The Chickpea Conspiracy

During the 1960s, Mickey Ruskin regularly let artists eat and drink for free or trade art for sustenance at Max’s Kansas City. So when Ruskin ran into financial trouble, artists rallied and held a benefit auction for the bar, on June 15, 1971. Celebrated customers such as John Chamberlain, Roy Lichtenstein, and Willem de Kooning eventually became part owners of the joint, a relationship which has become known as the Chickpea Conspiracy.
Last month, the thick, painty work on paper de Kooning donated was sold by its purchaser’s estate at Christie’s. It’s a bit of a mess, at least to my eye, perhaps not a drawing that de Kooning would miss as much as the Erased one. And it only made $338k against a $400-600k estimate, so I guess I’m not alone.
But anyway, point is, here is a section of the auction catalogue:maxs_kc_auction71.jpg
I though that was all, but the Max’s Kansas City website has additional catalogue images, and a barely overlapping artist list. Hey, look, there’s David Diao, who is the grownup in the Richteriana show: