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The official separation of Viennacontemporary from its previous Russian owner Dmitry Aksenov is reported by Olga Kronsteiner in the Standard from Vienna: "A restructuring already initiated last year is thus coming to fruition, accelerated by irritations caused by the war of aggression against Ukraine. Although Aksenov was neither sanctioned nor had he ever appeared as a Putin friend, some galleries had concerns about participating in the fair and a possible loss of reputation. Aksenov also heads the Russian Friends of the Salzburg Festival." I try to straighten out the sometimes somewhat skewed public image of the fair and its ex-owner at Monopol.
In this context, Nina Schedlmayer draws attention to an imbalance in the art market in the WELTKUNST: "The art market likes to claim that it operates 'globally. Without an international orientation, nothing works. But how global is an art business, a market, that constantly discovers new areas of interest, such as Asia, but neglects what is right on its doorstep? Lviv is not much further from Vienna than Vorarlberg, Austria's westernmost province. But it is only now - and only to a very small extent - that we in the German-speaking countries are coming to realize that there is also art further east in Europe. For a long time, people were tearing themselves apart over the Eurocentrism of the art bubble - negating the fact that it can't be that far off anyway, when interest already ends at the borders to the former Iron Curtain."
Michaela Nolte researched for the Tagesspiegel how Berlin artists, galleries and auction houses are helping Ukraine. Further initiatives have been compiled by Monopol.
After two years of Corona, the Berlin gallery scene is on the move again, notes Christian Herchenröder in the Handelsblatt: "Movement is the order of the day. [...] Just in time for Gallery Weekend, no fewer than five galleries have moved into new spaces. It looks as if, after the corona phase, the hunger for art and the big breath have returned. In Berlin, they are particularly satisfied these days, because the program of the 52 houses participating in the Gallery Weekend is more animating than it has been for a long time (until May 1). A trend toward the monumental format, which also characterizes the fairs, is unmistakable."
Benedikt Ellebrecht, Hanno Hauenstein, Margit J. Mayer and Ingeborg Ruthe gather half a dozen reviews of gallery exhibitions in the Berliner Zeitung.
Kevin Hanschke looked for references to the current world situation at the Gallery Weekend for the FAZ: "But the Corona crisis, which is still not over, is followed by the next one: the shadow of the Ukraine war lies over all the shows. Many galleries emphasize the topicality of their works, which are often thought-provoking. Ukrainian artists, however, are hardly represented. One exception is Maria Kulikovska with her courageous performance '254', which was brought to Berlin in cooperation between the Berlin galleries and the Neue Nationalgalerie to raise funds for the association 'Be an Angel', which supports refugees. Covered by the Ukrainian flag, Kulikovska lies as if wounded on the steps of Mies van der Rohe's museum building."
Peter Richter ends his urbanistic tour of Berlin's gallery scene with a book recommendation in the Süddeutsche Zeitung: "One could continue to hunt through the city until the end of this text and look at a total of 52 galleries. But that is not possible, because this still has to be reported urgently: Overall, the Berlin galleries have come through the pandemic pleasingly well, thanks to state aid, also thanks to the saved fair costs, and even new ones have opened, such as 'Heidi' by Pauline Seguin, who was previously with Gavin Brown in New York, a much more ruthless place. (Brown's gallery, for example, no longer exists.) The reputation that Berlin has many artists, but hardly any collectors, didn't scare her. It hasn't been true for a long time. And therefore here is the following recommendation. The collector Manuela Alexeyev, with the help of the journalist Thomas Kausch, has written a book called 'It's not about the Money'."
Raimar Stange also found what he was looking for beyond the official GWB program for Artmagazine: "This makes it difficult to select the exhibitions to be reviewed, especially since galleries on the fringes of the spectacle, i.e. galleries that are not participating but at the same time presenting art, must of course not be left out. Often it is precisely there that the more exciting works can be seen. Probably the most important exhibition of the Gallery Weekend is then also the exhibition 'Dialogue' with James Bride and Jonas Staal in the gallery NOME."
Nicola Kuhn and Simone Reber point out the important role of private collections in Berlin's art scene in the Tagesspiegel: "When Flick announced that he wanted to withdraw his collection from the Hamburger Bahnhof, Erika Hoffmann announced that she was giving her art to Dresden, and Thomas Olbricht closed his me collectors room in Auguststraße, there was fear every time. Could this now be the end of Berlin's glorious time as an art city? The 14th Gallery Weekend, which can take place almost as before Corona, is therefore like a spring awakening: Flowers sprout, exhibitions open. Suddenly, even worried gallery owners are in a better mood again, because the Senate of Economics offers them the prospect of funding if they join forces at foreign fairs."
The last serious art fair organizer left in Berlin is Positions, whose Paper edition I review for Artmagazine.
Parallel to the Gallery Weekend in Berlin, the Art Brussels took place in Brussels, from which Alexandra Wach at Monopol would have expected more political: "At least, a button action by the artist Dan Perjovschi and a gallery initiative of the section 'INVITED' do not avert the view. And the fact that Barthélémy Toguo's large-scale watercolor 'The Last Judgment' from 2012, a danse macabre of florally connected skulls at the Lelong & Co. gallery booth, was among the first works sold at the preview shows that the latent threat of an expansion of war knows how to put many a collector in a buying mood. Not to mention the attention Frederik Heyman's 2022 NFT video 'Lament' is attracting at Antwerp's PLUS-ONE Gallery. It scores with android heads singing about tombstones hanging in suspension. All the more surprising, then, that the majority of the 157 participating galleries prefer not to take the risk of a controversial appearance. Rarely has so much irrelevant flatware been represented at Art Brussels, which is being held for the last time at the Areal Tour & Taxis before heading back out of town to the Brussels Expo fairgrounds as in earlier times." For the fact that an art fair is a sales event and not an exhibition, however, there was an extraordinary amount of art to be seen in the not-so-easily-sold medium of sculpture, as I note for the Handelsblatt and Artmagazine.
The collector couple Boros explains to (Berlin) politics in an interview with Boris Pofalla for the WeLT what it is doing wrong in dealing with art, artists, collectors and their own institutions: "KAREN BOROS: 'It is very important for a city to also look to the future. You can see that in Paris right now, where so many great institutions, but also private collections, have recently been created, which are just generating an insane amount of attention for the city again. So much so that Art Basel has now decided to open a branch in Paris, a new art fair. This brings something to the city, to the artists, to the cultural workers, to the people who do business there, everyone. And that was underestimated a bit in Berlin.'" At this point, it might be helpful for readers less involved in the art market to note that Ms. Boros is a VIP relations manager at Art Basel.
Jean-Siméon Chardin's "Wild Strawberry Basket," which just sold at auction for 24.4 million euros, is an example of how the French state is making use of its right of first refusal, notes Olga Grimm-Weissert in the Handelsblatt: "The Louvre's director general, Laurence des Cars, would normally have been able to acquire the painting immediately after the hammer fell through the legally regulated right of first refusal. However, with her purchase budget of a maximum of 10 million euros, she cannot participate in the market. She therefore chose the daily newspaper Le Figaro after the auction to announce her intention to acquire Chardin's finest still life for the Louvre with the help of a patron."
Anny Shaw demonstrates in The Art Newspaper the existential threat posed by Brexit to Britain's lower-end art trade, using the example of a dealer in Old Masters in the range up to £1,500: "'A parcel costing £14 inc VAT to Italy before Brexit now costs £22 with no VAT. Instead of a customer receiving the painting and hanging it on their wall, they receive a customs notification demanding import duty, handling fee and 20% VAT before they get it. Approximately €230 extra for a €1000 item.'"
Adrienne Braun wrote an obituary for the Stuttgart collector Ute Scharpff, who died at the age of 84, for the Stuttgarter Nachrichten.