Hang It Up

Peter Gelb ran another idea up the flagpole last night, with the first “Art for Opera” auction, which raised nearly two million dollars for the Metropolitan Opera. After “cocktails and dinner amidst Allen Moyer’s set for the new staging of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice,” which might be the most amusing sentence you’ll see today—what, every time you turn around, somebody takes your plate away?—guests (who already paid between $750 and $1250 to get in and eat) bid on operatically-themed works by various contemporary artists, including an eight-by-six-foot photorealistic Chuck Close tapestry portrait of Renée Fleming that would probably scare the hell out of me if I was walking around the house at night. (Take a look at some items here.) Critic-at-large Moe’s favorite—this William Wegman homage to Hansel and Gretel—went for $50,000. That’s a lot of liver treats.


  1. Even creepier than the Don Giovanni and the giant Fleming is the skull in the crotch for Madama Butterfly by Richard Prince. Though I didn’t expect it, William Wegmann and his doggies are probably the subtlest and the most beautiful of the “treasures” on display. Interesting.

  2. kinda liked the Giovanni. It reminded me of late Philip Guston (though not as wonderfully goofy). Again, I don’t know if I’d want it on my midnight path to the refrigerator.I have to say, I didn’t really get Wegman for a long time. When he’s at his best, though (like that Hansel), you realize how good his sense of color and mood is. I love that deep palette of dark, dusty greens, with the muted, slightly off-center figures —it’s like if Gainsborough were a surrealist.

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