Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Christie's Photobook Auction

In the past I have featured reports on the photobook auctions with a twist. For one I divided the the final gavel price by the number of pictures in each book to determine an artist's average "worth" per image. For another I compared the final gavel price to the Annual Median Income (AMI) for families around the world (example: after a year of work, a family in the Bahamas could afford a copy of August Sander's Antilitz der Zeit). Since this is auction season at a time when very few people have cash on hand and lenders are being tight with credit, I figure we'll have to find alternate ways to pay for these books. I suggest a new kind of bartering system.

How many times has a friend of yours said "I'd give my right arm for that book." Well did you know the loss of an arm according to the workman's comp "Meat Chart" could fetch you 300 weeks of scheduled award payments from your place of employment? That is, a payment of 66% of your income for 300 weeks! Well the Photobook auctions at Christie's South Kensington will take place on Tuesday, May 19th at 2:00pm so I have decided to sharpen up the ol' carving knife and see what I can afford to lose extremities-wise. A pound of flesh could very well equal a Takanashi.

Now in order to make this work I have used the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour as a base. So after a 40 hour work week we would make $262.00 dollars - minus our 33% benefit deduction, leaving us approximately $175.54 per week in workman's comp benefits. That benefit is then multiplied by the number of weeks of award payments to determine which body part will be lost. Ready? Each of the descriptions is followed by recommended "cutting instructions."

Lot #149: Stephen Shore, Uncommon Places: Deluxe edition with a print of Merced River. Estimate of 8,700-13,000. Cutting instructions: 1/2 thumb for the low estimate - Full thumb for the high estimate.

Lot #124: Yutaka Takanashi, Toshi-e (Towards the City). Estimate of 5,100-6,500. Cutting instructions: Full toe (other than big toe) plus 1/4 of your big toe (cut to first knuckle) for the low estimate - Full big toe for the high estimate.

Lot #121: Gordon Matta-Clark, Walls Paper: Presentation copy inscribed by Clark to Carol Gooden. Estimate of 2,200 - 3,200. Cutting instructions: Knee cap for the low estimate - Knee cap plus ACL ligament for the high estimate.

Lot #111: Ed Ruscha, Dutch Details. Estimate of 13,000-17,000. Cutting instructions: Complete loss of hearing in one ear (use ice-pick) for the low estimate - 1/4 leg (cut at ankle) for the high estimate. *Foot reattachment not included in gavel price

Lot # Shomei Tomatsu, OO! Shinjuku. Estimate of 2,200-2,900. Cutting instructions: 1/4 pinkie toe plus 1/4 big toe for the low estimate - full fourth finger (only applicable if you've already cut three other fingers off completely in other auctions) for the high estimate.

Lot #96: Provoke 1, 2, 3 + copy of First Abandon The World of Certainty. Estimate 18,000-26,000. Cutting instructions: 1/2 an eye for the low estimate - Full tongue for the high estimate.

Lot #84: Kikuji Kawada, Chizu (The Map). Estimate 22,000-29,000. Cutting Instructions: Full foot (must include at least three toes) for the low estimate - Full hand (must include all fingers) for the high estimate.

Lot #59: Yoshikazu Suzuki and Shohachi Kimura, Ginza Kaiwai. Ginza Haccho. Estimate of 4,400-7,200. Cutting instructions: 1/4 ear (external) not effecting hearing for the low estimate - Full ear (see Reservoir Dogs) for the high estimate.

Lot #39: Arts et Metiers Graphiques - Complete set of 68 volumes. Estimate 12,000-17,000. Cutting instructions: Full scalp for the low estimate - Full scalp plus 12.5 ounces of cranial matter for the high estimate.

Lot #55: Hans Bellmer, Les Jeux de la Poupee: 15 hand-colored prints by Bellmer. Estimate 58,000-86,000. Cutting instructions: Full leg (with free reattachment of pinkie finger on hand*) for the low estimate - Full arm plus either loss of hearing in one ear or 50% reduction of sight in one eye for the high estimate. * Low estimate disclaimer: Only applicable if one hand still attached. Pending insurance coverage approval for the procedure. Consult your insurer prior to bidding.

Lot #30: Georges Hugnet, La Septieme face du de (The Die's Seventh Face). Estimate 13,000-17,000. Cutting instructions: Full face (topical) for the low estimate - Full face plus 6 ounces of cheeks for the high estimate.

Lot #75: Jack Smith, The Beautiful Book. Estimate 41,000-50,000. Cutting instructions: Complete loss of sight in one eye plus 75% reduction of sight in second eye for the low estimate - Complete loss of sight in both eyes for the high.

Bidding suggestions:

(1) Regulate your bidding and select body parts wisely. Remember you need to retain your hands for as long as possible to cut for other auctions.

(2) Phone-in bidders remember to aim the blood spurts away from your existing book collection.

(3) Dark colored clothing recommended if attending auction in person.

Terms of Agreement:

(a) If there is permanent disability involving the loss, or loss of use, of a member or function of the body or involving disfigurement, the employee is entitled to basic compensation for the disability, as provided by the schedule in subsection (c) of this section, at the rate of 66 2/3 percent of his monthly pay. The basic compensation is - (1) payable regardless of whether the cause of the disability originates in a part of the body other than that member; (2) payable regardless of whether the disability also involves another impairment of the body; and (3) in addition to compensation for temporary total or temporary partial disability.

(b) With respect to any period after payments under subsection (a) of this section have ended, an employee is entitled to compensation as provided by - (1) section 8105 of this title if the disability is total; or (2) section 8106 of this title if the disability is partial.

(c) Medical procedures not included in gavel price.

(d) Knife rental will result in 10% fee added to final gavel price. Bone saw included.


Stuart Alexander said...

Another great post Jeff. We should get together and watch Grey's Anatomy next week. Oh I forgot, my son Biff and daughter Buffy will be in town. Maybe the following week then?

dolphin said...

I only pay GBP16 to buy the catalogue. : )

The cover of catalogue was a Hong Kong star. Chor Lau Heung -(Mr Adam Cheng.)

Chor Lau Heung was Chivalric fiction novel from Taiwan Writer

Adam Cheng

Ku Long

So suggested that all of yours should be bought the rare photobook from Taiwan. : )

Stuart Alexander, le vrai said...

Now the anonymous clown is using my name. That takes as much 'genius' as the old egomaniacal Academician inciting you all to Google him. What a boring lot.

But I do love your review Jeff.

Sebastian said...


Don said...

Bravo, Jeff! That really is right on target.

Anonymous said...

Brillant posting!
Hitting a sharp cord to remedy an otherwise risky problem of mistaken |mist+āk| sense of humour with cynicism.

R.G. said...

I imagine a drop in auction values after a few high end offerings, given that serious collectors will need to conserve capital for that special must have. I love the irony!

Harper Levine said...

I think I'll take out an insurance policy before getting on the plane...

Anonymous said...

This is the funniest shit I've read for weeks

doktor said...

actually I have never heard a friend say that he would give anything for a book. Ah maybe I just am around to many people who make things vs people who collect things.

Would like to have the Bellmer book though. Not that I have the money but the price seems to be ok too.