What Happened to Gigaweek?

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Early this year Sotheby’s announced it would hold its Spring New York sales in one week instead of the traditional two weeks. Staking out a claim to the week of May 9th, the auction house was responding to Christie’s recent penchant for bigfooting the auction calendar with special sales and its own Gigweek strategy. Instead of claiming the week before as its own to better take advantage of Frieze opening on Randall’s Island, Christie’s has scheduled all of its May sales in the same week as Sotheby’s and Phillips.

Indeed, once again, Phillips finds Christie’s playing on its turf as two sales take place on Sunday May 8th.

Eventually, it would seem, the industry will follow Phillips in having only one Evening sale a season of the marquee works from Impressionist, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary categories. On occasion, when the house has a big single-owner collection or a special theme, there might be an additional evening sale. Or not. Who knows?

Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2016: Growth Up Sharply

Hiscox Top 40 Online

Hiscox have released their now annual survey of online art trading. This year they’ve included a ranking of art sales sites (above.) Robert Read heads Hiscox’s art and private client group. Here are some of his highlights from the report:

The online art market has continued to grow strongly (up 24% to $3.27 billion) despite the global art market slowing in 2015.

Sotheby’s and Christie’s do really well in our newly created Online Art Platform Ranking 2016, but have they done enough or are they still stuck in a time warp?

Dealers are struggling to deal with the online challenge but remain insulated from reality as the traditional model still works (just about) and most are too small to take such a high risk gamble – probably a case of damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

Finally, in the online art world, mobile devices are becoming our weapon of choice and social media is becoming increasingly influential in persuading us that the Emperor’s new clothes really are magnificent.

Meanwhile, Colin Gleadell offers his own summary of the report in The Telegraph:Continue Reading

Don’t Fight It; Richard Prince Is In Control

Carl Swanson has too many insights into Richard Prince’s art and ambition to quote here. The story isn’t available online. But make sure you get a copy of New York Magazine, if you can, to read it. In the meantime, here’s a nugget on the artist’s control-freak tendencies:

You might think the lesson of Prince’s early appropriation was that all of visual culture was up for grabs, but a few decades later, the clearer through-line to his work is that he wants you to see things exactly as he does.

Is Richard Prince the Andy Warhol of Instagram? (NYMag)

Amy-isms for the New Era at Sotheby’s

Amy Cappellazzo

Amy Cappellazzo spoke to New York Magazine:

  • Never shy: “I was surprised to discover the thing I’m really good at: calling the market and risk assessment. Pricing a work of art, understanding its value, is an extremely proprietary skill.”
  • The idea of art as a reserve currency: “I’m an expert in an esoteric asset class that happens to be an excellent reservoir of value. Some days I think I’m in the alternative currency business.”
  • Channeling Yogi Berra through Gerhard Richter’s abstracts: “If you find one that appeals to you, you’d have to be dead not to like it.”
  • On Tauba Auerbach: “A young artist is like a young athlete—it’s easier to be young than old because the marketplace likes newness.”
  • On Yayoi Kusama: “She’s since collaborated with Louis Vuitton on handbags. That is more of a design exercise than an art exercise—but it increases her brand recognition.”

Art Market Lessons From a Sotheby’s Advisor  (Vulture)

Maurizio Cattelan Pisses Away a Fortune at the Guggenheim

The Guggenheim benefits from Maurizio Cattelan’s return from retirement. The artist says his forthcoming work in the museum is not a joke. It is, however, a solid gold toilet that the artist says only becomes a work of art “with someone sitting on it or standing over it, answering nature’s call.”

“Actually, it’s even more of a torture not to work than to work,” he said in an interview. And so he is coming out of retirement with a new sculpture that seems designed to proclaim his return with an exclamation point, though the piece is of modest size and will not be on view in a public gallery.

It will, instead, be installed in early May just off one of the ramps of the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan, in a small, humble room where visitors often feel the urge to spend some time alone.

Duchamp, Eat Your Heart Out: The Guggenheim Is Installing a Gold Toilet (The New York Times)

Who Is Gary Nader? And Why Is He Building A Museum In Miami?

  Gary Nader’s museum proposal for downtown Miami has brought scrutiny to his gallery and dealings. The Miami Herald talks to everyone to learn more:

“I don’t want to sound pretentious,” Nader says, modestly, as he sits in his office by a newly acquired canvas by Uruguayan great Joaquin Torres Garcia that he points to proudly. “I’m the most successful curator of Latin American art in the world. I know how to do blockbuster shows. I do extremely important catalogues and books for my shows. Very few people in the art world know what I know.

“I’ve done everything that is doable in my business.” Everything, that is, except the ne plus ultra for the Miami art collector: Build his own museum.

Already rich Miami art dealer Gary Nader wants what’s next: a museum (Miami Herald)

Mark Bradford Will Represent US at Venice Biennale

Mark Bradford, Constitution IV (2-3m) 3.77m GBP
Mark Bradford, Constitution IV (2-3m) 3.77m GBP

The Boston Globe tells us the US pavilion at the Venice Biennale will honor both Mark Bradford and The Rose Art Museum:

Bradford’s name was put forward by Christopher Bedford, director of the Rose, which hosted a major exhibition of Bradford’s work in 2014. The Waltham museum will now organize the Venice exhibition, just as MIT’s List Visual Arts Center proposed and then realized the Joan Jonas exhibition for the US Pavilion at the last Biennale. Bedford will co-curate the exhibit, along with Katy Siegel, curator at large for the Rose.

The announcement is a vindication for the Rose, which came close to shutting down back in 2009, when then-Brandeis-president Jehuda Reinharz announced plans to sell off the museum’s collection to help address a university financial crisis.

“To be the commissioner for one’s country at the Venice Biennale is the greatest honor in the contemporary art world,” said Bedford.

Rose Art Museum to present artist at Venice Biennale’s US Pavilion (The Boston Globe)

Vernissage TV: Art Cologne 2016

Art Cologne 2016

Here’s how Vernissage TV describes their handiwork:

This year, Art Cologne, the world’s oldest art fair for modern and contemporary art celebrates its 50th edition. The launch of the fair in 1967 – back then called The Kunstmarkt Köln ’67 – was sparked by the urgent need to revitalize the lackluster art market in West Germany. Founded by the Cologne-based gallerists Hein Stünke and Rudolf Zwirner, it had a profound impact on the international art market. The success of Kunstmarkt Köln triggered the launch of other art fairs, the most successful and enduring of all the reactions was Art Basel, founded in 1970.

For the 50th edition of Art Cologne (14-17 April 2016), 218 galleries from 24 countries present modern and contemporary art. The fair is divided into three sectors: Galleries, New Contemporaries, and Collaborations. This video provides you with some atmospherical shots from the opening reception of the fair on April 13, 2016.

Art Cologne 2016 (Vernissage TV)

Author of Art World’s Most-Cited Report Says Information Is Getting Harder to Come By

Clare McAndrew 2

The FT has a compendium of the well-worn discussion around art world opacity. But the article opens with a lament from Clare McAndrew who puts together TEFAF’s widely cited report on the volume of public and private transactions in the art world.

What’s at issue, though, is whether anyone has a good handle on the private art market. The implication of the FT’s take is that world’s biggest galleries are not cooperating with McAndrew:

“There were huge steps towards greater transparency in the past 20 years,” said Clare McAndrew, author of the TEFAF Art Market report. “But in the past couple of years it has been going backwards.”

She blamed a trend at auction houses to sell art privately […]

To compile the figures, she relied in part on a survey of galleries. For this year’s report, only 800 galleries out of 6,300 responded, though she had some private conversations with others. “It was a struggle,” she said.

Art market ripe for abuse, say campaigners (FT.com)

Ann Freedman: ‘I didn’t slay anyone’s first-born.’

Ann Freedman has given an interview to The Art Newspaper. Even after settling the de Sole case at trial, Freedman is reluctant to admit fault or serious harm:

“I was a perfect mark, so I’m told, and my research helped them figure out their own scheme,” she said, describing those who conned her as “exquisitely conspiratorial wizards”. […]

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