March 21, 2011
In March of 2011, Stephen sent shock waves through the art world by placing a portrait of himself up for auction at the Phillips de Pury Gallery.
It wasn't just any portrait. The work featured distinct touches from a trio of famous artists: Frank Stella, Shepard Fairey and Andres Serrano.
The project started in December of the previous year when comedian, musician and noted art snob Steve Martin visited The Report and told Stephen how to make his portrait more valuable.
Then it was time to head to the gallery, where Stephen's portrait was on display as part of a show called "Under the Influence."
Stephen sat down with gallery chairman and auctioneer Simon de Pury
to pick up some auction tips and find out what the word "milieu" means.
The aesthetic odyssey continued with a panel of art experts assessing the portrait and determining its potential worth and a sensible starting price. Stephen took the opportunity to share an artistic side project he'd been working on, in an effort to make the appraisers aware of his versatility. He then adjourned to the pre-auction cocktail party to create buzz about his piece.
At last, the main event. Stephen and Simon set the mood by listening to some Snoop Dogg
, then headed down to the auction hall to see how much the portrait was worth to New York City's art world elite. All proceeds went to DonorsChoose.org
in support of arts education in public schools.
The portrait sold for a whopping $26,000, and the sale didn't go unnoticed. Time Magazine
weighed in on the transaction in a piece
comparing and contrasting Stephen and Picasso.Exclusive Outtakes
That's the most of the story, but there are pieces of Stephen's journey through the art world that didn't make it to air. Watch Stephen grill de Pury about vaginal imagery, art noises, eagles and more below.Exclusive #1: Vaginas in ArtExclusive #2: Appreciating ArtExclusive #3: Art as...Exclusive #4: A Quick TourExclusive #5: Art Pep Talk
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