Monthly Archives: June 2008

Diaz Doubles Down: NY Artist Auctions Two Paintings

SoHo-based artist Nelson Diaz is stepping up the pace. The accomplished artist, whose work is held in the New York Academy of Art and The Eileen Guggenheim Collection, is auctioning two more paintings as a way to protest art market inflation. Using eBay to communicate this unique political message, Diaz has elected to begin the bidding at $1 and has set a price objective of $300 per painting … at most.


Diaz embarked on this project following the May 2008 Christie’s Contemporary Art Auction, at which a triptych by British master Francis Bacon fetched a princely sum of $86 million. Based on conversations he had had with Bacon during a weekend in 1985, Diaz is convinced that the eccentric and reclusive genius would not have been happy with the prices collectors are willing to pay for his work. Thus, the “Grand eBay Experiment,” as Diaz calls it, is a show of respect for and solidarity with Bacon.


Currently, the bids for both auctions are still at $1, but much could change in the next 6+ days. Keep an eye on these auctions, and don’t be afraid to participate!



Check out Auction 3 on eBay >>

Check out Auction 4 on eBay >>

I’m a Winner! Second Nelson Diaz $1 Auction Complete

Well, the second $1 auction by rebel artist Nelson Diaz has come to a close, and I can proudly say that I am the owner of another Nelson Diaz original. I’m quite excited about this and can’t wait to hang it up. I haven’t decided if I’m going to hang it at work or at home yet. Tough call.

Here’s the dilemma. Sometimes when I’m at work, I need some “art therapy.” I need to infuse the aesthetic into the daily grind. Writing about the stuff I cover at the office can get dry, and I just need to behold something creative. I keep a few books at my desk for this reason: Rene Magritte and Francis Bacon. From time to time, I wander the halls and check out the work selected by our interior designers. It can get me through a slump, but it isn’t the same as having my own canvas above my desk.

But, there are security concerns, and I’d hate to see the painting stolen. On the other hand, none of the company’s stuff has been stolen, but I don’t know how firmly they have been fastened to the walls.

Voting Public Makes John Galt #2

Gawker blog conducted a poll of its readers most influential books. Which changed your life? While there are some familar faces on the list, the first two tickled the shit out of me. Of 250 responses, the Bible won with 25. It’s the best seller of all time, so that shouldn’t surprise anyone. The next one, though, blew me away. Taken collectively, the works of Ayn Rand nabbed the #2 spot– with 23 votes. Think about it. Can you imagine two books (or, more accurately, bodies of work) that could be further apart than the Bible and Ayn Rand? Priceless! The fact that the votes were so close is somewhat surprising, but remember that zealots tend to vote (even in presidential elections), so neither choice probably represents the masses.

Other names on the list were not surprising: George Orwell, Sun Tzu, Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (great read) and Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray. To check out the full list, click here >>

Oh, I actually did find out who John Galt is. I found out by accident. I was in a used book store on State St (I think it was State) in Newburyport, MA and found an old book consisting of the sermons of … you guessed it, John Galt. He was some kind of (probably) psycho-strict protestant preacher in 17th century Massachusetts. I imagine him cut from the cloth of Jonathan Edwards (“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God). After all, what other kind of minister practiced in Massachusetts at that time?

So, I was tickled to hell about the whole  John-Galt-being-a-minister situation that I’ve never forgotten it. But, the one mistake I made was not buying that book. I really wish now that I had picked it up. It would have been a cool addition to the collection. That being said, I think I’m going to finish reading Atlas Shrugged (for the fourth time?). I started to reread it back in January but got distracted. So, I might just pick it back up today.

Interested in John Galt gifts? Click here >>

Great shots of the Migrant Blogger

Wanna see some great shots of me in my natural habitats? They start at the Shake Shack, in Madison Square Park (across the street from day job). Then, they move to De La Concha, where you can see me with my little brother, Bam Bam. The last shots are at Cafe Luxembourg (W 70th at Amsterdam).

Check out the shots of my life >>

De La Concha Cigar Dinners

I am an avid cigar smoker, and I cover the business. So, I was delighted to attend the latest De La Concha cigar dinner on June 11, 2008. General Manager Ron Melendi featured the Davidoff Reserva 12 (a fantastic cigar), and Rue 57’s dinner was great as always. For anyone in or passing through New York when these events are held, I recommend them highly. I have been to several, and none has been close to a disappointment.

I look forward to future events, and my thanks go to Ron Melendi for engaging me to cover these dinners. After I leave each, I look forward to the next.

Read more about the event >>

This doesn’t happen often in my neighborhood

The Upper West Side is a pretty quiet place. I was waiting for my friend to arrive, just standing on the corner of W 70th St and Columbus Ave with my wife. Then, I heard the noise … it kept getting louder. There was a guy walking down the street with a radio on his shoulder, partying like it was 1989.

The picture is fuzzy because I only had my blackberry available, adn he was moving at a good clip. Hey, the music made him move. I get it. My second attempt at a shot, with my blackberry again, was even less successful. The first time, he was walking; I was not. The second time, we were both in motion, and I was following him.

The best part of this whole experience is that they guy was playing music appropriate to his style of expression. It was old school breakdancing music. I half-expected him to throw down some cardboard and bust out some moves. Hell, I felt the urge to do so myself. But, I had neither cardboard nor moves to bust out. So, I stuck to my usual gig, walking around the neighborhood.

This was a nice treat from the norm in my part of the city. That’s why I love sitting here. Hang out on the stoop long enough, and you’ll see one of everything … and everyone.

This is like Manhattan’s version of my favorite street entertainer in Helsinki.

Fun Visit

I’m sitting on my stoop, writing and smoking a cigar. I do this most evenings. Some lady walked over from Bistro Cassis, a restaurant a few doors down that has outside dining. I was nervous. Whenever someone approaches a cigar-smoker esecially from a restaurant, the outcome is rarely pleasant. Well, she commented on the “wonderful aroma” and mentioned how it is nice to smell smoke while dining on a French meal. I agree; it makes the experience more authentic (at least until recently, as Paris passed a smoking ban). She asked where I got the cigar, because she wants to pick some up for her son. Occasionally, surprises are nice.

Self-Portrait with Pipe Misses Goal by 2X

When Nelson Diaz put “Self-Portrait with Pipe, 2008” on eBay, he had hoped the price would not exceed $300. The auction, which began at 10 PM on June 15, 2008, ended last night. The winning bid was $745, and the buyer’s identity is not readily available. Despite the fact that the painting sold for twice Nelson’s objective, it is still far below the price the painting would have fetched in a private sale.


For those who missed the previous opportunity, Diaz has already begun his next auction, which is set to expire on June 29, 2008. As always, the bidding starts at $1.


For anyone familiar with Nelson’s art, this is a real steal. More important, it’s a chance to participate in a revolution. As Nelson fights the art market, he needs the help of those who are not obscenely wealthy and merely want to participate in the thrill of having an original hanging on the wall.

Finally Home

Well, it took more than 24 hours, but I am finally home. It could have been a lot worse. Had I not been traveling on business– with a very understanding hotel– I could have spent the night in the Fort Meyers airport, sleeping on the floor and trying to subsist on fast food as both my Blackberries lost their remaining battery juice. Instead, I was comfortable, ate and drank well and was lent a Blackberry charger. So, I have few real complaints– excpet when it comes to JetBlue.