New York Academy of Art's Take Home A Nude auction and party.

For the past 22 years Sotheby’s has been hosting the “Take Home A Nude” auction and party. Last Tuesday the Upper East Side steeled itself for an event that plays host to New York’s cultural elite at an event that helps to fund the Academy of Arts painting, figure drawing and fine arts department through two types of auctions and a dinner.

The premise is simple enough; bring together some of the best known names and faces in NYC, add 5 galleries of both renowned (Cindy Sherman,e.g) and emerging (Brenda Zlamany,e.g.) then serve everyone hor-d’oeuvres and cocktails until settling down to a fine dinner.

The event was a success. Most of the works on the wall were sold, sometimes after feuding bidders had hiked the prices way up. A bidder called Lemmer locked horns on one painting after another with Mueley. While some works remained less sought after, in fact the piece I was most taken with, a delicate painting of a beautiful dead bird by Brenda Zlamany, had but one solitary signature. It was reminiscent of Magritte’s brief “bloodied dead birds” phase, but without the blood. Had I the cash I would have bought it right away.

It was after the cocktails had been served that things took an unexpected turn. From a back room that read “NUDE STAFF ONLY” performers on stilts suddenly emerged, giant tigresses and a huge gorilla. Then a smaller man with a bow tie began using the animals to herd the crowd into each gallery as galleries began to close. Cries of “Make your way out of gallery one, gallery one is closing please leave gallery one”.

One of the best works that I noticed was Cindy Sherman’s Male/Female artist; the male artist stands holding his brush, sighting the viewer for perspective; the angle of the photograph makes the brush phallic, and while the female artist crouches holding up negatives, also examining her work. I took it as Sherman’s take on sexuality, the male viewing sex in a simplistic, singular term; while the female is viewing sexuality as a more intimate detailed procedure. Photography was not the only work for sale, Steven Shaheen had a piece there, in marble, broken shin bones entitled The New Rule. The marble was slightly blue and gave off a wonderful opalescence, and of course the reference to Shelley was a nice touch.

The non silent auction was much simpler and nicer, the school came out on top, and the event was a lot of fun for everyone who attended.

Review by John Hutt

Photographs by Tanya Kiseleva

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