Filed under: Art
Filed under: Art
So, I had to interrupt his piece.
This is how I met Kamol Akhunov, the artist responsible for "Earth Leak". Inspired by the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Akhunov's installation drives home the message that a disaster thousands of miles away can affect our daily lives, as suggested by the black paint falling upon the pile of household goods, as well as the map beneath them.
Filed under: Art
Takashi Murakami, a fervent self-marketer as well as artist, sustained a decline in total auction revenue from $8 million for the July 2008 – June 2009 period to $3.4 million for the 12 months running from July 2009 – June 2010. ArtPrice reports that only 223 of his pieces were brought to auction during the year ending in June 2010, and only nine brought in more than €100,000. None hit the seven-figure mark.
Though the cash isn't rolling in, ArtPrice notes that Murakami "is back in the limelight thanks to his theatrical exhibition in the Château de Versailles which runs until 12 December 2010."
[photo by achimh via Flickr]
If nothing else, you can expect a $20,000-a-night villa to deliver a few surprises. Eden Rock's Villa Rockstar, among the most ostentatious of the accommodations on St. Barths, does not disappoint. The resort demonstrates a clear commitment to art, with an on-property gallery that has hosted some impressive artists, but you have to dig a little deeper to find the truly unusual.
Works of art are littered across the resort, from the in-villa gallery at Villa Nina on one end of the property to the top-of-the-rock lobby on the other. Villa Rockstar, the largest and newest spot in Eden Rock, has a seemingly endless supply of canvases hanging, visible from the moment you pass through the front door.
The biggest name, however, is tucked away, far from common view.
Descend into the villa's basement, en route to the recording studio that house the deck used to record John Lennon's "Imagine," and step into the bathroom. As soon as you open the door, you're face-to-face with a small piece by Richard Prince.
And let's face it: nothing screams decadence like being able to keep a piece by Prince in the bathroom. It's a sign that you've come too far in life to care.
Gallery: Villa Rockstar, Eden Rock, St Barths
Eden Rock picked up the tab for this trip, as it would have been unaffordable otherwise. My opinions are my own.
Gallery: Villa Nina, Eden Rock, St Barths
Disclosure: Eden Rock picked up the tab for this trip, and it didn't influence my coverage.
Filed under: Art
And the government is behind it.
King Abdullah's strategy for rebranding Saudi Arabia includes promoting the country's artists, even though there aren't many art galleries inside its borders. The combination of hype and low prices could translate to an amazing opportunity for art collectors. Get in now while the buzz is beginning, and you might be able to ride a sharp increase.
Filed under: Art
Homes and business establishments in North Korea tend to have two portraits on display: Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. A third is now ready for public display: Kim Jong-un. He is Kim Jong-il's third son and is rumored to be next in line for the top position in the country, according to "Rescue the North Korean People! Urgent Action Network," which usually goes by the much more compact acronym RENK. The group says that the portraits are ready to go, and "we assume that these will be distributed on Kim Il-sung's birthday, which falls on April 15."
Other signs that Jong-un is likely to take the lead next in North Korea also fall distinctly into the "lifestyle" category. His birthday, January 8, has been made a national holiday. This year, it was celebrated, at least quietly, with a collection of songs dedicated to him. Also, anyone who has the same name as the new leader has been instructed to change it.
Interestingly, the portrait will offer a first look at Jong-un for many, especially outside North Korea. So far, only two photos have been found: one at age 11 (furnished by his former Japanese cook) and another at age 16 (shot when he was in boarding school in Switzerland).
The action at 25CPW has been nonstop. Following its successful show last week, featuring the artwork of guards from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the temporary art gallery on Manhattan's Upper West Side hosted a silent auction featuring the original creations of Afghan women and children. Several thousand dollars were raised at the event, which was organized by 25CPW guru Bess Greenberg and Brianne Leary, the driving force behind Saving Afghanistan and journalist who covered the Soviet/Afghan conflict through the 1980s. The financial result, says Leary, addresses an immediate need for specific refugees in transition.
The prices at the one-night auction were purposefully kept accessible, given the prevailing economic climate, says Leary, and the event was well-attended. Get the full story directly from Leary in the video below.
At this point last year, the art market was in miserable shape. It was already in trouble, as the recession had begun to crystallize over the summer of 2008, a process which was hardened by the financial market meltdown in September. By the end of the year, prices had plummeted, and the practice of guaranteed minimum pricing had generally been abandoned.
By the end of 2009, signs of a recovery began to emerge, though few were willing to commit to it. A few pieces, such as Andy Warhol's "200 One Dollar Bills" turned in strong performances, but nothing was solid enough to call a trend. Nonetheless, hopes are high for the next round of sales, which will include museum-caliber paintings by Peter Doig and Yves Klein. Shown at right is Andy Warhol's Dollar Sign estimated at $1,950,000 - $2,925,000 at Christie's London Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on February 11.
The region's offering is both large and incredibly diversified, according to a report by Artprice, and over the past 20 years, several African artists have been able to garner some attention at international art fairs and major exhibitions. Pieces have been featured sporadically, with a show at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 1989 and anther two years later at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. The Africa Remix exhibition toured from 2004 to 2007 ... and that's about it.
There's been a bit more action in the auction market, with Sotheby's becoming the first major house to sell contemporary African art in June 1999, when it sent the Jean Pigozzi collection under the gavel in London. It generated less than $16,000 but still set a record. Since then, Sotheby's hasn't dedicated any London or New York sales to African art (aside from its work with South African auctioneer, Stephan Welz & Co). Bonhams has taken more of an interest in the category, holding an African art sale back in April and moving 64 percent of the lots offered.
Filed under: Art
Krell and Nobel have vastly different styles, but the pieces complemented each other in the loft where the event, billed as an "open studio," was held. Krell's work through several periods was on display, from the tight geometric styles he favored several years ago to the organic approach he uses today. Nobel offered pieces using several media – including photography and plastic. Works by both artists captivated the guests who crowded the venue as the evening unfolded.
Nobel's work features intricate designs connecting larger abstract shapes that are based on photographs she has taken of sculptures. The intentional result is an interconnectedness reminiscent of neural networks, linking stations of consciousness into a greater, unified presence.
Unlike his partner at the event, Krell prefer broader, sweeping themes on his canvases (which he shapes himself). His latest movement evokes feelings of creation – in the cosmic sense – with concentrations of energy yielding to calming effects.
The Tribeca art exhibition was a trip home for Krell, who painted in that particular loft back in the 1990s. He also held a show there in September 2008, shortly after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The mood couldn't have been more different this time around. Attendees were considerably more upbeat ... and in greater number. The sheer level of participation was enough to suggest that the art market is getting ready to turn, and the fact that several collectors made purchases reinforces the notion.
[Photo courtesy of Ben Krell]
Filed under: Art
Brisbane, Australia is home to an unusual art exhibition -- the type that's a welcome break from what you typically see in major museums around the world. The Queensland Art Gallery is hosting the 6th Asia-Pacific Triennial through April 2010, and for the first time, art from North Korea has a large presence. Nick Bonner of Koryo Tours is co-curator of the exhibition, which reflects three years of commissioning works.
But, if you're interested in meeting the artists, you'll be disappointed.
Originally, five artists from Mansudae Art Studio were going to attend the show and discuss their work, but the Australian government declined their visas at the last minute, according to Koryo Tours. The artists in question were Pak Hyo Song, Kang Yong Sam, O Song Gyu, Rim Ho Chol, Ri Jong and Pak Yun Chol.
A spokesman for the Australian government explained, according to The Courier Mail, "The studio reportedly produces almost all of the official artworks in North Korea, including works that clearly constitute propaganda aimed at glorifying and supporting the North Korean regime." He continued, "To make an exception in this case would have represented a relaxation of Australia's visa ban and sent an inappropriate message to the North Korean regime."
Christie's and Sotheby's aren't being shy with the Old Masters. Pieces by Rembrandt, Raphael and Van Dyck are being offered at hefty prices, some records, that could bring in up to $133 million. If this happens, art collectors will have doubled last year's result ... and cast a strong vote in favor of an art market recovery.
The Christie's sale on Tuesday will include a portrait by Rembrandt and a sketch by Raphael. They are being estimated at 18 million pounds and 12 million pounds, respectively. According to Christie's, these are the highest estimates seen at auction, says Bloomberg News. The Sotheby's sale occurs on Tuesday, featuring a Van Dyck portrait that could fetch as much as 3 million pounds.
Unlike the volatile market for contemporary art, prices for the Old Masters have been relatively stable, as the supply is diminishing and demand is increasing.
According to Johnny van Haeften, an art dealer based in London, told Bloomberg News, "Prices at auction are very strong because there isn't much out there." He continues, "People don't want to sell at the moment. They're saying, 'If I let a painting go, where do I put the money? I'd rather keep it in a work of art.'" He bid unsuccessfully for two still life pieces by 17th century Dutch painter Adriaen Coorte. Both ultimately sold for more than 10 times their high-end presale estimates.[Photo via Christie's]
One bidder spent more than $146 million this year and dropped a boatload of cash at the Christie's Hong Kong art auction on Monday, pushing prices higher and smashing records. Wang Wei, with her husband, investor Liu Yiqian, ranks 176th among the wealthiest in China, with a net worth of $740 million ... and she wouldn't say how much she's spent on art this year.
Wang waved Paddle 960 aggressively on Monday, sometimes tossing bids up HK$1 million at a time to distance herself from competitors for particular pieces. A few times, she didn't bother lowering her paddle, instead just holding it up until her rivals quit.
At Sotheby's Hong Kong in October, Wang's husband shelled out $11 million for a Qing Dynasty imperial throne, complete with carved dragons, setting a record. And, this month, he payd $25 million for a Ming Dynasty scroll by Wu Bin at Beijing's Poly auction -- it was the most paid for a Chinese painting.
At Monday's Christie's sale, HK$126.7 million in art sold, and the house wouldn't reveal how much of it went to Wang. Speaking for herself, the collector reveals why she made the purchases she did. According to Bloomberg News: "I just bought those for fun."
[Photo courtesy of Christie's]
In London today, $90 million in Russian art is going under the gavel, and the auction houses are hoping that a still robust community of Russian billionaires will come out in force to repatriate their heritage. Both Christie's and Sotheby's are holding auctions on December 1, 2 and 3, with MacDougall's, which specializes in Russian art, also selling on December 2 and 3. Bonhams is conducting one today.
There are some signs that the sales could go well. Sotheby's moved $13.8 million in Russian art at an auction a month ago, topping the $9 million presale estimate. The Russian government is saying the economy should grow next year, after falling 10 percent this year. If recovery is en route, big spending Russians may show up at this week's art auctions.
There's no shortage of Russian art coming on the market this week. In addition to the 540 lots being offered by Sotheby's, at a presale range of 14.8 million pounds to 21.2 million pounds, MacDougall's is selling 460 lots (12.5 million pounds to 17.6 million pounds), including a painting of a topless woman by Zinaida Serebriakova for between 1 million pounds and 1.5 million pounds. Christie's has 578 lots, with a presale estimate of 6.5 million pounds to 9.3 million pounds.