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Kobel's Art Weekly

London Gallery Weekend; photo Stefan Kobel
London Gallery Weekend; photo Stefan Kobel
Stefan Kobel

Stefan Kobel

Kobel's Art Weekly 23 2023

With over 120 participating galleries, the London Gallery Weekend markets itself as the largest event of its kind. In view of the abundance, the press dispenses almost entirely with coherent text and restricts itself to Best of lists, such as Tom Jeffries for Frieze, Kabir Jhala as well as Ben Luke and Louisa Buck in The Art Newspaper, Wallpaper or the Guardian. For Artmagazine I try to characterize the initiative and to put it into context.

The sale of the Breuer Building by the Whitney Museum in New York to Sotheby's is reported by Francesca Aton at Artnews: “The Metropolitan Museum of Art occupied the building for a brief stint, from 2015 to 2020, and called it the Met Breuer (not to be confused with its Fifth Avenue home, just a few blocks north). The Frick Collection took up residence in the building in 2021 to display its collection, while its iconic mansion undergoes renovations; it currently holds a lease there through August 2024." Silke Hohmann of Monopol is not too enthusiastic about the coup: "Strangely enough, there is a lot of applause and little criticism. Yet it would certainly be possible to simply calculate how much public money has gone into the building monument, which has now become a place of entertainment for a very small group of people and is lost to the public. Even without becoming too pathetic, one could demand this calculation for once."

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his Munich auction house, Sabine Spindler spoke with Askan Quittenbaum for the Handelsblatt: "Incidentally, Askan Quittenbaum does not see a slowdown in the design market. This market is always in motion, he argues. "If the designs by Jean Prouvé and Charlotte Perriand, which are currently in such high demand, climb even higher, collectors will move on to other areas."
Quittenbaum can observe the reorientation in his clientele. Whereas 25 years ago Art Deco objects and Art Nouveau ceramics were collected, today it is lamps by Ingo Maurer, original pieces by Ettore Sottsass or elitist steel pieces by Ron Arad.

Ursula Scheer explains the latest art investment vehicle from Artex in the FAZ of 3 June: "But shares in it can be bought for as little as 100 dollars via the art exchange artex when it goes on sale from 21 July as part of an initial public offering. Making art tradable like securities, turning blue-chip crumbs into stores of value not only for the super-rich: that is the business idea of the company under Luxembourg law founded by Prince Wenzel of Liechtenstein and the former UBS investment banker Yassir Benjelloun-Touimi. No new-fangled tokens are issued, but shares in companies that exist for the purpose of owning a work of art. There is no question that this has potential, especially since it is not likely to attract gamblers who are looking for a quick way to make money. To preserve the aura
artex artworks are also to be lent to museums. The Weng Art Invest platform takes a somewhat different approach, which Christiane Fricke presents in the Handelsblatt: "The result is something like an egg-laying, woolen lizard: instead of fractionalised shares, investors and collectors acquire unrestricted, complete ownership of the contemporary edition they have purchased. They can immediately dispose of the work in tokenised form. A holding period of one year applies to the physical delivery of the work, which is held in trust at the Swiss bonded warehouse." I highlight three of these art investment models in the current print edition of Parnass (not even with paywall online).

Shaquille O'Neal is being sued by a buyer of his NFTs, claiming that they should be considered securities and that the famous basketball player failed to register his company accordingly, reports Shanti Escalante-De Mattei at Artnews: "In each of these cases, courts have been applying the Howey test-a common legal test established in 1946 by the United States Supreme Court in SEC v. W.J. Howey Co.-to determine whether or not the NFT projects in question are securities. Under the Howey test, something is a security if it meets the following four conditions: It is an investment of money; there is an expectation of profits from the investment; the investment of money is in a common enterprise and; any profit comes from the efforts of a promoter or third party." Now some of the gamblers will have to pay for their gambling - of course only those who have started these pyramid games and not those who have gone along with it with their eyes open.

The Eon Foundation has taken up the cause of promoting the New Green Deal for the cultural world and has developed a calculator with which institutions can determine their Co2 footprint. Regine Müller presents the project in the Handelsblatt: "The British project 'Creative Green Tool' by Julie's Bicycle/Arts Council UK served the foundation as a model for a CO2 calculator for cultural institutions. It was adapted, translated and adapted for the German cultural landscape. The use of the tool, which is free of charge for the time being, is financed in order to record and understand the effects of cultural undertakings of all kinds. [...] 'We want to create transparency,' says [Foundation Managing Director Stephan] Muschik. When the tool was new, the questions still sounded strange. But the other day we had an event in the Dortmund techno club 'Tresor West'; there were representatives from the Konzerthaus Dortmund who could recite by heart how much electricity they consume and how much emissions are produced. The CO2 calculator contributed to that.'" For its commitment, the foundation receives the German Cultural Promotion Award, reports Monopol. The end of the sponsorship of the British Museum by the oil company BP is reported by Tessa Salomon at Artnews.

Artnet columnist Annie Armstrong (paywall) has single-handedly brought down Bart Drenth, the managing director. She dug up some of the Dutchman's tweets, which could be used to apply for a position with the right-wing populist party Forum voor Democratie in his home country, but are likely to end careers in the more cosmopolitan New York. For Artnews Alex Greenberger reviews the story. The Aachener Zeitung has a German report on it: "The English-language website quoted from Drenth's account: 'Just like in the Iranian revolution in 1978, left-wing do-gooders stand hand in hand with jihadists. Without knowing that after the revolution succeeds, they will be the first to die.' And, 'Your LGBTQ rights are really best protected by waving the Palestinian flag during the Pride parade.'" Tefaf might want to think about its personnel policy. Drenth was the fourth head of the fair in three years.

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