Artist Ryan McGinness Takes This Auction Thing Into His Own Hands


Things you may already know about New York art wunderkind Ryan McGinness: he runs with the Deitch crew, his saturated paintings habitually contain signs and logos, he once posed for J. Crew, and he’s not Ryan McGinley. Thing you may not know: McGinness is going renegade and taking back the “middleman” from auction houses by hosting an artist-direct auction tonight, comprising 16 lots by the likes of Eric Parker, Eve Sussman, and Spencer Tunick. Maybe he was spurred to action after news of the recent Warhol sale? He did intern at the Warhol Museum throughout college…

Ryan McGinness’s Untitled (2008), acrylic on wood panel, estimated at $12,000-$14,000.

McGinness tells ArtInfo that he’s “not particularly interested by the smoke-and-mirrors game which is the auction process,” but he is, however, “interested in revealing tricks and transparency.” Hosting a live auction with your friends where all reserves are set below $14K, quite the leap from the clinical atmosphere of Christie’s or Sotheby’s, will do that. Auctioneer Sara Freidlander aptly predicts, “I think there will be a warm and fuzzy feeling Friday night, however it goes. Well, as close to warm and fuzzy as the art world gets.” At least we’re all self-aware here.

Side note of note: Tunick’s offering in the Ryan McGinness Studios Auction is a print of a shoot in Montauk that we reported on in June. Word on the streets is that prints aren’t being distributed to participants until Sunday November 22, so this is technically the first peek at a lot of bare behinds on a rugged beach.

“I have been disappointed in the sellers who have broken promises to me. The secondary market is populated by schmucks.”

The bidding goes down tonight at McGinness’s studio in downtown Manhattan. Viewing from 7 to 9 p.m. and live auction promptly at 9 p.m. Peep the full catalog here.