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Kobel's Art Weekly

Viennacontemporary 2022 at the Kursaal, photo Stefan Kobel
Viennacontemporary 2022 at the Kursaal, photo Stefan Kobel
Stefan Kobel

Stefan Kobel

Kobel's Art Weekly 37 2022

You have to think of Vienna as a lucky city. Despite all the intrigues and quarrels, the metropolis on the Danube manages to successfully hold two art market events of international caliber at the same time: the art fair Viennacontemporary and the gallery marathon Curated by. Victor Sattler describes synergy effects at Monopol: "On the first day of the fair, some of the gallery owners who would have expected more sales were still relying on magic. However, there was no understanding for the grumbling of the others at the Viennese gallery Georg Kargl Fine Arts - instead a beaming smile about the magnificent fair. Although only one painting by Katrina Daschner had been sold here so far, the flow of visitors from the curators and directors had never stopped. And with David Fesl and David Maljković, the gallery directly extended an invitation to the gallery festival Curated By, which opened at the same time and in the context of which it is showing Fesl and Maljković. In this respect, Viennacontemporary, which is perhaps the most versatile of art fairs, is understood as a long-term mission."

Nicole Scheyerer points out the VC's Ukraine focus in the FAZ: "At viennacontemporary itself, the Kiev galleries Tsekh, Voloshyn and The Naked Room are represented for this purpose. Pavlo Makov, this year's representative of Ukraine at the Venice Biennale, had to flee his heavily shelled hometown of Kharkiv and now lives in Italy."

Werner Remm at Artmagazine names a weak point of the VC : "With the Kursalon Wien, a venue has been found that conveys the flair of Vienna at the turn of the century, when the capital of the then multi-ethnic Habsburg state was able to establish its role as a hub and place of mediation between East and West, thus also supporting the art fair's focus on Central and Eastern Europe. The only drawback of the building, however, is the space available. 400 square meters of net exhibition space are available in the building, which is used as a dance and concert venue. This means that each gallery can use an average of six square meters or about as many linear meters of wall for hanging pictures. The aisles are narrow as known from other art and antique fairs in historical buildings in Vienna. Nevertheless, this year's edition is one of the most coherent so far in the history of viennacontemporary."

The opening event of the VC was a symposium on the Ukrainian war, reported by Johannes Gaisfuss in the Wiener Zeitung: "Russia is deliberately and systematically attacking 'the national identity and the unique thousand-year history of the state,' Ukrainian libraries are being liquidated in occupied territories, museums are being looted and destroyed, Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko lamented at the beginning in a pre-recorded video message. Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, founder and chairwoman of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21), also affirmed this, saying that Putin's war is not only about the geopolitical aspects." ICOM's Red List for Ukraine is explained by Sophia Kishkovsky in The Art Newspaper.

Quite enthusiastic about the Viennese satellite fair Parallel is Almuth Spiegler from the Presse from Vienna: "Not a pure art fair - if, then it would be by far the largest with 15,000 visitors and 600 artists - but a festival of the young Viennese art scene. The focus is not on sales, but on diversity and the desire to show oneself. The galleries play almost a secondary role, presentations of the infinite number of Viennese off-spaces, the art university classes of Daniel Richter and Co. or the art programs of federal states such as Styria, Salzburg, Upper Austria dominate."

Christoph Habres perceived Parallel quite differently for the Wiener Zeitung: "What is forgotten at Parallel is to place more emphasis on quality. It is preached like a prayer mill that the exhibitors are strictly selected in advance, but the reality is different. 'That's the big Achilles heel,' underlines one gallery owner. 'There absolutely has to be more stringent selection!' The demand is understandable, as prices for nurses' rooms or delivery rooms have risen sensitively. The costs of the large 'booths' are already at 2,500 to 2,900 euros. They are thus higher than stands at Viennacontemporary. Enough of the theory. As mentioned, Parallel has a quality problem. It is tiring to have to work your way in a tour de force through the uninspired as well as the eclectic to discover little worth seeing or noticing."

I was in Vienna for the Handelsblatt and the Tagesspiegel of September 10.

Brita Sachs introduces the guest program Various Others of the Munich galleries in the FAZ: "Their intention to strengthen the external perception of Munich as an art location is again pursued by the sixteen galleries associated to Various Others by inviting partners from all over the world. Nagel Draxler, for example, cooperates with Each Modern from Taipei and shows artists who at first glance have little in common. But except for the German Julia Haller, they come from countries where artistic freedom is threatened."

Only Frauke Steffens, the author of the fair report on the Armory in New York for the FAZ herself will know whether the editorially unchecked misinformation has been made up by herself or taken from somewhere else: "It almost seems as if the pandemic had never existed - and yet it has changed a lot for the Armory Show, one of America's most important art fairs. Buyers used to make pilgrimages to several piers on the Hudson River, before that to a historic armory from which the event takes its name. Since last year, it's been housed at the Javits Center, a rather disdainful convention center. And the Covid-crisis-induced move of the show from spring to fall ushered in a new rhythm in 2021, one that will likely be maintained." In fact the move and date shift to fall had been announced while the fair was still running in March 2020 and had nothing to do with Covid, but rather with the Piers' dilapidation and the datewise proximity of Frieze New York

The usual success stories from the galleries' press departments about sales at the Armory Show have been compiled by Eileen Kinsella for Artnet. Daniel Cassidy offers a bit more content in The Art Newspaper.

Similar to the Frieze Masters in London, there is now an Independent 20th Century in New York, reports Osman Can Yerebakan in The Art Newspaper. The aim is probably less to illuminate "blind spots" in the canon than to fish in the pond of the Armory Show, which is taking place at the same time.

Annika von Taube takes up the cudgels for art flipping at Monopol: "The short-term turnover of works, disparagingly referred to as art flipping in the traditional art market, is accepted practice in the crypto scene. What matters is what you own, not for how long. And even if many players in this scene are speculation-driven, what's wrong with that if it increases the circulation of content as well as prices? It's constantly emphasized anyway that the value of a work of art is not to be determined by the market, but by its content quality and reception." The NFT market she refers to, however, has become proof of the Greater fool theory in the last six months. You might not want that for artists' careers then.

The suitable turbo for artist careers offers Sotheby's lately with the format Artist's Choice, with which artists can submit works of art directly themselves, explains Jo Lawson Tancred with Artnet.

Louisa Buck gives collectors tips on CO2 reduction in The Art Newspaper: sea freight instead of air freight, less flying, and if so, then eco instead of business or first, etc.

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