Who’s Afraid of Roy Lichtenstein?

Hold your breath, art fans, because it’s spring contemporary auction time. Sotheby’s gets things started tonight with its evening sale, which includes a monumental Jeff Koons egg sculpture that looks poised to disgorge a young Robin Williams in rainbow suspenders (Mork calling Orson!). Part of Koons’ celebrated “Celebration” series, “Baroque Egg with Bow (Turquoise/Magenta)” is estimated to sell for between $6 million and $8 million, although we suspect it might fetch a bit less. Other standouts in the sale are a 1982 Cy Twombly work that makes us go all weak in the knees, a sublime Cecily Brown triptych that will provide decades of figural epiphanies for its lucky owner, and a giant, Picasso-ribbing self-portrait of Martin Kippenberger in his skivvies.

(Charles Ray).jpgEvery good sale needs some comic relief (Richard Prince joke paintings don’t count), and Sotheby’s scores with this untitled 1991 work by Charles Ray (click “continued” for a larger version) in which a furious Superman interrupts Ray’s bedtime reading to demand he explain the artist who introduced Benday dots to museum walls. A closer look reveals the pencil, marker, and ink drawing to be on official DC Comics illustration board. Wonder why? “I’ve never been able to draw,” explained Ray in a 1995 interview with Bomb. “I hired a D.C. Comics artist [B. McKinney] to do drawings for a book. I’m in bed and Superman busts through my wall.” Signed by both McKinney and Ray, the work is estimated to sell for between $300,000 and $400,000.

(Charles Ray).jpg