On November 11, Sotheby's will auction off David Bowie's beautiful collection of Italian designer furniture and other objects, including his incredible 1966 "Radio-Phonograph, Model No. RR126" by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. The bulk of his collection going on the block though are 1980s pieces of Memphis furniture. Over at Collectors Weekly, Hunter Oatman-Stanford writes about Bowie's deep appreciation for Memphis:
The name “Memphis” was supposedly chosen after an early brainstorming session, during which Bob Dylan’s song “Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again” played repeatedly on the record player. The designers appreciated the word’s disparate connotations, evoking both cheap American kitsch and the regal city of ancient Egypt.
United in their efforts to reject traditional notions of “good design,” the Memphis artists mocked the bland austerity of Modernism by mixing clashing colors, patterns, and materials on playful geometric forms that often masked an object’s intended use. Although their collaborations only lasted a few years—Sottsass left the Memphis group in 1985, and the rest parted ways in 1987—they caused an uproar in the design world. Memphis sensibilities continued trickling into mainstream design via knockoff brands that influenced interiors everywhere from movie sets to high-school cafeterias.
“It didn’t look serious. It looked like a prank,” Bowie wrote of Memphis in 2002. “It mixed Formica attitude with marble diffidence. Bright yellows against turquoise. Virus patterns on ceramics. It couldn’t care less about function.”
"Space Oddity: David Bowie's Secret Obsession With '80s Memphis Design" (Thanks, Ben Marks!)
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A lock of David Bowie's hair sold for $18,750 at auction this week. The seller was Wendy Farrier, a wigmaker who snipped the lock for color reference for a wax statue at Madame Tussauds. No info on the buyer.
"Once hair samples were matched with any figures at Madam Tussauds they were discarded as a matter of course, so there was amusement when I asked to keep one from the selection taken from Bowie,” Farrier wrote in a signed letter of provenance given to Heritage Auctions.
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Banksy's iconic SWAT Van artwork goes up for auction at Bonhams next week. The piece first appeared in Banksy's infamous 2006 Los Angeles show Barely Legal. The hammer price is expected to hit US$300,000 - $450,000. From Bonhams:
Banksy's classic response to fear and tyranny is laughter and in the case of the present work the artist toys with his anti-establishment persona, ridiculing the police not just by depicting a scene in which heavily armed, faceless Special Forces agents are hoodwinked by a small boy but by doing so on the very apparatus of their strength. Banksy's best works combine vicious black humour with a clarity of message that many of the best advertisers would kill for and a rage that simply will not be ignored. His playfulness is the velvet glove that hides the iron fist of a social conscience honed on the streets of Bristol and which found its apotheosis in his breakout show Barely Legal in Los Angeles in 2006...
The present work was acquired directly from this exhibition and has remained in the same magnificent collection ever since, coming to the open market now for the first time. Despite the nature of the sculpture the condition is excellent and testament to the care with which the artist approaches even his most challenging works. This is a work that by the artist's own admission was first shown in a 'vandalised warehouse extravaganza' and yet it is worthy of any museum collection in the world.
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This cracker that survived the sinking of the Titanic will be on the block October 24 as part of an auction of rare Titanic, Hindenburg and related memorabilia. The cracker was recovered by James Fenwick, a passenger of the SS Carpathia that helped hundreds of Titanic survivors who had escaped the sinking ships on lifeboats. It's estimated that this unusual souvenir will sell for as much as US$18,000. From the auction description:
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This Spillers and Bakers Pilot biscuit formed part of the survival kit in a Titanic lifeboat and was kept as a souvenir by the Fenwicks. To the best of our knowledge its the only example to have survived. 3½ins. x 4ins.
It is sold in a photographic envelope with original notation from Mr Fenwick, "Pilot biscuit from Titanic lifeboat April 1912."
One of Princess Leia's slave bikinis she actually wore in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi sold for $96,000 at auction yesterday. No news on who bought it. The costume came complete with the collar and several links in the chain Leia used to strangle Jabba the Hutt. A 16" model of Leia's Blockade Runner seen in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope went for $450,000, the highest auction price ever for Star Wars memorabilia ever.
Other items sold in the same Profiles In History auction include one of Indiana Jones's bull whips ($204,000) and George Reeves's Superman costume from the 1950s TV series ($216,000).
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A rare Enigma machine, the proto-computer used by the Nazis to send codes during World War II, just sold at auction for $233,000 to an unnamed buyer. Of course, the Enigma code was cracked by Alan Turing and the other cypherpunks at Bletchley Park. Read the rest
Paul Dini is having a garage sale, and you're invited. No, it's not for charity, and these are not big ticket items, it's just, in his words, "Original art, collectibles, One-of-a-kind pieces, animation memorabilia, costumes, and generic crap I don't want to pay storage fees on anymore." It's his collection of mostly unopened toys and action figures; but to geeks, these are Paul Dini's toys! Dini is somewhat of a towering figure in the superhero world for his work as a animation and comic book writer and creator. In addition to being part of the core team of writers on Lost, he is a five-time Emmy award winner, as well as the Eisner award, Harvey Award and several Annie Awards. Now his toys can be yours!
Paul Dini's Cyber Garage Sale Read the rest
On Sunday, the hallowed nonprofit Henry Miller Memorial Library in magical Big Sur, California will auction off large slabs of old-growth redwood sliced from a 200-foot, 500-year-old tree that fell on the site a couple years ago.
Here's library staff member Mike Scutari recounting the tree's topple:
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Hurry, hurry, this is your chance to own the Toshiba Satellite Pro that President Bill Clinton used to email John Glenn in space on November 6, 1998. Apparently, the laptop belonged to a member of Clinton's medical staff who helped the president send the email to orbit. The laptop is listed at $125,000. Wonder how much RAM is in it. "Bill Clinton computer -Presidential email on it, to John Glenn in space!" Read the rest
Here is Heritage Auctions' description for the Gibeon Mask -- "an incomparable iron meteorite"
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Closing out the Gibeon section is arguably the most aesthetic iron meteorite known to exist. In 1992, indigenous tribesmen in Namibia's Kalahari recovered this matchless specimen with the aid of a metal detector. It is extremely rare for meteorites to have naturally formed holes, and rarer still when the holes are positioned in the matrix in such a way as to yield a magnificent aesthetic specimen-let alone the highly zoomorphic example seen here. Defined by the two adjacent hollows that perforate its mass and separated by perfectly sculpted ridges, there is an exquisite asymmetric balance between this meteorite's two sides: the outward flanging of one side is offset by the larger hollow and more prominent opposing crest.
In addition to the mechanisms involved in the shaping of aesthetic iron meteorites described in the previous lot, there is one other critical detail that was of particular significance to the current example: the moment of extraction from beneath the Earth's surface. If removed several hundred years earlier, this specimen would not have been the perfectly singular zoomorphic evocation before us. If removed several hundred years later, the holes would be far too large and outsized. Adorned with a sumptuous natural patina from its stay in the Kalahari and accompanied by a custom armature and Lucite dome, this is an incomparable meteorite from the finest collection of aesthetic iron meteorites in the world. 195 x 212 x 177mm (7.66 x 8.33 x 7 inches) and 9.37 kilograms (20.66 pounds)
Provenance: The Macovich Collection, New York City.
You could be the new owner of Bonnie & Clyd's personal pistols, Bugsy Siegel's Nevada Project Corporation stock certificate, or a subpoena signed by Wyatt Earp. This Sunday, RR Auction is holding an "American Gansters, Outlaws, and Lawmen" auction with those fine artifacts and many more criminal curiosities. "Bonnie and Clyde's guns go up for auction" Read the rest
Remember the balloon boy hoax of 2009? Richard and Mayumi Heene claimed their 6-year-old son had floated away in the saucer-shaped contraption only to later be revealed hoaxsters trying to land a reality TV show. Soon, you'll be able to own a piece of the prank. Michael Fruitman of Mike's Stadium Sportcscards in Denver, Colorado paid Heene's attorney $2500 for the saucer at auction. He's putting it on display for a bit before chopping it up for "souvenirs." "Balloon Boy Saucer To Go On Display In Colo. Store
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This Sunday, an auction house in Ireland will sell off what is said to be the head of St Vitalis, patron saint of genital diseases. St Vitalis was canonized for "numerous miracles performed on those with bladder and genital disorders."
The head sat for many years in the family hall in County Louth, but was recently uncovered in an outhouse.
Severed head of patron saint of genital disease on sale
Mr Matthews said that although he couldn't be certain it was the head of a saint: "It's certainly ancient, and it's certainly the head of somebody."
The Holy Cross Monastery, a Benedictine order in Rostrevor, County Down, did not even know who St Vitalis was, and after an internet search, declined to comment further on the matter of his or anyone else's severed head.
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New Zealand special effects house Weta has put a collection of its fine models up for auction on eBay, with proceeds going to benefit victims of the Christchurch earthquake. I own two of Weta's rayguns, and they're among my most prized and beautiful possessions. Up for sale are two models based on the Lord of the Rings movies (one signed by Peter Jackson, the other by Richard Taylor) and one of the Doctor Grodbort's rayguns, customized and signed by Greg Broadmore.
Weta Limited - eBay
(via Super Punch)
Google App to help locate people in Christchurch quake - UPDATED ...
Why was the Christchurch Earthquake so destructive? - Boing Boing
Weta's new cheaper, delightful, detailed plastic rayguns Boing Boing
Mini Weta raygun - Boing Boing
Interview with Greg Broadmore, Weta Workshop artist and creator of ...
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Richard sez, "For the discerning mad scientist: the list of items up for auction by the University of Delaware from a former Chrysler plant in Newark, Delaware. The university bought the plant after it closed, and apparently got the contents as well. The coolest items are probably the 6 axis robot arms, some still in line along assembly lines. There appears to be all kinds of milling equipment as well as other mysterious devices of unsure provenance. I am sure a machine expert would be able to make sense of all of it. The place is acres large (ed: literally -- 3 million
sqft), so I bet there are plenty of robot arms to go around.
Oh to be an independently wealthy mad scientist with a large laboratory, perhaps under an extinct volcano, for this stuff. I suppose if there are any makers in the area they might want to check it out."
Former Assets of Chrysler / University of Delaware -
3 Million Sq. Ft. Automotive Fabrication, Assembly Plant & Distribution Center
Previously:Haunting photo-essay on rotting buildings in Detroit - Boing Boing
Real estate bubble bananas - Boing Boing
Hidden Econopocalypse Admonition in Chinatown Sign - Boing Boing
Artists buying cheap houses in Detroit - Boing Boing
Dinosaur auction - Boing Boing
Space history auction - Boing Boing
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Author Ellen Kushner writes in on behalf of the lovely Interstitial Arts Foundation, saying
To celebrate the release of Interfictions 2, their (our?) second original anthology of interstitial writing (edited by Delia Sherman & Christopher Barzak), the Interstitial Arts Foundation (promoting "art made in the interstices between genres and categories...disciplines, mediums, and cultures") invited artists & crafters to create original pieces based on stories in the book. (We did this months in advance, so all the artists got sneak peeks at the unpublished stories they chose.)
Interstitial Arts Foundation Auctions
The results include a bookmark sewn with little bits that "make alien things seem oddly familar" like Theodora Goss's story "The Child-Empress of Mars," a glass bottle containing fragments of Shira Lipkin's story "Valentines" recorded in multiple mediums, and a cocktail hat embellished with semi-precious stones, refrigerator magnets, sequins, and an origami frog, all caught in a net along with words, inspired by Camilla Bruce's "Berry Moon."
Bidding runs through December 8th, and stuff will be shipped in time for the holidays. All funds raised will go toward further interstitial art projects, including anthologies, exhibitions, and salons. The IAF is dedicated to supporting and inspiring art that crosses, falls between, or breaks apart borders -- such as the pieces in this year's auction! We were amazed at just how interstitial the actual works turned out to be - and many of the artists have thanked us for giving them space to experiment and stretch their usual boundaries.
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