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An Auction, Sales, and Table Manners

Sean Susanin is having a big sale this Saturday at his cavernous Clinton Street auction house, with close to 700 items on the block, including this asymmetric Harry Bertoia chaise manufactured by Knoll, estimated to sell for $1,000 to $1,500. The eclectic sale also includes a nice selection of rugs, paintings, jewelry, silver, rare books, sports memorabilia—everything but kitchen sinks, really (unless I missed that aisle). Since opening in 1994, Sean has been into making the auction process fun, comfortable, and a piece of cake, especially by developing sophisticated, searchable online viewing and bidding systems. Every Friday morning is Discovery Day, by the way, where potential sellers can bring in up to three items or photos for free appraisal, consignment, and maybe even an outright purchase.

Jones’s “Orange You Glad for Change” soda pop,
Oh, Susanin’s

Sean Susanin is having a big sale this Saturday at his cavernous Clinton Street auction house, with close to 700 items on the block, including this asymmetric Harry Bertoia chaise manufactured by Knoll, estimated to sell for $1,000 to $1,500. The eclectic sale also includes a nice selection of rugs, paintings, jewelry, silver, rare books, sports memorabilia—everything but kitchen sinks, really (unless I missed that aisle). Since opening in 1994, Sean has been into making the auction process fun, comfortable, and a piece of cake, especially by developing sophisticated, searchable online viewing and bidding systems. Every Friday morning is Discovery Day, by the way, where potential sellers can bring in up to three items or photos for free appraisal, consignment, and maybe even an outright purchase.

State of the Arts

Several West Loop galleries got together to hold some interesting panel discussions on art collecting in this tough economic climate, and a lot of great points came up at the SRO session I attended at Thomas McCormick’s eponymous gallery. Here are some highlights I walked away thinking about.

On collecting new artists: “If I walk into a solo show and only see one piece that I want, I don’t buy it,” said MCA trustee and Marwen founder Steven Berkowitz. “I’m looking at the whole body of work, and need to see at least two or three that I love before I consider adding that artist to my collection.”

On Chicago’s Second City status: “New York is the crossroads of the global art world,” said Paul Gray of the Richard Gray Gallery, “no question—but it’s much more pleasant to be here, and more efficient to do business.” Private dealer Karen Lennox told of insecure clients who wouldn’t buy local: “Dealers used to ship Chicago artists’ work to New York for Chicago collectors to purchase, all the time, just so clients would be able to say they bought it there,” she said. “That isn’t happening quite so much anymore.” Auctioneer Richard Wright stressed the importance of supporting local: “I could never have done what I’ve done here, in New York. You can help a small gallery survive by making one purchase, and now’s the time we need to do that.”

How can we support the scene without spending money? “Just show up,” said Wright. “It feels good to have people coming in to look at auctions, and going to exhibits, to see that people care. In less commercial times like these, collective thinking and interest can really help.”

My childhood dentist had a creepy poster in his office that said “Ignore Your Teeth and They’ll Go Away,” and that credo goes through my head every time I hear of another gallery or shop that’s leaving us. Don’t ignore the independent businesses that add so much flavor to Chicago. They’ll go away too.

Table Tips

Material Possessions puts together monthly tabletops to showcase new product lines and inspire offbeat decorating ideas, and in honor of the Flower and Garden show running through Sunday at Navy Pier, they’ve skipped the April showers and jumped right to a Fabulous Florals theme at both the Gold Coast and the Winnetka boutiques. The Gilmore glassware pictured is discounted 10 percent through the month.

Primo Primitive Sale

Glen Joffe is savagely slashing prices for four days at Primitive’s semiannual Bridgeport warehouse sale, with half-off thousands of items from more than 100 cultures, March 12-15, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. In addition to the ethnographic textiles, jewelry, and artifacts that the store showcases in its flagship 33,000-square-foot, five-story shop at 130 N. Jefferson, Primitive also designs and produces a number of clean, modern furniture collections inspired by exotic locales and historical eras such as Tangier, Jaipur, and Khartoum, some of which will be included in this sale. The sofa pictured here is from the Meiji line, and was originally priced at $7,895.

Doöo Yøoh Speeke Ikea?

You know Ikea’s meatballs, you know you’ll need a vacation day to put together one bookshelf, and you might even know that the acronym comes from the company’s founder and his Swedish hometown, but can you match those vowel-loaded product names with their definitions? Give it a try.

Get Down

From now until end of month, United Feather & Down is selling feather-filled pillows, comforters, mattress pads, and feather beds at up to 70 percent off department store prices at the Indoor Tent Sale at their Des Plaines location. Not sure why they pitched their tepee inside, but you can pick up 2-for-1 second-quality items, and buy-one-get-one-half-off first quality. The family-owned biz was founded in Poland in 1797, sources down (and hypoallergenic alternatives) from all over the world, and supplies luxe bedding to high-end hotels and shops.

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