HISTORIC FIRST TRANSPARENT ART DEAL

Detail of  Bunkhouse  (1996), an installation by Paul McCarthy

Detail of Bunkhouse (1996), an installation by Paul McCarthy

 
 

press release 5 February 2019

Paul van Esch Art Dealership is entering the unprecedented field of the viral art deal. For fourteen days, the office is offering 100,000 dollars to whoever can find the perfect buyer for Paul McCarthy’s iconic installation piece, Bunkhouse (1996). The piece is being sold for one million euros. The offer is being advertised by the office via its social media accounts and being documented by the well-known artistic duo, KIRAC (Keeping it Real Art Critics).

This extroverted transaction method draws the public into an intricate process that, until now, has usually happened behind closed doors — the dealer’s pitch to his client on what makes this particular work of art worthwhile. Such discussions could take days, weeks, or months, and often involve countless middlemen, all with their own interests and strategies, to find the right buyer. For the first time, The Bunkhouse Deal filters this out and presents the sales process and pricing directly to anyone who wants to listen — or buy.

Not only does a social media deal give the sales process much-needed transparency, but it also enriches the provenance of the work, providing numerous layers of news coverage, communication, and debate within a short span of time.

Since the 1970s, Paul McCarthy has been a disruptive force in the art world, and this deal aims to do his reputation justice. Bunkhouse is a monumental, moving installation piece that was featured in his 2000/2001 retrospective shown at the MoCA in LA and the New Museum in New York.  Previously owned by the Flick Collection, the work was put up for auction at London’s Philips de Pury in 2008, where it went unsold. The current owner bought it soon afterwards, and is now selling it to pursue a new adventure as farmer. The pricing of the artwork at one million euros reflects realistic market values for such monumental installation pieces. McCarthy’s auction sale record for a sculpture is 4.6 million euros.

Bunkhouse is one of the highlights of McCarthy’s oeuvre, and is waiting for its next home in a world-class museum. Paul van Esch’s fourteen-day Bunkhouse Sale is using social media to reward whoever can find the best possible owner for this highly-deserving work of art.