Yesterday's “Urban Gems” auction at Guernsey’s well and truly lived up to its name. The rare and unusual pieces that hit the auction block serve as a window into the Downtown art scene of the 1980s. Among them, Christo's plan for he and Jeanne-Claude's The Gates public work, Andy Warhol's Moose Head, and Keith Haring’s fridge door.
The fridge door was the unlikely star of the auction, complete with Haring’s own writing and art along with “Madonna loves Keith” tagged by the singer herself. The door features over 82 more tags, including artists like LA II and Fab Five Freddy, as well as one that reads “JM" (Jean-Michel). Given the current Basquait boom that saw his skull painting fetch for $93.1 million yesterday, this particular tag no doubt contributed to its $25,000 auction price.
The owner of the historic fridge door recalled how she moved into Haring former Broome Street apartment and it was here that she inherited the appliance cum artwork. When the fridge eventually broke, her housemate ordered a new fridge and let the delivery people take Haring's away. Thankfully, they were able to retrieve the door and it has remained in her possession until now when it will go up for auction beside another piece of downtown history.
Andy Warhol’s statuesque-mounted Moose Head was also up for sale. “Often pictured together, Warhol and the Moose appeared prominently in the New York Times back in 2018,” explains the auction house. Despite being one of Warhol's treasured possessions, it only fetched $5,000. Sensitive to the importance of animal protection today, the consignor of the Moose Head donated a portion of the proceeds from the sale to the ASPCA.
Another gem of the auction was one of the earliest and most developed of a number of preparatory studies that Christo created for The Gates — a public work of art conceived by Christo and Jeanne-Claude that was installed on 23 miles of pathways in New York's Central Park in 2005. The mixed-media work sold for $150,000.