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Polaroid Collection: Update 26

These two dozen works from the Polaroid Collection included in the upcoming April 4 auction represent a very small selection from the almost 700 items consigned to Swann. Keep in mind that while a few of these items were withdrawn from the Sotheby’s auction due to protest by the artists, Sotheby’s skimmed the cream off the collection for those sales. What’s left, then, are either the few globules of fat left floating on the surface or else the best of the skimmed milk that remains — from the perspective of the secondary market, that is. (I’d consider all of this group of works historically significant and museum-worthy, though some of it primarily as study material.) […]

Polaroid Collection: Update 21

The Polaroid Collection is inarguably a whole, much greater than the sum of its parts. So this auction is an amputation — which doesn’t render the remainder of the collection insignificant or meaningless, but inarguably diminishes it by reducing the complex synergy of its interactive parts. Indeed, I could feel the synergy leaving the room, almost palpably, as I wandered through the galleries. […]

Polaroid Collection: Update 20

Sotheby’s auction of the Polaroid Collection will start tomorrow evening, Monday, June 21, following six days of previews. The auction will have four sessions: the first tomorrow, starting at 5 p.m., the remaining three on Tuesday, June 22. I hope it goes well — for the sake of Sotheby’s; for the sake of the creditors on whose behalf Trustee John R. Stoebner obtained the Minnesota Bankruptcy Court’s permission to hold the auction; and, most of all, for the market for photography. Poor results would serve no one’s interest, including mine. Indeed, I’d be delighted to see this sale set new records for some of the photographers involved. […]

Polaroid Collection: Update 17

Continuing her detailed coverage of the crisis of the Polaroid Collection, Charlotte Burns in the April issue of The Art Newspaper reports that a considerable number of artists and photographers with work in the collection stand ready to participate in a legal effort to intervene in its imminent dismantling. In her article titled “Polaroid row hots up,” she specifically identifies Chuck Close as having committed himself to fighting the planned June 21-22 auction of the cream of the collection at Sotheby’s in New York. […]

Polaroid Collection: Update 16

Even assuming the auction by Sotheby’s goes through as planned, it includes only 1260 works out of an inventoried total of 15,936. That leaves 14,676 still in the hands of the court-appointed trustee, John R. Stoebner, for disposition. So we need to turn some of our attention to alerting suitable repositories to the desirability and ongoing availability of the bulk of the collection, which remains a unique anthology of twentieth-century visual culture. In short, we need to help the trustee find this collection — complete as is, or minus the auction selection but otherwise intact — a good new home. […]