in other words

Everything you ever wanted to know about the art market but didn't know who to ask

Big Blondes and an Unforgettable Elvis

Lisa Yuskavage, Big Blonde Squatting (1994), Oil on linen, 72 x 72 in. (182.9 x 182.9 cm). Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner, New York/London

BY Nancy Magoon
Aspen-based collector

In Passions

I guess everyone’s story about the work that got away is more or less the same: you fall in love with something but the timing just isn’t right. You didn’t want to spend money on a work of art you love just at that moment. 

For me, there are two things. When I was younger I thought that maybe I wanted to own my own gallery and my father wisely said I should work in one first, and figure out if that was what I really wanted to do. So I worked for Dorothy Blau in Miami in around 1976-1981. She believed in Andy Warhol like nobody else—she was showing his work way before other people. She really helped him surge to the top of his career.

Andy Warhol, Elvis [Studio Type] (1963). Image and Artwork © 2017 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by ARS

I’ve always loved Warhol’s Elvis—it’s always felt like it was of my generation and I guess that’s why I like it so much. But I was a young woman with small children. I loved art but I couldn’t commit that kind of money to it when I had so many other responsibilities. I was very young and I’ve dreamed about it a lot since, but it has always been out of my range. I could never have afforded it—then or now.

The other work I think about all the time is a painting by Lisa Yuksavage that Marianne Boesky showed me around five or six years ago, called Big Blonde Squatting (1994). I’ve never seen yellow painted that way, ever. At the time I thought it was overpriced so I let it go, but I still think about the way it was painted. It was an image of a squatting nude on a yellow background that was so exquisitely done.

I felt that the price being asked was out of line with the market for Lisa’s work at that time, but, gosh, it really was gorgeous. It was an extraordinary painting and it still haunts me.

That’s the thing with the ones that get away—you never really forget them.

Interview by Charlotte Burns


You may also like...

Slideshow: Negative Space

By Matthew Thompson

Quarantined Cartoons

By Kaitlin Chan

Art Books and the Covid-19 Crisis

How the industry is adapting

By Christian House