Warhol and Renior Outdone By Chimp
written by: Cory Q
This story was sent to me by several people, all at the same time. I thought I would put it in the "Art" section because this speaks more to what people consider art in my opinion than anything else. This sort of auction strikes me as odd. It feels like a joke that backfired. I can invision a few folks in a back room standing around and saying "Hey, let's see if those fools will but this smear by the chimp" and then when someone does pay so much for them it is like one more nail has been driven into the coffin of 'high art'. Hell, any monkey can do it. I'm sure Warhol's ghost is now hungry and saying in shadowy whispers that he was right all along.
This is from the Associated Press by the way.
LONDON - Monkey business proved to be a lucrative pastime Monday when paintings by Congo the chimpanzee sold at auction for more than 14,000 pounds (US$25,620; euro20,917). The collection of three tempera paintings - all abstract - were auctioned at Bonhams in London alongside works by impressionist master Renoir and pop art provocateur Andy Warhol.
But while Warhol and Renoir's work didn't sell, bidders lavished attention on Congo's paintings. An American bidder named Howard Hong, who described himself as an "enthusiast of modern and contemporary painting," purchased the lot of paintings for 14,400 pounds (US$26,352; euro21,515) including buyer's premium.
"We had no idea what these things were worth," said Howard Rutkowski, director of modern and contemporary art at Bonhams. "We just put them in for our own amusement." Congo, born in 1954, produced about 400 drawings and paintings between the ages of 2 and 4. He died in 1964 of tuberculosis.
His artwork provoked reactions ranging from scorn to skepticism among critics of the time, but painter Pablo Picasso is reported to have hung a Congo painting on his studio wall after receiving it as a gift.
"There's no precedent for things like this having been sold before," Rutkowski said.
And really, is Picasso such a good judege of what makes sense?
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