The long simmering tension between institutions and the art market has begun to boil over. First we had public displays of contempt for the art market by Robert Hughes, Dave Hickey and Jerry Saltz. Most of that was, and continues to be, a reflection of the critic’s diminished role. Now, as Charlotte Burns points out in The Art Newspaper, the museum establishment is beginning to feel its own status anxiety as independent curators, gallery shows and private museums begin to eclipse public or established institutions.
The sense of dread is understandable but the bitterness and loss of composure represented in these quotes is astonishing:
Speaking at a conference held at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris last week, the art historian Patricia Falguières called private collectors who establish their own foundations and museums “terrible and narcissistic”, and said that their spending power “does not give them the influence to rewrite art history”.
Chris Dercon, Tate Modern’s director, who also spoke at the event, has previously criticised many collectors’ taste in art. “Stupid art is produced to compensate for [their] lack of knowledge,” he told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung last year. These kinds of attacks may explain why some collectors feel that “established museums can sometimes come across as hard to become involved with”, says Mihail Lari, a Los Angeles-based collector. “It’s no wonder that many collectors are gravitating towards creating their own playpens. But if we all took our art and set up private museums, it would be a sad day for public institutions.”
Collectors are calling the shots at Art Basel and beyond (The Art Newspaper)