The Spectacle of the Art Market Part 3 – artmarketblog.com

The Spectacle of the Art Market Part 3 – artmarketblog.com

Natalya Goncharova's Linen

I am sure that many of you would agree that it has become the norm for people to approach fine art as consumers instead of as scholars or connoisseurs. If you were to ask me whether there is anything wrong with this I would say that there definitely is. Don’t get me wrong, I am obviously a strong supporter of the art market, but also recognise the need for a balance between the commercial and the cultural. Without that balance the art market becomes unstable and the art world becomes too closely connected to the art market. Whether you realise it or not, the art market requires a certain level of “infiltration” by scholars and connoisseurs. It is the scholars and connoisseurs who add value to works of art by generating information and knowledge that make works of art historically and culturally more significant. It is this information that is generated by scholars and connoisseurs that we should be using to justify the dollar value of a work of art because this information is usually based on intrinsic characteristics of the work of art that cannot be disassociated from the work of art or become obsolete, and therefore encourage more stable long term values. The contemporary art market, on the other hand, often relies on factors that have very little to do with the work of art its self such as social status, economic status, popular trends and financial gain. These factors can become obsolete very quickly which usually means that the dollar value that these factors generated also disappears causing the sort of correction that we have just experienced.

In February of 2008 Nicholas Penny, the curator of the British National Gallery, made a statement that he was going to put an end to the gallery’s blockbuster exhibition days. According to an article in the Guardian Newspaper, Penny said “The responsibility of a major gallery is to show people something they haven’t seen before. A major national institution should be one that proves a constant attraction to the public. What is important is encouraging historical and visual curiosity in the general public.” Ralph T. Coe, the former director of the Nelson Gallery-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Mo., a former president of the American Association of Art Museum Directors and a former chairman of the Museum Committee of the National Endowment for the Arts, put the problem in even simpler terms when he said: “One of the saddest things museum connoisseurs like me have had to observe is the substitution of entertainment values for the intrinsic values incarnate in great works of art that alone can confer aesthetic authenticity.” This problem of the substitution of entertainment values (the spectacle) for intrinsic values that the cultural sector is experiencing is also a big problem for the art market as I have shown above. We need to stop the spectacularisation of the contemporary art market if we want to have a more culturally and historically significant period of art production. I believe that we need to be asking the following question on a far more regular basis: in one hundred years time will this work be able to be exhibited in a museum, and will people consider the work to be culturally significant and be historically important?

**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

Advertisements

Do-Ho Suh at SculptureCenter – artmarketblog.com

Do-Ho Suh at SculptureCenter – artmarketblog.com

 SculptureCenter Home Exhibitions Events Visit Join About Press Store Limited Editions Bookstore Event Tickets Search  All content © SculptureCenter. All rights reserved. Limited Editions Do-Ho Suh Doorknob/Bathroom, 2003   Polyester fabric, lithograph on paper in acrylic box 12" x 18" x 7 3/4" Edition of 20 with 3 artist proofs $4,500.00

SculptureCenter Home Exhibitions Events Visit Join About Press Store Limited Editions Bookstore Event Tickets Search All content © SculptureCenter. All rights reserved. Limited Editions Do-Ho Suh Doorknob/Bathroom, 2003 Polyester fabric, lithograph on paper in acrylic box 12" x 18" x 7 3/4" Edition of 20 with 3 artist proofs $4,500.00

A new auction record was set for a limited edition work by the popular Korean artist Do Ho Suh at Philips De Pury’s June 2nd Editions sale where one of the artist’s limited edition lithographs, “Untitled, 1998”, sold for $7,500 against an estimate of $2000 – $3000. A far more interesting limited edition work by Do Ho Suh titled “Doorknob/Bathroom is available from the New York based SculptureCentre for $4,500.00. An edition of 20 with 3 artists proofs, “Doorknob/Bathroom” is “a full-scale reproduction of the doorknob of the artist’s Chelsea apartment. Do-Ho Suh often works with semi-transparent fabrics that he delicately sews together to represent – and defy – existing and functional spaces and objects. Doorknob/Bathroom exists as an isolated architectural element, separated from Suh’s apartment and therefore abandons its ties with a specific place and becomes a loose abstraction with a new-found flexibility and transparency”

The popularity of Do-Ho Suh’s work and the inclusion of his work in the collections of the NY Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the LA Museum of Contemporary Art makes this limited edition a good investment.

To purchase or inquire about this SculptureCenter Limited Edition, please contact Mary Button at mbutton@sculpture-center.org or 718-361-1750 x111

For more information go here:
http://www.sculpture-center.org/storeLimitedEdition.htm?id=10159

**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 Blog in the News – artmarketblog.com

Art Market Blog in the News – artmarketblog.com

blog1Hi Art Market Blog readers, I thought you might be interested in seeming some of the press that the Art Market Blog has received over the last few weeks. Enjoy !!

http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/-bay-area-sculptor-gains-recognition-combining-classical-art-/2009/03/25/4081341.htm

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/visual_arts/article5981759.ece

**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.

Mai-Thu Perret Edition from Parkett Art – artmarketblog.com

Mai-Thu Perret Edition from Parkett Art – artmarketblog.com

perretMai-Thu Perret is a rather interesting Swiss artist who I was not really aware of until recently when I came across a rather intriguing limited edition of Perret’s work being sold at Parkett Art. An exhibition of Perret’s work titled “New Work: Mai-Thu Perret” is currently on show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) in San Francisco, California. The exhibition includes works that have been influenced by a fictional narrative that Perret has created called The Crystal Frontier which the SFMOMA website describes as a “a fictional account of a group of women who found a small utopian community in the desert of southwestern New Mexico in an attempt to escape the impositions of capitalism”. Perret started The Crystal Frontier in 1999 and has since produced films, posters, mannequins, furniture, paintings, wallpaper, sculptures, ceramics, banners and performances most of which Perret exhibits as having been made by members of the fictional Crystal Frontier community.

Parkett Art are currently selling a limited edition work by Perret titled “A Portable Apocalypse Ballet (Red Ring), 2008” which is a model of a girl holding a red ring that lights up. A brief description of the work is provided which states that “The purity of the circle, unassailable with eyes closed in order to see”. This work appears to have been created in conjunction with a film that Perret produced called “An Evening of the Book” in which female dancers performed movements in group formation along with simple acts, like cutting through a black banner, manipulating white fluorescent tubes, opening a book, or playing with hula hoops. According to the text by Julien Fronacq that is part of the feature on Perret in the latest edition of Parkett Art “The film
itself takes its inspiration from Varvara Stepanova’s set designs for an agit-prop play of the same title. Viewing the piece in the gallery’s three-projection installation, one can’t help but think of modernism’s most emblematic objects (the monochrome, the
neon tube) or of Yvonne Rainer’s everyday gestures, like walking or sitting, that play down the pathos of dance.”

The body of work that has been produced by Perret as part of “The Crystal Frontier” is eclectic and complex which makes explaining the symbolism and meaning behind “A Portable Apocalypse Ballet (Red Ring)” rather difficult to do in a single blog post. What I can tell you is that Mai-Thu Perret’s has been receiving plenty of attention over the last six months and with current exhibitions of her work at the SFMOMA and Aspen Art Museum there is no doubt that Perret is an emerging contemporary artist well worth keeping an eye on.

A Portable Apocalypse Ballet (Red Ring), 2008 is an edition of 45 and is available from Parkett Art for US$2500. For further information or to purchase the item go to http://www.parkettart.com/index3.htm

and you can read more about Perret’s work here:  perret-21

Image: “A Portable Apocalypse Ballet (Red Ring), 2008″
sculpture, opaque non-toxic polyurethane resin, color cast with instant polyurethane pigments, clothing designed by Ligia Dias, beige viscose fabric with white accents and metal buttons, black leather belt, modacrylic light brown wig, solid cast polyurethane resin base, painted, neon ring powered by 12 V CE and UL approved universal wall adapter, 14 3/4 x 7 x 7” ( 37,5 x 17,8 x 17,8 cm) production by Gamla Model Makers, Feasterville, PA, USA, Ed. 45/XX, signed and numbered certificate.

**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.

Private Collections and the 09 Art Market – artmarketblog.com

Private Collections and the 09 Art Market – artmarketblog.com

warner

Mr and Mrs Warner

There have not been any major auctions of art yet this year but the auctions that have been conducted are already giving clues as to what to expect in 2009. Two auctions of single owner private collections were conducted in January both of which were very successful considering the art market correction and financial downturn. These two auctions were not dedicated art auctions as the people who owned each of the collections collected a range of antiques and other objects but they did include some art. Even though the auctions were not dedicated art auctions, the similarities in the market for antiques, collectibles and art means we can quite often use a sale of items from one market as an indicator of buyer behavior, buyer sentiment and market trends in another market.  Two January sales – one at Sotheby’s and one at Christie’s – gave good indications of what characteristics are attracting buyers at the moment.

The first sale was the sale of the private collection of the late Roger Warner by Christies on the 20th and 21st of January.  According to Christie’s,  Warner was one of the most renowned and admired British antique dealers of the 20th century as well as a major collector.  What makes Warner’s collection even more enticing is the fact that he kept a meticulous record of the provenance of each item that he purchased.  The best items from Warner’s collection which amounted to 640 lots were included in the sale and were expected to fetch a total of around 800,000 pounds.  When all was said and done the sale had generated more than double it’s estimate reaching a total of over 2,0000,000 pounds .

The second sale was the single-owner sale of the Property of Dr. and Mrs. Henry C. Landon III which took place on the 24th of January at Sotheby’s in New York.  Dr. and Mrs. Henry C. Landon III’s collection had been profiled in several publications and had been the subject of an exhibition at the University of Virginia Art Museum. The sale, part of Sotheby’s Americana Week Sales, comprised of American furniture, objects of decorative art as well as some paintings but it was the rare and important pieces of furniture that attracted the most interest. The auction was a big success with 95% sold by lot.

These two sales prove once again that the market for antiques and art is still very receptive to provenance, rarity, quality and market freshness.  The same trend was evident towards the end of 2008 with several single owner collections going under the hammer and achieving excellent results that defied the generally poor results being experienced all over the world. You can read the two posts that I wrote on the single owner collection sales at the end of 2008 here:

Single Owner Auctions Defy Downturn:
http://artmarketblog.com/2008/12/15/single-owner-art-auctions-defy-downturn-artmarketblogcom/

Single Owner Art Sale Success Part 2:
http://artmarketblog.com/2008/12/17/single-owner-art-sale-success-part-2-artmarketblogcom/

**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.

Sigmar Polke at Editions Schellmann – artmarketblog.com

Sigmar Polke at Editions Schellmann – artmarketblog.com

polke1German artist Sigmar Polke is undoubtedly one of the most important and influential artists of the post-war generation. Polke is often grouped with other important German artists such as Keifer, Penck, Richter and Immendorf all of whom were part of the Neo-Expressionist movement. The Neo-Expressionist movement developed in the late 70’s as a reaction to the minimalist and conceptual art that had been a dominant force in the art world during the 70’s. The Guggenheim website defines Neo-Expressionism as: “Rejecting the restrictions against imagery and gestural treatment set by their Minimalist and Conceptual teachers and contemporaries, the Neo-Expressionists revived the formal elements of German Expressionism and Abstract Expressionism”

The market for Polke’s work has risen significantly since 2004 and, according to artprice.com, continues to rise. The artprice.com price index shows that 100 EUR invested in 1998 in a work of Sigmar POLKE would have an average value of 330 EUR in December 2008.  The auction record for a work by Polke is (GBP2,708,000 / US$5,321,220) which was set in February 2007 for the work “Strand” against an estimate of GBP800,000 – 1,200,000.  A major exhibition of Polke’s work that was held at the Tate Modern in London in 2004 may well have contributed to the increase in desirability of Polke’s work at a time when the art market boom was just beginning to really take hold. To own a work by Polke is a privilege that not many people have the opportunity of experiencing so the opportunity to be able to own a work by Polke for less than US$1000 would be too good to pass up. The prestigious Edition Schellman gallery has provided such an opportunity by offering one of Polke’s limited edition silkscreens for half price. “Oase” 1998 is an edition of 70 that measures 70x50cm and is signed and numbered by the artist. A mere 600 EUR (around US$770) plus shipping will secure this fantastic work by an extremely important and desirable artist. If you are interested in owning your very own work of art by Polke you can find the contact details for Edition Schellman here. There is only one work available at this special price so if you are interested you had better get in quick!!

**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 2 – artmarketblog.com

Australian Art Market 08 Review Part 2 – artmarketblog.com

bonhams-and-goodmanBy the last round of auctions for 2008 in November and December it was obvious that the auction industry was still coming to terms with the art market correction taking place despite the fact that signs of a cooling market had been evident for several months prior. It appears that some auction houses had taken the opportunity to adjust their sales to reflect the leaner times but it also appeared that some of the auction houses had not been so savvy and either were being pressured by their vendors to work with higher estimates or had just not made the correct revisions. The bargains that people are bound to be seeking as the art market undergoes a correction had just begun to appear at the November/December sales prompting some of the more confident buyers to take advantage. Overall, however, the end of year sales continued to reflect the softening market albeit with some scattered positive results brightening that light at the end of the tunnel. What needs to be understood is that the results for 2008 were no where near as bad as many people made out. Taking all things into consideration the Australian art market appeared to have held up rather well by the end of 2008 with the effects of the financial crisis seemingly not affecting the Australian market as much as certain international markets.

One auction in particular stole the end of year show achieving results well up on the other auction houses and in the process. That auction was the November 26 Deutscher-Hackett sale which took in a total of $3,127,260 (including buyers premium) and sold 73% of works by value and 72% by volume. In comparison, the combined Deutscher-Menzies and Lawson-Menzies November sale achieved 62% by value and 70% by volume, the Sotheby’s November sale achieved 67.4% by value and 60.8% by volume and the Bonhams and Goodman sale achieved 61% by value and 59% by volume. One of the smaller auction houses, Leski Auctions, held their first dedicated art auction on the 2nd of December and managed to sell a quite respectable 61% by value and 62% by volume for a total of $510,048 (data from aasd.com.au).

Overall the Australian art market took a significant step backwards in 2008 compared to 2007 with auction sales dropping from a $175.6 million record year in 2007 to $114.5 million. Although the figures for 2008 look particularly bleak when compared with those of 2007 the bigger picture is not quite as bad with 2008 auction sales total well up on the 2006 auction sales total of AU$104 million. One of the most interesting statistics from 2008 comes from the Australian art auction sales database, the Australian Art Sales Digest (http://www.aasd.com.au), who calculated that the overall art auction clearance rate (percent sold by number) decreased from 71.9% in 2007 to 65.6% in 2008.  Importantly, the drop in the clearance rate is not as big as many people would have predicted.

To be continued…..

**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.