Tonight’s sale in Doha of Contemporary art that mixed works from artists in the region and Western art stars was down substantially from last year’s $15m sale but still contained a number of works that broke out as well as others that sold within estimates for substantial numbers.
Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced a grant program to support public art projects in the US. The New York Times explains:
“Public Art Challenge,”[…] will give at least three cities up to a million dollars each over two years to develop art projects that “celebrate creativity, enhance urban identity, encourage public-private partnerships and drive economic development.” The money will be available to any city in the United States or its territories with more than 30,000 residents and is intended to serve as a catalyst to draw broad support to projects, not to pay for them entirely.
The grants come at a time of declining public support for the arts. A report by Grantmakers in the Arts in 2013 found that, after adjusting for inflation, government funding dedicated to the arts decreased by more than 30 percent from 1992 to 2013.
In a statement, Bloomberg Philanthropies said work from “all artistic disciplines” – including the performing arts and multimedia projects – would be considered. Applications are due by mid-December and the grant winners will be announced next May.
Here are some of the details from the site:
Excellent, innovative public art project
Potential for positive impact on the host city
Proof of clear, specific partnership between local government and artists and/or arts organizations
Evidence of technical feasibility of the project idea and its implementation (i.e. staff, consultants, fabricators, engineers, strategy for regulatory approvals, etc.)
Appropriate budget and capacity to leverage other sources of support
Strong marketing and audience engagement strategy
Commitment to evaluating outcomes
In 1998, Leon Black bought a prominent David Smith sculpture to donate to MoMA. The artist’s reputation—and museum presence—has always placed him among the first rank of American artists who charted a course from Surrealism to Abstract Expressionism and beyond before his early death in 1965. But Smith’s market lags his contemporaries. In this interview recorded this month at Mnuchin Gallery, Robert Mnuchin, Sukanya Rajaratnam of Mnuchin Gallery talk with Peter Stevens of the David Smith Estate about their upcoming show David Smith: The Forgings at Frieze Masters on October 15-19.
Over the past six years, Swann has been making a market in African American art. With the exception of a stumble in 2010, Swann has done a solid job building the sales volume. First, there were semi-annual sales in February and October. Now the auction house is running three sales a year which seems to be yielding more sales.
Art Lawyer Nicholas O’Donnell does a fine job sorting out the confusion over yesterday’s apparently premature declaration that the Bern Museum had made a decision upon the gift of the the Gurlitt hoard:
yesterday the Sonntagszeitung reported that the museum had indeed reached a decision to accept the collection and the role (which would, presumably, extend beyond the 1,280 works taken from his Schwabing apartment in Munich, and also to the several hundred objects in Austria, which are beyond the reach of the Bavarians). Reuters took up the story in English, with the headline that “Swiss art museum to accept German hoarder’s paintings: paper.”
Today, the museum walked the story back in multiple Swiss publications (all in German, from what I have found so far). The Tages Anzeiger in Zürich has an article today entitled “Bern Kunstmuseum Denies Gurlitt Decision.” The article describes the Sonntagszeitung article as “premature and partially incorrect.” The museum stated that the foundation’s board (responsible for the museum) declined to comment, citing ongoing confidential conversations with both Germany and Bavaria about the handling of the case. Foundation President Christoph Schäublin was cited as fearful of being “overrun,” and therefor declined to make a public announcement, according to museum spokeswoman Ruth Gilgen Hamisultane in her communication to the TA. The Berner Zeitung followed suit in confirming the lack of an actual decision.
So as of today, the deadline remains November 26, 2014.
Reports About Possible Acceptance of Gurlitt Bequest by Kunstmuseum (The Art Law Report)
There’s a lot of talk in Europe and the US about private and corporate-funded art museums. But in Korea, the connection between corporate authority and art has been established for some time. So much so that The Korea Herald decided to do a round up of the collectors and collections drive the Korean art world”
What makes art so fascinating to the superrich? Collecting artwork can be seen as a high-class hobby that befits the lives of society’s wealthiest. In fact, one way to measure wealth in modern society is how avid they are in collecting expensive art.
This measure has become gender-irrelevant. While men were not frequent customers in the world of art in the past, the situation has changed drastically.
Instead of collecting random pieces of work, these superrich collectors focus on finding those that can reflect their tastes and personalities. Art has also become an important factor in managing their businesses. The Korea Herald Special Investigative Team has researched some of the collections and galleries owned by Korea’s top corporate tycoons.
[SUPER RICH] The allure of art Korea Herald)
Matthew Slotover has some good quotes in The Independent’s story on the opening of this year’s Frieze fair in London. In them, Slotover addresses some of the backwards logic that has so many critics assuming that an interest in art is nothing but an excuse to indulge in some conspicuous consumption:
“Most don’t see art as purely a display of wealth. For many, there is a genuine engagement and they want to support the culture, and enrich their lives and engage in lifelong learning,” Mr Slotover says. “They could go and buy planes or yachts or cars, which wouldn’t do any of those things. It’s a minority of the wealthy that decide to buy art. If you look through the Sunday Times Rich List, most are not art collectors.”
Nor are the average punters. As Slotover remarks, the fair is primarily a venue for displaying art to a substantial public that never buys:
The majority of visitors to the show do not buy art, Mr Slotover says. “They don’t think of it as a commodity. They just want to see what’s going on. We sell out all our tickets in advance.”
Finally, the self-confident Slotover makes pains not to conflate the success of Contemporary art or the growth of London within the global art economy as a product of the fair:
“London’s status has increased but I wouldn’t put it down to the fair. We provide a focal point but there are bigger macroeconomic reasons,” Mr Slotover says.
“We’re lucky that the fair has lived through a period which has seen London grow. There have been changes in other cities as well, but London started from a much lower base. It had further to go. It is so much more international than it used to be.”
Frieze Co-Founder Defends ‘Ikea for Millionaires’ (The Independent)
RESULTS OF SALE 2359, OCTOBER 9, 2014
AFRICAN-AMERICAN FINE ART
FEATURING THE RICHARD A. LONG COLLECTION
Sale total: $1,348,886 with Buyer’s Premium
Hammer total: $1,076,075
Estimates for sale as a whole: $1,371,200 – $2,061,300
171 lots offered; 124 sold (73% sell-through rate by lot)
The great Bendor Grosvenor tries to explain the mess that the Rembrandt Research Project has made of the artist’s oeuvre. Here’s how it happened but you’ll have to—and ought to—click through to read Grosvenor’s very sensible explanations for why so many of the works that are still disputed have not be reclaimed by their institutions:
In the first half of the 20th century, Rembrandt was believed to have painted some 600-650 works. But from the 1970s onwards that number shrank rapidly to around 250.
What happened? Put simply, Rembrandt connoisseurship (that is, the ability to tell who painted what by close inspection) imploded. In 1968, the Rembrandt Research Project (RRP) was established with an admirable objective – to say definitively what was and was not a Rembrandt. But two key factors doomed the RRP’s approach. First, it tried to make attributions by committee, thus allowing indecision and groupthink to reign. It is easier and less risky to say “no” to a picture than to say “yes”. In such situations, the hardest-to-please scholars gain kudos for being “disciplined”, and influence others.
Second, connoisseurship itself fell out of fashion. “New art history” (which became dominant from the late 1970s onwards) believed that connoisseurship was a redundant, elitist practice, and was no longer taught as a key skill for art historians and curators. Social, economic and philosophical generalisation was the order of the day. As a result, the wide and informed debate that should have taken place every time a Rembrandt attribution was questioned didn’t happen. Few ever came to Rembrandt’s defence.
How to identify a real Rembrandt? (FT.com)
Sotheby’s is hoping that a group of Warhol portraits of women (Bridget Bardot, Debbie Harry, Sao Schlumberger and Judy Garland) will ride the coattails of this early Liz portrait that’s estimated at $30m. A year ago, Sotheby’s sold a yellow version of the work for $20m which hammered below the low estimate. At the time, the yellow color of the work was the explanation for the price. Here’s Bloomberg on the provenance of this green example:
“Liz #3” was exhibited with five other portraits of the actress from the same series in one of Warhol’s first shows at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati in 1963.
Seven years later, Warhol chose “Liz #3” for his first major international retrospective at the Pasadena Art Museum in California, which is now the Norton Simon Museum. The show subsequently traveled to the Tate Gallery in London and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
It was purchased by a private collector in Turin, Italy, in 1972, and was seen by the public once, at the Fondation Beyeler in Switzerland in 2000, Sotheby’s (BID) said.