Stallone Scores TKO at Art Basel

It also proves there's no accounting for taste.

Collectors and gallerists worried about the art market after last year's dreary recession-plagued sales can take heart -- if Sylvester Stallone can whip out some things he painted in his garage and bank $90,000 for Galerie Gmurzynska, well, they just might be able to unload those Arnold Schwarzenneger scupltures purchased after Terminator II.

Kidding about the Governor, though he has gotten pretty creative of late. But we're not joking about Sly -- that really was Mr. Rocky Balboa himself showing off his work at Art Basel Miami Beach this week, and the man scored a technical knockout by selling two paintings that weren't so critically acclaimed.

"I'm not just painting for painting's sake. I want to be truthful," Stallone told the Daily Mail, though he gives most of his work to relatives and admitted, "I wouldn't exactly say I have a following."

One buyer was Steve Wynn, the Las Vegas casino mogul and collector, which means Stallone may want to be a conservationist as well: Wynn famously stuck his elbow through Picasso's Le Rêve, causing tens of millions of damage and cancelling a $139 million dollar sale. That Wynn is vision impaired should by no means communicate anything at all about Stallone's worth as an artist.

Or maybe it should: Stallone explained a third piece, Toxic Superman, was about "the ups and downs of Hollywood, the peaks and valleys. Society makes it difficult for a man to be a man.

"The US working male is a dying breed."

So is the aristocracy, though that didn't keep Galerie Gmurzynska's consultant/mascot Princess Michael of Kent from popping about extoling Stallone's virtues as "a very talented painter." The Galerie had previously suffered the seizure of work by U.S. Marshals before Art Basel opened thanks to a dispute with an insurance company (it has since been settled and items returned); all three together -- overnight celebrity artist, impoverished and notorious British aristocracy, and minor scandal -- could easily have been mistaken for a brilliant combination of performance and instillation, specially commissioned for Miami Beach

Perhaps, if the market didn't appear more at ease, they'd have been willing to go for a price.

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