The centerpiece is a treasure, for sure, but Gagosian wasn’t able to sell it by the end of the first day. It seems collectors were slow to come around to a $1.5 million price tag at a fair where, in general across all galleries, work is usually more moderately priced.
“That doesn’t seem to be in line with Nam June Paik’s auction history,” said a former auction specialist, who is now an advisor.
The top price for a work by Paik at auction is $646,897, recorded at Christie’s Hong Kong in 2007.
But sources at the gallery did indicate other, smaller works had sold, and it was one of the more talked-about presentations at the fair.
“The installation, performance and video-based strategies which seem to dominate the current contemporary art landscape are unthinkable without the profound influence of Nam June Paik,” Nick Simunovic—who is the director of Gagosian’s Hong Kong outpost, and put together the booth—said in an emailed statement. “At the same time, his work is too little known, especially in relation to his enormous stature.”
, which has two locations in London plus one in Venice, also had an ambitious booth set up: The gallery decided to play house here at Pier 94, setting up “furniture” by
through a series of “rooms,” with stately paintings installed throughout.
“We decided to do a booth about the domestic,” said Glenn Scott Wright, director and partner at the gallery.
In the “living room” there are a few delightful
paintings from the 1940s, as well as masterful portraits by
and, through booth walls set up into a corridor, paintings by
. Collectors had put some of the work on hold, including two Averys and two Kusamas. The work tended to be on the more expensive side for the fair, with an upper limit of €800,000, and that may be why buyers had not yet pulled the trigger by Wednesday afternoon.