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Kobel's Art Weekly

Carmine Palladino Palladino, Russian Pocket; free via
Carmine Palladino Palladino, Russian Pocket; free via
Stefan Kobel

Stefan Kobel

Kobel's Art Weekly 33 2022

Paris+ par Art Basel does not do things by halves when it comes to the successor to Fiac, reports Olga Grimm-Weissert in the Handelsblatt: "Paris Plus will not only take place in the Grand Palais Ephémère from October 20 to 23, but will also take over all the additional venues of Fiac for further sales offers: With large sculptures in the Tuileries Park near the Louvre, on the Place Vendôme, where an artist or his gallery is always in focus, as well as in the small Musée Delacroix, which the Louvre co-manages."

The small fair Art & Antique, which Christiane Meixner presents in Kunst und Auktionen, stubbornly persists in Salzburg during the festival: "Thus, the offer of the two gallery dependencies of Kovacek alone fans out the range of that fair, which is traditionally held as a 'Summer Edition' during the Salzburg Festival. Despite Corona, Art & Antique was able to start here again last year. The demand was enormous, also from the ranks of the participants, which doubled to almost two dozen in 2021."

Hauser & Wirth is said to have bought London's Groucho Club, including its art collection, from an investment company for nearly 40 million pounds, reports Oliver Barnes in the Financial Times.

Andy Warhol's heirs are planning to sell his early work, Shirley McMarlin of the Pennsylvania Tribune-Review has learned.

Ursula Scheer describes the struggle between idealists and speculators over the interpretation of NFTs in the FAZ of August 13: "[...] as if the tokens, which cannot be copied, were the messianic promise for the digital age that had come true, as if they brought ad hoc salvation in the form of a grassroots, decentralized art trade without intermediaries with digital originals, the minting of which transforms virtual nothing into crypto gold. Others downright demonized NFTs as a climatic sin dependent on monster computing power, in which art, stripped of its being art, is degraded to an object of speculation by mostly male nerds and pays homage to greed-driven commerce. Instead of heaven or hell, it was rather the Wild West that opened up: As if in a gold rush, creatives of all stripes and degrees of fame tried their luck on the NFT market, as did galleries, auction houses, museums, sports leagues or crowdfunding initiatives, followed by collectors, donors, investors - and scammers."

For the Handelsblatt, I tapped the various art market reports for the topics of NFT and fractional ownership, among others.

The now lesser-known interwar artist Christian Bérard is introduced by Alexandra Wach at Monopol: "It is hardly surprising that in the midst of all the zeitgeisty spectacle actionism, his art fell somewhat by the wayside. Not a few of his contemporaries regretted the development and spoke of 'prostitution'. That Bérard almost died on stage, during the installation of one of his backdrops, could be considered his ultimate last role. But that Andy Warhol moved to New York in the year of his death and began working as an illustrator for the fashion press, including 'Harper's Bazaar' and 'Vogue,' borders on a community of fate. For both of them, painting didn't play a central role, they worked in areas of art that were considered commercial, loved portraiture, parties and a gay-friendly environment." This sounds quite like an imminent rediscovery by the market. Indeed, a look at the archives of Christie's, Sotheby's and Drouot (free registration) shows prices picking up just in the last year.

The restoration craft could very well point the way to the future, the director of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum Daniel Hess is convinced in an interview with Fiona Loeffelholz von Colberg for WELTKUNST: "I very much hope that we at the museum can contribute to raising awareness of the craft, its tradition and thus also its value to society. In recent decades, crafts have been somewhat neglected because the focus has only been on the academic professions. [...] There are already very good examples of responsible building and production with sustainable, regional materials. I believe that the more we are confronted with global mass production, the more clearly a counter-movement will form over time. The growing scarcity of resources and the growing awareness of sustainability will fuel this process." Old furniture also has the advantage of accumulating patina, while contemporary production from the furniture store just gets old and eventually goes to the bulky waste.

A Brazilian woman is said to have robbed her 82-year-old mother of works of art worth over 140 million US dollars, Alex Greenberger tells Artnews. A German summary of the robbery story is available at dpa: "According to the investigation, fraudsters convinced the victim, the 82-year-old widow of an art collector and dealer, in January 2020, to pay exorbitant sums for a spiritual treatment of her daughter. The daughter had initiated the fraud herself and isolated the mother from her environment. One member of the gang had posed as a psychic. When the mother became suspicious and stopped the payments, she was threatened."

The ludicrous story of an antiquities trafficker working as an informant for U.S. law enforcement is told by Julia Jacobs and Tom Mashberg in the New York Times: "His diagram of how international smuggling networks operated was used as a teaching tool, one federal agent said in the papers, an outline that helped the Department of Homeland Security in its pursuit of traffickers. But now there is a warrant out for the arrest of Mr. Lotfi, who is charged with criminal possession of stolen property and who investigators say was himself involved, for decades, in trafficking stolen antiquities. In what is characterized in court papers as an act of hubris, Mr. Lotfi, 81, is said to have invited the authorities to inspect antiquities that he was holding in a Jersey City, N.J., storage unit, which they did in 2021. According to the affidavit that accompanied the arrest warrant, dated Aug. 3, he was so confident in his ability to convince law enforcement that the objects were legitimately purchased that he invited the agents in, hoping their involvement would provide the stamp of approval he needed to successfully sell or donate the items."

The revival of the famous Monuments Men is described by Matt Stevens in the New York Times: "Once they are in the field, the officers will not be directly hunting down missing works of art, but will instead serve as a set of scholarly liaisons for military commanders and the local authorities. They may advise against an airstrike on a certain site, for instance, or suggest an attempt to forestall looting in an area where ground fighting has begun. The capability that these new Monument Men and Women are bringing is a better understanding of the environment so commanders can apply resources in the right directions,' said Col. Scott DeJesse, an Army Reserve officer who is one of the leaders of the effort. [...] The specialists are to be part of the Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command, which has its headquarters at Fort Bragg, N.C. As reservists, they will not be deployed full time, but will be attached to military units as needed. That could entail working in war zones where team members could come under fire."

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