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The fall season has begun. The start is traditionally made by the Rhineland galleries, where Susanne Schreiber has discovered a new modesty for the Handelsblatt: "The times seem to be over when loud boasts were made, when super-expensive works were waiting in galleries for bragging rights. Art should be financially attainable in difficult times and spread joy, provoke a wink or initiate reflection."
Georg Imdahl points out the interdisciplinary approach of a Cologne newcomer in the FAZ: "Worth a visit is the show by Antwerp-born Dennis Tyfus in 1979 at Galerie JUBG, which, founded in March 2021, is run by musician Jens-Uwe Beyer, gallery owner Alexander Warhus and artist Albert Oehlen. The three have set their sights on a program where art and music intersect."
Frieze Seoul's first serve (along with the seasoned Kiaf) seems to be an ace, believes The Art Newspaper's notoriously sunny fair coverage, in this case by Reena Devi, which nevertheless contains some analytical aspects: "Asian galleries also held their own at both Kiaf and Frieze, making it very clear the region remains the ascendant force in the market. [...] Kiaf is shining a spotlight on the domestic scene with its satellite fair Kiaf Plus (until 5 September), featuring emerging and new media art showcased by more than 70 experimental local galleries at Seoul Trade Exhibition and Convention. [...] 'I think people have understood this is not just about an art fair,' [gallery owner Brett] Gorvy says. 'This is about Seoul being a cultural center, an international center, and if it has the possibility to be equal to Hong Kong or other areas in Asia where you've got these international art fairs.'"
What Alex Greenberger writes about Frieze Seoul at Artnews does not only apply to this fair: "At long last, Frieze Seoul launched its first edition this week, and on the fair's first day, some participating galleries said they'd sold a few works for more than $1 million. By that measure, the fair has been a success for at least a few of the world's biggest galleries.Most of the other sales that galleries reported were much lower than $1 million, however, which means that Frieze Seoul is not commanding purchases on the order of another Asian competitor, Art Basel Hong Kong, where prices can sometimes exceed $10 million. Still, galleries said they'd sold to Korean and Chinese collectors, which could mean that interest in the powerful art scenes of those two countries is strong. It's worth reminding that it is difficult to independently verify the sales that galleries report as having taken place at art fairs, and that in some cases these purchases are often conducted in advance and only announced later on, once events kick off." Artnews https://www.artnews.com/t/frieze-seoul-2022/ also has a whole dossier on the fairs.
Which of the cities Seoul, Tokyo, Taipei or Hong Kong will be the art center of East Asia, Georgina Adam asks in The Art Newspaper: "So, which will win? At the moment it's Seoul, hands down, but this is also because of uncertainties elsewhere. China specialist Philip Dodd says: 'There is always tension running up to the CCP's National Congress in October. Afterwards things may be easier, and Western artists are still eager to show in China. But with quarantine regulations unpredictably coming and going, China has complications which may not go away soon. Or may. The uncertainty is a major problem. Confidence has hardly been bolstered by reports of fish, crab and even a hippo being swabbed for covid in the mainland. So then, what about Taipei? Ultimately, it faces the same problems as Hong Kong, as the mainland gradually escalates its rhetoric against the island."
A kind of better merchandise store Perrotin is opening at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, reports Gabriella Angeleti in The Art Newspaper.
The tug of war for power at Artnet has not been decided at this AGM either, I observed for Handelsblatt.
After an anonymous open letter almost three years ago, the Berlin gallery owner Johann is once again confronted with accusations of sexual abuse, which Luisa Hommerich, Anne Kunze and Carolin Würfel make public in the ZEIT (paywall): "The ZEIT has also been aware of the accusations for about three years, and in the meantime has spoken with a total of ten allegedly affected women as well as several witnesses, who were willing to talk about their alleged experiences with Johann König, but initially did not want it to be reported in detail. That has now changed: Some of the women have decided to go public. Their accounts are now more detailed, and some are now willing to give their real names and sign affidavits." However, the authors also concede, "If what the women tell is true, König did not commit any capital crimes. Rather, in the women's accounts, the gallery owner comes across as a man who at times oversteps boundaries, is assaultive, and who plays to his power and mixes professional and private sexual interests." One of them has already been attacked five years ago by her own medium for questionable journalistic practices in a similar matter (also paywall). In any case, it will be exciting to see if and how Zeit succeeds in making its accusations court-proof.
The FAZ has obtained a statement from König on the matter: "At the request of the F.A.Z., König issued the following statement: "The accusations are baseless and do not correspond to the truth. I am already being represented by a lawyer in this matter and all legal steps are being examined to take action against the dissemination of these false facts."
It also didn't take long for the scandal to hit the English-speaking world. At Artnews, Alex Greenberger tells his readers, "König is one of the Berlin art scene's integral figures. The son of curator Kasper König, he opened his gallery at age 21 in 2002. In 2019, the New York Times reported that he has a 'reputation as one of Germany's most influential young art dealers.'"
The author of the summary of the German article in Artforum seems to have found little of substance.
In a statement in the Berliner Zeitung Johann König rejects the accusations and criticizes the journalists' approach: "After a conversation I offered to have with two of the three The ZEIT authors of the article on Tuesday, this was abruptly ended by the authors allegedly because of other appointment commitments, without me being able to elaborate on my points; I had the impression that the article was already written. [...] The author was doing research at the time based on an anonymous letter. Although The ZEIT was not allowed by law to quote from this anonymous letter, and although the public prosecutor's office was investigating the author, The ZEIT used this as their lead story. The ZEIT also writes that there was a criminal complaint against me. This is not true. I do not know of any criminal charges and therefore cannot comment on such an accusation. What is true is that at the time I filed a criminal complaint against unknown persons in order to take action against the anonymous letter despite knowing that this action would also mean that I would also be investigated on the basis of the content alleged therein. The investigations remained fruitless and were therefore discontinued."
If the more serious allegations prove to be true, this would probably have legal consequences. However, the same is true the other way around. Meanwhile, the digital pitchforks are already being wielded in the social media.
The dispute over the Guelph treasure in U.S. courts seems to be coming to an end, suggests a dpa report: "The U.S. District Court for Columbia in Washington determined that U.S. courts do not have jurisdiction, as the foundation and the plaintiffs confirmed in unison. On the part of the plaintiffs, it was said on request that a possible appeal against the decision issued on Thursday is currently being examined.[...] Prior to the current decision, the Supreme Court, the highest U.S. court, had already seen no evidence of the heirs to be able to assert claims in the case in the U.S. against Germany. The case was returned to the District Court of Columbia. There, the foundation had initially sued unsuccessfully to prevent the case from being heard in the U.S."
If decolonize, decolonize properly! The activist and U.S. attorney Deadria Farmer-Paellmann calls on German officials in a letter to immediately stop the restitution of the Benin bronzes, as they were made from the proceeds of the slave trade, Andreas Kilb reports in the FAZ: "That this glory, like every form of imperial culture, has a barbaric flip side, the activists from Nigeria or Senegal hear less gladly. But the process of historical justice cannot be stopped at any point. Those who demand the return of the bronzes as reparations for colonial injustice cannot ignore the context of injustice from which the sculptures once emerged. In this respect, the letter of the American lawyer throws a spotlight on a multi-ethnic state that has not yet come to terms with its past. In Nigeria, the returned bronzes are likely to become a bone of contention for political and private, national and regional, economic and cultural interests."