The Tatlin Diamond sofa by Mario Cananzi and Roberto Semprini

Photos: Courtesy of

The Tatlin Diamond sofa by Mario Cananzi and Roberto Semprini.

There are some hidden treasures and potential bargains in the Living Contemporary sale. That's true even if you’re not in the market (or the mood) to purchase a Tatlin sofa upholstered with Swarovski crystals (lot 147, estimate $10,000–$15,000; pictured above).  

This spring, Living Contemporary features 325 art and decorative objects, some of which can be yours if you play your game right on auction day. That sale begins on April 25 at noon. But going on from now until then, there's a preview on view now at the Wright auction house in the West Loop.

Wright’s massive showroom is open to the public. You could call it the Museum of Random Contemporary Art and Design. The auction preview, which is free to attend, is the most unexpected (and temporary) exhibition of art and high-end design you’ll see in Chicago.

It’s like digging through an art collector’s closet. Below, I’ve highlighted several objects of desire from the preview and the forthcoming sale—along with reasons why it might be a prime time to buy them.


Lot 124: Zaha Hadid

Woosh Sofa, 1986
This sofa may have landed on Earth from another space and time, a dimension called 1980s Postmodernism. The sofa was created by starchitect Zaha Hadid, renowned for her cutting-edge architecture around the globe, which drives the price of the sofa up to a $30,000–$50,000 estimate.
Who will bid on it: Trust-fund kids nostalgic for the ’80s.



Lots 150–158

Various works by Christopher Wool
A former studio assistant of the Chicago-born, NYC-based artist Christopher Wool is parting with a small trove of paintings. Several are iconic Wool: stark, black-and-white, quickly executed, often with a wry sense of humor. But there are also a couple practical jokes in this sale. For instance, lot 157 is a hand-drawn map on a paper scrap, signed, dated, and tagged by the artist at $1,000. Apparently Wool and his assistant joked that these directions to the hardware store would someday become a valuable artwork. Irony thrives in the art world, and backstories help sell art. The estimate is $1,000–$1,500.
Who will bid on it: An art collector who adores everything Wool.



Lot 319: Ed Ruscha

Pearl Dust Combination (from Insects), 1972
This really cool screenprint from America’s most-famous living artist, Ed Ruscha, depicts various insects and its surface sparkles because it has been sprinkled with pearl dust. The auction house’s estimated sale price of $1,000–$1,500 seems like a steal; it may be set low to inspire a bidding war. No matter how high it sells for, the new owner will be lucky to have it.
Who will bid on it: Investors looking for a bargain, but they will be out-bid by young collectors who want a new showpiece.



Lot 411: Nicola Constantino

Soccer Ball Peach Nipples
A boob ball made of (fake) nipples. ’Nuff said.
Who will bid on it: Bachelors making impulse buys.



Lot 422: a.k.a. “My Wish List”

Dieter Roth’s Book AC, a portfolio of 24 die-cut pages.
I was admiring the Donald Judd prints (lots 130–131), but for the same estimate of $2,000–$3,000, I’d rather go with Dieter Roth’s loose-leaf “book” of 24 pages. It’s playful: the reader can alter the book’s narrative of abstract, geometric interactions.

Preview the Living Contemporary auction from April 18–24, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., at Wright, 1440 W Hubbard.