to providing a 40-week culinary training course and Brownsville's first table-service eatery, the community spot will offer concurrent social programming like counselling and resumé building to equip members with entrepreneurial tools. “What attracted me to Brownsville is what they’ve done to overcome their problems,” Denton said of the neighbourhood. He believes Brownsville's strength lies within its skilled artists and cooks and hopes that the BCCC will act as a community gathering place, for and by the residents of Brownsville. –Stephanie Sporn 


Georges Braque’s Musical Contemporaries: A Concert of Debussy, Satie and Rachmaninov
On the rainy morning of 13 May, world-renowned pianist Tanya Gabrielian dazzled guests with compositions contemporary to Georges Braque's La Pianiste, a star work in the upcoming Impressionist & Modern Evening Sale. The audience gathered at Sotheby’s for a performance of pieces by Debussy, Satie and Rachmaninov, played by Gabrielian on a stunning Steinway & Sons Spirio model M player piano, thanks to our partnership with the esteemed piano makers. The virtuosic renditions were interspersed with colorful anecdotes about each of the composers.  “Satie was a strange figure. He was dismissed from the Paris Conservatoire, and was well known for dressing in velvet suits,” Gabrielian said, before launching into the artist’s Dada-inspired “Gymnopédie No. 1.” After a masterful concluding performance of Rachmaninov’s  “Polichinelle,” guests were invited on a tour of the Impressionist & Modern art on view at Sotheby’s led by our specialist Jeremiah Evarts, who highlighted works with musical inspirations and motifs. –Kathleen White


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