Art that costs less than 7 figures? Second-rate!

Today's New York Times has an article about Lisa Dennison, who after a three decade career at the Guggenheim, has moved to the action house Sotheby's. I was pretty shocked to see this quote:

Actually, the whitewashed walls of the Upper East Side apartment she shares with her husband, Roderick Waywell, who used to own the East Side Tennis Club but segued into philanthropy to help run an arts education program championed by the crooner Tony Bennett, are devoid of artwork.

Her rationale: “I didn’t want to live with second-rate art, so I decided that if I couldn’t have Kandinsky or Mondrian, I’d rather live with nothing.” Well, not quite nothing. Francesco Clemente painted her in odalisque form after she organized a Guggenheim retrospective of his work, and as a further favor, lent her the eight-foot painting.

Doesn't this seem like an odd thing to say when your job involves trying to convince people to buy and sell contemporary art via Sotheby's? Perhaps not, since the auction houses are making it more expensive to sell lower-priced works.

Yes, this does seem a tad insensitive. Guess, now that she is out of NY, she is toning down the spin - but nevertheless condescending...

She's not leaving NY. She's based here at Sotheby's.

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Published on September 14, 2007 1:05 PM.

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