Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hong Kong Prison to Be Rehabilitated as Lavish $231 Million Art Complex, With a Hand From Herzog & de Meuron

The Central Police Station, Central Magistracy and Victoria Prison compound will be transformed into an art museum.

HONG KONG— In bustling Hong Kong, a nexus of wealth and power is making waves, with a much expanded Hong Kong Art Fair that drew 63,000 visitors last month, dramatic auction results tallying $962 million during Christie's and Sotheby's spring season, and Western gallery incursions from Gagosian and Ben Brown. The city, however, still lacks a world-class contemporary art center. But that will change in dramatic fashion as ambitious plans for the British colonial era Central Police Station, Central Magistracy and Victoria Prison compound, located on Hollywood Road in the heart of the city and in disuse since 2006, will be transformed into a multi-venue contemporary art museum, performing arts center, and cinema.
Instead of demolition to make room for another batch of glass-skinned high-rises, this site will be largely preserved and interfaced with a brand new Kunsthalle, a Herzog & de Meuron-styled contemporary museum that will be about the size of London's Hayward Gallery. In almost fairytale fashion, the richly conservative Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust is initially bankrolling the Central Police Station Project (CPS) with a HK$1.8 billion ($231 million) commitment, along with the official blessings of the local government to launch the not-for-profit enterprise. According to the sponsors, CPS Project will establish "a centre for heritage, arts and leisure at this prime Central location [and] compliments the overall development of arts and culture in the city and adds an attraction with distinct Hong Kong character."

"Our planned mixture of commercial and cultural usage," said Hong Kong Jockey Club chairman John Chan, "will ensure the vibrancy of the entire area."

The buildings were declared monuments by the government in 1995 due to their historical significance and remain as the sole surviving architectural remnants from that bygone time of Colonial rule. The complex's 16 mixed-use structures come from the mid-19th to early 20th century, with some of them sporting wooden louvers and balconies. The site is just steps away from the bustling, eastern end of Hollywood Road, where Asian antique shops proliferate with a more recent sampling of contemporary art galleries moving in, some local and some not (including Chelsea's Sundaram Tagore, which is currently exhibiting Sebastiao Salgado's gritty photographs of poverty and labor).

The CPS initiative is a key part of the local government's "Conserving Central" initiative, "Central" being the name of the neighborhood where CPS, long cloistered from public view, is located. On a sunny and hot morning in late May, the official importance of the new initiative was underscored by a tour of the razor-wire festooned and ultra-secure derelict site led by David Elliott, the storied museum director and itinerant curator, who is serving the Trust in an advisory capacity. Elliott, who was the artistic director of the 17th Biennale of Sydney in 2010, expects the first phase of the project, the opening of the museum with "high-value exhibitions," by the summer of 2014.

"It's early days," said Elliott, casually clad in a cowboy shirt and blue jeans, standing in the middle of the parade ground of the police station, a kind of surreal oasis surrounded by gleaming high-rises, "but these historic buildings are all being restored."

Elliott estimates that 27 percent or so of the mixed-use site will be devoted to commerce, mostly art galleries and already existing non-profits working in Hong Kong. Those rent-paying ventures will help make the non-profit CPS independent. "We'll have to raise a lot of money to make that happen," predicted Elliott, who was the founding director of the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo and also served stints at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm.

The plans also include an archaeological investigation of the Central Police Station and will be carried out before some of the less important structures are razed to make room for Herzog & de Meuron's cube-styled museum. It was evident during the tour that many of the original furnishings of the jail complex had already been removed, though the bare bunks were still standing in gloomy formation in the cell block, complete with peeling yellow paint and cautionary signs still warning inmates to roll up their bedding before exercising in the delightfully tree-shaded prison yard. In one of the stripped rooms, a lone painting of sail-masted junk boats skimming along Victoria Harbor at sunset hung in eerie isolation, as if part of a secret Mike Nelson installation.

Elliott has great expectations of the emerging art complex, noting, "good art doesn't all have to come out of London and New York."

The CPS Project is scheduled to go live before the much bigger M+ Museum, sited on 95 acres of reclaimed land for the West Kowloon Cultural District on the riverfront. Lars Nittve, the founding director of London's Tate Modern (and, like Elliott, a former director of the Moderna Museet), has been recruited as executive director of this major new enterprise. During a boat tour of the famous harbor, Nittve told the assembled mix of art critics and dealers who flooded the city last month for the fourth edition of the ART HK, "the money [for the M+ Museum] is already in the bank to build the project and realize it. We don't have to fund-raise." Indeed, the local government has infused the project with an outright grant of HK$22 billion ($2.8 billion). The first phase, a 43,000-square-foot museum building on the scale of the current Tate Modern, is expected to open in 2016-17.

The two visual art ventures have the potential of transforming Hong Kong into something more than the 21st century mecca for the consumption and acquisition of luxury goods that it is now. What better way to start that than rehabilitating a cell block?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Adventures with Warhol, 1986 self-portrait edition

If you want a great example of how the entire business of the art world is built on opacity and information asymmetry, the Christie’s auction of a big Andy Warhol self-portrait next week is a good place to start.

But first let’s go back to this time last year, when Sotheby’s was auctioning off a similar self-portrait: same size, different color, different wig. This information is high up on the official Sotheby’s page for the painting:

According to our research, there are only four other self-portraits from this series in this size. They are located in the following collections:

Self Portrait (Green), Fort Worth Art Museum
Self Portrait (Yellow), Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh
Self Portrait (Blue), Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh
Self Portrait (Red), Private Collection

Scroll all the way down to the bottom, however, and you find a loophole: “It is believed that only five of the 108 in. square format self-portraits depicting this exact image exist”.

My emphasis added — and it’s important, because the Christie’s red self-portrait is not the red self-portrait listed by Sotheby’s. Instead, it’s one of two slightly different self-portraits in the same size; the other, a green one, is in the Guggenheim.

Now see how Christie’s explains where the other paintings are. The release quotes Amy Cappellazzo, Christie’s co-head of post-war and contemporary art, as saying that “with all other examples in museums, it will be the last chance that buyers will have to bid on a work that shifted art history”. It then goes on to explain:

Warhol painted only seven large scale self-portraits in 1986. All the other versions are in museums or in foundations open to the public. A purple Self-Portrait was acquired in 2010 for $32.5 million for a private museum; other examples belong to Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Fort Worth Art Museum and the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

It’s very easy to simply assume, when Cappellazzo says that all the other paintings are in museums, that she means just that. But really it isn’t true. Of the seven big paintings, only four are in museums: one in the Guggenheim, one in Fort Worth, and two in Pittsburgh. There’s also the one that Christie’s is selling — and then there are two more: the purple one which Sotheby’s sold last year, and the red one which Sotheby’s said was in a private collection.

(And when Cappellazzo says that Warhol painted only seven large scale self-portraits in 1986, that’s not really true either: the Tate, for instance, has a huge 1986 self-portrait on show right now, which looks almost identical to the Christie’s one. It’s just not quite as huge: it’s 80 inches square, rather than 106 inches.)

So what does Christie’s mean when it says all the other paintings are in museums (or, later on, “in museums or in foundations open to the public”)? If they’re public, it should be easy enough to find out where they are, right?

Wrong. Ask Christie’s and they’ll suddenly go very quiet when you ask them for the location of the purple self-portrait and the other red one. (Although they will say that the other red one isn’t really red, it’s “coral”.) They obviously know where those paintings are, or think they know, but they’re not telling.

And so we enter the murky world of art-world rumor, which has it that the red one is owned by Peter Brant and the purple one by Bernard Arnault. Brant does have a foundation which is kindasorta open to the public — it’s by appointment only and you make appointments by email. I tried emailing them to ask if they have the red Warhol; they never replied. But I’m pretty sure that the foundation has never shown the Warhol and there’s certainly no public indication that the foundation even owns it.

As for Arnault, his Gehry-designed museum doesn’t even exist yet, and again, there’s zero public acknowledgment that he was the buyer of the purple Warhol last year.

When I asked art collector Adam Lindemann about all this, he replied succinctly that “they always say it’s the last one until someone else needs or wants to sell”. The fact is that auction houses are essentially art dealers and art dealers make their money by putting the best possible spin on the art that they’re selling and by knowing the secrets of who owns what. In this case, while Sotheby’s just said that the red self-portrait was in a “private collection”, Christie’s has upgraded it to being in a museum, or something tantamount to a museum. Which if you ask me is a bit of a stretch.

One of the weird things about conspicuous consumption in the art world is that for all that it’s conspicuous it isn’t public — outside the big public museums everybody tends to be very secretive indeed about what they own and what they don’t. That allows collectors to sell art quietly without admitting that they did so. And it also allows dealers and auction houses to make claims about where paintings are which are very difficult indeed to fact-check. Even when those claims are about “foundations open to the public”.
- Felix Salmon May 2011

Christie’s Blurs The Line Between Public and Private Collections

Felix Salmon has a good post about the Warhol auction racket, if you can parse the Warhols. According to Salmon, seven same-sized large self-portraits exist, each painted in 1986. Christie’s claims ”[a]ll the other versions are in museums or in foundations open to the public”, but only four are easily traced to such institutions: one in the Guggenheim, one in Fort Worth, and two in Pittsburgh. Remaining is the one Christie’s will auction May 11, and one sold at Sotheby’s last year, and another, which was described by Sotheby’s last year as part of a private collection.

So where are the two Warhols in question? Christie’s doesn’t want to say, but according to art world gossip recounted by Salmon, collector Peter Brant has the red one, and Bernard Arnault the purple. Both have semi-public foundations — or at least, in the case of Arnault, plans to create one — and that’s good enough for Christie’s.

Now, obviously using the words “public collection” to describe private collections with sharing intentions isn’t particularly accurate, and it’s good that Salmon called it out because ultimately it means the piece isn’t as rare as Christie’s claims. Collector Charles Saatchi does better than either Brandt and Arnault in respect to making his collection public — The Saatchi Gallery maintains regular hours — but that’s still no guarantee that he won’t sell the work. In fact, he has a bad reputation for unloading recently acquired art.

All this goes to say that even when private collections are made public, that doesn’t mean that a collector will love those works enough to never sell them. This makes a difference, because for a buyer, there’s a pretty big distinction between purchasing a work that will likely be the only one of its kind on the market, and owning a work of which two others are floating around. Surely this is exactly the kind of distortion that could inflate the painting’s sale price.

by Paddy Johnson on May 6, 2011

Thiebaud Gets His Slice, Chamberlain Sets Record Sotheby’s Stone Sale

A raw, twisted steel 1958 John Chamberlain sculpture, Nutcracker, sold for $4.8 million last night at Sotheby's in New York. The price achieved an auction record for the artist, selling to a Gagosian Gallery representative who paid more than double the presale $1.8 million high estimate. Gagosian recently signed on the 84-year-old artist, following a two-decade partnership with Pace Gallery.

Nutcracker was the most coveted artwork on offer in a single-owner sale from the estate of Upper East Side dealer Allan Stone, who died in 2006 at the age of 74. The sale included 42 lots totaling $54.8 million, topping the $46.8 million high estimate. The lure of estate material and low estimates resulted in a healthy 93 percent of lots finding buyers.

While results were steady, the mixed quality of works on offer was more suited to a day sale than an evening sale. Nevertheless, Sotheby's gave the Stone estate the royal auction treatment, having snatched the business away from Christie's, where a first round of works were sold in 2007.

Stone was a compulsive buyer who filled his suburban home with whatever caught his eye. His daughter, Olympia Stone, directed and produced a 2006 documentary about her father, The Collector: Allan Stone's Life in Art. Two skyboxes filled with Stone family members and friends watched the proceedings, snapping photos and sipping champagne.

This sale launched a weeklong series of contemporary art auctions at Sotheby's, Christie's and Phillips de Pury, stocked with big-money paintings by Warhol and Rothko.

Last night's sale included a group of 18 works by painter Wayne Thiebaud. Sotheby's strategy, offering a large pool of work by a single artist, can risk flooding the market. In this case the gambit paid off. Seventeen sold, totaling $27.5 million, above the $18.3 million high estimate.

"The work that was really great sold very well," San Francisco dealer Gretchen Berggruen told A.i.A. "[Thiebaud has] a much broader following than people think because he's always been labeled a California artist." Berggruen purchased Various Cakes for $3 million, above the $1.8 million high estimate.

Stone originally met Thiebaud in 1961, a year after he founded his gallery. They continued to work together until Stone's death. Thiebaud's 1961 still-life painting of rows of symmetrical Pies, thickly painted on a cream background and in step with a then-emerging Pop style, sold for $4 million, above the $3.5 million high estimate.

International phone bidding from Europe, Israel and Asia helped propel Thiebaud's prices. An 11-inch-tall 1962 work, Four Pinball Machines (Study), soared over a $900,000 high estimate, selling for $3.4 million.

The sale also featured Abstract Expressionist artists, including nine pieces by Willem de Kooning, who is the subject of a major survey at MoMA this autumn. "The quality of the De Koonings weren't very good, and they didn't generate much enthusiasm," noted dealer David Nash, of Mitchell Innes & Nash, after the sale. The most significant de Kooning, a 1947 greenish-yellow and raspberry painting on board titled Event in Barn, missed a $5 million to $7 million estimate, selling for $4.8 million.

The most hotly pursued de Kooning was the pink and flesh-toned painting on newsprint, Woman in a Landscape (1965–66). Estimated to sell for $700,000 to $900,000, more than four bidders pushed the price up to $1.1 million. It eventually sold to an unnamed phone bidder.

"The sale was a good warm-up for the week, but many of the key players didn't show up," observed dealer Edward Tyler Nahem. "Tuesday night will be packed."

TOP: Wayne Thiebaud, Pies, 1961. Oil on Canvas, Est. $2,500,000–$3,500,000. Sold: $4,000,000
ABOVE: Willem de Kooning, Event in a Barn, 1947. Oil, enamel and paper collage on board. $5,000,000–$7,000,000. Sold: $4,800,000.

by Lindsay Pollock 05/10/11

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Maclean’s charts the growth of online art selling in Canada giving credit for the emerging trend to Jen Bekman and her success with 20×200.com:

Vancouver artist Indigo quit her secretarial job last year, and has been able to support herself thanks in part to income generated on Cargoh.com, a Canadian-based website for buying and selling art. Robyn McCallum’s work was spotted onEyebuyart.com, prompting her inclusion in an exhibition at Toronto’s Drake Hotel. And Montreal photographer Robert Cadloff makes more than 200 sales a month on Etsy.com, earning “just a little less” than he did in engineering. “Ten years ago, this kind of career change and all the sales wouldn’t have been possible,” says Cadloff. “You needed to schlep your portfolio around to galleries and beg people to exhibit your work. I wasn’t born with that pushy gene.”

Luckily for Cadloff, and a growing number of artists—both emerging and well-known photographers and painters looking to further raise their profile and tap a new market of less-affluent collectors—selling art online is gaining momentum. New Yorker Jen Bekman is credited with starting the trend in 2007 when she launched 20×200.com—her site features limited-edition prints and photographs starting at $20. Others have instituted a similar curatorial policy. Claire Sykes, co-founder of Toronto-based Circuitgallery.com, says she “keeps the quality high” by featuring prints of established Canadian contemporary artists, including Robert Bean and Andrew Wright. “Earlier sites were more like clearing houses,” she says, “and artists were worried, quite rightly, about damaging their reputations by being associated with uncurated spaces and cheaply produced prints.”

March 24, 2011 By Marion Maneker - Art Market Monitor

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Armory Arts Week

The Armory Show
Piers 92 and 96, Twelfth Ave., at 55th St.; 
3/2–3/6; Th–S (noon–8 p.m.), Su (noon–7 p.m.); $30, $10 students
This behemoth loves it when you call it big poppa, with its hundreds of exhibitors divided into two sections: Modern (Pier 92) and Contemporary (Pier 94). Besides that there are forums and a film schedule, making it possible to never see daylight.

Fountain New York
Pier 66 and the Frying Pan, Twelfth Ave., at 26th St.; 3/4–3/6; noon–7 p.m.; $10
Named after Duchamp's famous piece, the avant-garde fest features twenty exhibitors, a collaborative mural, and live-action performance art in an offshore setting (so probably best to skip if you get seasick). Funk-infused popster Gordon Voidwell kicks off the festivities at the public reception Friday night.

Volta NY
7W–7 West 34th St., nr. Sixth Ave., 11th fl., 3/3–3/6; Th (3 p.m.–7 p.m.), F–Su (11 a.m.–7 p.m.); $10–$15, $40 Volta and Armory Pass
Midtown gets a creative infusion: This fair's 80 galleries each chose only one artist to represent, which cuts down on the clutter. For an insider's point of view, InContext tours is offering an opportunity to mingle with the artists and discuss works with art critic and fair director Amanda Coulson.

Pulse Art Fair
Metropolitan Pavilion; 125 W. 18th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 3/3–3/6; Th (1 p.m.–8 p.m.), F–Su (noon–5 p.m.); $20, $15 students and seniors
A contemporary art fair with signature large-scale sculpture, held annually in both New York and Miami. Check out Ben Wolf's site-specific Clamber, an eighteen-foot-long ship's hull salvaged from an abandoned vessel in Newark; or Molly Dilworth's "Field Test," site-specific paintings that use X-ray and electron microscopy images of rare earth elements as visual references.

Verge Art Brooklyn
Antidote, 81 Front St., ground fl., Dumbo; 3/3–3/6; Th–S (noon–10 p.m.), Su (noon–6 p.m.); Free
Art in Brooklyn! This fair turns Dumbo into an art city, with over 70 exhibitors sprawling over nine locations. They do it up right with a dance party opening night at Galapagos running from 9:30 p.m. to 3 a.m., with acts including Sister Anne and Violens.

Moving Image
Waterfront New York Tunnel, 269 Eleventh Ave., nr. 27th St.; 3/3–3/6; Th–S (11 a.m.–8 p.m.), Su (11 a.m.–3 p.m); Free
Single-channel videos and video sculptures selected from international commercial galleries and nonprofit institutions, including artists like Leslie Thornton and David Wojnarowicz. A panel exploring the state of moving-image-based work is scheduled for Saturday, and private tours are available for groups.

Scope Art Show
355 West 36th St., third fl., nr. Ninth Ave., 3/2–3/6; W (VIP and first view, 3 p.m.–8 p.m.), Th–S (noon–8 p.m.), Su (noon–7 p.m.); $10–$15, $20, $10 students, $100 First view
Contemporary art will be shown in all its forms, as one of the larger fairs (taking over a 60,000-square-foot hall with a price tag to match) shows over 50 exhibitors, and this year features "Us vs. Us," five days of performance in the fenced mezzanine.

Independent Art Fair
548 West 22nd St., nr. Tenth Ave.; 3/3–3/6; Th (4 p.m.–9p.m.), F (11 a.m.–8 p.m.), S (11 a.m.–8 p.m.), Su (noon–4 p.m.); Free
It's the second year this impressive gallerist collaboration takes over three floors in the former Dia building in Chelsea, exhibiting over 40 international galleries in an open-layout plan, making it less of a fair and more of a conversation.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Who Bought What at Sotheby’s London I/M Sale

Picasso's "Le Peintre et Son Modele dans un Paysage" sold for $3,227,816 at Sotheby's London

The Master, Judd Tully, has the bid spotting from Sotheby’s “no surprises” sale:

■James Roundell bought Picasso’s wartime 1943 still life “Compotier et Verres” for $1.3 million (£802,850) on a £600-800,000 estimate.

■The Nahmad art trading clan, seated at the front of the salesroom, dropped out rather early, and finally Sotheby’s Mark Poltimore, a former president of Sotheby’s Russia and a well-known cultivator of Russian-based clientele, nabbed the picture at the hammer price of £22.5 million, before the buyer’s premium was added.

■Guy Jennings and Simon Theobald of Theobald Jennings Ltd. were also active, nailing Paul Klee‘s peppy late abstraction of 1931 “P Vierzehn (P Fourteen)” for $1.3 million (£25,250) on a £700,000-1 million estimate

■Acquavella Galleries, meanwhile, beat out the Nahmads for Picasso’s late and autobiographical “Le Peintre et Son Modele dans un Paysage” from 1963 for $3.2 million (£2 million) against a £600-800,000 estimate. The painting last sold at auction at Christie’s New York back in May 1981 for $115,000

Scott Reyburn gathers a few tight-lipped comments on the sale:

■“The auction did all right, not great,’’ the London-based dealer Alan Hobart of the Pyms Gallery said in an interview. “The auction houses are struggling to find the goods. Rich collectors are hanging on to their art. Once prices are driven up, the market becomes more discriminating.”

■Giacometti’s 1957 bronze portrait of his younger brother, “Grand buste de Diego avec bras,” estimated at 3.5 million pounds to 5 million pounds, failed to sell because of its pale color, according to dealers.

February 9, 2011 By Marion Maneker

Caring for Photography

In her celebrated essay on photography, writer Susan Sontag observed that, "to collect photographs is to collect the world". This sentiment is no doubt held by the growing number of collectors focusing on photography. Along with choosing photographs for one's collection comes the need to know more about caring for them. Below is some helpful advice:

When Transporting Artworks:
-Make sure that the vehicle is large enough to accommodate the artwork and its packaging.
-Make sure the works are professionally and correctly packaged for shipping.
-Ask the gallery or insurance carrier for advice on shipping to avoid using inexperienced art handlers.

When Framing, Hanging and Storing:
-Make sure your artwork is protected with archival framing.
-Glass vs. Plexiglas? Glass is easier to clean and care for but when it breaks, it can destroy artworks. If the photograph is of high value choose the added safety and protection of Plexiglas.
-Always protect art from heat and direct sunlight. Never hang expensive art over a fireplace.
-Use appropriate picture hangers for artwork, which are available at professional framing stores.
-Avoid storing works in basements. If you must, be sure to keep the artwork at least 3 inches above the floor.

When Dealing with Insurance:
-Keep your insurance company updated with the current values of your artwork. This should be done yearly or when there are significant changes in values.
-Confirm coverage for the work includes shipping and transportation coverage.

When in doubt, seek the advice of an expert. Museums, galleries, and historical societies are your best resources for the proper care and storage of photographs. If you own a photograph that has sustained damage, they can refer you to a paper conservator qualified to treat your photograph.

Article contributed by Colin Quinn, Director of Claims Management and Loss Control Services, AXA Art Insurance Corporation

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

KiptonART Art Talk with Art Enthusiast Ann Lydecker

Ann Lydecker is an active and established member of New York’s vibrant Art Industry. Prior to joining Cirkers and Hayes Fine Art Storage & Logistics as Director of Worldwide Sales, she founded Metropolitan Art Advisors.

As Founder of Metropolitan Art Advisors, Ann Lydecker shares her passion, insight and comprehensive understanding of the art world with clients by providing introductions, connections and direct access to major artists' studios, leading galleries, museums, art fairs, auction houses and private collections globally.

Who are your favorite KiptonART artists? Why?

I am a friend of Stephan Fowlkes, and really believe in his future as an artist. I’ve also discovered several other painters and photographers on KiptonART whose work I’m curious to see in person because it looks good online, such as Joseph Conrad-ferm and Jane Frances Lloyd.
Most importantly, I’m excited to see the upcoming exhibition of 2011 KiptonART Rising Winners which will be featured at Cirkers Fine Art Storage for a brunch during Armory Arts Week March 5th from 9:30am-12noon.

What was the last exhibition you attended?

The MoMA Abstract Expressionism show which I really enjoyed. I also like the recent shows at Sundaram Tagore Gallery on West 27th and my friend Michael Lyons Weirs new gallery on West 24th Street.

How would you describe the d├ęcor in your home?

Hollywood Glam… meets contemporary art. It was designed by New York based interior designer Martin Hughes for MStudiolo in 2009. He was an absolute pleasure to work with and wildly creative & resourceful! He custom designed almost everything throughout the apartment. I selected Martin after seeing his magnificent apartment on West 10th Street. He is a rare and exceptional talent.

What was the first work of art you purchased?

A Wayne Thiebaud of eight lipsticks from the Campbell Thiebaud Gallery in San Francisco. I cherish this work.
Since then I have purchased several Eric Zener paintings, Matisse drawings, Picasso prints, vintage photography of famous Americans, Bert Stern's last sitting photos of Marilyn Monroe, paintings from emerging NY & California based artists. I own some contemporary Chinese Art from a 2006 MoMA trip to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong such as Yue Minjun. And Latin American painters such as Bradley Narduzzi Rex from an international art tour I organized & lead for Microsoft executives in Mexico City. Recently, I’m inspired by Middle Eastern female artists, but I haven’t purchased any yet, as I need a larger apartment. LTMH Gallery on the upper east side is a great resource for some of these artists. I also like some of what Jen Beckman at 20x200 has too!

What artists most inspire or influence you?
The list is so long. I am crazy about artists spanning from Spanish and Dutch Masters to Hudson River Painters to Mark Rothko to Damian Hirst. The work of Kenneth Noland, Caio Fonseca, Banksy, Takashi Murakami, Marilyn Minter, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Vik Muniz, Helen Frankenthaler and Andy Goldsworthy inspire me.
This week we have a magnificent Impressionist painting hanging at Hayes Fine Art Storage and celebrity clients are coming in to view it. It’s more beautiful than many you’d see in museum collections.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Interview with Todd Levin Art Advisory

Courtesy Sperone Westwater, New York
Alighiero e Boetti's "Far Quadrare Tutto," 1979

NEW YORK— It goes without saying that art advisors are intensely busy people during art fairs — especially when, like Todd Levin, they occasionally don a curatorial hat too. We talked to the Levin Art Group dealmaker (and curator of the acclaimed 2009 show "Your Gold Teeth II" at Marianne Boesky Gallery) to find out why he considered the Dakis Joannou show a miss, what was hot at the ADAA, why the art trumps the nightlife, and why Independent is the must-see of all the satellite fairs. Here is what he had to say.

• With so much going on this week, the three most significant things for me are the ADAA opening, the Armory opening, and Independent's opening. Everything else is negligible. Independent is singularly interesting, specifically for the person who conceptualized it, Darren Flook, along with his wife, Christabel Stewart. The invited participants will represent an interesting and lively cross-section of what's happening in the young and mid-level galleries now.

• The two most interesting and elegant booths at the ADAA were Sperone Westwater's all-Boetti booth and Marianne Boesky's featuring a very interesting selection of Arte Povera. The opening felt lively.

• I purposely avoided the Dakis show on Tuesday night for a number of reasons. First, I strongly disagree with the entire concept of the exhibition based on the obvious conflicts of interest. Second, I didn't think I'd be able to see the work, given the crowd. I really abhor celebrity cluster$@%#s.

• As for my strategy at the Armory Show this year, rather than going for specific objects at specific booths, I'm really going to take the overall temperature of what the gallerists are doing in terms of their programs. I'll go over the weekend to really have the opportunity to speak with the gallerists one-to-one and gain a better understanding of what they're doing in their spaces. This time around, it's more about research and development, and less about purchase and acquisition.

• I don't do the whole nightlife thing. It doesn't add anything for me, neither in terms of my social connections nor in terms of access to information. My nightlife thing consists of private dinners and private drinks with gallerists where we can speak in a detailed, prolonged way about work and do business in a more humane fashion.
By Sarah Douglas
Published: March 5, 2010