Spitzer Could Have Gone for Koons Instead; CAPC Bordeaux “Kiddie Porn” Case Dismissed; New Branch, New Director for Phillips de Pury


What do artist Jeff Koons and prostitute Ashley Alexandra Dupré have in common? Both can be had for a hefty price through the Emperors Club. Citing a report on Artnet, Le Monde's Harry Bellet discovers that the escort service, which counted the former New York governor Eliot Spitzer among its clients, also offered contemporary artworks through its website. “Emperors Club was not satisfied with providing women to our financial elites but also took an interest in contemporary art,” writes Bellet. “Their business, Emperors Publishing Media Group, owns a site called Emperors Club Contemporary Art, which is responsible for providing its clients with works by renowned artists like Jeff Koons, David Salle, and Richard Prince.” Emperors Club describes itself as “a highly informative venue through which you may acquire exceptional contemporary art directly from a group of highly selected artists, dealers, galleries, and members.” Members are required to earn at least $450,000 per year. Sotheby's and Christie's logos appear on the site's page, although, according to Bellet, the auction houses insist that they were not informed about the posting. But auction houses are not the only ones to be roped into the Emperors Club experience. “The site offers images of artworks, each accompanied by a notice usually taken from the best sources,” writes Bellet. “A painting by Jeff Koons is accompanied by a review by critic Jerry Saltz.”


A Bordeaux judge has made a request to dismiss a “kiddie porn” charge against the former director of the CAPC Bordeaux. As Le Monde reports, Henri-Claude Cousseau, who now heads the Paris art academy L'École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, was charged with presiding over an allegedly “pornographic” exhibition: “L'Art et l'enfance” (Art and Childhood), which was curated by Marie-Laure Bernadac and Stéphanie Moisdon in 2000 at the institution. The judge stated that the exhibited artworks showing children could “surprise, challenge, or shock” but that these works did not offer “a crude representation of sexuality without tact or verging on exciting the senses.” As for the more violent works in the exhibition, it could not be proved that they could have been seen by minors.


The Phillips de Pury auction house will be opening a branch in Cologne as of April 1. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung's Stefan Koldehoff reports, the new director will be none other than Gérard A. Goodrow, the former director of Art Cologne, who was relieved of his duties last month in the wake of complaints from a group of gallerists, as Artforum.com noted. As Koldehoff writes, Goodrow has “a profound knowledge” of the auction business. Before coming to Art Cologne, the forty-three-year-old headed the contemporary art department at Christie's in London. At Phillips, Goodrow will be “international business development director” and will be responsible for making connections between collectors and dealers. After Christie's and Sotheby's—which have branches in Düsseldorf and Cologne, respectively—Phillips is the third-largest auction house.

Jennifer Allen