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Art Survivor

Artists leave work outside; pigeons refuse to poop on it.

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From March 11 to April 8, 30 installations by artists including Cecily Brown, Adam McEwen, and Jack Pierson were intentionally left outdoors under the High Line. The concept of the exhibit, called “Survivor,” was to see what the exposure would do to the pieces. The show, organized by the Bortolami Dayan gallery, was chic enough that its opening attracted Keanu Reeves, Rachel Feinstein, and Mike Ovitz, as well as other collectors who could buy many of the works-in-progress. Painters Dan Colen and Nate Lowman, whose works are expected to go for about $15,000 and $30,000, “thought pigeon shit and rain were going to improve their paintings,” says gallerist Stefania Bortolami. “People came to buy them, and we said, ‘Let’s see what happens!’ ” Aaron Young’s bronze graffitied boulder went for over $20,000—even without the bird-crap splattering he’d hoped for. Dash Snow’s sculpture consisted of a velvet chair accessorized with bondage gear; it went during the first week for over $10,000. “It’s at the gallery getting dry now,” says Bortolami. “No rats pooed on it.” Sean Landers’s shellacked clay statue of Pan (pictured) ended up with a cracked pelvis (it’s since been cast in bronze). And Jessica Craig-Martin’s multitiered lard cake, Desired Effect May Not Occur, which oozed with things that could be left in Cher’s dead body—Botox injections, fake eyelashes, an Oscar—had special meaning for one visitor: Ovitz, Cher’s former agent. “I’m going to melt it down and send it to Ovitz in Tupperware,” Craig-Martin says. (Ovitz replied: “I’m going to eat it.”)


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