Some 25th anniversary shows are merely inventory clearance sales while others are smartly curated celebrations of a gallery's accomplishments. Elizabeth Leach's 25th is an example of the latter. (Gallery-goers in Atlanta got a taste of the former last year.)
What I liked: 1. The fact that Leach coupled her anniversary with a survey of a particular genre (collage) over roughly the same period. Despite the fact the Leach calls the show "A Century of Collage", most works were created in the last 25-35 years. 2. The gallery had a mix of original works by the masters of the genre (Rauschenberg, Cornell) along side Leach's gallery artists. 3. The show explored how broad the idea of collage could be. There were a number of times I said to my self "that 's not collage," only to reconsider my conclusion shortly thereafter. 4. Historical references (Matisse, Bearden) added to the already impressive roster, giving the show its necessary historical underpinnings.
So the fall auctions are winding up and guess what? Everything sold for lots of money. More than I can afford. People aren't talking about a bubble anymore.
Yet another article in the New York Times will have art world insiders bristling, at least those who are clinging to the idea that their insider knowledge still retains the same indispensable cachet with collectors. It seems that David W. Galenson an economics professor at the University of Chicago has done a study which concludes that the most valuable of an artist's works are either done very early in his or her career or very late. In his book, Old Masters and Young Geniuses, Galenson spends 252 pages proving his point.
While you are picking up Galenson's book, check out Collecting Contemporary by Adam Lindeman another recent release that's full of interesting info.
For those of you who follow my blog, you know that I've gone on and on and on and on about the robust art market and have frequently hypothesized that the market expansion is somewhat due to the huge amount data available to every rank and file collector on the planet. Last Sunday's New York Times contained a very entertaining primer on bidding and buying at auction. The article points out how auction data sites like art price and artnet are proving collectors with a wealth of information at the click of a mouse that only 10 years ago was difficult and often very expensive to obtain.
" But the art dealer Josh Baer, whose subscription-only newsletter, Baer
Faxt, reports on the inner dealings of the art world, is skeptical of
this data-driven “illusion of transparency.” Database users focus too
much on precedent, he says, and ignore other factors, like the
condition of that particular piece. “They think they have so much more
information, when in fact they’re over-informed but undereducated.” "
Presumably Mr. Baer's $149-a-year newsletter-by-email will take care of the undereducated part.
The big auction houses seem to know better. With every passing year, they are becoming more and more adept at accurately and quickly communicating all available data to a potential collector. You can get condition reports with the click of a mouse. Mr. Baer may find himself comfortably snuggled into the art world insider's lounge, but the young collectors of today become the power players of tomorrow and these new players have always lived their life in front of some kind of glowing monitor and will continue to do so.
Despite all my defensiveness, after nearly two decades of collecting I generally find myself wanting to see the work in person before I buy, so I signed up for the free sample of Mr. Baer's newsletter. I'm sure he knows a thing or fifty that I don't!
I have to catch a plane in 5 minutes, so I'll elaborate later....
This Matthew Barney limited edition is 400 euros...
Limited edition of 100, 30 copies with the artist’s signature on the box Double-ply
card made of Brazilian rosewood and HDPE (card format 10.5 x 14.8 x 0.4
cm) as the cover of a set of ten postcards with reproductions from the
project “DE LAMA LÂMINA”. Polyethylene side of the card stamped by the
artist. Cover of the postcard box with a detail from “Brazilian
I've decided not to weigh this blog down with too much news about my gallery and artists. Quality Pictures website has launched a blog to handle all the news. I'll post an occasional update here that will link you to the stories there:
Angela West at the Columbus Museum and Jackson Fine Art. More here Kojo Griffin in the Seville Biennial. More here Jason Fulford in Blind Spot and at Marcia Wood Gallery. More here Jen Denike in "Upstate" at Mary Boone. More here J. Bennett Fitts at Bernard Toale Gallery (and a NYT review). More here Holly Andres and Mark Hooper at Archer Gallery, Clark College. More here iona rozeal brown's fall '05 show at Saltworks reviewed in Art in America. More here
The great southern folk artist, Mose Tolliver, died last Monday. Meeting artists and seeing them in their workplace has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my adult life and meeting Mose T was easily the most rewarding and memorable of all my artist experiences. Bryan, Rory (Bryan's brother) and I made the pilgrimage to Montgomery AL nearly a decade ago and had the privilege of spending time with Mose and his entourage at his modest home. Mose gave us a tour of his room: at the foot of the bed was a paint covered chest where he created his artworks, and near the door stood a decades old refrigerator, secured with a padlock, where he kept his beer. Also, among the many artworks on the wall was a photo of him with the Reagans commemorating his invitation to the White House in the 80's which was a story that he recounted for us, barely decipherable under Mose's thick southern drawl. I can also remember an enormous woman dressed in a bright green dress sitting in a dark back bedroom whose walls were painted a rich purple. There was also a learning-disabled boy roaming about and a number of Mose's cronies stood (okay sat) watch on the front porch. Despite his age, he was still a good businessman and gave us a fair price on the works we had eyed. We all left, happy as clams, with our Mose masterpieces tucked under our arms, and headed straight to Country's Barbecue to cap off a perfect afternoon. I'll miss Mose; it feels as if a part of my life that made me a transplanted Southerner is gone.
P.S. As usual, collectors have come out of the woodwork with Mose T's to sell. Lots are available on ebay (a great place to buy folk art if you can't make it to meet the artist directly) here:
Yesterday, in the cold and rain, Bryan, Sabrina (my marketing person) and I drove all the way to another state to catch Current Photography: New Directions at the Archer Galley, Clark College in Vancouver, WA. Okay so maybe that other state is closer to my home than downtown Portland, but its still another state and I still get dedication points for making the trip. The exhibition featured eight artists, all from the Northwest with work that ranged from updated modernism (Tamara Lischka) to elaborately staged tableaux by Quality Pictures artist Holly Andres (QP artist Mark Hooper is also in the show). As with most group shows, there are a few stars and the rest seem to be more of a supporting cast; this show was no different. Andres' color photos were a real show stealer and I was thrilled to be able to meet Miss Fiona Brunning, the central figure in many of the works and certainly a contributing factor to their success. There is much more about the work on Holly's site. There seems to be a growing tide of interest in new photography in the Northwest and I'm looking forward to seeing all that the region has to offer. Up next, a trip down to catch the Pearl's First Thursday on a particularly cold and nasty night. We'll see how much the turnout drops when the weather is icky. When it's nice, thousands come out for the monthly art event. When it's not...we'll see.