Johan Kugelberg's Top Picks from Boo-Hooray Presents: Post-War, Counterculture & Pop

Launch Slideshow

Johan Kugelberg isn’t much of a collector anymore. The founder of the gallery Boo-Hooray instead relishes sharing the treasures he discovers with others. “It’s more about getting to commune with these pieces,” he says at his downtown New York office, where he sits surrounded by books, posters and artwork of the counterculture movements he preserves. “You can touch an object and feel it vibrate with its own energy, just because what it is and where it’s been.” Boo-Hooray Presents: Post-War, Counterculture, & Popan online auction in partnership with Sotheby’s taking place 1–16 December – is full of such objects. Kugelberg vibrates with his own energy as he talks about a few of his favourite pieces available in the sale. —Bill Crandall

Johan Kugelberg's Top Picks from Boo-Hooray Presents: Post-War, Counterculture & Pop

  • Robert Frank, The Americans - Signed by Robert Frank - First Edition (United States), 1959. Estimate $25,000–35,000.
    “We have the single most important post-war American photography book, signed by the artist to his publisher. Robert Frank’s The Americans was published first in France, where there was text sitting in opposition to all of the photographs. Frank did not like the format so he went to American publisher Barney Rosset and asked to do an edition with the text blocks removed, which created this profound, stark photographic masterpiece. So we have Barney’s copy of the French edition, and we also have the American edition signed by Frank to Rosset.”

  • [Altamont] - Research Collection. Estimate $400–600.
    “The Ralph Gleason Altamont archive is nutso. It came from the Ralph Gleason estate, and it includes every kind of real-time documentation of Altamont [the 1969 California music festival during which a man was fatally stabbed during the Rolling Stones’ set] that Gleason, as a journalist, put together. The most amazing thing in there is audio of the radio show debate the night of the events, including people involved from the Rolling Stones’ perspective and people involved with the Hell’s Angels. That’s just living, breathing history.”

  • Ray Johnson, Ephemera Lot Including Book About Death. Estimate $5,000–7,000.
    “The Ray Johnson materials are completely brilliant. He is one of the great, lost masters of Post-War American art. When you look at some of the things that Warhol got credit for in the 1960s and 1970s, you can see how those ideas were Ray Johnson ideas, and they were much more radical in Ray Johnson’s execution.”

  • Charlie Ahearn, Wild Style: Hip-Hop Rap in New York, 1983. Estimate $1,200–1,500.
    “As far as proper baffling antiquarian rarities go, the Japanese Wild Style book is just a jaw-dropper. Talk about ephemeral! The Cold Crush Brothers did a tour of Japan in 1983 together with a screening of Charlie Ahearn’s exemplary hip-hop movie Wild Style, and there was a local zine booklet published with it that falls apart if you sneeze at it. Our copy is actually in really good condition.”


  • [Periodical] - Star Magazine, February–June 1973. Estimate $1,200–1,500.
    “Star magazine is one of the strangest publications in Post-War American history. In the early 1970s in Los Angeles, there was this magazine published for rock & roll groupies. You never, ever see a complete run of it, no matter how many flea markets you hit. And it is completely amoral. It is a celebration of young hotties wanting to get it on with bands like Led Zeppelin in magazine form. How this was a marketable commodity is utterly baffling to me. It says something about times and mores and how they change.”

  • [Periodical] - Rags Magazine, 1970–1971. Estimate $1,200–1,400.
    “Rags magazine was a former Rolling Stone editors’ short-lived hippie counterculture fashion magazine. But it was a hippie counterculture fashion magazine that not only included hairy full-frontal nudity, but also contributions by Ed Ruscha and articles about the gay hippie drag queen troupe the Cockettes and their fashion sensibility.”

  • Robert Frank - Rolling Stones, Cocksucker Blues - Spanish Tony's Copy. Estimate $30,000–35,000.
    “Cocksucker Blues is the great lost movie of rock & roll culture. The only other contemporary print that I know of is the one at the University of Houston. This print is slightly longer. We are quite certain that this is the print that director Robert Frank sent to Mick Jagger, that he then gave to Keith Richards, and he gave to [his assistant and photographer] Spanish Tony. It still has the ‘B.O.A.C.’ tags, from international air transport.”

  • New Order & John Baldessari, Poster Designed by John Baldessari with Type by Kim Spurlock, 1987. Estimate $1,200–1,400.
    “The New Order Factory Records stuff shows how hip these people were. Filmmaker Michael H. Shamberg, who worked with New Order, was commissioning great art works by John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger and Lawrence Weiner to market the band. And the dudes in New Order were so open-minded that they just said, ‘Yeah, go for it!’ Having the Baldessari poster is just shocking. What a masterpiece of Post-War graphic design!”

  • [Periodical] - Survey of Assemblage Publications. Estimate $2,000–3,000.
    “These are some of the most fun items in the sale. This was Stockholm, Sweden, in 1955, after Marcel Duchamp had spent a couple of years there teaching. The legendary curator Pontus Holten put together this Proto-Fluxus Post-Da Da box, and it’s crazy. It has everything from machine art made by Claes Oldenburg to Da Da collages to Situationist Fluxus jokes, and that it happened there before it happened anywhere else in the world.”

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