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ArtByNumbers: Slow and Steady

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While we hear plenty about the meteoric rise of every hot young art star du jour, the more deliberate ascent of mid-career artists -- those who have shown for more than ten years -- can be just as impressive. The 35-year-old Nicole Eisenman's prices have increased incrementally from $9,000 in 1996 to $15,000 last year to the new mark she's hitting this year: Three of the paintings in her current show at SoHo's Jack Tilton Gallery (which runs through October 14) have been sold for $18,000, one to a South Florida real-estate magnate; three others are on reserve. Seven drawings have been purchased for $500 to $1,500, and one 12-by-30-foot wall mural will probably be sold for $30,000 to software mogul Peter Norton. Perhaps the most intriguing part of the show is "Nick's Souvenir T-Shirt Stand," a yard sale of objects from Eisenman's Chinatown studio (including a Walkman reconfigured as a tattoo machine) that are selling for 50 cents and up to taste-making artists like Tom Sachs.

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