Newsweek had a nice look at Vivan Sundaram’s work: “In his vast Delhi studio, he created a faux cityscape with the garbage he collected from waste pickers. Then he directed two photographers to capture the tableau from various perspectives and digitized the results, adding music to turn some into video installation. Though his process reflects the works of some early modern artists—collages by Picasso and Matisse or Joseph Cornell’s boxes—his subject is contemporary: the detritus of rapid globalization. With the collected garbage, he built miniature landfills and precarious towers that tumble repeatedly in his videos. The uncanny effect of assembling such ugly waste is that it produces esthetic pleasure. ‘Artifice is central,’ he says. ‘The work is meant to be beautiful.'”
Bloomberg‘s Martin Gayford looks at the National Gallery’s Renaissance Portraits: Van Eyck to Titian show in London: “The Renaissance, of course, was the era of what school history used to call “the rise of the individual.” If the 1980s and 1990s were the me-decades, the 15th and 16th were the “me- centuries.” There was an exponential rise in the sheer quantity of portraiture produced and a corresponding improvement in the techniques for making it: that is, painting and sculpture”
The Original Art?
Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald looks at Sotheby’s Aboriginal and Oceanic Art Sale taking place today: “Nobody can deny it has rounded up plenty of fascinating and highly desirable pieces from all over – after all, it’s had more than a year to pull together the $7 million sale. But many would-be buyers are likely to think carefully in such troubled times before paying $100,000 on a top-level dot painting, or $20,000 for an outstanding bark or artefact. Indeed the once-booming market for Aboriginal desert painting had already turned patchy long before the recent economic ructions. Nevertheless, collectors are an obsessive breed – and the best material always seems to find a buyer or two even when the household budget is stretched, the superannuation has taken a hit and the annual bonus is toast. This sale is particularly rich in artefacts conveying the glossy glow of age and usage – perhaps even a sense of having been venerated by their tribal owners.”
The Antiquity of Hope
Souren Melikian finds hope in Bonham’s sale of antiquities: “The Bonhams sale demonstrated to the delighted surprise of professionals that the eagerness to own antiquities is, for now, strong enough to beat financial worries, even at the lowest quality level. It was highly significant because this is where any market is most likely to suffer when a recession looms. In the art market, human emotions apparently remain stronger than rational calculations.”
Wendy Moonen raves about the Armory show in the New York Times.
The Persistence of Art
Reuters focuses on the importance of art, coin and jewelry services for banks and wealth management firms: “”I definitely believe the art advisory service belongs to the overall wealth management offer. I don’t think it will be cut back,” said Karl Schweizer, head of art banking and numismatics at UBS. [ . . . ] Many wealthy clients are increasingly focusing on tangibles such as gold or art which has an aesthetic worth as they see ephemeral financial investments losing value. “Gold, diamonds, at the moment investments in precious stones are also doing well,” said Marco Mazzoni, founder and chairman of Magstat which tracks private banking in Italy.”
Clearing the Fogg
Carol Vogel outlines the Pulitzer gift of $45 million to build a replacement to the Fogg Museum and about $200 million worth of Postwar art.