Night Music: Boplicity

December 20, 2019

Art Auctions 2019

December 20, 2019

The figures are in for the top auction sales of the year.  There were some remarkable individual results, topped by this Monet:


  1.  $ 110.7m — Claude Monet:  Meules
  2.  $ 91m — Jeff Koons:  Rabbit
  3.  $ 88.8m — Robert Rauschenberg:  Buffalo II
  4.  $ 59.2m — Cezanne:  Bouilloire et fruits
  5.  $ 54.9m — Pablo Picasso:  Femme au chien
  6.  $ 53m — Andy Warhol: Double Elvis
  7.  $ 52.5m — Ed Ruscha:  Hurting The Word Radio
  8.  $ 50.3 — Francis Bacon: Study For A Head
  9.  $ 50.1m — Rothko:  untitled (1960)
  10.  $ 37.6m — David Hockney: Portait of Henry Gledzahler and Christopher Scott


Some readers may recall that when the ridiculous shiny toy called Rabbit made $91m, I stopped reporting on art because I was so distraught at the weakening of values that Koon’s kitsch revealed.

More importantly, the figures show that New York continues to top London as the number one place to sell art. Highest prices 1 through 9 were sold in NY while only the Hockney was from a London sale.

Also noticeable is the continued dominance of male artists.  The highest price for a female artist was the $32m for Louise Bourgeois’s Spider, which clocked in at 15th place.

Musical Discoveries 2019

December 20, 2019

My two favourite musical discoveries this year have been Tuba Skinny and Caro Emerald.

Tuba Skinny plays generally lesser-known traditional jazz and blues from New Orleans.  Wonderful lively stuff, they are led by cornet & piano player Shaye Cohn (granddaughter of Al Cohn), and perform on the streets for a walk-by audience. Vocals by Erika Lewis are just perfectly pitched.  Hear a bunch of their stuff here.



Caro Emerald is a gloriously versatile singer from Holland who revels in jazz, pop, and swing.  Her style can be gathered from A Night Like This and Paris. She has been on the scene for a decade and I am amazed that I missed falling for her before.

The Hollowing Out of Press Freedom

December 20, 2019

A new report from Reporters Without Borders shows that, globally, we are losing the battle for free speech in the media.