Collectors as Parasites

photo: dpa
photo: dpa

Duchamp said: “Collectors are ‘parasites’ of a sort. I like them very much because they are very nice people, but that has nothing to do with their essential quality, which is to be a parasite on the artist." He’s got a point: as an advisor or collector, your skillset is to shop, a rather sad thought (myself included). Now I see why the majority of high-end art collectors are men: its socially condoned male glomming.

PS: Re the Accidental Interpersonal Touch effect from behind, referenced below, I'd have thought would actually help to facilitate more business.

Wiki def: "Shopping is an activity in which a customer browses the available goods or services presented by one or more retailers with the intent to purchase a suitable selection of them. In some contexts it may be considered a leisure activity as well as an economic one. The shopping experience can range from delightful to terrible, based on a variety of factors including how the customer is treated, convenience, and mood. For example, research from a field experiment found that male and female shoppers who were accidentally touched from behind by other shoppers left a store earlier than people who had not been touched and evaluated brands more negatively, resulting in the Accidental Interpersonal Touch effect. According to a 2000 report, in the U.S. state of New York, women purchase 80% of all consumer goods and influence 80% of health-care decisions."

Long Live the Difference! On Carlo Mollino

Bisiluro da corsa, Nardi – Mollino – Giannini, 1955, © Alessandro Nassiri, Archivio Museo Scienza.
Bisiluro da corsa, Nardi – Mollino – Giannini, 1955, © Alessandro Nassiri, Archivio Museo Scienza.

Carlo Mollino, 1905 – 1973, an artist, architect, occultist, and designer of furniture and a racecar. Today the snooty art world would have turned its collective nose up and labeled him a dilettante instead of embracing the creative force of nature he was. I am writing an upcoming piece for a new mag tentatively titled MPH Edition and came across these beauties including an anthropomorphized depiction of the entrant he designed and drove (!) for the 1955 Le Mans race, known as the Bisiluro ("Twin Torpedo"). In the foreground of the 1963 drawing is legendary car designer Pininfarina.

The steering wheel alone is a tour de force; long live the difference! *The market has grown to embrace his kooky and wide-ranging practice with multi million dollar prices for the furniture. You can hardly be surprised he turned to porn, and he kind of did from 1962 to his death in 1973, artfully of course. Well, he is Italian and look how he drew the car in 1963 as a female torso.

You Can Ring My Bell! At an Art World Quiz Show


It was time for Oliver Barker of Sotheby’s to perform, but he wasn’t conducting an auction. “Which artist directed the video for David Bowie’s recent single ‘Where are we now?’” he asked with characteristic panache. DING DING DING! went a bell somewhere in the nightclub in the basement of London’s Dover Street Arts Club, and someone called out “Tony Oursler!” “Which famous rock star’s wardrobe is currently being exhibited at the V&A?” Mr. Barker asked. DING DING DING! David Bowie. Which artist will represent Britain in the British Pavilion in Venice this summer? DING DING DING! Jeremy Deller.

Contemporary art collector Abdullah Al Turki charged around the room, occasionally shouting out in Arabic, attempting to determine whose bell rang first. Welcome to the third annual Art Quiz. “Reputations at stake,” the announcement card for the April 8 event had promised, and, more importantly, “prizes to be won.” The brainchild of three art worlders—Sharifa Al-Sudairi, of Pace Gallery, Alia Al-Senussi, Middle East relations for the Basel Art Fair, and Mr. Al Turki—Art Quiz is the art world’s take on a typical pub quiz night but at an upscale, members-only club, rather than a ratty bar, the usual venue for these occasions.  ... weiterlesen

On Graham Ovenden


AA Gill defends artist Graham Ovenden a painter of provocative little girls and a recently convicted pedophile, and then calls for the Tate’s Nicholas Serota to be fired for voluntarily refusing to let the Ovendens in the collection be seen any longer, even by appointment. Gill defends showing the deplorable stating the separation between artist and art. He ends with this lovely thought: “Without wanting to be over provocative (too late!), might I suggest we learn something from the Nazis who exhibited the thing they were disgusted by (so called degenerate art).” He even went on to defend the airing of Hitler’s paintings. At the risk of seeming reactionary, I say auction all the works with no reserve and donate the money to a child abuse charity.

Haacke’s portrait of Margaret Thatcher


Duchamp said art has a shelf life and apparently so does meaning. When the Tate exhibited Haacke’s portrait of Margaret Thatcher (R.I.P.) in 1984 with some broken plates depicting the Saatchi Brothers behind her, Charles resigned from the board. What happened to the original Mr. Shock & Awe and his thick-skinned support of the new? Who could be bothered now, Charles or anyone else?

And after David Hammons billboard “How Ya Like Me Now,” featuring Jesse Jackson as a white blonde was installed in Washington D.C., it was attacked by sledgehammer-armed African American youths. Today, the only weapon that would be raised against this artwork would be the auction paddle of an aggressive art collector.   ... weiterlesen

Trans(gressive) Materialism


There was the Transavantgarde (beyond the avant-garde) and today we are faced with a period that could only be described as Trans(gressive) Materialism, not beyond anything other than focusing too much, in the most negative cents (pardon), on dollars. In an age of TransMaterialism, the art is as much about money as IS money. Its not just the artists and market, it encapsulates everything in between: biennials, fairs, critics, museums and mags. Sooner or later there will be a backlash against the Rich Kids of Instagram mentality in art that we are currently facing. Or maybe not. 

Wiki Definition: "Transavantgarde is the Italian version of Neo-expressionism, an art movement that swept through Italy, and the rest of Western Europe, in the late 1970s and 1980s. The term transavantgarde was coined by the Italian art critic, Achille Bonito Oliva, and literally means beyond the avant-garde. This art movement rejected conceptual art, reintroducing emotion―especially joy―back into drawing, painting and sculpture. The artists revived figurative art and symbolism. The principal transavantgarde artists were Sandro Chia, Francesco Clemente, Enzo Cucchi, Nicola de Maria and Mimmo Paladino."

French Fried

photo: dpa
photo: dpa

French fried: the whole country will pay the price for the government's unilateral attack against the wealthy of french society. The ROW (rest of world) will benefit from the narrow-minded myopia of the french government; and, the zero sum game that is art, politics and economics will reward the U.K, USA, South America and Asia. As long as other regimes continue to stay on the right side of laissez fare business and taxation processes. A wealth tax on appreciated assets is beyond prohibitive, its punitive. They have it in Switzerland and true swiss residents take it as bad as anyone but I guess they are foo damn discrete to complain or raise a fuss. Poor Jenifer Flay who has performed such an outstanding job ressurecting FIAC (paris based art fair) and making it so vital the past few years. R.I.P. FIAC.

More Art World Discontent


We live in a time of increasing art world discontent and disillusionment with more than a handful of critics and dealers bowing out from art for sentiments that could only be defined as anti-market. These anti-marketeers bemoan the size of art and galleries and the wide attention to high prices, rather than finding ways to continue in the trenches without having to tow any corporate line. Why shouldn't Gagosian continue to go-go? Jerry Saltz wants to dicate the size and price of art and square footage of galleries. I personally don't buy it. The options are more of the same with a dose of find another way. 

I am not big on politics and can't recall a leader I ever felt strongly about in my life, but problems in France, social, political, and financial point to how politicians can get it so horribly wrong they end up chasing away all of the country's talent. How stupid and wasteful. FIAC has been on the rise for sometime, but surely there will be a negative impact on buyers within the country, that is certain and as a result, it will negatively impact on the fair. After so much hard work by Jenifer Flay, it's nothing less than a travesty. the options are more of the same with a dose of find another way.  ... weiterlesen

The WWW: World Wide Warhol

A piece titled 'Campbell's Chicken with Rice Soup', created by Andy Warhol in 1964, which will be part of an online auction of 125 paintings, drawings, photographs and prints at Christie's in New York (photo: dpa)
A piece titled 'Campbell's Chicken with Rice Soup', created by Andy Warhol in 1964, which will be part of an online auction of 125 paintings, drawings, photographs and prints at Christie's in New York (photo: dpa)

Warhol, whose work presciently pointed the extent to which we like our pictures and pennies to proliferate (in perpetuity if possible), is changing the paradigm of how we pull together art, still. Even from his grave. The recent ongoing (and going) Christie's auction sales, as his estate continues to abdicate it’s selling/authentication responsibilities, is redefining the role of galleries and how art is disseminated to the general public—from New Jersey to New Delhi. And not in a bad way, just a different manner, but it is the sign of significant change afoot.

I could be the first prognosticator to pinpoint Warhol’s lowest auction prices (which would have plenty pissed the principal) but It’s a mere pittance at a few hundred dollars. There you have it: the most famous, financially successfully artist in history (with his pal Picasso), is also the cheapest and most accessible, for the penny pinchers among us.  ... weiterlesen

The Blake & Jerry Show


Beuys said everyone is an artist, and now Jerry Saltz states (complains?) now everyone is a writer, a concept he doesn’t seem entirely comfortable with. Isn't that a good thing? In the age of media accessibility through the likes of FB, we should sidestep pigeonholing, a favorite pastime of the art world. Why not an economist in the morning and a fisherman in the afternoon as Marx proposed? Can't I write about my art and sell yours? You still only need to read/look at what you want. 

A last thing on fairs, another Saltz peccadillo, they happen to bring us around the globe and are the closest we have to a nomadic sense of community in a cutthroat ecosphere. Then the other day Jerry stated that dealers should show/sell what they wish, except for Bruno Bischofberger. C’mon guys, consistency in your peevishness.   ... weiterlesen

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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