Sunday, April 22, 2007

This is not an Andreas Gursky. That's why it won't go for more than $1 million at auction.

Toys 'R' Us Madison Guy photo on Flickr

This is not the famous Toys 'R' Us by Andreas Gursky. That huge photograph hangs -- 7 feet tall, 11 feet wide -- in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Gursky is a German photographer who works large, as in billboard-size. He holds the record for the most money ever paid for a photo by a living photographer (99 Cent II Diptychon, $3.3 million). Toys 'R' Us -- one of an edition of six, another of which is the print at the MOMA -- is expected to fetch as much as $1.8 million at auction in New York this Tuesday, April 24. I Photo Central says this about the photo in its story about the auction:
Andreas Gursky's "Toys 'R' Us, 1999" ($1,200,000-1,800,000), which is a poignant, precise and subtle satire on the homogeneity and disassociation of consumer culture, showing two similar warehouses like bunkers, each sporting corporate names, side by side, one reading 'Toyota' and the other, 'Toys 'R' Us'.
If you're looking for more in-depth analysis of Gursky's work, ArtForum ran these pro and con essays by Katy Siegel and Alex Alberro a few years ago.

Still, $1.8 million is a lot of money for a grim, almost pedantic visual representation of the drab anonymity of life in a consumer culture that also functions as a critique of the tyrrany of the market in an era of globalization. If this would bust your budget, we should talk. I can save you a lot of money. This "Mad Town" equivalent of Toys 'R' Us, created with subject matter freely available right here in Madison, WI, is not only far less expensive, it's also more cheerful and provides a welcome shout-out to the American genius for fantasy in these sad times. It also answers the question, where ya gonna get that Toyota cleaned?

All inquiries will be treated with the utmost confidentiality (principals only). My prices are negotiable.

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