Thursday, March 28, 2013

The taste test

When they set up shop Art+Object ratcheted the look and feel of the art auction up a few notches. New look catalogues, stylish display of the lots and professional marketing generated fresh excitement pre hammer time. Now they've gone and done it again. Check it out for yourself if the latest Art+Object catalogue comes your way (provocatively published days before the first big Webb’s auction of the year last night).

First up, it's big. It sure won't fit into your post box coming in at 34 x  24 cm. Second, it's ... well, what is it exactly? Part magazine, part coffee table book, part auction catalogue, it's A+O’s idea about how to get differentiated from the competition. The fact is if its just information you’re after this print publication wont have been your first port of call, all that’s been available for a week online at A+O's web site. But, if you pop over to Webb’s site, their online catalogue looks much the same with much the same detail.

And you have to figure that’s why A+O have gone big and gone glamorous. If online equals information, this jumbo-cat is to wallow in. Big images including a mega fold-out of Peter Robinson’s two by five meter loose canvas Painting, a dabble into the studio assistant as personality (a young guy with paint splattered shorts and unlaced trainers staring at lot number 5) and a fistful of plush ads for wine, fashion and cars. It’s a gutsy move and a big assertion of the A+O brand. Who'd be surprised now if they decided to stamp it on some other forms of art selling. 
Images: Top cover with 50 cent piece thoughtfully added by OTN's photographic team for scale. Middle, Peter Robinson gets the fold out treatment and bottom the strange double spread for Paul Dibble's sculpture The bushman's hop.