Last night, when we spotted petite power-gallerist Mary Boone enjoying a cocktail at the Guggenheim (where the bi-annual Hugo Boss prize was awarded to Palestinian multimedia artist Emily Jacir), we wondered what the woman who contributed to the overhyped art scene of the ’80s thought of the the currently deflating art market.
Just a few weeks ago at the Whitney Museum gala, Ms. Boone told us that in 1989, shortly after the 1987 market crash, only 20 percent of the artwork being put up for auction was selling. And while this week’s auction at Sotheby’s and Christie’s seemed somewhat disappointing–68 percent of the offerings sold at Christie’s on Tuesday–Ms. Boone pointed out that the figures were rather encouraging in comparison.
"I don’t think they were underwhelming at all. Actually, they went better than I thought," said Ms. Boone. "People who remember the early part of the ’90s are able to embrace what’s happening now more quickly. It’s just about how to handle it to reduce the panic."
The Daily Transom inquired if Ms. Boone had any advice for art world newbies that she learned from going through a dip in the market the first time around.
"All I can say is, when 1989 hit, I had a very beautiful [Cy] Twombly, an extremely important Brice Marden painting, and a 1966 Agnes Martin, all of which were losing value by the day," Ms. Boone recalled. "Everyone kept telling me, ‘Sell them! You can at least break even, but I was stubborn and determined not to just break even. I ended up waiting a year and a half and selling them for half. So now, people realize that it’s either you decide to stay in it for 10 years or sell right away."
Over by the VIP banquettes, which were divided from the regular party guests by a golden beaded curtain, the Daily Transom found Mad Men actor John Slattery (or as we like to refer to him, the silver fox) hanging out with fellow actors Julianne Moore and Stanley Tucci. Mr. Slattery, accompanied by wife, actress Talia Balsam, said that they’re just starting out acquiring art and seeking out advice about art collecting in rather unusual places.
"We were out at the Democratic National Convention in Denver recently and we got a lesson about collecting from a couple of people we met there that were generous enough to take us to see their collections," said Mr. Slattery. "They were like, ‘Look, just because you like it doesn’t mean you should flush your money down the toilet.’ Because we’re always just like, ‘That’s fantastic; we’d love to have that!’”
Mr. Slattery continued: “I guess there is a whole business side to it that we don’t know much about. You have to consider the investment side of it—certain artists will increase in value. It’s sort of a cynical way to look at it, but I guess you have to."
And might Mr. Slattery use this time to buy up some discounted art works?
"It is an opportunity to buy–I think the whole crisis is an opportunity for some people," he said. "But we’re waiting for our TV show to be renegotiated so we basically stopped shopping for right now."