Market Monday: Show Me Love
Recapping a week dominated by public displays of affection and rejection...
Sotheby's announced that, on February 5th, it will unfurl a standalone sale of Picasso ceramics and drawings consigned entirely by the artist's granddaughter, Marina Picasso. Kelly Crow used the news as a lens to her overview of the burgeoning market for the late great's adventures in fired clay. While Marina claims that her timing is largely motivated by a desire to settle her estate well before her inevitable end, I can't overlook the fact that the sale just so happens to be scheduled two days before the close of MoMA's universally adored, possibly career-redefining retrospective "Picasso Sculpture." Assuming the sale meets or exceeds expectations––and I expect it to do the latter––it will become a classic example of how the museum sector can be, and often is, used as a trampoline by the industry's for-profit sectors. [The Wall Street Journal]
Related: Brian Boucher reported that a small but meaningful detachment of artists have declined prize nominations and project offers from The Hague's esteemed Gemeentemuseum in the wake of the (finally settled) Danh Vō/Bert Kreuk legal debacle. Although he does not officially speak for the other artists who said "no thanks," I think Michael Elmgreen (of blue-chip power pair Elmgreen & Dragset) neatly summarized everyone's reason for resistance by stating that, "The museum is in the pocket of a private party" (implicitly, Kreuk). Events certainly suggest as much. But if Elmgreen plans on maintaining this particular principled stand, he should be prepared to reject practically every museum's overture until the end of time. The inconvenient truth is that conflicts of interest stemming from board members and major donors' personal incentives have never been more rampant in the institutional sector than today. The Gemeentemuseum only became the poster child for the phenomenon because the Vō-Kreuk deal went nuclear. [artnet News]
In an interview surrounding the debut of his offbeat curatorial effort "The Future Is Ow" at Marlborough Chelsea––a group show featuring numerous long-practicing but mostly-unknown names––late-sainted artist Mark Flood reinforced an under-recognized (and probably under-utilized) truth: As important as gallery and institutional support can be to overlooked artists' careers, the public co-sign of an established blue-chip artist can be just as powerful. [Observer]
And finally this week, David Pagel reviewed independent curator Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer's latest exhibition at The Finley Gallery, the 24/7/365 public exhibition space she set up... in her Los Angeles apartment building's stairwell. Pagel's piece only gives passing mention to the business side of the endeavor. But to me, the project is another prime example of how curators, dealers, and would-be gallerists without significant financial backing have been forced to explore increasingly unconventional options in an art market ruled by ever-escalating overhead costs and winner-take-all economics. I salute Lehrer-Graiwer's ingenuity, and I expect we'll see many more creative solutions pop up around the globe as the industry continues consolidating and gentrifying. [The Los Angeles Times]
That's all for this edition. Wishing you nothing but love til next week.