Peanuts, relatively speaking, for Great World Art. How on earth? Already into their second big sale of contemporary European and American art, two Indian men with attitude are going against the Meltdown Mindset and flogging rare, original and valuable works of art (up by a guaranteed six per cent every year in the European market). That’s Vikram and Gaurav Assomull and their Marigold Fine Art Gallery at 19-A, Sunder Nagar, New Delhi. Here’s the laundry list:
Salvador Dali (you’ll be offended if I tell who as if you don’t know): 15-30
Andy Warhol (Pop Art ka baap): 7-9
Jorg Doring (Pop Art ka bachha, with a Marilyn Monroe obsession): 3-5 (small pieces are 60,000-80,000)
Patrick Hughes (3-D ‘allusionist’): 8-30
Sergei Mendjisky (French figurative, served in the WWII Resistance, ‘macro-photography’): 9-12
Stephane Cipre (French sculptor): 7-10
David Kracov (Walt Disney sculptor): 1-2
Arman (Dead French-American assemblage artist): 11-15
All in lakhs except the Doring.
The show and sale are between February 18 and 24. Never mind the usual gallery bumph about ‘perspectives’ and ‘dual definitions’ (Marilyn Monroe would have said ‘dooal’ even for ‘duel’: just hear her sing ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes).
Just go see this show somehow, bid online, mortgage your firstborn for a loan. A thing of value is a joy forever, especially signed and certificated works of art.
My friend the consumer queen Rama Bijapurkar says, “Poverty is a mindset.” I agree. Art — buying or looking — is an assertion of confidence, an act of love that defies death, saffron-bottomed monkeys and empty pockets. Art is a magic mushroom that grows like Jack’s beanstalk (tsk, wash your mind out with soap, Roger et Gallet’s lavender for choice).
The Marigold men would approve. They are into the luxe et volupte lifestyle segment and the first foreign thing they began selling here was the ultimate dinky bag, the Judith Leiber minaudiere: teeny pillboxy purses made of hardware, a combat weapon really but subtler than going to a party wearing steel rhinestone-crusted knuckledusters. I thought their ‘India bag’, a Ganesha, was seriously evil, but I’m square about idols and want to throw up in the mandarin-orange planters when I see a Kamakshi deepam — the brass oil lamp of old puja rooms — used as an ashtray in modern Delhi homes.
Whatever, let’s get grim elsewhere, out here it’s good to be able to say that buying cheap was never better because the minute the market picks up, art prices will do polevaults too. This show should also be a good indicator to you about Indian artists barely out of art college and slapping 50 lakh stickers on canvases that look like they’ve flung cans of birdshit at them (even Jackson Pollock did better. More importantly, he did it first).
What do I get out of this? Nothing but a cheer for gutsy Indian businessmen, jaanbaaz Indian public and the sudden thought of Sir Amirchand Daga of Bikaner. Did you know he virtually FUNDED the Crimean War for the Brits? Poverty is a mindset…