Low Art on the High Seas
Art Business

Low Art on the High Seas

Amy Chozick has a piece in the New York Times about the mental decline of pop artist Peter Max and how his son has allegedly been exploiting him since the onset of his dementia a few years ago. The artist would enter a room above the Shun Lee restaurant on the Upper West Side where lesser artists were "churning out art in the Max aesthetic: cheery, polychrome, wide-brushstroke kaleidoscopes on canvas." Mr. Max would be instructed to hold out his hand, and for hours, he would sign the art as if it were his own, grasping a brush and scrawling Max . The arrangement, which continued until earlier this year, was described to the New York Times by seven people who witnessed it. Chozick delves into the artist’s relationship with Park West Gallery, which does quite a bit of business on the high seas. "The majority of its revenue comes from boozy auctions held on cruise ships—and on the water, nobody sells like Mr. Max," she writes. [F]or the 24 million people who take a cruise each year, Mr. Max is a star. This is an alternate, at-sea universe in which his works are the pinnacle of sophisticated collecting. […]

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