K enny Schachter is the art world’s enfant terrible. Best known for his witty and often brutally honest writings about the art world’s inner machinations, he is also an artist in his own right, a professor, and an avid collector. Over the years, he has reportedly amassed enough artworks to last “five lifetimes”, out of a desire to “coexist with cultural artefacts”.
His Hoarder sales at Sotheby’s, of which this will be the third iteration, make a typically tongue-in-cheek reference to this insatiable hunger. “I’m doing some house cleaning,” he jokes, but it’s clear from the rammed walls of his Manhattan home that the sale of 92 artworks will barely make a dent in his collection. “Art shouldn’t live in storage. By its very nature, it’s a means of communication and it needs an audience to finish the equation. My loss is your gain,” he says. “I'm doing this sale to have some incoming funds, but it's not purely a profit-making vehicle, it's a way for me to sustain my life and to be able to buy more art.”
However, Schachter isn’t just interested in material art. As an artist, he has been employing digital tools since the nineties to create works that incorporate art historical references to comment on contemporary life in his typically astute and humorous manner. In recent years, he’s written extensively about his advocacy of the NFT market, minted his own NFTs and earlier this month, he curated an installation of tokenised artworks at Galerie Nagel Draxler’s booth at Art Basel Beach Miami. “NFTs have afforded me and millions of other people, for the first time in their creative lives, the opportunity to make a living doing what they love without relying on a third party,” says Schachter. “It’s nothing short of revolutionary.” For his next Hoarder sale, which he plans to “probably continue for the rest of his life”, he hopes to dedicate at least a third to NFTs, including some of his own.
Learning sessions II & Name Calling Chair Vito Acconci
“Vito Acconci is one of the artists that has had the most impact on my creative life and not solely because he made an artwork masturbating under the floor of a gallery in 1972 [Seedbed]. I had a very close personal relationship with him and both of these masterpieces were sourced directly from the artist.”
Ribbon Pouf by Maria Pergay
“I came across Maria Pergay’s work initially through books and fell in love with the physical qualities of her design as well as her life story. Maria is Jewish, Russian by birth, and has lived in Paris for decades. She forged relationships with the Royal family in Saudi Arabia along with various other families in the region and designed the interiors of their palaces, which I thought was just the most incredible story of someone who was able to bring their ambitions to fruition especially at a time when it was wildly unusual for a Jewish woman to be able to do such a thing. I was lucky enough to forge a personal relationship with Maria and this is one of the pieces that I commissioned directly from her. I’m selling two of them but they come from a collection of many.”
Spinning Dervish by Chris Burden
“Chris Burden, like Vito Acconci, was part of a group of artists trying to critique the gallery system by making art that couldn’t be absorbed into the art market. He made television commercials promoting his art in the 70s and 80s, which he aired on national television in America. I love this kind of out-of-the-box thinking. He was a maverick, a rebel, and an outsider. I can very much relate!”
Ballerinas by Jeff Koons
“I love this piece. In a way, it’s like a contemporary reflection of a Degas painting. Although Jeff’s work is never fabricated by his own hand, the amount of control that he exerts over the works is extraordinary and the attention to detail is almost beyond human comprehension. ”
Outerspace by Ambera Wellman
“At the centre of this composition is a butthole. Picasso did the same thing, but it’s more acceptable for a man to do something like that than a woman. Even though great inroads have been made for artists of colour and female artists, we still live in a very racist, subjugating society. To me, the work is very beautiful. Ambera has a very distinct language for depicting human figures and that's almost an impossible, Herculean task in art today: to be able to render a figure in a way that has never been done before. I bought this work in Paris before she was world famous and I’m only selling it now because I own another one. If you were to rock up to her gallery today, I don’t care how rich you are, you’d struggle to buy one of her pieces.”