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Kobel's Art Weekly

Pikachu, van Gogh style by AI
Pikachu, van Gogh style by AI
Stefan Kobel

Stefan Kobel

Kobel's Art Weekly 40 2023

The Ukrainian internet database War & Art is not useful in its current form, Olga Kronsteiner writes in the Standard: "Anyone can report works of art via the website. Whether and in what form such reports are checked for plausibility is not clear from the information published there. The basis for the paintings, sculptures and antiques registered so far are probably older media reports that were used".

Southeast Asia is catching up and is also becoming more important as a marketplace, Brabara Kutscher reads for the Handelsblatt from the New York Asia auctions: "On the other hand, the market for Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art, which was only offered by Christie's this season, continues to be strong. Here, out of 84 paintings offered, only three were not accepted and a hammered-in $11 million including buyer's premium shot well above a maximum expected $6.8 million. [...] 'The market for Indian art is on the cusp of a new growth cycle,' observes Anuradha Ghosh-Mazumdar, who most recently headed Sotheby's New York Indian & Southeast Asian Art department and is now an art consultant. The increasingly rare blue chips of the modern masters are now breaking through the six-million-dollar mark, with almost exclusively Indians making up the new buyers. And considering the records set at Indian auction houses in New Delhi and Mumbai this summer, it seems entirely possible that future price trends in this category will no longer be set exclusively in London or New York."

How New York's galleries have become the market-dominating and -defining power they are today is explored in several long texts by T, the style magazine of the New York Times. The reading is more for the weekend than for a Monday morning.

So-called scalpers have infested the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and emptied the museum shop on site and on the internet within a day, reports Sarah Cascone at Artnet. The reason was an exhibition, in which the Pokémon Company International is showing Pikachu and other comic figures in the style of Vincent van Gogh. Buyers speculating on a quick profit had even offered the first merchandise items at rock-bottom prices on Ebay. The owners of Pikachu & Co. were probably not surprised by the run, after all, the cult thrives on hype. The museum, on the other hand, was perhaps a little naïve. If you sit down at the table with the devil, you should bring a long spoon. But perhaps the institution just wanted to be in the headlines again.

Since 1973, art has been shown and produced in Berlin's Haus Bethanien. In the meantime, the former hospital from the 19th century seems to be a lonely rock in the Kreuzberg investor surf. Tilman Baumgärtel talks to the director of the art space Stephane Bauer for the taz about the history and present of the location: "That is indeed also my fear that we are increasingly becoming the last bastion in which artistic presentations are still possible at all in Kreuzberg. It's bitter to watch the art scene in Kreuzberg go under. You notice that artists now have much further to travel when they come to us from where they live, and that many have lost their studios. The fact that the NGBK and the Museum der Dinge are moving out is a huge loss, also in terms of visitor flows. But even more brutal is the loss of hundreds of studios. The famous Kreuzberg mix, where large shared flats or artists' studios or performance spaces could be created in the backyards, was replaced by the so-called creative industries from around 2010 and is now being brutally kicked out by start-ups and venture capital."

The Salzkammergut region is also using the year 2024 as European Capital of Culture to reappraise less glorious aspects of history, reports Caroline Schluge in the Standard: "Large-scale shows, demonstrations and participatory projects are also intended to help with an intensive historical reappraisal elsewhere. The Kammerhofmuseum in Aussee, for example, is dealing with the history of Wolfgang Gurlitt, whose art collection is largely rooted in the Nazi era, and in Lauffen contemporary works on the subject of looted art will be on display."

Maurizio Cattelan may continue to stick bananas on walls. The idea of affixing fruit somewhere by means of adhesive tape and making an art claim is not eligible for protection according to a court ruling in the USA, Berlin lawyer Ines Duhanic explains in the FAZ of 30 September: "The judgement of 9 June, concerning a lawsuit brought by Californian artist Joe Morford against the Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan, is of fundamental importance, even though there is no internationally harmonised copyright law. a look across the atlantic into german copyright law shows great commonalities between two otherwise different legal traditions: Any artist who uses art forms that concentrate more on the idea than on the technical realisation, who rather celebrate gestures of reduction and a critique of the art business and institutions, encounters a loophole in copyright law. in Germany, too, Morford would probably have failed with his lawsuit. On the background to the legal dispute: While Morford had already created his artwork 'Banana & orange'i n 2001, which consisted of two green panels with an orange and a plastic banana attached to them with silver tape, Cattelan went about his work in a very similar way in 2019 - and achieved a far greater media presence."

The story of Isa Genzken's "Weltempfänger" doesn't get any prettier with each sequel. Now her legal custodian has also intervened and is demanding a reversal, Olga Kronsteiner researched for the Standard: "Regarding the origin of the sculpture, Jörg F. told the programme that Genzken had spent a few days with him when she wasn't feeling well. He was then given this object as a thank-you. It remained unclear when this happened. [...] There are therefore considerable legal doubts about the effectiveness of this gift, as Genzken's adult representative confirmed on request. Until the broadcast of the programme, this donation was not known, nor was it known that Jörg F. had worked as a carer for the artist and how he came into contact with her. At present, efforts are being made to clarify the facts, and a lawyer has now been commissioned to represent Isa Genzken's interests." Whether the unfortunate story, which really only knows losers, has to be continued until the last person really knows about the artist's situation, is something all those involved will have to work out for themselves. In the meantime, the story has made it as far as the USA to Alex Greenberger of Artnews.

After seven years, Andrew Goldstein is no longer editor-in-chief of Artnet News, reports Artforum: "Though his plans after that remain nebulous, he acknowledged that he hoped to do some writing and to explore new projects."

Nicole Scheyerer wrote a moving obituary for the Viennese gallery owner Gabriele Senn for the FAZ: "Her gallery was Senn's home. There she had almost endless conversations with artists and blossomed while hanging exhibitions. No wonder, since the 1960-born Innsbruck native started her career as an artist herself. In the eighties, she studied at the Vienna University of Applied Arts in the master class for painting. [...] At the turn of the millennium, Senn finally opened her solo gallery near Vienna's Naschmarkt. With her programme and commitment, she contributed significantly to making Schleifmühlgasse an art hotspot. Only together can you achieve something, was her conviction."

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