Katya Kazakina previews Art Basel which opens this week and will be the center of attention for the next few days as the very top end of the art market looks to see what’s out there and available. Kazakina quotes one of her go-to talkers, Philip Hoffman whose business seems to have shifted toward advising Gulf States art investors:
“There’s a lot of wealth looking at the art market,” he said. “It’s a neutral currency.”
Kazakina also reports on the fair’s first sale which takes place ahead of the fair and now removes the work from the fair. (You think this is easy?):
Francis Bacon’s small 1959 portrait, priced at $3.5 million, was set to be among 75 artworks at Chicago- and New York-based Richard Gray Gallery.
Here may be the more interesting observation from Robert Mnuchin whose blue chip gallery is having trouble sourcing material and looking for new names—like Simon Hantai—to deal in:
Robert Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive whose New York gallery specializes in postwar art, will bring a vertical 10-part stack by Donald Judd, valued at about $4.5 million, and a $1.2 million painting by French artist Simon Hantai. Mnuchin will also show works by hot contemporary artists Christopher Wool and Mark Bradford.
Art created in the past 10 to 15 years has become a more important part of Art Basel, said Mnuchin, who’s participating in the fair for 18th time. “Golden oldies are harder and harder for dealers to get,” he said.
Davos of Art World Lures Collectors to $4 Billion Fair (Bloomberg)