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Kobel's Art Weekly

Art-o-Rama Marseille; photo private
Art-o-Rama Marseille; photo private
Stefan Kobel

Stefan Kobel

Kobel's Art Weekly 35 2022

The Ukrainian artist Olena Pronkina receives the Claus Michaletz Prize, reports dpa: "The award, endowed with 10,000 euros, is given this year for the third time to an artist from Eastern Europe. The award is linked to the KVOST residency grant.The prize is awarded in honor of the publisher and founder of the Secco Pontanova Foundation, Claus Michaletz, and is a cooperation between the Foundation and the Kunstverein Ost."

Another project to support Ukrainian artists is presented by Kerstin Holm in the FAZ: "In the recently opened gallery A:D: Curatorial in the new glass corner building at Kurfürstenstrasse 142 in Berlin, new works by important Ukrainian artists who remained in the country during the Russian invasion and creatively processed their war experiences can be viewed and purchased until September 10. The artists had fled from eastern and central Ukraine to the western part of the country, where the Assortment Room (Asortymentna Kimnata) gallery in Ivano-Frankivsk organized a house with living quarters and studios for them."

Ursula Scheer visited the fairs and Chart and Enter Art Fair in Copenhagen for the FAZ: "Danish and Swedish exhibitors make up the largest share, the smaller Norwegians, Finns and Icelanders. Persons Projects and Dorothée Nilsson came from Berlin, Croy Nielsen from Vienna. Local, frugal, personal, sustainable: with this profile, CHART also distinguishes itself from its younger and globally oriented competitor Enter Art Fair, which takes place outside Copenhagen. At Kunsthalle Charlottenborg on Nyhavn, the exuberance of Tivoli is far gone. Compared to the debate-fueled art world elsewhere, it's a marked difference in temperature and reflects the interest of domestic collectors. Painting dominates, from figurative to abstract, often in soft, pastel-light tones, inspired by nature, organic in appearance or with a twist into the fantastic."

I was at Art-o-Rama in Marseille for the Handelsblatt and Artmagazine.

At least for Christie's it should be a good year. The auction house has been entrusted with the record-breaking auction of the art collection of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Susanne Schreiber gives details in the Handelsblatt : "More than 150 works of art spanning 500 years are to be auctioned in New York in November 2022. The auction house estimates the value of the consignment from the estate at over one billion dollars. That would put Allen's art collection above the $922 million Sotheby's could raise in 2021 and 2022 for the collection of real estate developer Harry Macklowe and his ex-wife Linda. And also above the $835 million hammered in by Christie's in 2018 from the estate auctions of banker David Rockefeller."

The beneficiaries of unequally distributed wealth don't have it easy, either. Of the $73 trillion in wealth that would be inherited over the next quarter century, about half comes from just 1.5 of U.S. households, Shanti Esclanate-De Mattei tells Artnews calls the collecting class: Morgan Stanley wealth advisor Sarah "McDaniel estimates that, for her ultra high-net-worth clients, whose fortunes total $30 million or more, 5 to 10 percent of their balance sheet is in art and collectibles, meaning that trillions worth of art is expected to change hands in the coming decades. Or so estate planners like McDaniel thought. But when heirs don't want their parents' collections, the two best options for collectors is either to gift the works in return for a sizable tax break or to sell off the art while the collector is still alive, said McDaniel. This doesn't just mean selling off the work as end-of-life planning, but simply selling work more often throughout life."

Sotheby's problems with the tax authorities are expanding, according to Angelica Villa of Artnews: "The investigation, which began in 2020, initially centered around a private collector who obtained a false resale certificate. Now, the AGO claims that that collector's case was not an outlier. The false resale certificate allowed the anonymous individual from the initial investigation to fraudulently pose as an art dealer. Doing so may have allowed the collector to avoid paying millions of dollars in tax revenue on the sale."

NFTs worth $100 million have already been taken by scammers this year, according to a report summarized by Tessa Solomon for Artnews: "The report outlines the different scams duping crypto art collectors. Phishing scams, in which users accidentally share the credentials to their cryptocurrency wallet, are the most common. Fraudsters can accomplish this by domain squatting on similar website names or hacking the owner's social media accounts. In one of the highest-profile cases, $3 million worth of NFTs were stolen from the Yuga Labs' Bored Ape Yacht Club after an Instagram hack."

Once something ends up in a German museum, it doesn't leave - except in isolated cases. Christian Herchenröder describes how other countries handle deaccessioning in the Handelsblatt: "The question of conscience as to whether museums should sell art often remains unresolved because there is no formulated museum policy in the institutes of most countries. Those who want to have the problem clarified call for state guidelines. These exist in Anglo-Saxon countries, in Ireland, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands. British legislation, which is exemplary for many museums, makes devaluations possible through a scrupulous procedure in which every step the museum takes must be documented, and all cases in question must be reviewed by consulted specialists. Decollecting, as the legislation postulates, also requires a communications strategy to promote public understanding and awareness of this type of museum practice."

Andreas Kilb warns in the FAZ against an overly hasty abandonment of creative leeway in the scholarly treatment and presentation of the Benin bronzes. "In addition, 'a Eurocentric narrative' is to be broken, as a foundation curator explained at a press briefing. Is then the clarification of historical facts also only a narrative - or does it have a higher rank than the myths of the nations? Was the Kingdom of Benin involved in the transatlantic slave trade or not? Did it use the profits it reaped to boost its art production and buy firearms with which to subjugate its neighboring peoples, or is that just a Eurocentric exaggeration? Was there human sacrifice and killing of prisoners? German museums should consider how far they want to go to keep some of their Benin bronzes, lest cultural history become a fairy tale."

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