The Venison’s still sizzling! The New York Sun piece Auction Houses Vs. Dealers (via ArtsJournal) quotes Christies president Marc Porter, re Haunch of Venison Gallery becoming the house’s private-treaty-sales division: “To presume that the golden day of the 60s and that gallery system is what’s appropriate in a global art world may be a great disservice to artists and to collectors. What we’re doing is ensuring that the art business evolves, so that the people who use the business are best served.” Author Kate Taylor also notes, “For now, Haunch of Venison is forbidden to bid at Christie’s auctions.” Can someone please define “for now” as it’s used in that sentence?
Next time, auction off the substation… After London Transport agency workers painted over a Banksy mural – estimated to be worth more than $500,000 – on the side of an electricity substation, a Reuters report cited an agency spokesman explaining: “We recognise that there are those who view Banksy’s work as legitimate art, but sadly our graffiti removal teams are staffed by professional cleaners not professional art critics.” But, wait, now the Independent says the workers deny whitewashing it.
Documenta is an art fair?!? From the lead paragraph of the much-hyped Portfolio magazine‘s obligatory China ConArt story The Ka-Ching Dynasty: “This June, at the Documenta 12 art fair in the picturesque hill town of Kassel, Germany, the gallery-going set might notice an unusually homogeneous group mingling among them: 1,001 Chinese people all dressed alike. But the fair hasn’t mandated a uniform; the mysterious visitors will be part of a living, breathing, schmoozing installation by the artist Ai Weiwei. Ai is one of several Chinese contemporary artists exhibiting at the influential fair, including painters whose works have been flying off the auction block for well into the six figures.” So much for CondeNast’s legendary fact-checking…
Annals of Art-Market Anarchy: Artnet magazine’s Chinese Artists at Crossroads re the Wild Westness of China’s ConArt scene: “Many galleries report that maverick artists often balk on contractual agreements. In some scenarios, artists have actually walked out of their own opening, art works under their arms, to later redistribute the paintings at other galleries around the city.”
India’s Pearly Plagiarism: From Art India’s China syndrome, “A few younger [Indian] artists have turned their backs on the high priests of Europe, only to absorb the influences blowing in from the East. Unmistakably, many young Turks of the GenNow are copying Chinese artists from the mask-like faces and compositions of group portraits to the sheen of the painted surfaces. It’s a case of literally taking the pearl out of the oyster: some of our more successful young artists have begun to copy the Chinese practice of adding crushed pearls into their pigments to get that ethereal sheen in their portraits and landscapes. If you can’t lick ‘em, well then copy them.”
The Critic as Consultant From The Economic Times (of Mumbai), Art consultancy comes of age: “Apart from galleries, some art critics have also started playing a major [consulting] role because a large percentage of buyers pick up a work of art for the short term. Thus, there are a lot of people looking for advisory services.” Clearly, India’s art market has fully matured.
Unlikely headline of the week: From the BBC news site, re the Glasgow Art Fair: “Art fair to attract 16,000 buyers.” Wow, 16,000 buyers? Art Basel and Frieze must be so jealous!