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When Phillips de Pury Closes a Door, Does Brandon Davis Open a Window?

Simon Brandon
So this auction season has finally limped to a close, with lackluster results from the city's third auction house. The Times reports that the offerings of Phillips de Pury, whose contemporary sale included small works by big-name artists and a smattering of works by hipper, younger artists, "seemed like leftovers." Sotheby's and Christie's sold like gangbusters this season, but Phillips (perhaps owing to the timing of the sale or the uncomfortable location, surmises the Times), didn't seem to have much steam. Only a smattering of dealers stuck around through the end of the sale, though the pieces that did best were the ones that were selling for well under $1 million. Which is bad news for Phillips but could be great news for none other than … Brandon Davis. With Phillips focusing its energies on their London office right now, some of the air might be going out of the lower end of the contemporary market. Upon hearing that Brandon Davis wanted to come to the city to become an art dealer to the young and overbudgeted, one auction-house source scoffed to us, "I can't wait to see Gagosian eat him for breakfast." But who's to say that Davis isn't coming at exactly the right time? Is this face going to be the new icon of the day sale? Is this what the future of new contemporary looks like? We want to know so we can prepare. We just weren't ready for the face of young art to be so, you know, shiny. Fall Art Auctions Limp to Finish on Mixed Night at Phillips [NYT]

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Staten Island Wants You

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Ladies and gentlemen, Staten Island is burning. Well, not quite yet; but a new report from the Center for Urban Future extrapolates the mysterious borough's stats into 2020, and comes up with a less-than-pretty picture. According to the prognosis, "without a change in direction," Staten Island is in for "an economic decline and a significant deterioration in its quality of life." The doomsday scenario is this: The population will grow, but the young people will keep skipping the island for trendier addresses. As a result, the borough's makeup will soon begin to resemble a kind of lower-middle-class retirement community. This, in turn, will attract a certain kinds of businesses: day care, social services, ESL courses, and downscale retail -- "low-skilled" and "low-paying" jobs all (the report's words, not ours). What's the Center's solution? Artists! Hip, happening, broke-ass artists!

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