Adam Lindemann was on Charlie Rose late last week with an interview that was taped the Monday before the auctions took place. Lindemann is consistently one of the more articulate and observant art market commentators despite or because of his multiple roles as collector, gallery owner, and writer about the art market. Lindemann talks art as fashion, why art advisors are like yoga instructors, what goes on with auction houses and more.
It’s the perfect marriage of art and money. Perhaps that’s why I’ve always been drawn to the spot paintings, and I’ve followed them closely. Truth be told, the highest price ever paid at auction for a spot painting was for an early 10-foot one I had bought from Charles Saatchi in 2003 (Amphoceterin B, 1993), and that I sold at auction in May 2008, quadrupling my investment. Do you think I laughed all the way to the bank? Not quite. I soon found out that the buyer of my painting was none other than Damien himself, and so I chuckled, and bought another one.
Put Me in the Zoo, Thinking About Damien Hirst as a Bedtime Story (AdamLindemann.com)
If you were at the last Artelligence conference, you’ll know first hand that Adam Lindemann is remarkably frank about the art market.
During his presentation, an audience member asked about the amount of control a relatively small group of dealers, collectors and museum officials has over which artists receive attention and acclaim. Many might have ducked that question or deflected it, Lindemann’s response was to simply acknowledge that the art world is not a democracy.
The same can be said of Lindemann’s Observer columns which are often quoted on this site.
Now, Lindemann has launched his own website as a place to gather his art market writing in one place. The site also offers him the opportunity to be more accessible to the curious.
Here’s a sample of what Lindemann envisions:
Joseph Duveen, NYC. September 5, 2011
Q: Art is easy to buy, but how do I know when to sell?
A: Several people ask this simple question, but the answer is complex. I can’t help you because you haven’t defined your collecting goals. Do you want to preserve art, use art for power, a show of wealth, do you LOVE art or is it just a “game”? If you are solely interested in making money, buy a financial instrument, not a painting.
Betty Draper, Rye, NY. September 5, 2011
Q: I want to collect art but I just don’t know where to begin, and I’m afraid it’s too expensive, what to do?
A: Art is available at every price point, and don’t forget even the top artists in the World started selling for almost nothing. Research is your first key, buy my book, read every art magazine, see the shows, and buy the books on artists you respond to. Then find someone you can trust, a dealer or an art advisor and find your way. You’ll have to start somewhere, so jump in, fear is your enemy, great collectors take great chances, you can start by taking small ones.
Judd Tully’s keeping track. He totted up the sale of German artists by collector Adam Lindemann and came up with some woeful numbers:
[The] group of works comprised of young German artists and offered by American collector Adam Lindemann didn’t fare as well, however, as eight of the 13 lots found buyers for a combined tally of £351,150 against a low estimate of £465,000. Continue Reading
Scott Reyburn had an important interview with Adam Lindemann at ArtBasel. Important because Lindemann said something publicly that many won’t acknowledge, the growing power of private collectors usurping the roles of both dealers and museums. The future of the art market and the future of art may be much better for this but the transition will cause a ruckus. Here’s Lindemann in Reyburn’s Bloomberg article:
“The market has split. It’s bipolar,” said Lindemann. “There’s no middle market money any more. There’s the affordable stuff, and there’s a top tier of trophy works priced at $1 million up. Anything in between is in no man’s land.”
“Power” collectors such as Don and Mera Rubell, Dakis Joannou and Francois Pinault have changed the art market during the last decade, Lindemann said. Wealthy individuals are holding shows of emerging artists before they are discovered by dealers, striking fear into the exhibition programs of cash-strapped museums, he said.
“The private foundations have taken on such momentum that the museums are afraid of them,” said Lindemann, 48, wearing an open-necked shirt, blazer and cream slacks.Continue Reading
Adam Lindemann is finally looking into Chinese Contemporary art. He narrates his recent trip to China, including a visit to Pace’s new Beijing space and a stop at Zeng Fanzhi’s studio, in the New York Observer:
I found that the Chinese art scene is a whole new world, with different rules and different norms. Artists like Zeng are prestigious celebrities, respected tycoons. Zeng’s studio had a parking lot with a few BMWs and a Bentley. Inside were several wealthy types smoking big cigars and listening to lite FM on a huge stereo. Although the wealthy Chinese visiting the studio told me they were not yet collecting, they were unanimous in telling me that they were ” thinking about it.” For now, for them, hanging out in Zeng’s studio, having tea or playing poker, was about status, not art.Continue Reading
Collector Adam Lindemann published in the New York Observer last week a defense of the New Museum show curated by Jeff Koons that features works from the collection of Dakis Joannou. It is not worth reading for that defense–who cares anymore?–but for the interesting points he makes about the art world, like this provocative one:
Additional thunder has been drained from the museums, with the galleries increasingly doing many of the best shows in town. Shows of Picasso and Piero Manzoni (Acquavella, Gagosian), as well as those of Koons, Alighiero e Boetti and Cindy Sherman (L+M, Gladstone, Skarstedt), have put gallery shows in direct competition with museums. Gallerists know the material and can act quickly; they are committed and don’t need to pander to broad and politically correct guidelines.
Art Critics: Get Real! (NY Observer)