Artist’s Attempt To Spruce Up Sotheby’s Auction House Lands Him in Jail

11/16/2009 12:09 PM |

Sam Bassett

Amid all of last week’s art auction madness, one of the few living artists to present his work at Sothedby’s left in a squad car. Sam Bassett, who specializes in what could most readily be called public sculpture (colorful tape forms draped over and around buildings and streets in sharp geometric patterns, not unlike Aakash Nihalani) was arrested last week while trying to create one such sculpture on the facade of Sothedby’s the morning before a very expensive auction.

The idea behind the guerrilla art attack, Bassett told NBC New York, was to call attention away from the enshrined artists whose works were fetching millions, and get bidders and auctioneers thinking about contemporary art. Bassett told the Post:

The cops liked the concept, one cop called me the new Cristo. I tried to explain this was a modern art project, but the security guard was convinced I was trying to break in and steal the Warhol print. So the cops took me to jail.

Well, at least the NYPD (not always known for their understanding of public art) got something out of it. (Artforum)

4 Comment

  • Good for Sam…his art is harmless and his cause is righteous! I’m tired of museums, gallery owners & critics writing and regurgitating on twitter about the same tired DEAD artists.

    Start giving more living artists PR (and your art collection money 😉 !

  • His art is harmless alright, because it says nothing except he wants his name in print.

    Where does this Bassett guy get off vandalizing private property? Sure, maybe Sothebys didn’t get the memo that its supposed to be “art” and instead thought it was some insane person imposing their fetish for caution tape on the whole world. The color chosen for these ribbons is a cry for attention or is that the artist expressing himself through his art?

    What’s with the dark glasses, yo? Does she think she’s Jackie Onassis? Jackass Obnoxious, maybe.

  • The tape color is a nod to Syracuse, where he was an All American Lacrosse captain.
    Sam creates his work until the wee hours of the morning…hence the dark glasses.

    His work in film, photography and tape is an inspiration to me! I love to look up and see Sam’s work!
    Please keep up the good work Sam!

  • Sam Bassett rocks!