1. Art Market Report Released
This week, artnet released a report on the state of the international art market. While international sales are down from the same period last year, sales within the US have grown sizably.
In the first six months of 2015, international art sales reached $8.1 billion, while they rose to $8.6 billion during a comparable period in 2014. Meanwhile, US art sales reached $3.4 billion in the first six months of the year, compared to $2.9 billion at the same time in 2014. Despite an international decline, the report also found that the price-per-lot sold internationally rose 20% in 2015, reaching an average of $69,000, with 766 lots selling for more than $1 million each in the second quarter alone.
2. Gerhard Richter Disowns Almost Decade of Work
Gerhard Richter has definitely been making news lately. After facing off against the German government’s cultural minister last week, the renown postwar painter made headlines again this week for renouncing the representational works he created between 1962 and 1968, removing the works from his catalogue raisonné.
The 6 year phase represents Richter’s early West German period, which includes some of the most realistic, figurative works he ever created. The now primarily abstract painter has been known to maintain a strong hand in the curation of his catalogue (removing single works previously). However, the removal of so many works left many shocked and questioning the line between artistic control and historical denial.
3. New Trends in Collecting
ARTnews has compiled a study of the 200 top collectors list over the past 25 years. While most collectors still hail from the US or Europe, the amount of American and European collectors has fallen in the last 10 years, making room for an increasing number of collectors from (unsurprisingly) Asia and, to a lesser extent, Russian and the Ukraine.
Contemporary art remains the most collected genre of art, with a steady increase in acquisitions over the past 10 years. While the purchase of work from Old Masters has declined slightly and the collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art has remained rather stable, there has been a marked increase in the collection of Asian art in the last 5 years. The increased interest in Asian art perhaps promises to be the most lasting trend of recent years.
4. Ai Weiwei Has Passport Returned
After four years of being unable to leave his home country of China, Ai Weiwei has finally gotten his passport back from the Chinese government. Government officials confiscated Weiwei’s passport at a Beijing airport in 2011, after which he was detained for 81 days without the filing of official charges.
This comes after months of easing tensions between the dissident artist and the Chinese government, who last month allowed the opening of Weiwei’s first solo show in China. Weiwei told CNN: “My heart is at peace. I feel quite relieved…Every human or citizen needs — if they travel — they need a passport. And mine [was] taken away with no clear reason. And now it’s back.”
5. Murakami & Louis Vuitton Part Ways
After 13 years, Louis Vuitton has ended its partnership with Takashi Murakami. The more than decade long collaboration, which began with a series of white and rainbow monogram bags, included the popular Cherry Blossom and Character Bag purses.
The bags brought the Japanese artist incredible international attention and redefined the fashion house’s image. However, the relationship has tapered since Nicholas Ghesquiere replaced Marc Jacobs as creative director. Ghesquiere hopes to move the brand forward from the Murakami bags that became iconic of early 2000s fashion.