The Week That Was (October 17 – 24, 2008)
发起人:popking  回复数:3   浏览数:3622   最后更新:2011/12/18 10:43:19 by Stevenj
[楼主] popking 2008-10-28 17:07:40
NEW YORK—As Week in Review goes to press, the Dow Jones has taken another slide after grim corporate earning reports and market turmoil in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. What a wild ride the past few weeks have been. Still, last week's Frieze Art Fair in London did better than expected, even though, as all reports concur, the feeding frenzy — and the time of only minutes-long reserves — is over. Then again, there were some reports that prices had dropped for some artists.

Meanwhile, it took the concurrent Free Art Fair a little over an hour to give away £100,000 worth of art.

And then there were the auctions, which fell rather flat. Looking on the bright side, Colin Gleadell, writing in the Telegraph, said that all is not as grim as we think in the art market. In London, there was “opportunistic buying,” and “big profits were still being made.”

Tell that to Sotheby’s: News broke that the house reported a $15 million loss to the S.E.C., as a result of guarantees, after the lackluster results in Hong Kong and London.

One mantra in a downturn is that masterpieces will still sell well. Sotheby’s must be hoping that is true, for, in addition to Malevich's 1916 Suprematist Composition (est. in excess of $60 million), the house is putting New York financier Henry Kravis's Degas ballerina on the block on November 3. It’s estimated at $40 million, and Kravis has a guarantee.

Now economic concerns have begun to affect the museum world. MoMA has instituted a temporary hiring freeze, as well as a 10 percent cut in its general operating budget. And according to Carol Vogel of the New York Times, “museum officials will ... be holding their breath to see whether loyal donors continue to give art or will be forced to sell part of their collections to raise capital for themselves.”

Still, a quick look around will reveal that money is still flowing into worthwhile projects. A €2.2 million ($3 million) initiative is under way to restore artworks on the Berlin Wall. Emily Rauh Pulitzer gave the Harvard Art Museum artworks worth nearly $200 million and a cash gift of $45 million. (The museum is undergoing an architectural reorganization by starchitect Renzo Piano.) And an unnamed Polish billionaire funded a Tolerance Monument in Jerusalem, installed between Arab and Jewish areas. An unlikely museum — the one at Southern Illinois University — will receive 50 artworks from the collection of Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, under the 50 works for 50 states plan. And Atlanta collector Paul R. Jones donated 1,700 works of 20th-century African-American art to the University of Alabama.

But a financial downturn does not provide the best conditions for fund-raising. England couldn't raise $10 million to keep two ancient marble sculptures in the country, and now they are going to the Getty, which purchased them from London dealer Daniel Katz. (The lucky museum also managed to avoid damage from a nearby brush fire.) London’s National Gallery and the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh are heavily involved in a massive campaign to raise £50 million by December 31 in order to jointly purchase Titian's painting Diana and Actaeon from the Duke of Sutherland. If they can do it, he’ll offer them a second Titian in four years.

How will private museums fare in a downturn? We'll see. Iconoclastic German collector Harald Falkenberg just opened one in Hamburg. It’s packed with significant artworks by Jonathan Meese, Paul McCarthy, and others, but it appears to be dominated by the collector's quirky personal taste. "I'm not interested in reaching a broad public," Falkenberg told the Herald Tribune, "and I have no official mandate. Instead, I can offer alternatives."

Tom Krens may be facing fresh controversy. The Basque government is alleging that he built up the Guggenheim Bilbao's collection in an arbitrary and haphazard way, and overpaid for many pieces.

Here's another mantra that's been making the rounds: Maybe if the market tanks we’ll all return to meaning in art. If so, Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director of exhibitions at London's Serpentine Gallery, is leading the charge, asking artists to submit manifestos. Gilbert and George wrote one over 40 years ago. “We have many manifestos,” they said recently, “like never go to our neighbor’s house. No theater; we’ve not been to the cinema since 1976. We don't want to be brain polluted. This helps us remain normal and weird at the same time, which is what an artist has to be.”
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