Resolute Road

took a few shots to sort posture
took a few shots to sort posture

Guesting in a place where they must put short people on (tall) pedestals with waist high street signs and plenty of time to ruminate. Here I am on Resolute Road feeling as unyielding as ever that the art world is not such a horrible place to be in twenty-thirteen. There are incessant complaints that seem to have reached fever pitch: artists are making too much money or not enough, collectors are collecting, offloading or both, and some dealers hyper-dealing while others can’t sell crack to Courtney (Love).

For Nicole Klagsbrun, Jerry Saltz, Sarah Thornton, Dave Hickey, Souren Melikian, Blake Gopnik, Felix Salman, Roberta Smith and the rest yet to come, the focus on economics in the art world, bordering on obsession, is as dark as the plague rather than speaking to our interdependent lives and societies as much as an olive tree or self-portrait might have touched us of yore. When people say there is nothing interesting to look at today they aren't making a sufficient effort to see.  ... weiterlesen

Market Moaning


A fistful of art market writers have gone on record recoiling against the market and then quitting and now a dealer drones on how she doesn’t want to deal. I hate to break the news to her at this late stage but art galleries were always about selling art. And here is yet more market moaning, published only today, from Souren Melikian, probably the next writer to throw in the towel and quit. Sure collectors of connoisseurship are so rare today as to warrant appearing in vitrines in natural history museums, but the sentiment in the article is just a load of bullshit—look at Christies selling literally 100,000 Warhol’s at all price points, some for merely hundreds of dollars, well under the auction market threshold he alludes to. There is something for everyone in art (and the accompanying market if they so choose to participate), always has been and always will be.

Actually, this quote is quite hilarious and perfectly fits this. A company buys a Richter for a then record in 1998 and puts it back on the market 15 years later expecting a tenfold increase. The CEO, speaking of the deaccessioning, got the horse behind the cart when he stated: “We’re thrilled that a very good acquisition has turned into a very great masterpiece.” Silly man, the masterpiece turned into a wise allotment of corporate resources, indeed.

Ps: if you haven’t taken a look at you are missing something. The Germanic tendency to rigorously over-systematize and organize, expressed by Richter’s habit of numbering every artwork he’s ever made since an infant, has obviated the need for an authenticity committee, themselves becoming extinct (but that’s another story) as there is the certainty of viewing online his entire oeuvre to date, a lot of which even the artist couldn’t replicate.

Tilda’s Box


I don't get the Tilda-Swinton-sleeping-in-a-box thing at MoMA, NY. Well, I do but its depressing. Why give away valuable museum real estate to a non-artist? Anyway, James Franco has that territory well sewn up. Wasn't Tilda's box (office) a Cornelia Parker piece from 1996 now being repackaged as a Tilda original? Can someone please pour in some formaldehyde? Where is Damien when you need him?  

Makes you want to be a social engagement practitioner with a bullhorn, shouting: wake up! And get out! Sorry tough day. Bowie is cool, who Tilda collaborates with, yes, and he’s working with Tony Oursler on music videos very au courant but the whole V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) for a one man fashion show? Where's my megaphone? Bow(ie) out!    ... weiterlesen

Artist-Assistant Relationships


Since David Hockney's 23-year-old assistant Dominic Elliott recently died, a spate of articles on artist-assistant relationships emerged. The cause of his death still remains a mystery, though one newspaper declared: “he may have been drinking throughout Saturday as he watched the Six Nations rugby decider.” Strangely, the biggest shock seemed to be the mundane premises from which Hockney painted in a town called Birdlington, in Yorkshire.

But the most interesting was Richard Wentworth’s reaction on the subject of assistants, who is underappreciated as an artist and I also adore after serving on the same side of a debate about the significance of contemporary Asian art, a painfully tedious enterprise were it not for Richard’s input and performance (and that it was, he even gave away fireworks during the presentation).  ... weiterlesen

On Paul Thek

Paul Thek, 1964, Untitled, pencil on sketch book paper
Paul Thek, 1964, Untitled, pencil on sketch book paper

Not to be overly Thek-nical , but here is a 2.5 inch pencil rendering of a brain from 1964. It doesn’t have to be the size of a vast, sparkling (sterling) ruby to be good, coveted and worthwhile. Though plenty of young contemporary art sells for lots more. Thek was tragic in more than obvious ways.

Making a contribution during a lifelong pursuit of art, art as daily regimented work, but attaining little/no critical or remunerative affirmation during a hard fought life. Dying in poverty prematurely, while lesser talents were celebrated and toasted in shambolic fashion. What was only fashion. at the end of his life the 3-C's were thriving and taking over the new york art world by storm: Clemente, Chia, and Cucchi. In the Spring of 1985 Clemente alone had a triple venue show, embraced by collectors and critics alike, at Leo Castelli, Mary Boone and Sperone Westwater. if that isn't tragic, shoot me.  ... weiterlesen

The Best Selling Print Of All Time


Ok (for a moment) let’s forget art & money and just talk about a painting: Chinese Girl, 1950, by Vladimir Tretchikoff (aka "King of Kitsch"). I never even heard of it, despite its renown as "the best selling print of all time and one of the world’s most recognizable images" (what do I know?). This mysterious creature is maybe enigmatic simply because of her weird blue/green complexion. Maybe just her jade like presence was enough to spur jeweler Lawrence Graff (another Larry G. in his own collecting right) to fork out nearly $1m for the picture. The artist did have a major 1961 exhibit in Harrods! So you do see some form of prescience in his practice, commercially anyway. Can someone please help broaden my understanding and appreciation?

Broad got broadsided


Are you allowed to say bitch-slapped in today’s PC parlance? Well Eli Broad got broadsided by Roberta Smith’s critic’s notebook in yesterday’s Times. And though I am LA illiterate (and film, avoid easy art jokes) and don’t know much of the situation there altogether, Roberta’s hatchet seemed to be after a castrated, de-board-ed-Broard stripped of participation from the Museum of Contemporary Art altogether.

Jeffrey Deitch on the other hand, appeared to get just a little spanking by comparison but it seems the implication is that he should re-install himself in a commercial gallery where he belongs and fast. Bet he longs for it to after such a public, prolonged and international tarring and feathering. That can’t be much fun. As for the museum being great but living beyond its means, they ain’t alone, we all suffer from that to some extent or another or there would be no deficits politically or personally. Not to mention mine.

German Color Theory


In the 1960’s there was Yves Saint Laurent and his Mondrian dress resplendent in red, yellow and blue, among other flourishes of color and fashion throughout the heady decade of artistic explorations. The 1970’s, on the other hand, are more associated with recession and a post-hippie haze of depressive times colored by austerity culturally, politically, economically, and aesthetically. Not so in the world of cars, especially Porsche, for the German manufacturer with their mainstay model 911, now celebrating its 50th year, went through a decade of color experimentation never paralleled before or after. Other than the fact Porsche is now revisiting these colors of the past by reissuing them on present cars. 

I first came across the full extent of the depravity when looking for a Carrera RS from 1973, which buried in a small town in Germany was such a well-preserved specimen, it didn’t put me off that it was “Signal Yellow.” No photo can prepare you until you stand in front of the object in what could only be equated to an American street sign warning drivers to “YIELD” or a school bus from the period. When they use the word signal to describe this hue, they seem to have been referring to the fact the color is as strong a sign as any to get out of the way and run for safety. I bought the car due to its condition but never warmed up to a sports car that looked like a thinly disguised New York City taxi!   ... weiterlesen

At the TEFAF: More Museum Than Bazaar


At the ripe old age of 47, come April, is Art Cologne, the world’s oldest fair of 20th- and 21st-century fine art. Art Basel, the market-leading event, turns 43 in June. The youngster, at 38, the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, the Netherlands, shows the oldest art but has an ever-increasing presence of contemporary. TEFAF is also the world’s longest-running fair: March 15th-24th—three days more than the norm.

The recently completed Armory Show (b.1994) in New York is hanging on for dear life even as’s Louise Blouin contemplates (or, negotiates) its purchase, with the New York editions of super-supercilious Frieze Art Fair (b. 2003 in London) chomping at its heels (May will be the second New York iteration of Frieze). Welcome to the international art fair wars.  ... weiterlesen


pardon my lack of photoshopping skills
pardon my lack of photoshopping skills

when you look at galleries reselling art only recently purchased at auction for wild and obnoxious increases of up to 300%, which i witnessed at maastricht, you have some mighty unhealthy hyper-artflation. sadly, the higher and higher prices are for fewer and fewer artists.

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"Die Kunstwelt ist wie eine Mafia, es gibt ein ungeschriebenes Gesetz des Stillschweigens", sagt Kenny Schachter. Auf seinem Monopol-Blog bringt der britische Kunsthändler Licht ins Dunkle und macht die Mechanismen des Marktes transparent. In englischer Sprache