“The difference between an art-fair business and a gallery business is our costs are fixed way ahead of time, and our revenue is also predictable because we’re not taking a percentage of the sales. We have a very stable business in terms of forecasting six months out. So by definition, we’re going to come in between the most successful and the least successful galleries. We have to maintain a fair model that allows us to stay in business and allows galleries to do business at the shows. For us to cut costs drastically would make our business precarious, which wouldn’t be in anyone’s interest.”
Some have described the image by Jesco Denzel, an award-winning photographer with many stunning compositions, as a Renaissance painting or the work of a Dutch master. Indeed, its composition resembles famous artistic portrayals of contention, from Caravaggio’s The Calling of Saint Matthew to Edward Degas’s Rehearsal Hall at the Opera. Its ambient quality speaks to the work of Johannes Vermeer, who so skillfully blended light and color to tell a story. Indeed, the image is otherworldly and surreal, in many ways more like a painting in a museum than a photograph from a geopolitical summit. But the photo reminded me of something more mundane: Yanny vs. Laurel, a debate spurred by an audio clip that was shared widely online last month.
“‘Pyonghattan’ was the joke nickname given by foreign diplomats to a cluster of shiny cylindrical towers that emerged in the capital in 2012, assuming this was a one-off publicity stunt. But since then, almost every year has seen the grand unveiling of another lavish trophy project, each more futuristic than the last, with parades of jaunty towers dressed in sci-fi costumes and crowned with cosmic symbols, worthy of scenes from The Jetsons.”
After a legal battle, Bath’s Victorian pews are going away to an airplane hangar before being sold. This “will create a vast open space under the abbey’s spectacular fan vaulting. Supporters of the project say this will allow the abbey to host community events, concerts, exhibitions and even formal dinners, and allow the restoration of ancient ledger stones in the floor, hidden for 150 years.” But critics aren’t happy.
Well, it’s Olafur Eliasson, of course – and, also of course, he describes the new Fjordenhus like this: “We were able to turn years of experiments in physical movement, light, nature, perception and the experience of space into a building that is a Gesamtkunstwerk [a total work of art] as well as a fully functioning architectural structure.”
One gallery wants all of its fee, not 10 percent of it, refunded. Frieze: “We made a commitment during the fair to give something back to every exhibitor, and since then we have consulted a number of galleries, including those on our committee. … We are now following through on this promise.”
Last month in London, DACS, Britain’s leading artists’ rights management organization, unveiled “The Art Market 2.0” to lawmakers in the House of Commons. A report by academics at the Alan Turing Institute in London and Oxford University, it envisioned how blockchain technology might “change the balance of economic power in the art market” and “integrate art into the financial sector.” A financialized Art Market 2.0 would lead to an “explosion of liquidity and value,” according to the report.
“Trustees allowed debate over the Berkshire Museum’s financial challenges to snowball into an excessive art sale, … as officials backed a costly shift to interactive exhibits based on thin evidence. Carol Riordan and Nancy Edman Feldman say that while the museum’s money problems were real, the Pittsfield institution could have ensured its future with far less than the $55 million it is allowed to raise through sales [of art from its collection] under terms of an agreement with [Mass.] Attorney General Maura Healey.”
“Room 41 is part of the rearrangement of the Uffizi collection that has been defining [director Eike] Schmidt’s vision for the museum. Next month, the museum’s three paintings by Leonardo will be installed in a nearby room. Together, these artists capture ‘a magic moment in the first decade of the 16th century when Florence was the cultural and artistic center of the world,’ Mr. Schmidt said.” Elisabetta Povoledo pays a visit.
“With an estimated A$1bn dollars flowing into Australia’s second largest city through cultural tourism each year, Melbourne has long-been described as the country’s cultural capital. … In a move that should cement Melbourne’s place at the top, the Victorian State Government has now announced a partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) — one of the world’s most-visited art museums — to build Australia’s largest contemporary art gallery, NGV Contemporary, in the city’s revitalised arts precinct.”
Sanford Schwartz: “Put roughly, an outsider artist is a figure who makes a body of work while operating in relative isolation, unaware of, or indifferent to, developments in the work of professional artists … An outsider artist might be someone who resolutely, and perhaps eccentrically, wants to live and work only on her or his terms. An outsider artist might be someone who has been institutionalized, or who suffers some physical impairment, which keeps the person at a remove from others. But an outsider artist, as the term has evolved, might as easily be someone whose daily experience — as, say, a black person in the South — has kept that person from having any real contact with the larger culture beyond his or her immediate community.”
“As accusations continue to unfold, US museums have been forced to confront, publicly and in real time, ethical dilemmas such as how or whether to show work by alleged abusers — but there is no standard, accepted institutional response to such situations.” Jillian Steinhauer looks at the choices five different museums made.”
“In what is considered a world first, a single-floor, three-room house made of 3D-printed concrete will be ready for occupation in 2019. More than 20 people have already registered their interest in the house since Dutch construction company Van Wijnen announced the project. It will be the first of five 3D concrete homes to be built in a wood in [the Dutch city of Eindhoven].”
One sees the dangerous level of fantasy that has engulfed the project in a press release published by the gallery after the government finally coughed up the funds. Oblivious to the deficiencies of the collection and the exhibition programme, it crowed that the grant would transform the AGNSW “into one of the world’s greatest art museums”.
The Dia Art Foundation has announced plans to revitalize its existing exhibition spaces in New York—in Chelsea, SoHo, and the upstate town of Beacon—while developing an endowment for operations in the future. Funding for the initiatives will come from a $78-million capital campaign, the majority of which will be invested in the organization’s endowment. So far, $60 million has already been raised.
“The foundation is announcing this week that it is giving around 400 artworks in all media by the Pop Art master — about half its holdings — to the Whitney Museum of American Art. … The foundation will also give historical material comprising approximately half a million documents to the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art.”
“Launched on the Google Arts & Culture platform today, the project includes drone footage of ancient sites and structures like the ziggurat in Borsippa and the Archway of Ctesiphon, 3D models of now lost architecture, like Babylon’s famous Ishtar Gate, and documentation of sites that have been damaged or destroyed by ISIS, including Nimrud, Hatra and Mosul.”
“The Leiden Collection, owned by the US billionaire Thomas Kaplan and his wife Daphne Recanati Kaplan, has unveiled two paintings newly attributed to Rembrandt at the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam. The Special Guests display, which opened last month, marks the return of the Portrait of Petronella Buys (1635) and Man with a Sword (around 1640-44) to the Netherlands for the first time in a century.”
Robin Givhan: “Fashion is no longer defining itself. Increasingly consumers are telling the industry what constitutes fashion. This is a problem. Not because the industry shouldn’t listen to its customers; it should. But then it should merge those demands with its own expertise, vision and standards to create something that is better and more relevant than the consumer ever imagined.”
Many friends and colleagues have stories about a piece that was killed because a living artist took issue with some aspect of it. One colleague even went as far to suggest that we should edit an anthology of essays killed because of the protestations of artists. Others suggested that I should stop writing on living artists. In such a potential minefield, what possibilities remain for academic writing and criticism on the work of living artists (and deceased ones with overly involved estates) when she can register disapproval and silence our work through her curator or editor, or through the withholding of image permissions?
The question of whether a particular shipper qualifies as a common carrier or a private carrier would probably make your eyes glaze over – until you realized that whether or not you have to pay, or collect, sales tax on thousands and thousands of dollars’ worth of art depends on the answer.
The leader of the UK’s Labour Party told a Greek newspaper, “They were made in Greece and have been there for many centuries until Lord Elgin took them. … As with anything stolen or taken from occupied or colonial possession … we should be engaged in constructive talks with the Greek government about returning the sculptures.”
Monet raced back and forth between these canvases, painting a whole sequence simultaneously, just as a silent film director rushed from scene to scene. His paintings were motion pictures. Monet’s eye was the camera, the cathedral his image, the paint his unexposed film, the canvas his screen.
While visits fell across the five London museums by 4.4% there was an 11% surge at Asian museums. The report suggests this was fuelled by “an emerging middle class with rising levels of education, cultural awareness and disposable income,” and “exposure to global cultural trends through online and social media”.
For over six years, Stéphane Breitwieser, an ordinary Frenchman with an extraordinary love of art, trolled museums and private collections across Europe, helping himself to the pieces that caught his eye. He amassed a private collection of his own, to the tune of 239 pieces of art and priceless artifacts from 172 institutions totaling over a billion dollars. He was one of the most prolific art thieves in modern history.
“It’s not just because of my brain’s well-documented penchant for drawing outlandish parallels that I bring up sports here. As preposterous as it would have seemed to me when I was a disaffected art kid growing up in Midwestern (American) football country, professional sports at least offer food for thought, if not a full game plan, for how the gallery sector could claw its way out of this mess.”
It’s an ambitious, 50-state campaign by a group called For Freedoms, a campaign that intends to pay artists, enlist museums, run Kickstarters and do a lot more before the midterm elections in November. One of the founders of For Freedoms said, “We are hoping to bring art to the center of public life in the lead-up to the midterms, which is where we think art should belong.”