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Kobel's Art Weekly

Art Düsseldorf 2024; photo Stefan Kobel
Art Düsseldorf 2024; photo Stefan Kobel
Stefan Kobel

Stefan Kobel

Kobel's Art Weekly 16 2024

Georg Imdahl emphasises the feel-good factor of Art Düsseldorf in the FAZ: "The feel-good factor in the former steelworks of the Böhlerhallen with its daylight is indeed hard to beat. A dealer from Düsseldorf isn't just being locally patriotic when he describes Art Düsseldorf as the second most beautiful fair after Paris+ in the Grand Palais Éphémère. Now that everything is getting a little more serious economically, it is supposed to prove that success is possible in a generally weakening market - and after the cancellation of subsidies during the pandemic. For understandable reasons, many of the 106 participants with a manageable proportion of foreign participants want to achieve this through painting. They are often appealing, but not groundbreaking." Silke Hohmann looks favourably on the fair for Monopol: "Will the seed grow? At Reinisch Contemporary there is a man-sized ceramic dandelion plant. They are well known - larger specimens have been standing for years not far from Düsseldorf in front of Cologne Cathedral (currently scaffolded). Thomas Stimm has been making them since the 1990s, and the gallery also offers the connectable plant as framed lacquer paintings. What takes off at some point, what stays on the ground, is always a bit of luck, speculation and gut feeling at fairs. It's no different at Art Düsseldorf - anything is possible, the breeding ground is traditionally fertile. And sometimes you just have to blow a little to make something fly." Christiane Meixner does not want to give up hope of an increase in demand in the Tagesspiegel: "Grand gestures mark the sculpture spaces with works by Andreas Schmitten (Schönewald Fine Arts) or Eva Koťátková (Galerie Meyer Riegger), who is responsible for the Czech pavilion at the Venice Biennale this year. The demand for such presentations at the fair has increased and shows that collectors are prepared to spend more. This is necessary because the coronavirus aid for galleries' presence at the fair, which is effective until 2023, is a thing of the past and stand rents have returned to their previous level." Sebastian C. Strenger is enthusiastic to the point of unreadability at Kunstforum: "Today, the fair irs in a better position than its Rhineland sister, which fell out of favour with international dealers in its last edition in Cologne: not shrunk, far less international and with a lack of sales. In a comparison of the two Rhineland fairs, Art Düsseldorf has already grown by around 15 per cent (2023) after an increase in participants and is increasing by a further 10 per cent this year to a total of 105 exhibitors. This means that Cologne, with around 170 exhibitors, is no longer twice as large. And the respectable field of participants is also impressive with new additions. For example, with galleries such as Carolina Nitsch from New York with Tschabalala and depictions of black identity and Steve Turner from Los Angeles with interpretations of Manet by the Chinese-Irish painter Jingze Du." I was in Düsseldorf for the Handelsblatt and Artmagazine.

Eva Komarek visited what appears to be the first art fair of the year to be going fantastic for Parnass in Milan: "The weather in Milan during the contemporary art fair, miart, was just as radiant as the faces of many exhibitors. In an economically difficult art market, business was already buzzing at the preview. 'Sales on the first day exceeded our expectations,' says Nicola Ricciardi, artistic director of the fair. 'The best indicator of how business is going at the fair is the calls I get from the galleries on the first day. This time, the mobile phone hardly ever rang,' he jokes."

Tessa Solomon at Artnews precedes the usual ten best stands with a brief categorisation of Expo Chicago: "This is the first edition of Expo under the leadership of Frieze, which acquired the event alongside the Armory Show in 2023. Tony Karman, EXPO director, told ARTnews that new management has only led to further improvements. The fair has a fresh layout and its special sections-Exposure, In/Situ, and Profile-have been better integrated into the main exhibition. Some 170 galleries have gathered for this year, including first-time participants Labor (Mexico) and Hannah Traore Gallery (New York), along with blue chip enterprises from beyond the Windy City, like Galeria Nara Roesler and Vielmetter Los Angeles." Hannah Edgar reports in more detail in The Art Newspaper: "Since its start as Art Chicago in 1980, Expo Chicago has become a local monument of its own. To the relief of long-time attendees, however, Frieze's interventions so far appear minimal, even-tentatively-positive. 'Much of what I do, and did, hasn't changed at all,' Karman says of planning this year's fair." Maxwell Rabb emphasises the special atmosphere of the fair under the new owner Frieze at Artsy: "As the opening bell rang at noon, one aspect that perhaps characterised this Midwestern attitude was a calmer, more measured enthusiasm among VIPs compared to the more frenetic energy of some other fairs. This approachability extends to the pricing as well, creating an appealing point for new collectors."

Nada will open its third location in Paris after Miami and New York parallel to Paris+ par Art Basel, reports Maximilíano Durón at Artnews.

In future, Christie's customers will be able to buy on credit in certain auctions, reports Daniel Cassady at Artnews: "In order to take advantage of the initiative, collectors must first be approved by Art Money, which involves choosing an amount of credit followed by a soft credit check. Once approved, a winning bidder uploads their invoice from Christie's to Art Money and accepts the purchase offer. Then the auction house and consigner get paid, the work gets delivered, and the installment payments begin." Until now, the business model of artmoney has mainly consisted of interest-free loans for art purchases from partner galleries, which pay ten per cent of the purchase price to the company for the service. The list of almost 2000 galleries gives the impression that art purchased from them can hardly serve as collateral for a loan.

In the current slump, the call for lower prices for art is getting louder, observes Katya Kazakina at Artnet. However, this is not so easy: "How to cut prices on the primary market in a safe, sustainable way is a riddle that has not yet been solved. Several dealers told me that they are not opposed to doing so in principle, but they are not sure how collectors and artists would react. For now, they are just offering discounts. Some suggested that an artist's market could be reset by pivoting to smaller formats or different media. Instead of doing large-scale canvases, for example, an artist could focus on works on paper. [...] 'There's no pressure to churn out those paintings that everyone wanted,' said Sarah Gavlak, the owner of the Gavlak gallery in Los Angeles and Palm Beach. 'I'd encourage an artist in my programme to experiment. Do a print project. What do you have to lose?"

The Sotheby's auctions in Hong Kong were a flop, says Karen K. Ho at Artnews: "To be blunt, The Now, Modern Day, and Contemporary Day sales were stories of flips that failed. Two of the top lots by estimated value were withdrawn: Nicolas Party's Still Life (2017) and KAWS's Untitled (Calvin Klein) (2000), the latter work consigned to Sotheby's by fashion designer and entrepreneur Marc Eckō after being acquired directly from KAWS. Works by Avery Singer, Nicole Eisenman, Elizabeth Peyton, Joyce Pensato, and Njideka Akunyili Crosby that appeared at auction within the last five years also failed to sell."

China's rich are getting younger and changing the art market, Mia Castogne concludes from a conference organised by HSBC bank in the state-owned South China Morning Post:

"China's high-net-worth population is also becoming younger, with the proportion under 40 years old increasing from 29 per cent in 2019 to 49 per cent in 2023, according to the China Private Wealth Report released by China Merchant Bank. Meanwhile, tech-savvy art enthusiasts and digital technology have transformed the art market, making it more accessible and inclusive for collectors, according to Francis Belin, the president of Christie's Asia-Pacific, who spoke on the same panel."

Malta of all places, the corruption-free haven of democracy and its new biennial are suitable to open up new freedoms for art that has been battered by Western (and particularly German) censorship, believes Emily Watlington at Art in America: "The Malta Biennale is not a show with a grand curatorial theme making a big statement about what art is or could or should be. But it is a platform that clearly believes in artists and their visions-something badly needed in a world increasingly asking artists to play roles in relation to shows of soft power and money laundering."

ETH Zurich has filed a patent application for a new method for the forgery-proof creation of passwords or labelling of works of art, according to a press release: "Because the use of the method requires specialised laboratory infrastructure, the scientists currently see the application of password verification primarily for highly sensitive goods or access to buildings with restrictive access regulations. Before the technology can also be used to check passwords in society at large, DNA sequencing in particular would have to become simpler. The idea of using the technology for the forgery-proof certification of works of art is already somewhat more mature."

With her tenacious research into Gustav Klimt's “Portrait Fräulein Lieser”, Olga Kronsteiner continues to push the Viennese auction house Kinsky in the Standard.

Hilde Lynn Helphenstein has received what appears to be a very expensive engagement ring.

semi-automatically translated


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