Monday, March 05, 2007


The London and Zurich dealer gallery Haunch of Venison has been purchased by Christies, the auction house. Haunch of Vension's roster includes personal favourites Jorge Pardo, Barry La Va and M/M (Paris) showcased on the snazzy site. This acquisition seems interesting to us not just as another blow in Christie's slugfest with Sotheby's but as an example of blur. This worldwide phenomenon describes how very different businesses and organisations are crossing traditional boundaries in an effort to get a stronger grip on their markets. With H of V, Christies leaps into the world of dealer galleries. Here in New Zealand Webb’s already have a gallery and upcoming new auction house Art + Object also plans its own gallery space. Blur offers more than expanded function. Art fairs and dealers aspire to the mana of the art museum with soaring spaces, full-scale catalogs and work that is curated in for context, not for sale. Private collectors are into the game too opening their own museums, publishing their own catalogs, holding their own events and generally muscling in on the public programs mandate of art institutions. The Rubell Family Collection in Miami is a prime example. What makes blur so interesting is that it seeps in all direction. Design stores are blurring with museums through their exquisite displays (we've heard that Moss in Soho repaints the walls Every Night!), curatorial eye and informative labels. Fashion stores are blurring with dealers (Louis Vuitton opened the art gallery of its flagship store in Paris with Vanessa Beecroft and although the current show is about the Louis Vuitton Cup, it still nods to the museum model with a curator (Bruno Trouble) and a scenographer (Alain Batifoulier)). Is blur a benefit? That’s a yes, when it comes up with new ideas and expands, and no when it limits what’s already there. Take the way so many public art museums are blurring into halls for hire. Maybe this is why installation art, sculpture and anything that takes up floor space is being pushed out in some of our museums in favor of glazed paintings and photographs that don’t get in the way.
Image: Table tennis ball in flight after being put over the net by Nicolas Jasmim