How to Drop a Grand Before Noon

On weekends, Chelsea's art galleries are filled mainly with looky-loos.

On weekends, Chelsea’s art galleries are filled mainly with looky-loos. But Phillips de Pury is hoping to attract actual buyers this Saturday with its first Saturday@Phillips sale, and being the monied-type isn’t really even a requisite. The 15th Street gallery is luring early collectors and first-time buyers with a laid-back auction featuring relatively affordable contemporary art, furniture and photography. Eero Aarnio’s playful “Pony” chair from 1973, priced at an estimated value of $1,500 to $2,500, is one such item. Others include an Andy Warhol “Holy Cats by Andy Warhol’s Mother” lithograph ($2,000-$3,000), a print of Matthew Barney‘s “Creamster 5” ($800-$1,200) and a unique felt-tipped pen drawing by Takashi Murakami ($2,000-$3,000). “Auctions can be a little bit intimidating to people,” said gallery director Tiffany Wood. “They think they can’t come in unless they’re going to buy. The more affordable items in the sale make it easier for the new collector.”

The Saturday sales will be held four times over the next year, with the next scheduled for Dec. 17. Bidders who brave the 11 a.m. start times will be rewarded with coffee and Krispy Kremes. “We wanted to tap into what Chelsea’s like on a Saturday,” Wood explained. “It’s really hopping.”

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