New York Collector Larry Warsh on His Early Eye for Basquiat, and the Octogenarian Artist He’s Coveting Now

For Larry Warsh, lending artworks to museums—for all to enjoy—is one of the great pleasures of being a collector.

“This is the real joy for me,” he told Midnight Publishing Group News, “to know that this work is appreciated by so many.”

His collection of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s notebooks, in which the iconic New York artist scrawled and sketched his ideas before they made it to canvas, appeared at the Brooklyn Museum in 2015, among other stops.

Warsh has also amassed a substantial collection of contemporary Chinese photography, which is currently on view in “A Window Suddenly Opens” at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. (through January 7, 2024). Warsh has promised to donate 141 of the works—including ones by Cao Fei, Cang Xin, Lin Tianmiao, Lu Yang, and Song Dong—to the museum.

It was actually the museum’s director, Melissa Chiu, who first sparked Warsh’s interest in contemporary Chinese photography, during a trip they took there nearly 20 years ago.

Installation view of "A Window Suddenly Opens: 30 Years of Experimental Photography in China" at the Hirshhorn Museum, D.C. (November 4, 2022–January 7, 2024). Photo: Ron Blunt. Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum.

Installation view of “A Window Suddenly Opens: 30 Years of Experimental Photography in China” at the Hirshhorn Museum, D.C. (November 4, 2022–January 7, 2024). Photo: Ron Blunt. Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum.

“This exhibition is the first survey of photography by leading multi-generational Chinese artists,” said Warsh, “and reflects my deep admiration of contemporary Chinese art.”

Another of Warsh’s recent projects is a collaboration with conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner, a text-based public work in the form of a hopscotch. “The purpose of this interactive work,” said Warsh, “is to encourage all walks of life to visualize their success and achieve their dreams.”

We caught up with Warsh to learn about his tastes and philosophies as an art collector.


What was your first purchase?

My first purchase was a painting by the American artist Raphael Soyer. I bought the work during my high school years for about $5,000 using money that I made scalping Rolling Stones tickets in New York City. It was exciting for me to buy a painting courtesy of Mick Jagger.

Esther Mahlangu at work in 2022. Photo courtesy of the Melrose Gallery, South Africa.

Esther Mahlangu at work in 2022. Photo courtesy of the Melrose Gallery, South Africa.

What is your most recent purchase?

I recently acquired several works by the legendary artist Esther Mahlangu. She is 87 years old, and she is a treasure of South Africa. She has several exciting solo shows planned for Europe this year and the launch of her global museum tour and retrospective exhibition starting in early 2024. She is one of the few artists who have successfully managed to bridge the “traditional” and “contemporary” worlds.

My gut tells me that she will be remembered as one of the most important visual artists of her generation. From a market point of view, Mahlangu is priced low for her stature and importance. She is one of the few artists that I am really focused on now. It’s clear to see her history is unfolding.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, <em>Untitled (notebooks)</em> (1980–1987). Notebook cover: mixed media on board. Notebook page: mixed media, ink marker, wax crayon, and ink on ruled notebook paper. Image courtesy of Larry Warsh.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (notebooks) (1980–1987). Notebook cover: mixed media on board. Notebook page: mixed media, ink marker, wax crayon, and ink on ruled notebook paper. Images courtesy of Larry Warsh.

Tell us about a favorite work in your collection.

My collection is well-rounded with works by Ai Weiwei, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, KAWS, Daniel Arsham, and several contemporary Chinese artists. Among the works that I have collected, I consider Basquiat’s “notebooks” to be the most historically important. The notebooks are of paramount importance in understanding his later paintings as well as being powerful artworks in themselves. Not just notes, they reflect his sophisticated sense of design, the importance of the page, but most of all, the power of the word. Half-words, blocked words, and revised phrases all contribute to the interplay between the conscious and the unconscious in the mind of the artist. The pages reveal his internal preparations for his onslaught on the art world that was to follow. They are like Napoleonic battle sketches. Over the last decade, Basquiat’s notebooks have been exhibited around the world and admired by his fans far and wide. This is the real joy for me, to know that this work is appreciated by so many.

Left: Ai Weiwei, Untitled (After Mondrian) (2021). LEGO Bricks, 60 x 60 inches. Edition of 10. Right: Ai Weiwei, Untitled (After Munch) (2021). LEGO Bricks, 60 x 60 inches. Edition of 10. Images courtesy of the artist.

Left: Ai Weiwei, Untitled (After Mondrian) (2021). LEGO Bricks, 60 x 60 inches. Edition of 10. Right: Ai Weiwei, Untitled (After Munch) (2021). LEGO Bricks, 60 x 60 inches. Edition of 10. Images courtesy of the artist.

Also, Ai Weiwei’s latest Lego artworks are incredible. He is creating two-dimensional paintings with Legos that comment on masterworks from art history. Ai Weiwei is most focused on freedom of expression and the recontextualization of pressing concepts in today’s world. His Lego artworks carry his personal message through his creative command of pixels, digitization, segmentation, fragmentation, and re-composition. He is truly a global artist who is constantly reaching and pushing the boundaries.

What is the most expensive work of art that you own?

Prices go up and down! It’s hard to keep track. I am an early collector of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, so it has been a wild ride since the 1980s. My first Basquiat painting was from 1982 and cost $10,000 at 60-by-60 inches and was called Jawbone.

Installation view of a KAWS's Chum in Larry Warsh’s kitchen.

Installation view of a KAWS’s Chum in Larry Warsh’s kitchen.

Where do you buy art most frequently?

I tend to follow my instincts and that takes me down many interesting paths within the international art ecosystem (I tend to avoid dealers). I was buying art in the 1980s with passion and intuition while thinking about the future and why these artists would be important. I buy with my mind, not just my eyes and ears. I am more interested in art history and art that stands the test of time. Sadly, I think the art business is moving further away from art history.

Francesco Clemente, Untitled (portrait of Larry Warsh) (ca. 1985). Watercolor on paper, 22 ¾ x 28 ½ inches. Image courtesy of Larry Warsh.

Francesco Clemente, Untitled (portrait of Larry Warsh) (ca. 1985). Watercolor on paper, 22 ¾ x 28 ½ inches. Image courtesy of Larry Warsh.

Is there a work you regret purchasing?

I do not regret any of my collection choices.

What work do you have hanging above your sofa? What about in your bathroom?

Which sofa? Nothing in the bathroom!

Installation view of Keith Haring enamel paintings in Larry Warsh's living room. Courtesy of Larry Warsh.

Installation view of Keith Haring enamel paintings in Larry Warsh’s living room. Left: Untitled (yellow figures and three dogs) (1982). Right: Untitled (UFO, figure and dolphin) (1982). Courtesy of Larry Warsh.

What is the most impractical work of art you own?

Everything is impractical. We are talking about art, aren’t we?

What work do you wish you had bought when you had the chance?

Andy Warhol. An old friend of mine used to trade antiques and jewelry with Andy in the ’80s. He would show up with a roll of Andy’s “Marilyn,” “Elvis,” and “Coca-Cola” drawings. I was younger then, about 20 years old, and I didn’t quite understand the importance of the work. If I could go back in time!

If you could steal one work of art without getting caught, what would it be?

Dalí’s Persistence of Memory at MoMA. I could fit it in my knapsack.

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Here’s What’s In Store for the Latest Edition of the New York Affordable Art Fair

Whether you are just starting out on your art collecting journey or perhaps looking to add original art to your home, the art fair circuit can be daunting—with prices at times reaching six figures (or more) and an often-opaque buying process, it’s enough to discourage anyone. Affordable Art Fair, which returns to New York’s Metropolitan Pavilion this March 22 through 26, provides the perfect entry point to the art buying world. Though this year’s edition offers an expanded price range to reflect the market growth of its participating galleries and artists, with a price cap of $12,000, you can browse confidently knowing that costs are well below the stratospheric ranges of many other fairs.

For its 21st edition, over 70 galleries—from local to international—will come together to showcase an incredible range of art and artists. The Affordable Art Fair will also be hosting a full range of programming both to enhance the visitor experience as well as continue the fair’s mission to support and promote emerging artists and galleries. Those familiar with the fair can look forward to the private view opening on Wednesday evening, Art After Dark the following day, as well as Free Fridays—making planning your visit easy and convenient.

Khae "K" Haskell, Flourish/Corroded (2022). Courtesy of the artist and Affordable Art Fair.

Khae “K” Haskell, Flourish/Corroded (2022). Courtesy of the artist and Affordable Art Fair.

The Young Talent Exhibition will also return, curated by Arts Gowanus Director Johnny Thornton, which highlights emerging artists from both New York City as well as the greater New York Metro Area. For the forthcoming edition, artist Khae “K” Haskell’s site-specific work Effloresce will be featured, complemented by a collection of collages that detail the stages and elements of the natural world. K’s work frequently references the oft-overlooked details of nature found in New York City—plants growing through sidewalk cracks, the form and texture of trees along city streets, the types of plants found in yards and parks. These operate as reference points for graphic drawings that create collections that they can draw from for their mixed media works and installations.

Piloted in the fall 2022 edition, the Affordable Art Fair’s Fellowship Program will also be presented and is primed to become another cornerstone of the fair’s programming. Supporting Brooklyn-based Established Gallery, the Fellowship is already gearing up to welcome a second and third gallery participant for the spring of next year. Also to look forward to this edition is the 6th annual Curatorial Excellence Award, highlighting the fair’s encouragement of dynamic, thought-provoking gallery presentations.

Affordable Art Fair New York. Photo: Reed Photographic.

Affordable Art Fair New York. Photo: Reed Photographic.

For over two decades, Affordable Art Fair has been recognized as a bastion of accessibility for collectors and exhibitors alike, providing a platform that fosters dialogue and relationships, as well as support for new and emerging artists. In addition to featuring artist-run projects, digital art, and other new or experimental exhibition types, Affordable Art Fair is the perfect entry point for learning about and participating in buying art—for both the new and seasoned collector alike.

Affordable Art Fair will be open March 22–26, 2023, at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W 18 St, New York.

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Artists Grapple With the Meaning of Motherhood in a New York Gallery Show. Here’s What They Say Inspired Their Work

The questions of motherhood—whether to do it, how, when—is a major part of the female experience, and comes with enormous pressures related to the biological clock and societal expectations.

At New York’s Trotter and Sholer gallery, the varied ways that women artists respond to this question is the subject of its current group show, “A Suitable Accomplishment.”

The title is taken from the groundbreaking 1971 Linda Nochlin essay, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?,” which examined the social constructs that have kept women artists from receiving the same recognition as that of their male counterparts. (Spoiler alert: the demands of motherhood have sabotaged many a promising career.)

And though the essay is more than 50 years old, it speaks to issues women still face in the year 2023.

"A Suitable Accomplishment" on view at Trotter and Sholer. Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer.

“A Suitable Accomplishment” on view at Trotter and Sholer. Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer.

“I’m not sure that we’ve progressed as far as we like to think we have,” gallery cofounder Jenna Ferrey told Midnight Publishing Group News. “And we definitely haven’t gone as far as we need to go!”

Ferrey focused the show on a small group of women artists whose differing experiences of motherhood painted a wide picture of the subject.

Barbara Ishikura, Jen (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Barbara Ishikura, Jen (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

For some artists, motherhood is a creative inspiration, as with Fernanda’s Feher’s watercolors, which were “art directed” by her two-year-old, who asks her to incorporate elements like toys, ice cream, and cupcakes into her delicate paintings.

Others reference multiple generations of women. One of Jessica Frances Grégoire Lancaster’s finely detailed paintings on glass is based on a drawing by her grandmother, with her mother’s reflection subtly included in the work to tie the three women together.

Bahar Behbahani, <em>Untitled (Immigrant Flora)</em> 2018. Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Bahar Behbahani, Untitled (Immigrant Flora) 2018. Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

There’s even a mother-daughter duo, Shamsy Behbahani and Bahar Behbahani, whose works appear in the show.

“They created individual works, but they are in conversation with each other,” Ferrey said. “Bahar’s mother created a large hanging installation piece out of silver and copper thread which is hung so the light casts a shadow from Shamsy’s piece onto Bahar’s piece.”

Bahar Behbahani and Shamsy Behbahani, All the Sea for You All the Pain for Me (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

The 13 featured artists in the show include both mothers and women who have decided not to have children of their own, as well as women who haven’t decided one way or another—a question that Ferrey, who has decided she does not want to have children, has grappled with herself.

“Its something that’s been on my mind lately, and it comes up in conversations with friends, both those who have children and those who are choosing not to,” Ferrey said. “But there’s social pressure no matter which position you take. And this is a conversation that almost probably every single woman could contribute something to.”

See what some of the women in the show had to say in their artist statements about the question of motherhood and how it relates to their work.


Fernanda Feher

Fernanda Feher, <em>Lilyland</em> (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Fernanda Feher, Lilyland (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“As an artist, who is a single parent most of the time, I find it challenging not being able to go work whenever inspiration comes, and it is difficult for inspiration to come when having no alone time, having to do so many things at the same time and carrying so much responsibility by myself,” Fernanda Feher said. The artist credited her “infantile universe of imagination,” saying, “I can easily join my child in her fantasy to play and welcome her into creating worlds with me such as the ones we painted and drew together for this exhibition.”


Isabelle Higgins

Isabelle Higgins, <em>A Feast</em> (2021). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Isabelle Higgins, A Feast (2021). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“Our culture does not support mothers or artists enough and this is something that comes to the forefront of my mind while weighing the option of taking on the role of motherhood,” Isabelle Higgins said. “So for now, I am content with mothering my artistic works through care, time, and dedication.”


Barbara Ishikura

Barbara Ishikura, <em>Holding Sho on Swing</em> (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Barbara Ishikura, Holding Sho on Swing (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“When I gave birth to my children in the late 1980s, there was very little support for new mothers experiencing the demands of shifting cultural roles around career and childcare,” Barbara Ishikura said. “In my painting Holding Sho on Swing, I try to visualize the feelings of isolation that many young mothers experienced at that time. Looking at young women today, I see their vulnerability, but I also witness a level of confidence that was unfamiliar to me.”

Alex McQuilkin

Alex McQuilkin, <em>Untitled (Blind Man’s Bluff)</em>, 2019. Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Alex McQuilkin, Untitled (Blind Man’s Bluff), 2019. Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“Prior to having children, that idea of self, though far from uncomplicated, could be approached in a conceptual way. Since becoming a mother, even the fantasy of a singular self is out of the question,” Alex McQuilkin said. “After having my children, I began to layer archival fragments of historical wall coverings in a claustrophobically shallow trompe l’oeil space on top of repeat patterns. The specificity of these material objects with their cracks, wrinkles, and imperfections, complicates the façade of neutrality in the repeat patterns and disrupts their grid-like ability to run rampant below the surface.”

Jessica Frances Grégoire Lancaster

Jessica Frances Grégoire Lancaster, <em>Trois gestes (Three Gestures)</em> 2022. Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Jessica Frances Grégoire Lancaster, Trois gestes (Three Gestures) 2022. Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“Outside of this trio’ed collaboration, the women who precede me possess their own creative practices to sustain a fruitful life,” Jessica Frances Grégoire Lancaster said. “The act of making for us is as ordinary as drying dishes. My grandmother supplemented her husband’s income by selling her fiber arts, woven on her basement looms in order to dress her children. My mom fills her days with quilting after retiring from a career in cancer research, having fought to be considered both a scientist and mother. And I, after losing a child, have enveloped myself in painting.”


Anna Marie Tendler

Anna Marie Tendler, <em>Good Mourning</em> (2021). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Anna Marie Tendler, Good Mourning (2021). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“I do not particularly want children, yet at 36 I froze my eggs for fear I might change my mind,” photographer Anna Marie Tendler, who divorced her husband in 2021, said. “At first glance, my two works may appear to tell the story of a woman longing for motherhood, but I urge the viewer to consider the patriarchal conditioning that leads to this interpretation. Why does a woman clad in black and positioned in a room of empty twin beds signal loss? Why are we quick to assume she is sad? Perhaps she is Lilith, first wife of Adam, who in refusing to submit to her husband, left the Garden of Eden to become the figure of primal rage, stealing men’s sperm and devouring their babies in the dark of the night.”


Shantel Miller

Shantel Miller, <em>Sherri and Sheryl</em> (2018). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Shantel Miller, Sherri and Sheryl (2018). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“These pieces are a labor of love for Black mothers in my life and for those who were not able to pro- vide love in the ways needed,” Shantel Miller said.


Azzah Sultan

Azzah Sultan, <em>The Sewing Kit</em> (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Azzah Sultan, The Sewing Kit (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“Although we may grow up with our mothers, we never truly know their past and who they were before motherhood. These are conversations that are difficult to have with older generations, and I wish to explore it through a memory box,” Azzah Sultan said. “Here the biscuit tin has been reappropriated. Inside are pieces of fabric that hold personal stories. My mother starts to unveil a few but still keep some for herself.”


Chellis Baird

Chellis Baird, <em>Hope</em>. Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Chellis Baird, Hope (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“Artists, like mothers, also wear many hats, often functioning as both assistant and boss,” Chellis Baird said. “The process of creation is often a juggle of several of these roles, with moments, sometimes unexpectedly, of absolute joy. Both job descriptions include the need for patience, love, and problem solving, with the witnessing of growth acting as a constant motivator and source of reward.”


Marika Thunder

Marika Thunder, <em>Hungarian Woodshop</em> (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Marika Thunder, Hungarian Woodshop (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“My mother is Hungarian and an artist herself. She didn’t allow her budding career and the inevitable challenges that came with raising a daughter to prevent her from achieving her dream. I’ll always admire her strength and courage to follow her own intuition,” Marika Thunder said. “The intuition of a mother, and intense psychic bond with the daughter always felt sacred to me. Though I am not a mother to a child, I feel very motherly toward each painting I make since they are objects that I’ve materialized from the ineffable parts of my lived experiences.”


Lydia Baker

Lydia Baker, <em>Birth of an Idea</em> (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Lydia Baker, Birth of an Idea (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“I’m interested in the psychological aspects of having an internal calendar—ovulation in particular, as it signifies letting go, an end, or potentially a beginning. My physical and mental experience with ovulation changes each year, and now in my early 30s, it’s become more pronounced,” Lydia Baker said. “As someone who adores children and doesn’t have them, it’s been interesting seeing my maternal energy announce itself in the studio.”

A Suitable Accomplishment” is on view at Trotter and Sholer, 168 Suffolk Street, New York, New York, January 14–February 18, 2023.

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Victor Burgin’s ‘Photopath’ Unlocked Multi-Dimensionality in Photography 50 Years Ago. Now, the Work Is Resurfacing in New York

“A path along the floor, of proportions 1×21 units, photographed. Photographs printed to actual size of objects and prints attached to floor so that images are perfectly congruent with their objects.”

So read a set of simple, if ambiguous, instructions that Victor Burgin wrote on a single index card in 1967. When followed, the prompt yields a line of photographs that are exactingly printed to mimic the floor on which they’re installed—so much so, in fact, that it’s easy to miss them altogether. 

This was Photopath (1967-69), an era-defining work of mid-century photo-conceptualism that still mystifies today, even if—or, indeed, because—it leaves its viewers with more questions than answers. Photopath is the subject of both a new book and a show. The latter, a dedicated exhibition at Cristin Tierney Gallery that opens today, marks the first time in more than 50 years that the influential artwork will be installed in New York.

Victor Burgin, typed instruction for Photopath, 1967. Courtesy of the artist and Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York.

Burgin, now 81, wasn’t a photographer when he created Photopath 51 years ago. He didn’t own, or even really know how to use, a camera. What the technology represented to him was a means to an end—or, more accurately, the “solution to a problem,” he said in a recent interview.

The British-born artist was getting his graduate degree at Yale in the late ‘60s and was hyper-conscious, as many young artists are, of his place in the iterative evolution of artistic ideas and movements—that process where a generation of makers responds to the one that preceded it, and in doing so, establishes a new set of issues for the successive generation to take up. 

“We felt, back then, that our generation had to find the problem. Once you found the problem, then you knew what your artistic problem was; it was solving that,” Burgin said. 

On the artist’s mind were the slightly older mid-century minimalists—Donald Judd, Carl Andre, and his then-teacher at Yale, Robert Morris—whose formally rigorous work often resisted close examination and instead gestured outward, to the spaces in which it was installed. But Burgin was after something more elusive, something even non-material. 

“It struck me then that maybe I found the problem,” he said, recalling it in the form of a question: “What could I do in a gallery that would not add anything significant to the space yet would direct the viewer’s attention to [their] being there?” It was into this context that Photopath was born.

Victor Burgin, Photopath (1967-69), installation view, Nottingham, 1967. Courtesy of the artist and Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York.

The artwork was one of several index cards that Burgin wrote after he had returned to the U.K. Creating instructions for hypothetical artworks satisfied his desire “to do away with the object” in his work, but the cards, too, felt unfulfilled; he needed to enact the prompts to complete them.

So he did. Photopath was first realized on the scarred wooden floor of a friend’s apartment in Nottingham in 1967, then again at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London in 1969 and at the Guggenheim in 1971. 

Though the piece was conceived as a kind of sculpture—or an anti-sculpture, perhaps—its impact, in retrospect, feels emphatically photographic. Like few artworks before it, Photopath exploited the medium’s uncanny ability to nestle in between image and object, illusion and idea. If the artwork doesn’t compel its viewers to consider these ideas intellectually, it at least makes one feel them through interaction. Do you treat it like a sculpture or a picture? Or is it not an artwork at all and instead just another stretch of floor? Do you step on Photopath’s prints or walk around them? 

“It is hard to imagine an act of photography more straightforward and uncompromising than Photopath,” writer and curator David Campany explained in his recent book on the artwork and its legacy, published last October by MACK.

“It aims to fulfill the basic potential of the medium, which is to copy and to put itself forward as a stand-in or substitute. Yet,” Campany went on, “in meeting this expectation so literally, it somehow estranges itself.”

Victor Burgin with Francette Pacteau photographing the brick floor at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, 1984. © Andrew Nairne / Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge. Courtesy of Victor Burgin and Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York.

To date, Photopath has only been installed a handful of times, the most recent instance of which came in 2012 at the Art Institute of Chicago’s “Light Years: Conceptual Art and the Photograph, 1964-1977” exhibition, when it was laid upon the polished wood boards of the museum’s Renzo Piano-designed atrium. After the run of the show, Burgin’s prints were discarded, leaving a dark, ghostly silhouette on the sun-soaked floor. He had, in a sense, created another type of photograph.

“I thought, ‘That’s just perfect.’ It really returns [the artwork] to the origin of photography,” Burgin said, noting that the show felt like a fitting conclusion for the artwork. He thought that would be the final time Photopath would be shown.

But that changed last year when Campany approached the artist with the idea of writing his short book about the artwork—a piece of writing that blends analytic art theory and personal experience, often to lyrical effect. What Campany identified in Burgin’s artwork was a kind of foresight for how photographic technology is used today. 

David Campany, Victor Burgin’s Photopath, 2022. Courtesy of MACK.

“[J]ust as Vermeer had pursued an important technical development in the picturing of three-dimensional space, so too had Burgin anticipated aspects of representation that are just as pervasive: the replication of surfaces, and the uncertain space between images and their mental impressions. Fake leaves on plastic plants. Laminated tabletops imitating stone or wood. Synthetic clothing pretending to be denim or leather.”

“Photographic ‘skins’ are everywhere in contemporary life,” Campany concluded. “They are not pictures, at least not in the conventional sense, but are a fact of our contemporary material, visual, and virtual experience.”

Victor Burgin: Photopath” is on view now through March 4, 2023 at Cristin Tierney Gallery in New York. Victor Burgin’s Photopath by David Campany is available now through MACK.

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Rare, Remarkable Chinese Porcelains From a Prominent Collecting Couple Go Up for Auction in New York

Bonhams New York is offering a host of delicate treasures in its “Cohen & Cohen: 50 Years of Chinese Export Porcelain live auction on January 24.

On view January 18–23, the 155 lots feature an array of mostly 18th-century Chinese porcelains, including famille rose vase garnitures, rare ‘European subject dishes and figures, and large Kangxi-period famille verte and blue and white dishes, a popular style for porcelain cabinets of the time.

Vying for highest sale price is a figure of a European lady from the Qianlong period, ca. 1740, estimated to fetch between $80,000–$100,000. The famille rose standing lady appears to have been modeled after a print by Dutch artist Casper Luyken, ca. 1703. The pattern illustrates figures in 17th-century Jewish costume, allegedly worn by women in Frankfurt’s Jewish community.

“One lovely aspect of the European lady figure is that the Chinese potter,” Michael C. Hughes, Vice President & Head of Department for Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art at Bonhams, told Midnight Publishing Group News, “is after having copied the sculptural form and style of dress from the original Western print, he did not know the decoration to be found on the lady’s clothing. So he had simply added an entirely Chinese decoration, as you see in the cloud scrolls on the apron and the dragon roundels to the blue cape.”

A garniture of five famille rose ‘parrot-on-a-swing’ vases, Qianlong period, ca. 1740. Courtesy of Bonhams New York.

Among the highest estimates is a pair of large famille rose ‘torch bearer’ candle sconces for the European market, ca. 1740, estimated at $80,000–$120,000. The brightly colored, ornamental pieces have an enameled center with a standing figure holding a flaming torch overhead and an unlit torch lowered at the right side. It’s all within a cheerfully hued frame displaying latticework, scrolling leaf forms, and other baroque motifs, as well as open-winged parrots for extra splash, all enameled and featuring gilt highlights. 

Pair of famille rose ‘torch-bearer’ rococo candle sconces for the European market,
early Qianlong period, ca. 1740. Courtesy of Bonhams New York.

Bonhams has enjoyed a long relationship with Michael and Ewa Cohen. The Cohens count clients all over the world, from the Hong Kong Maritime Museum in Hong Kong to the British Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, among many others, noted Hughes. “Michael and Ewa’s philosophy was to buy as collectors rather than dealers—only buying pieces that excited them,” he said. “They had standards to what they collected and sought out exceptional quality, rarity, and historic interest…We’re honored to be a part of their story.”

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