Network of Arts and Culture Websites Creates New Model for Online Publishing – artmarketblog.com

For Immediate Release

Contact: Brigid Brown, Publicist

Cell) 551.358.1058

brigidbrown13@yahoo.com

Network of Arts and Culture Websites Creates New Model for Online Publishing

“Life in the arts has taught (Kathryn) Born that you can’t have a life in the arts unless you’re ‘able to work for free or almost nothing.’ She thinks that’s wrong … “

Chicago Reader, January 2010

The network of websites that comprise Chicago Art Map and Chicago Art Magazine are not simply local websites but a case study for a new model of online publishing.

See: http://chicagoartmagazine.com/transparency-pages/

“Print media is in a mindset that online publishing is simply posting on a screen rather than printing on paper,” says Kathryn Born, founder of the CAM. “It’s rarely utilizing the internet’s capabilities to connecting the story ancillary data and deeper pools of information. It doesn’t harness the power of online distributions, which can categorize and deliver content to the audience — in the exact moment and form they wish to receive it.”

What does that have to do with Chicago Art Map? The network stands as a proof-of-concept of new publishing through several scenarios.  The key example is that Chicago has 300 art venues and countless events every week. Comprehensive lists are ideal, but unwieldy.

The answer? Put all the information into a database instead of a list. Put a Google Map layer on top, add images, and code additional software tools so the events can be sorted and filtered.

The result? Search an art map by geographical range or  exhibit type (a museum vs. a gallery or alternative art space) or type of art or type of event. Sort alphabetically or by neighborhood,   location, specialty and filtered by date and geography.

For Chicago Art Magazine, footnotes are back in style using “hovering” tools, paragraphs of extra information expand with a click to instantly reveals more information (without refreshing the page).   And images! Since ink is no longer a cost factor, they’re abundant, and expand to full size when clicked upon.

Chicago Art Magazine doesn’t publish monthly, it publishes twice a day. Each piece is pushed out to over 5,000 Facebook and Twitter followers.

It’s operational budget, for what would-be a 200 page magazine, is only $1,700 a month. Every dime goes to writers, editors and staff. No rent, no paper, no trucks. Suddenly, an advertising-based model that only requires $2000 per month to support freelancers and stay in the black, is attainable, often with sole-sponsorship deals that provide a blast of coverage for only a few sponsors each month.

“‘Advertorial; content is permissible, but only if it’s fully disclosed in every instance,” is the policy of the magazine, as they are supported with “sponsored posts” along with graphic advertisements.

Most unusual, yet still in accordance with the Open source (software) background that prepared Kathryn Born for the task, is the idea of freely sharing ideas so that others can build upon what was learned. A tab called “transparency” reveals everything from tech tricks, to philosophy and budgets. A weekly blog gets into even smaller details about editorial and survival

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The site speaks to all tiers of art fans whether a seasoned collector or a newbie looking to go out on a Friday evening. This breadth of reviews is credited to the aptly named “Friday Night Army” which is a team of critics, released onto the city, with the mission to report back on what is seen and heard in their own voice. “The editorial goal is to write about art in a simple, lively way, using pictures, video and audio,” says Born. “Our belief is that writing about art can be a literary style that’s as colorful as the art we describe.”

Chicago Art Magazine ~ Reviews & Features

Chicago Art Map ~ One-Stop-Shop Gallery Finder

The Chicago Art Machine speaks to all tiers of art fans whether it is a collector on the prowl for the latest discovery or a newbie looking to branch out. This breadth can be credited to the aptly named “Friday Night Army” which is a team of critics, released onto the city, with the mission to report back on what is seen and heard in their own voice.

Some features are more mainstream like, “The Bath Haus of Gaga” and others more niche-y but still accessible such as, “A Crash of Critters at Fill in the Blank”. No matter what genre, each article is informative and as a whole the network feels like a mini-course in art history. After a short time of perusing the sites, visitors will walk away knowing way more than when they started.

“The editorial goal is to write about art in a simple, lively way with a whole bunch of pictures, video and audio,” says Born. “The belief is that writing about art can be a literary style that’s as colorful as the art we describe.”

Kathryn Born is the Editor-in-Chief of the online Chicago Art Magazine and oversees ChicagoArtMap.com. Born breaking off to start her own network of sites, Born had created the blog Art Talk Chicago for the Chicago Tribune-sponsored network of blogs called ChicagoNow.com.

If you plan to run a review and/or would like to set up an interview with Kathryn Born, please contact: Brigid Brown @ 551.358.1058 or brigidbrown13@yahoo.com

Visit us online at: www.chicagoartmagazine.com

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Zoo Art Fair 09 Fails to Deliver – artmarketblog.com

Zoo Art Fair 09 Fails to Deliver – artmarketblog.com

12-zooartfair-jpgThis year’s Zoo art fair was a rather interesting event primarily because of the new venue which consisted of several disused Victorian warehouse buildings in London’s east end that were divided into three sections (Zones A, B and C). Unfortunately (in my opinion) Zoo were kicked out of their usual venue at the Royal Academy of Arts after London gallery Haunch of Venison leased the space. Zoo weren’t entirely to blame for the circumstances that they found themselves in and as much as I would like to say that they triumphed over adversity, they didn’t. It was obvious that Zoo were attempting to make the most of the venue and give an edgy feeling to the fair by taking on what Zoo called an “adapted structure”, but it ended up feeling and looking much more like a last resort structure. Another major hurdle that Zoo had to come up against was the reduction in the number applications to exhibit from commercial galleries which they remedied with the introduction of non-commercial curated exhibits. Having a mix of commercial and non-commercial exhibits was really the only solution that Zoo could have adopted so I don’t think that they deserve kudos for coming up with this idea. The inclusion of non-commercial curated exhibits was, never the less, a solution that worked.

When I arrived at the fair I was immediately reminded of the 2008 Sydney Biennale which used a bunch of disused prison and shipyard buildings (see here: http://www.bos2008.com/app/biennale/venue/3) on a small island on Sydney harbour as one of the venues. The difference is that the Sydney Biennale used the derelict spaces to great effect and matched the art to the spaces incredibly well, which made for an amazing experience that gave the impression that the art was part of the site. Perhaps my perception of Zoo was somewhat skewed by the awesome experience I had with the Sydney Biennale but I still think I would have been disappointed with Zoo regardless of whether I had attended the Sydney Biennale or not.

One of my biggest gripes is that were virtually name tags on the walls or any other sort of signage to identify who the works were by. Whether this was an attempt to make the art and the buildings feel more like one entity I do not know, but it ended up being just plain annoying and in no way encouraged people to buy anything. Another major issue I had with the fair was the poor layout of the film section which was located in Zone B. The films on show were relatively long which the cold and lack of seating made virtually impossible to view in their entirety without getting sore legs or risking frost bite. To be honest it wasn’t the venue that made Zoo a failure, it was the way the show was put together and executed. Zoo could have presented a great fair had they utilised the space to greater effect and put a bit more thought into the presentation of the art as well as a bit more effort into making the experience more comfortable for visitors.

The one saving grace for Zoo was the small number of artists whose work was absolutely phenomenal and worth braving the cold to see. My next post will profile the artists that I believe made Zoo worth visiting.

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications

Frieze Art Fair 09 Review – artmarketblog.com

Frieze Art Fair 09 Review – artmarketblog.com

'The Couple' by Louise Bourgeois

'The Couple' by Louise Bourgeois

Over the last month or so I have attented twelve art and antique fairs in London which have left me with plenty to write about and the need for a few days rest. Although the fairs themselves were frought with issues the general mood was positive and the outlook optimistic. Dealers have reported good sales in most cases and seem to be in a very optimistic frame of mind as the market continues to pick up. The biggest fair I attended was the Frieze Art Fair which is one of the most important contemporary art events in the UK if not the world. Although one cannot help but be impressed by the glitz and glamour of the Frieze art fair it was just not an enjoyable experience for me. To start with, the marquee was really hot which made just being at the fair physically unpleasant, but the real problem with Frieze is that it is too much like a supermarket. When visiting a supermarket one tends to only take notice of the brands they are familiar with or the products that are the most visually striking due to the sheer number of different brands and products available. The same goes for Frieze where all but the works of the most recognizable artists and the most flamboyant works of art get lost in the crowd. I came away from the fair with memories of works by artists whose work is instantly recognisable and distinguishable such as Damien Hirst, Yayoi Kusama, Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Richard Serra, Takashi Murakami etc. I also have memories of other works by emerging artists that stood out of the crowd, but am unable to remember who they were because of the number of names and images swirling round in my head. Funnily enough, it was the big, bold works by the emerging artists that are reported to have experienced the highest level of success.

On a more positive note, quality was consistently high and sales are reported to have been considerably higher than last year. However, it is important to remember that a positive spin can be put on anything and that the likelihood of this years fair being any worse than last year was very slim. As far as figures go, sales of works priced at under 100,000 pounds were the most prevalent as one would expect with a show geared towards the work of emerging artists. Sales of works in the five figure range are reported to have been particularly strong which is pretty much the same trend reported by dealers at the 2008 fair. Six figure sales were few and far between, which is to be expected with a fair geared towards emerging artists and seven figure sales were even more scarce. There were, however, at least a few big ticket sales that are worth mentioning such as:

-A Louise Bourgeois sculpture titled ‘The Couple’ which was sold by Hauser and Wirth Gallery for US$3.5 million (about 2,150,000 pounds)
-Ruscha’s ‘A Riot of Atom’ which was sold by Gagosian Gallery for US$1.5 (about 900,000 pounds)
-A David Hammons installation which was sold by Salon 94 for US$1.5m (about 900,000 pounds)
-A Neo Rauch painting from 2002 titled ‘Harmlos’ which was sold by David Zwirner US$1.0m (about 610,000 pounds)

I honestly think that the biggest difference between this year’s fair an last year’s fair is that the dealers were in a better position to cater to the current market climate and have had the time to adapt their strategies to the buying trends. Dealers reported that buyers are still being cautious and are taking their time to make decisions which is, once again, similar to reports from last years fair. The market for contemporary art is not really in that much of a better position than it was last year but dealers have had more time to adapt to the conditions and make the best of a bad situation. One can take comfort in the fact that things haven’t got worse and that there is still money out there to be spent on contemporary art. There are undoubtedly signs that the market for contemporary art is poised to make a more speedy recovery than people thought which is somwhat of a scary thought.

The Zoo Art Fair was a completely different story but you will have to wait until my next post for more info.

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications

20/21 British Art Fair Report – artmarketblog.com

20/21 British Art Fair Report – artmarketblog.com

BAF_logoThe 20/21 British Art Fair held at the Royal College of Art building was a great event that attracted plenty of admirers (and buyers) with a wide variety of fantastic art. Sales at the fair were reported to be quite good and the atmosphere was very positive. Most of what was on offer was the work of well known British modern artists such as Ben Nicholson, Graham Sutherland, L.S.Lowry , Mary Feddon and Ivon Hitchens etc. , which would make sense considering that the market for contemporary art (21st century) has suffered so much. Perhaps the show should have been called the 20/20 British Art Fair instead of the 20/21 British Art Fair.

The Modern British market did not experience the same level of price inflation that other movements/markets experienced during the boom, and consequently did not suffer as much when the art market downturn took place. As a result, demand for top quality works by Modern British artists that are fresh to the market has remained high even though the number of works being sold at auction has dropped considerably. A major increase in demand for works by Modern British artists between 2006 and 2008 did produce a large spike in the number of works sold, but the market has since levelled out and is on a much less rapid and vertical trajectory.

feddon

Mary Fedden RA (b. 1915) ‘Bowl of Fruit’, 2008, oil on canvas, 60 x 50 cmMary Fedden RA (b. 1915) ‘Bowl of Fruit’, 2008, oil on canvas, 60 x 50 cm

The lack of an international profile combined with a primarily British clientele has somewhat limited the extent to which the Modern British market can grow. By no means are the British Modern artists any less talented or worthy of being purchased than their American or European counterparts. In fact, I would suggest that the British artists are not given anywhere near the recognition and praise that they deserve. Part of the problem is that the Modern British market is driven by discerning British collectors who are quite discreet and are generally not willing to pay any more for a work of art than they believe it is worth. A lot more visibility from collectors and buyers along with a considerably less reserved attitude to the contributions of their great Modern artists would go a long way to promoting the work of Modern British artists to a wider audience. The same enthusiasm for Modern British artists that was shown for the work of the YBA’s, for instance, is what is needed.

What has kept the market afloat is the fact that there is a high demand for top quality works which collectors are more willing to fight for and pay comparatively more for. More and more people are beginning to recognise the British Modern market as an undervalued and underappreciated market that hides relatively undiscovered talent. Once the art market recovers from the correction it will be interesting to see what happens.

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

Art-Athina 09 Greek Contemporary Art Fair – artmarketblog.com

Art-Athina 09 Greek Contemporary Art Fair – artmarketblog.com

For Immediate Release

ART-ATHINA 2009

Greece’s Foremost Contemporary Art Fair

Athens, 21-24 May 2009

Athens – Greece’s leading international art fair for contemporary art, ART-ATHINA, is delighted to announce its 15th edition and the first under the direction of Alexandros J. Stanas. ART-ATHINA – International Contemporary Art Fair of Athens – was established by the Hellenic Art Galleries Association in 1993 and has become over the years, one of Europe’s most established art fairs. As of 2009, ART-ATHINA will be organised by the non-profit cultural organisation, D.ART, which is dedicated to developing a strong contemporary art scene in Greece. Collateral events include In Praise of Shadows, an exhibition curated by Paolo Colombo taking place at the Benaki Museum and the On Art Performance (OPA) Festival.

athina-logo1

The fair will be located at the shorefront of Athens, in the Faliro Pavilion, a former Olympic Games venue. Here the wide range of prominent galleries exhibiting at ART-ATHINA provide the fair’s international audience with an overview of emerging trends within the arts, and enable visitors to see and buy works from leading international artists. ART-ATHINA will also host an expansive programme of parallel events, talks, exhibitions and art projects taking place both within the fair and throughout the city, creating a platform for experimentation, discussion and debate within the contemporary arts.

The Faliro Pavilion is an ideal place to re-connect with contemporary art, while revelling in one of the most beautiful sea sides close to the centre of the ancient capital city. The new venue offers a variety of both indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces, and boasts amenities such as free parking and easy access by public transport.

faliro-pavilion-11

ART-ATHINA is organised by D.ART, an organisation which publishes the bi-monthly arts and culture magazine highlights and takes part in important Greek arts projects, including events in cooperation with various private and public Greek institutions such as the Greek Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. D.ART is taking part and funded by the Dragonas Group. The fair is supported by the Greek Ministry of Culture and the Hellenic Olympic Properties S.A .

faliro-pavilion-23

The month of May will see Greece as a prime destination figuring on top of every collector’s calendar as the country will not only host ART-ATHINA but also the Thessaloniki Biennale. Visitors to ART- ATHINA will be welcomed in Thessaloniki, and joint VIP programs will allow guests to visit both art events. ART-ATHINA is also pleased to announce a reciprocal patrons’ programme with Art Dubai and Art Rotterdam in 2009. The partnership will bring collectors from Dubai and Holland to Athens and seeks to create a contemporary art itinerary stretching from Europe to the Middle East.

For more info see: http://www.art-athina.gr

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

Australian Art Market 08 Review Part 3 – artmarketblog.com

Australian Art Market 08 Review Part 3 – artmarketblog.com

2008 Melbourne Art Fair

2008 Melbourne Art Fair

Two important art world events took place in Australia in 2008 the first of which was the biennial Melbourne Art Fair and the second being the Sydney Biennale.  The biennial Melbourne Art Fair took place from the 30 July – 3 August at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens where 80 prestigious galleries from Australia and abroad exhibited some 3000 works by 900 living artists from all over the world.  To exhibit at the fair one has to have been invited by the Melbourne Art Fair Foundation who invite selected Australian and International galleries to participate.  Only galleries who represent living artists and hold regular exhibitions on their own premises are eligible to be selected as exhibitors and those that are invited to exhibit must ensure that at least 80% of the work they display is by living artists.  According to the post-fair press release “the four-day Fair generated sales of
AUS$12.1 million , representing a 16% increase on 2006 sales, with 81% of the artworks sold under $10,000 in value. 30,000 people attended the Fair, representing a 14% increase on 2006 attendances.” In comparison, the Tokyo Art Fair only managed sales of US$10,000,000 which was less than the US$11,000,000 (AU to US exchange rate at time) achieved by the Melbourne Art Fair.  Not a bad result for a country with such a small art market. The success of the Melbourne Art Fair was at odds with the predictions of doom and gloom that were beginning to become more frequent at the time. In fact, the success of the 2008 fair was so encouraging that it was announced that the fair would become an annual event.  That is, until the financial crisis took hold and it was decided that a biennial fair was the best option after all.

Although not a commercial event, the  2008 Sydney Biennale was an extremely important event for the promotion and appreciation of modern and contemporary art in Australia.  As one of the oldest and most celebrated   The 2008 biennale  set a new attendance record, with 435,000 people visiting over the course of the 12-week event, up 37% on the 2006 Biennale.   Without doubt the event was a massive success that can only have increased people’s interest in fine art and the likelihood of those that visited the fair purchasing art in the future.

The other art event worth mentioning is the Art Sydney 08 art fair which is an annual event that brings together 100 galleries and a wide variety of art.  Unfortunately the 2008 fair was a bitter disappointment with a majority of what was on offer resembling the mass produced rubbish sold in large numbers at home furnishing stores.  Even though most of what was on offer was  apparently close to a million dollars was spent on opening night which just goes to show that wealth and good taste do not go hand in hand.

2008 was a big year for the Australian art market even though the financial crisis took it’s toll on the auction industry towards the end of the year resulting in less than pleasing end of year results.  What does 2009 have in store for the Australian art market?  Stay tuned for the next post in the Australian Art Market 08 Review series to fine out !!!

See previous two Australian Art Market 08 Review posts here:

Part 1

http://artmarketblog.com/2009/01/10/australian-art-market-review-08-part-1-artmarketblogcom/

Part 2

http://artmarketblog.com/2009/01/12/australian-art-market-08-review-part-2-artmarketblogcom/

image: 2008 Melbourne Art Fair

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

Art Market Correction Survival Tactics – artmarketblog.com

Art Market Correction Survival Tactics – artmarketblog.com

survivalLet’s face it, art auctions are mainly about two things – money and excitement. Best suited to those buyers who don’t care what they buy as long as it is a potentially profitable bargain, art auctions are far more beneficial to the investor than to the collector. Auctions are not really suited to collectors at all because a collector usually looking for specific works which means that they don’t have the option of bidding on a different work or a work by another artist if the one they are after goes beyond their budget. Although a bargain may be picked up by a collector, the likelihood of the next work they want to purchase exceeding the estimate is just as likely. What this means is that if the collector is willing to pay what ever it takes to acquire a work for their collection, the bargains that they may have acquired at other auctions could effectively be canceled out. In the end it would probably have been far better for the collector to have purchased from a gallery where the prices are relatively stable and the pressure involved in making a purchase is far less.

When times are good and the art market is full of speculators and trophy hunters the art auction industry buzzes with excitement and anticipation as records are broken and money seems to be in endless supply.  When a financial crisis influences the market and causes buyers to be far more cautious the art auction industry looses much of it’s lustre.  When the art market no longer offers the same excitement or the same potential for making a quick buck and the acquisition of a trophy work doesn’t carry the same cachet, the factors that make the auction method of conducting a transaction attractive begin to subside.  It is at this point that the gallery and the art fair start looking like a much better option for buyers owing to the fact that fairs and galleries don’t require split second decisions and allow for time to engage with a work of art and time for making a decision.

One of the major benefits that galleries and art fairs have over the auction industry is the ability to educate clients and potential clients as well as allowing them to interact with artists. Education and interaction give clients and potential clients the opportunity to actually experience the artist and their work, the effects of which can be extremely positive. It is easy to underestimate the impact that education and interaction with an artist can have on a potential buyer but when you have worked in the art industry you quickly realise how powerful education and interaction can be. The financial crisis has meant that those galleries that could stick pictures on the wall then sit back and watch the money roll in can no longer do so and are having to work extra hard for their sales. Potential customers need to be convinced that they are making the right decision which is where the education and interaction with an artist come into play in a big way.

Evidence of how important the role of education and interaction can be for an art related business was evident at the 2008 SOFA expo (http://www.sofaexpo.com) in Chicago which was held this past November. The SOFA expo is an International Exposition of Sculptural Objects and Functional art or in other words, contemporary decorative arts and design. According to the post expo press release the expo was a major success with high attendance figures and reports of extremely strong sales which were driven in part by the educational component of the fair. Lectures, panels and artist conversations were a major part of the expo and undoubtedly played a major part in it’s success. “There’s a spill-over effect to sales when one of my artists speak,” said exhibitor Charon Kransen, who saw a bounce from Simon Cottrell’s lecture enjoyed by 115 attendees. “My loyal clientele keeps returning,” Kransen added.

Those galleries and dealers who are able to utilise the tools that they have at their disposal and use a bit of ingenuity stand the best chance of surviving the art market correction. Those galleries and dealers that refuse to adapt to the conditions and do not recognise the areas in which they can make improvements or adaptations to maximise sales will be the first casualties of the correction, and rightly so.

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.