Filter feud

Two of the art world’s hottest names are fighting on Instagram

May 23, 2014
Obsession
Design
May 23, 2014

Last week, Christie’s held a new sale of hyper-expensive, edgy contemporary art entitled “If I Live I’ll See You Tuesday.” The New York sale was organized by the hotshot art specialist Loic Gouzer (who hangs out with people like Leonardo DiCaprio and January Jones) and included works by Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, and Dan Colen. It was much-hyped online, via a video featuring a pro skater in Christie’s archives, which is notable for a fusty auction house that’s almost 250 years old.

A few days before the sale, artist Wade Guyton gave Christie’s the virtual finger via Instagram, the photo sharing app owned by Facebook. Just before one of his pieces was scheduled to be included in the auction, Guyton posted images of work he had underway on several reproductions of the work—whose existence would presumably undermine any uniqueness of the art for sale—with hashtags such as #deflationarypolicy.

If it was a deflationary policy, it wasn’t very effective. The painting broke a record and beat its $3.5 million estimate. Then, Gouzer posted photos on Instagram of a series of 10 prints that closely resembled Guyton’s, and offered them for sale, with proceeds destined for charity. “Thank U,” read the prints, which are hash-tagged with Guyton’s Instagram handle.

But this was no cheeky collaboration. A Christie’s representative told Quartz that Guyton was not involved, and the prints were simply the specialist’s response to the artist’s actions. Guyton couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Instagram is having something of a contemporary art moment, with notables such as Richard Prince increasingly using the app as a medium. Given art world politics, virtual feuds were sure to follow.

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