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Kobel's Art Weekly

Paris+; Photo Stefan Kobel
Paris+; Photo Stefan Kobel
Stefan Kobel

Stefan Kobel

Kobel's Art Weekly 43 2022

The eagerly awaited Art Basel subsidiary Paris+ had its successful premiere last week, which was received positively by the international press, with some critical overtones. Scott Reyburn sums it up in the New York Times: "For all its less-corporate, French charm, FIAC had a reputation with some international dealers as a less commercially successful fair than its London rival Frieze. At last year's FIAC, the New York dealer David Zwirner told The Times that, though he thought Paris was 'such a great city for a fair,' FIAC had 'tended to underperform' for his gallery. Enter Art Basel's global 42-member team that manages V.I.P. relations. It put together a program of exclusive receptions, talks and visits to studios and museums that was more extensive than anything FIAC had ever offered and that drew in a much stronger guest list."

Belgian collector Alain Servais has a comparison with Frieze and already had his say here last week, this time Naomi Rea quotes him at Artnet: "Lots of people were crammed into the fair, but unlike at Frieze London a week prior, the consensus was that the calibre of attendees remained high. 'If I had to sum it up in one formula, I would say in London it was socialites, younger people spending more time in the aisles than in the booth,' Belgian collector Alain Servais told Artnet News. 'Here I would say we have the left-wing Parisian intelligentsia, who maybe have less deep pockets, but who know a lot about art, which means the booths are extremely busy and the aisles less so.'"

Bettina Wohlfarth is quite enthusiastic in the FAZ: "How the opening day goes, to which only a select audience of collectors, curators and experts is invited, is considered a sensitive barometer at major art fairs. That the first edition of Paris+ can be called a success was already apparent in the afternoon. There were some stands where 'sold out' was announced with a smile."

Sales are not everything, finds Olga Grimm-Weissert in the Handelsblatt: "The list of communicated sales is endless and would be euphoric if one did not also have to state how commercially oriented some stands are. In order to offer a cross-section of the gallery programme, one sees only one work by each artist. All too often, the critical eye of the gallery owner is missing. With 156 galleries admitted, supposedly chosen from more than 700 candidates, the selection committee could have privileged more coherent concepts."

Despite the commercial success, Susanne Schreiber and Stephanie Dieckvoss, also in the Handelsblatt, perceive a certain hautgout: "The fact that Chris Dercon, who opened the gateway for the Swiss at the Réunion des Musées Nationaux, is already moving on again to a private collection in Paris seems strange. It's more in keeping with a plot from a Netflix series about art and its allies. Why Dercon wanted to flatten the Fiac remains a mystery. But the MCH's calculation is working. The new Paris+ fair is buzzing. Yesterday, Wednesday, collectors crowded tightly into the far too narrow aisles of the domed tent in the Grand Palais Ephémère. Paris+ now looks like Art Basel. The individual and charming French flair is replaced by an internationally proven brand, made in Switzerland. Collectors all over the world trust it. But the consequence is that the exhibition stands look the same everywhere. What is offered is what is expensive.

Elke Buhr from Monopol misses the connection to the world outside the Grand Palais: "Rarely has the art market been so far removed from current art events in the institutions and biennials. That the artists of Documenta Fifteen would find their way to the fair was not to be expected and would also have been absurd. But that the developments of the Venice Biennale would also find so little resonance was surprising - only works by Malgorzata Mirga-Tas caught the eye at the stand of the Foksal Gallery Foundation. Activist art, political art, the whole debate about the impossibility of going on like this - none of it is an issue. In business terms, the Paris+ par Art Basel functions like clockwork. But it is precisely this that seems strangely out of time."

The Paris Internationale was founded in 2015 by young galleries as a hip satellite fair to the Fiac, which was perceived to be a bit corny. Singing its praises in Devorah Lauter's report at Artnet is the director of a local competitor:
"The bustling preview day of the fair was a promising sign for its longevity in the face of transformations in the Paris scene. Guillaume Piens, director of Art Paris, who was spotted roaming the aisle, was positive about the new Paris fair scene. Paris+ is very good for Paris Internationale,' he said. I saw the Basel crowd wandering the Paris Internationale fair alleys, and there were very good sales, so it's great.' Indeed, the emerging art fair is listed on the VIP programme for Paris+."

Maximilíano Duron must have visited the satellite fair Asia Now in a parallel universe for Artnews: "In addition to well-presented booths, the fair has a program that includes numerous talks and performances, as well as various site-specific commissions. But most importantly, it is showing truly cutting-edge work from artists active across Asia. (The fair uses the definition of the continent provided by the Asia Society in New York, which accounts not just for East Asia but also for the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia). Be prepared to learn about artists who have yet to come across your radar; it makes for a wonderful experience."
Indeed, there are some real positions at the fair. The only thing that is shocking is the absolute lack of criteria for admission. Especially at an event with a special focus, a certain selection should be expected. The same applies to Also Known As Africa AKAA, by the way.

I have looked at (almost) all the fairs in Paris for Artmagazine and Weltkunst .

At the same time as the major French event, the Highlights took place in Munich, which Brita Sachs visited for the FAZ: "Thanks to a clever concept, the Munich art fair Highlights has been able to safely circumnavigate the Corona cliffs of the past few years, and is now optimistically approaching its 13th edition despite global crises. As the fair's director, Juana Schwan looks on the bright side: "It's often more productive to steer a smaller ship than a supertanker," she says. Around 50 exhibitors will present a range of products spanning the ages in the marquee hall in the imperial courtyard of the Residenz and in the vestibule." Susanne Schreiber made an additional detour to Kunst & Antiquitäten for the Handelsblatt: "Anyone who wants to know what the market has to offer, especially in the price range between 800 and 200,000 euros, should not miss the 101st 'Kunst & Antiquitäten' in the West Wing of the Haus der Kunst. Rather functional in its presentation, it has the charm of being able to find something original for every budget. Those who buy art and antiques escape the uniformity of mass-produced goods. Although the number of exhibitors has dropped to 41, this is the only place to find dealers for the collecting field of Alpine folk art. Amazing surprises are possible there."

According to Anne Reimers in the FAZ of 22 October, bidders from the Far East dominated the London auctions: "The London auctions of contemporary art went well because collectors from Asia continue to hunt for up-and-coming stars - whose works are experiencing rapid ups and downs in price. A year ago, Issy Wood, Jadé Fadojutimi and Flora Yukhnovich were particularly in demand. Now, prices for Scottish painter Caroline Walker have been driven up sharply." Stephanie Dieckvoss sets the focus somewhat differently in the Handelsblatt: "But good prices were also achieved in the high-priced segment of top works if the works brought excellent provenance and market freshness. Then not only trophies went well, like David Hockney or Francis Bacon, but also more difficult but art-historically significant works, like an early photographic work by Cindy Sherman or a bulky sculpture by Isa Genzken - both at Sotheby's. This market was mainly supported by bidders from Europe and the United States. Asians were bidding, but were less active. Christie's reports that 62 per cent of the works sold to Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). 15 per cent went to the Americas and 23 per cent to Asia Pacific."

The annual Capital-Kunstkompass (as always, Gerhard Richter ranks first among the living, Joseph Beuys in the Olympus) by Linde Rohr-Bongard is accompanied this year by two editions by Jim Avignon, "the proceeds of which go to aid projects in Ukraine. The result is two melancholy, accurate silkscreens: 'Shelter' and 'Blue Monday' in the format 55 x 45 cm and a respective edition of 100 pieces at a price of 120 euros (both motifs together: 200 euros), plus 20 euros shipping."

Monopol dedicates an obituary to the US art critic Peter Schjeldahl, who died last week: "In 2019 he was diagnosed with lung cancer with a poor prognosis. He then wrote the essay 'The Art of Dying', in which he also addressed his relationship to the written word: 'When I write, I want to connect.'"

semi-automatically translated


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