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Kobel's Art Weekly

Aleksander Korol, Ukraine, free via
Aleksander Korol, Ukraine, free via
Stefan Kobel

Stefan Kobel

Kobel's Art Weekly 7 2023

How Ukrainian artists deal with the war in their homeland is shown in the ARD documentary "Zwischen Exil und Front" (Between Exile and the Front), which is not yet (?) available in the media library, but will be shown again today on NDR.

Sarah Cascone has compiled initiatives from the art world for the victims of the earthquake catastrophe in Syria and Turkey at Artnet.

A benefit sale in aid of the earthquake victims with artworks for a donation of 50 euros each is being organised by the Hamburg artist Nina Kuttler together with others via her Instagram account.

With the abundance of art fairs currently taking place, Artnews seems to have completely abandoned analytical reporting and now only presents social media-suitable "best fbooths" lists, from Mexico City from the Zona-Maco, the Material Art Fair and the Salón Acme. William Van Meter at Artnet does not have much more to offer.

From Marrakech, Sarah Belmont of Artnews reports on the supposedly five best stands at the 1-54. At Artnet, they also want money (paywall) for a similarly groundbreaking report by Naomi Rhea.

Kabir Jhala, writing for The Art Newspaper, tries to find something positive in the absence of Western galleries from the India Art Fair: "This gives even more space to the dozens of Indian and South Asian-focused galleries that have always dominated the fair's aisles".

The private equity firm Epiris is said to have put Bonhams, the auction house it acquired five years ago, up for sale for a billion dollars, reports Eileen Kinsella at Artnet.

Anders Petterson of ArtTactic asks whether the boom in young artists is already over: "Over the last three years, we have seen a significant jump in demand for artworks by younger artists. Auction sales in 2021, generated a record $396 million, up from $131 million during the 2020 pandemic and $195 million in 2019. However, auction sales of NextGen artists declined by 23% last year, and many are questioning whether this is the end of the market's fascination with young artists. To try answer this question, I have outlined five trends that I think are relevant to what might be in store for 2023."

Some Austrian museums have a credibility problem due to their less than transparent cooperation with market players. Andreas Dusini doesn't leave a good mark on the Albertina in the Falter: "A PR office invited German journalists to Vienna. Rooms have been reserved for them at the Hotel Sacher', the letter says. Austrian media also reported surprisingly favourably on an exhibition that put the museum's respectability to a severe test." At the Kunsthalle Krems, the exhibition of African portraits from the Amir Shariats collection is causing controversy. In the FAZ of 11 February, Nicole Scheyerer takes a closer look at the situation: "Shariat fears that the works, which have now been institutionally upgraded with public funds, could soon be sold again, [Kunsthallen director Florian] Steininger does not fear. But how Shariat's many roles as collector, advisor, artist's agent and dealer come together has certainly been the subject of discussion in the Austrian media. Yesterday a gala, today a charity auction, tomorrow a preview of a fair: As his Instagram account shows Shariat is one of the VIPs of the art world. Viennese gallery owners praise him for bringing international momentum. This brings up the term 'Marchand amateur', which refers to an intermediary without his own spaces, but with good contacts and knowledge accumulated over the years."

The importance of history and art lessons at school is currently being demonstrated ex negativo by the chemical company BASF, which wants to get rid of its renowned paint museum in Münster with its 2,000 objects, as Sabine Spindler learned for the Handelsblatt: "Now BASF has put its former showcase project on the sidelines. And the global corporation hopes that others will pull the chestnuts of its shrunken interest out of the fire. 'It is not about saving money.' As if in mockery, BASF Coating Managing Director Mathias Schöttke explains another reason: 'BASF wants to focus its social commitment exclusively on educational issues.'"

Austria receives financial compensation for the mistaken restitution of a Klimt painting, reports dpa: "The heirs of the art collector who received the work 'Apfelbaum II' by Gustav Klimt in 2001 and sold it afterwards will now pay the Austrian state $11.3 million (10.6 million euros), the culture ministry reported on Friday. The money is to be used for the new location of the House of History."

Ronald Lauder has reached an agreement with the heirs of the owner of other paintings by Gustav Klimt, who was murdered by the Nazis, according to Colin Moynihan in the New York Times.

The formats used on television to find the next top thing are joined by "The Exhibit", which selects an artist. Wallace Ludel introduces the MTV show, whose judges include author Sarah Thornton and self-promoter Kenny Schachter, in The Art Newspaper: "Reality shows set in the art world have not historically been successes: there was the short-lived 2010 Bravo show Work of Art: The Next Great Artist - a competition show with what sounds like an effectively identical premise to The Exhibit, which ran for two seasons and featured judges Jerry Saltz and Simon de Pury, among others, and in which the winner won $100,000 and a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum." This time everything is quite different: the winner receives $100,000 and a solo show at the Hirshhorn Museum.

The German art magazine Art is to be sold as part of Gruner+Jahr's shrinkage programme, reports Monopol. This might not be easy, however, after the publishing house's management cashed in on the magazine's digital strategy a few years ago and ran it as a print-only product.

The career of its former chairman Heinz Holtmann, who died last week, is traced by the BVDG in an obituary: "Even at a young age, art historian Heinz Holtmann first came into contact with the contemporary art scene as head of the Braunschweig Kunstverein and as founding director of the Goslar Mönchehaus Museum. In 1979 he opened his first own gallery in Hanover. Only one year later, he moved to the vibrant gallery centre of Cologne. There, his first exhibition - with Joseph Beuys - attracted a lot of attention, making him known far beyond the cathedral city as a busy gallerist and artist friend." Maximilian Nalbach pays tribute to him at "It is thanks to his commitment that the archive repeatedly found financial supporters and in Cologne a permanent home at the university. 'He has left his mark on the Cologne gallery scene like hardly anyone else,' it was said when he was honoured with the NRW State Order of Merit in 2021."

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