Sherman Lee of the Cleveland Museum Dies
From the New York Times obituary:
Mr. Lee, who viewed the museum as an educational institution, was wary of artistic fashion, eschewing the contemporary in favor of the time-honored, sometimes to the museum’s detriment; the museum did not purchase a Jackson Pollock until 1980 and passed on opportunities to acquire works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Jasper Johns.
“Sherman Lee had a very strong philosophy that you wait 20 years before you buy,” Evan H. Turner, his successor, said in 1984. “You wait until the first flush of enthusiasm is over.”
Why Are There No Great Women Artists?
From The Independent, a meditation on women’s prices and place in the art market:
“Surely the art market, of all places, should be free of such prejudices. I was delighted to see an important painting by Dumas sell at Sotheby’s for £3.2m. However, one has to compare this with works from the same sale, which included a Bacon that sold for £13.7m, a [Jean-Michel] Basquiat for £5m and a Richard Prince for £4.2 m. Female artists are the bargain in today’s markets.”
Speaking of Riley
From the Guardian interview/profile of the 77-year-old artist:
She was the star of the op movement, her paintings copied by designers, and her fame could get them a hearing from the establishment. It is easy to picture her impressing bureaucrats. She speaks precisely in a refined accent and recalls the time she “had tea with Agnes Martin in New York” – the picture of a polite meeting between these two great abstract artists materialises. She is highly articulate and educated, has written many essays on modern art, and does not see herself as in any way a pop figure: in 1965 she denounced the way her art was being “vulgarised in the rag trade”. Yet every so often, Riley jumps up and all but dances around the room – she moves like a cat, and for a moment becomes the artist who posed in a black shirt and white skirt between her zebra-stripe paintings in a famous 60s photograph.
. . . and if you like Riley, you’ll love LeWitt
From the New York Sun’s story on the installation going on at Mass MoCA:
his legacy collection is currently being applied and erected by a small army of about 60 artists. The exhibit — which covers 30,000 square feet on three floors — is arranged in the chronological order of LeWitt’s inspiration, from the ground to the third floor.
A key part of Sol LeWitt’s method was to replicate his art at will and he gathered around him a staff of 20 artists who are the key to translating his instructions at MASS MoCA. In addition, since the project began on April 1, a dozen LeWitt apprentices have joined to learn the ropes, while in recent weeks, 30 fine art undergraduates from universities and art colleges have been drafted for 10-week internships to ensure that the gargantuan project is completed on time for its grand opening on November 16.
Which Reminds Us of This Story about Dead Artists
From the International Herald Tribune:
Call it the Dawn of the Dead Artist. The message from the market is as clear as it is macabre. In a quest for fresh material, blue-chip contemporary-art dealers are finding a healthy source of revenue buried six feet under.
Though the IHT should look at Parrino’s recent auction results where his prices have remained somewhat stuck. Take this lot that was bought in during the London sales.
The Telegraph’s Market News covers graffitti artist Banksy and the continuing rise of Orientalism. One of the important drivers of the Orientalist market is the purchasing power of the Gulf States and Turkey. These buyers are particularly interested in depictions of local landmarks but the potential in this field is just beginning to be explored:
• Orientalist art continued its upward trajectory in the market last week when a sale at Christie’s realised a record £18 million, £10 million more than the previous record set by Sotheby’s last year. Several individual artists’ records were broken, the most prominent being the £2.1 million paid for an 1876 portrait, Veiled Circassian Beauty (above) by the French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme, which had been estimated at £400,000 to £600,000.
Gérôme painted it after one of several trips to Turkey, where the painting is now most likely destined. Eighteen years ago it had fetched £324,000 at auction. The Orientalist sale made up just half of Christie’s regular 19th-century European art sale, but the second half did not do so well, realising just £3.3 million. Nearly half of the lots were unsold.