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Time Capsule 1972: Collier’s Encyclopedia Yearbook

Conceptual art, happenings, and the snapshot aesthetic met again this year, often with better results than expected. Bernadette Mayer, a New York poet, shot an entire 36-exposure roll of color film every day for a month, had them printed by a drugstore processing concession, and mounted “Memory,” a show which included all 1,116 images in sequence, accompanied by a taped monologue which used the photos as a jumping-off place. […]

Ring In the New: 2017

Philip Rivkin’s subsequent scam demonstrated that photographs — some of them, anyhow — have become valuable enough that, like works of visual art in the other media, they can now prove useful for money-laundering purposes, worth smuggling internationally. This represents a step forward for the medium of photography in its relation to the market and the economy — a proud moment, in my opinion, certainly meriting some formal acknowledgment as such. […]

What Makes One Photo Worth $2.9 Million? (2007)

[Checking the news this past December 12, I learned from Forbes that “On December 9 PRNewswire announced that Australian photographer Peter Lik sold a photograph entitled ‘Phantom’ for a record-setting $6.5 million. ‘Phantom,’ now the world’s most expensive photograph ever sold, was shot in a subterranean cavern in Arizona’s Antelope Canyon.” (See Rachel Hennessey’s report, […]

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 Keep in mind that while a few of these items were withdrawn from the Sotheby’s auction due to protest by the artists, Sotheby’s skimmed the cream off the collection for those sales.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 25

At the request of court-appointed Trustee John R. Stoebner, charged with the task of recovering as much money as possible for the creditors of the collapsed Ponzi scheme created by the now-jailed Tom Petters, the Minnesota Bankruptcy Court has approved the transfer of the cluster of works known collectively known as the “Sotheby’s Assets” from Sotheby’s in New York City to Swann Auction Galleries in the same metropolis, for inclusion in a series of auctions, beginning with one coming up in April 2012. […]