February 28, 2017
Over the years, I have presented a number of posts on the fall and rise of the super-rich art market: the market continues during the crash; after the economic crash in 2008; a new peak in 2009; the Chinese were leading the recovery in 2010. There have been others but I have been busy elsewhere for the last few years and haven’t been writing too much about art and sales. But I have been keeping an eye open.
I watched the market fall flat through most of last year. The oligarchs seemed to have put their money more in additional real estate than art or football clubs for the last year or two, distorting property markets across the globe, and flattening the top end of the art market. This spring’s auctions are supposed to give us a clue as to whether that disappointment will continue this year or whether the current stock exchange record highs will help propel a new burst.
In what might have been a special case or may indeed be a harbinger of the year to come, Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev sold a Gauguin last night for US$33.5 million. It was a picture he had purchased in 2008 for US$85 million, leaving him with a 74% loss.
But it is early days yet. This series of 20th century auctions at Christies is hoped to fetch a total of about US$450 million by the time it is complete in the middle of March. What they actually achieve will give us a better idea of where the market is heading.
September 16, 2016
In London, there are companies turning out fine furnishings and accessories which celebrate the iconic design style of the London Underground. These images are from Creative Review:
The bottom two items are inspired by the Piccadilly Line upholstery (left), and the Tube’s floor patterns (right).
My question is: Will anything Translink ever does inspire anyone to do anything creative?
September 15, 2016
I went to my local post office yesterday and was, yet again, shocked that it was costing me $1.05 to send a letter to downtown Vancouver. Today, I found some stamps that are actually worth paying for — if you are in Britain, at least.
This is the centenary anniversary of the Agatha Christie’s first detective story, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. To celebrate this event the Royal Mail ordered up six stamps representing some of her most famous mysteries. Jim Sutherland and Neil Webb have come up with beautiful designs that look good, fairly represent the plots of the books, and include clues that can be found through heat or UV light. In addition, each stamp contains a secret letter that, put together with the others in the set spell “AGATHA”.
This is the stamp that shows “The Mysterious Affair At Styles”. As Creative Review describes this:
“Poirot and Hastings investigate the crime scene – forming the skull, as the murderer used poison. The whole stamp is then reproduced in miniature on the poison bottle.”
It seems to me that Canada Post is good at putting ever larger numbers (i.e. prices) on their stamps. Perhaps they should release their artistic energies instead.
August 28, 2016
More than eight years ago, I wrote an excited post about an artist I had just come across — Vilhelm Hammershoi.
Since then, I have only come across a couple of his images. It was a stunning pleasure, therefore, to find a documentary made by Michael Palin, also eight years ago, that delves deeply into the artist and his motivations.
The documentary lasts about an hour and is well worthwhile!
August 3, 2016
The World Illustration Awards for 2016 have been announced. The overall winner, Books Professional, was this wonderful piece in graphite and charcoal by Jungho Lee of South Korea.
Creative Review has a lot more of the winning images. Excellent work as always.
July 14, 2016
On July 14th 1916, one hundred years ago today, Hugo Ball, a poet, inaugurated the public life of the Dada art movement by reading the First Manifesto during a soiree at the Waag Hall in Zurich. This followed along with Marcel Duchamps “anti-art” of 1913. As Ball expressed it, “For us, art is not an end in itself … but it is an opportunity for the true perception and criticism of the times we live in.”
Dada was always intended to upset, perhaps even offend. It was left-wing, it was anti-war and it was anti-bourgeois.
Exactly thirty years later, the everloving was born. Simple coincidence? That’s not for me to say. But she is definitly left-leaning and anti-war.
Born in the industrial northeast, raised in and finally escaped from Kansas — where women are chattel and a genuine throwback is Governor — she is a very bright spot in our Grandview world today and everyday.
Happy birthday sweetheart!
June 30, 2016
Can technology be used to create a new Old Master? Not re-create an old work, but create a new work from scratch, including the surface feel?
A group of Dutch technologists have certainly made an attempt. And a credible one, if one assumes that such a project is not beyond the pale from the very beginning.
Jonathan Jones, art critic, just hates the whole idea:
“What a horrible, tasteless, insensitive and soulless travesty of all that is creative in human nature. What a vile product of our strange time when the best brains dedicate themselves to the stupidest “challenges”, when technology is used for things it should never be used for and everybody feels obliged to applaud the heartless results because we so revere everything digital … What these silly people have done is to invent a new way to mock art.”
I agree with Jones that “a fake is a dead, dull thing with none of the life of the original”, but I find myself unable to match his disgust. It is a mighty clever thing they have done and should be appreciated at that level at least.