Monday, June 30, 2008


“A well respected practitioner and senior lecturer at Elam School of Fine Arts [and] is considered one of New Zealand's foremost painters."

“A young rising star in the art world.”

CNZ describing the two artists we are sending to the Venice Biennale in their 25 June press release.

Lost in translation

When expensive art is sent from place to place there is often a requirement for a courier. This is someone who physically accompanies the work as far as possible and personally ensures its safety at all stages. Nice job if you can get it although there are some grim tales (possibly apocryphal) such as the one about the Rothko left out on an Australian tarmac in the rain. The courier, frantically screaming for a tarpaulin, looked down to see purple-stained water seeping from the bottom of the crate. Now, thanks to a book by Cordelia Rose, that courier could have also screamed that scream in German or in French. Rose’s book is Courier Speak: a phrase book for couriers of museum objects. And what a rich life they live. Checking out the phrases we can see that a courier’s day lurches from the tense “Have my packing cases been loaded onto the aircraft yet?” through the strangely affecting “I will not leave the airport until your aircraft is airborne for 30 minutes” to the introspective “There is too much dust in this case.” The courier’s personal life is also catered for with the handy “I am entitled to a museum discount on my room” as well as the desperate “I do not have enough money to buy food” and the tantalising “What is your room number?” followed by, as life goes in the steamy world of the global courier, the inevitable “Take me underneath the aircraft.”
ERRATUM: Part of the last sentence was dropped during proofing and should read, “Take me underneath the aircraft to see my packing cases being loaded.”

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Some surprises in Madrid

• Fingerprints on the edge of a Mondrian canvas
• The date on Ivan Wasilewitsch’s painting of a green triangle on white ground. 1917
• The impact of Guernica and the erratic buzzing as people set off an alarm as they crossed the security line
• Miro's elegant line, and how good he can be
• The strange familiarity of some of the paintings in the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection thanks to the National Art Gallery's exhibition from the collection in the 80s
• The bleakness of Goya’s Two men fighting with clubs
• The rapacious black dog in Botticelli’s The infernal hunt
Image: The closest we could get to photographing Picasso's Guernica at the Reiner Sofia

Friday, June 27, 2008

When ads follow art

Jeff Koons' egg shell sculpture helps crack a mini display in Madrid

Once in a lifetime

Over The Net pretty much devotes itself to art, animals making art and people trying to keep secrets about art. So you can see our problem in trying to squeeze in the news that our son Pippin and Rilla both got their doctorates this week. You’ll just have to forgive us. We promise never to do it again.

Full circle

Having posted on James Bond spotting Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington in Dr No’s lair, we made an effort to see it when we were in the National Gallery in London. It wasn’t there. No label, no conservator’s note pinned to the wall, nothing. We asked a guard but not much luck there either. Assuming it wasn’t still with No we purchased a postcard and moved on. Today at the Prado in Madrid we found the Duke showcased in a large Goya exhibition. To quote 007, "So that's where that went"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Copy cat

Antony Gormley gets the treatment in a store window in Berlin.

Stumbling blocks

When you talk about public sculpture (and we do a lot) it would be hard to find a better example than a series of brass sculptures here in Berlin. Unlike most public sculptures that hog the skyline or pompously memorialise experiences or people, these works are small, discreet and deeply emotional. In fact we walked straight past three of them for a week without noticing, making our discovery all the more powerful for it. They are called Stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) and are a public art project by Cologne artist Gunter Demnig. Since 1996 he has been embedding 10.2 cm (four inch) square brass blocks outside the last known residence of victims of the Nazis. The blocks are stamped with the victim’s name, date of birth, when they were taken, where they were taken to and what happened to them. There are around 1,500 in Berlin and more than 12,000 throughout Germany. The first one was located outside a residence in Kreuzberg, the district of Berlin we are staying in. These small sculptures are insistently personal and their intensely local focus offers no escape from the reality they commemorate. The idea now has its own momentum and today relatives are commissioning Stolpersteine for members of their families. Berlin has other more famous, and grander, memorials to the holocaust, but for us none of them come close to the provocation and emotional power of a single Stolpersteine.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Art is where you find it

In this case in the mouth and on your crowns, thanks to the good folk at toothartist.

Two for Venice

CNZ has announced it will send Francis Upritchard and Judy Millar to Venice.

The Elephant in the room

Artists have always paid homage to other artists and these days not many people would fall to the ground in a faint at the sight of one artist’s signature style being borrowed by another. So it’s surprising to see in Webb’s latest auction catalogue that Alan Smith has written around 500 words on Ralph Hotere’s painting Song of Solomon in Webb’s latest catalogue without any reference to McCahon at all. Tough call for the elephant.
Image: to see an image of Hotere’s painting Song of Solomon go here

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Is it Flotsam or Jetsam?

When, in August last year, we promised no more variations on Théodore Géricault Raft of the Medusa (you can see them all by putting Medusa into the search box) it was mostly because we couldn’t find any more of them. Here’s the Bruce High Quality Foundation’s version to the rescue. (Apologies to RSS readers who may get this post twice in true copy cat fashion)
Image: Bruce High Quality Foundation, Raft of the Medusa 2007


Years ago, Richard Killeen suggested to us that in New Zealand there could be only one of everything. The other day, we saw a very funny international list based on this idea at the Dugway Proving Ground (always worth a look for great pics and thoughts) and couldn’t help ourselves.


Image: Don’s

Monday, June 23, 2008

Building expectations

How do you sell the scale and feel of a new piece of architecture to a city? In Berlin they build a corner and then finish it off with a virtual building made of printed vinyl. Unfortunately the one pictured above looks like it’s going to be a retro look-alike but we assume they do this sort of thing for contemporary buildings too. Behind these enormous 3D computer drawings it’s all just scaffolding and weeds. As usual, you can click on the image to get a bigger version

The Omen

It had to happen. Damien Hirst has announced that his next selling exhibition is going to be a Sotheby’s auction (you can get their media release here). This time, if you want a new work by Damien, you’re going to have to bid for it. In some ways this is good news for collectors because anyone (well anyone with that sort of money) has a chance to get a recent work. No queues, no “We don’t think you’re quite ready for a Hirst yet”, and no having to ask the price and wonder if it is specially tailored to your chequebook. Currently this approach is only really suited to artists like Hirst who already have an eager and competitive market.

Using auctions as a first point of sale (although not as dramatically as Hirst) is part of the scene in New Zealand. Artists like Philip Trusttum and Brent Wong appear to have used auctions as their first point of sale for many years and recent catalogues for Art + Object and Webb’s show that dealer galleries (e.g. City Art Rooms at Webb’s) are already into it. But the scale of the Hirst initiative could be a warning sign to dealers of changing times as some artists gain more power. As we have suggested before, auction houses can quite easily become more dealer-like in the services they offer, but it is tough for dealers to participate in the auction world as anything other than just another seller.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Advice to collectors

In spite of the high public interest in Europe, avoid sand sculpture.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

House rules

How can we resist? The house we would most like to visit, and the little plastic bricks that spread so much joy to the children of the world.
Image: Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye built in Lego

Advice to collectors

Keep your left up.

“His nose looked broken, like a boxer’s. He had dyed hair and cheap shoes, like a bodyguard. If he walked into my gallery, I wouldn’t have sold him a painting.”
Art dealer Laszlo von Vertes describing the man who bid $95 million to purchase Picasso’s Dora Maar au Chat at Sotheby’s.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A moving picture

Different city, different kind of art, same problem.

But wait…there’s more

Our announcement the other day that Judy Millar was off to Venice prompted a flurry of emails. How many people knew all this stuff? We did a rough count and figure at least 100 people were in the know including CNZ staff and councils, the losers of the proposal competition, dealers, the selection panel and we threw in a couple of others who might have been listening at the door (to be realistic we have only added one family member and one best friend who has been sworn to secrecy per person). The things is, times have changed and organisations like CNZ are not changing with them. The idea that this sort of information can be restricted to a small group of institutional people for weeks on end is not a happening thing in our world of email, blogging and mobile communications. If we can hear about the Venice result in Berlin, it’s not a big secret.

The solution for CNZ is to open up its processes, stop using the Official Information Act like a blunt instrument, and think of themselves as partners in the culture rather than parents. For example, is there any reason why the meeting of the panel to decide on the artist for Venice couldn’t be open to the public? It sounds outrageous in today’s climate, but why? Knowing how the people who represent us think is important to us all, and we do pay most of their salaries.

In the meantime, we understand that CNZ is trying to get funds to send a second artist to Venice. Why this is a problem is anybody’s guess, as most of the Venice funding goes on the venue and its staffing, not the artists. So fingers crossed for Francis and good on you Judy.
Image: a set of Ginzu steak knives

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hooked on the classics

At the back of a flea market in a suburb of Berlin we found Duchamp’s Trébuchet (Trap). Well, not quite, but you know what we mean. What you can buy here is the identical bottle rack used to create the first ready made, Bottle Rack in 1914.

The sky is falling

Art and controversy always seem to go together but the chicken news from Australia takes it another crazy step forward. Someone saw a Mike Parr video (having first shunted out to the island where it was being shown) and was stunned to see film of a chicken, or maybe more than one, being decapitated. The police were onto it and now the R18 sign already in place is to be R18 plus a warning about the bad chicken business. Does the the person who complained not eat chicken? And if so, what were they doing at a Mike Parr installation (definitely not a place for vegetarians). Other dead animals in the Biennale include Maurizio Cattelan's hanging horse Novecentro and of course Biennale officials have been quick to announce that it died of natural causes. Now that does sound controversial. How poignant to think of Cattelan pacing backward and forward, constantly looking at his watch, waiting for his horse to finally snuff it so he can have it gutted and stuffed for his latest installation.
Image: Horse head sequence from Coppola’s The Godfather, available on DVD

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Paris in Berlin

Wow, déjà vu all over again. Picked up this book on the Rausch Collection in Frankfurt and it was like being swept back into the living room with Les and Milly Paris in Wellington. The way the work is hung, the paintings stacked against the walls, the eclectic mix of content and artist all strike the same chord. We remember when we curated a sampling from Les and Milly’s collection for the City Gallery we got a panorama shot of them sitting together amongst their treasures. No doubt about it, the Rauschs would get the same shock of recognition from that photograph as we got from theirs.

Space fillers

The Boros Collection: part 3
One of the fascinations of high commercial art is why one artist is taken up rather than another. Although the artists who reap the rewards from the dealer galleries, important museum shows, auctions, art fairs and biennales are often very, very good, it is often hard to work out – why them? For us a great example of this mystery is the huge attention attracted by the crowd-pleasing Danish artist working in Berlin, Olafur Eliasson. We’ve now seen his gigantic show Take Your Time at the San Francisco Museum of Contemporary Art, shivered in the vault checking out his frozen BMW H2R, caught a few other installations in London and now, around five or six installations at the Boros Collection. While it's true many of the works have an initial visual impact that’s where it ends for us. Like someone working their way through the Boy’s Book of Wizard Experiments, the result feels like a series of clever effects, more David Copperfield than Jeff Koons, with no social or psychological resonance that we can get. Of course Eliasson acknowledges all this by making the workings of his presentations obvious - mirrors and other visual apparatus are in full view, projectors are clipped to stands in the middle of the gallery, wiring is exposed - you don’t have to have a subscription to Popular Mechanics to see how the effects are created. But after working it out, there doesn’t seem to be a lot too talk about apart from his number of assistants (many) and his building in Berlin (huge). Peter Schjeldahl suggested in the New Yorker that “…there should be a nice, clean, special word other than ‘art’ for what he does, to set him apart. There won’t be. ‘Art’ has become the promiscuous catchall for anything artificial that meets no practical need but which we like, or are presumed or supposed to like.” Now that strikes a chord, but there is no doubt about the huge public and political response to Eliasson’s major spectacles like the Tate Modern’s Weather Project or the New York City Waterfalls where the water flows upwards. Still with so many of science's great experiments and demonstrations still to be done, we probably haven't seen the last of him.
Image: Olafur Eliasson's Berlin Colour Sphere 2006 installed at the Boros Collection

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The wisdom of crowds

After sending 5 people (Natasha Conland, Gavin Hipkins, Gary Langsford, Lisa Reihana and Undine Marshfield) on the Trip of a Lifetime, conducting a short listing process and running a proposal competition CNZ's 8 member selection panel of Alastair Carruthers (CNZ), Jenny May (CNZ), Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (Te Papa), Greg Burke (gallery director), Jenny Gibbs (art collector), Jenny Harper (gallery director), Robert Jahnke (artist), Caroline Vercoe (Auckland University) have chosen Judy Millar to go to Venice.

A window of opportunity

The Boros Collection: Part 2
By the time we got to the fifth floor of the windowless bunker even the most sanguine of us were feeling a little claustrophobic. Then, in a small room at the far end of a corridor, we discovered a large window looking straight out onto the (new and rather stylish) Holiday Inn. As the first window we had seen in over an hour it was a bit of a shock. A shock also to find that we were sharing the room with a male patient lying in a hospital bed looking out at the view. Thanks to Maurizio Cattelan and Co, we’ve probably seen enough realistic, life-sized-figures-as-art for now (not that this wasn’t a good one) but what was impressive was the window itself. The artists Elmgreen & Dragset (Michael Elmgreen (Dane) and Ingar Dragset (Norwegian) who did that nifty Prada store out in the desert near Marfa) had convinced the collector to dig out around 2.5 square meters of 2 meter thick concrete wall to make the installation possible. And there we were, this time last year, being impressed by Cattelan (there he is again) putting what now seems a small slit in the external wall of the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt.
Images: Elmgreen and Dragset Temporarily Placed 2002

Concrete poetry

The Boros Collection: Part 1
You’ve got a large private collection and it needs acres of secure storage and exhibition space. What are you going to do? When we visited the Rubells a couple of years ago they had solved the problem in Miami by using an ex-Vice Squad drug and weapons repository (it still had a possie for a machine gun). Here in Berlin advertising entrepreneur Christian Boros and Karen Lohmann hunkered their collection down in a five-storied concrete World War II Bunker designed by Albert Speer as part of Hitler’s Germania project. After the war as part of East Germany, it stored fruit imported from Cuba and was locally known as the Banana Bunker.

If there is a problem with keeping your art in a 3,000 square meter concrete bunker with 2 meter thick concrete walls, part of it is the reality that the bunker structure with its doors, shutters, vents, pipes, machinery and corridors is so evocative that some of the art struggles to assert itself. Artists who succeeded included Sarah Lucas (through mordant humour) and John Bock (via some sort of personal, energetic madness). The artists given the most space over the five floors of galleries were Anselm Reyle and the ubiquitous Olafur Eliasson. Works by Reyle included a stunning low hung light strobe light fixture and for Eliasson see part 3 of this post which we'll put up tomorrow, part 2 coming later today.

You can visit the Boros collection as part of their Saturday tours by appointment and online by applying for a password via their website.

Images: Top the Boros Collection bunker and entry. Bottom left Sarah Lucas gives an irreverent hand and John Bock falls out of a wardrobe.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Brick work

Even from Berlin we can hear your chant LEGO! LEGO! LEGO! So here’s more Lego recreations of famous photographs to ad to our last posting on the subject. This time someone called Balakov is responsible, a guy who doesn’t mind stripping away the mystery of his art.
Images: Top, Balakov’s recreation of Alfred Eisenstaedt's V.J. Day Times Square. Bottom, how the rabbit got into the hat.

Standards slide

How often do you hear the question: what would it take to make an art work that shocked the audience of a contemporary art museum? The pile of shit has been done, so has the empty room and the slide. How about a beautifully finished, modernist-styled sculpture that encourages kids to climb over it and people to use it as a place to put their bags? Had us going for a few moments at Mies Van der Rohe’s masterpiece Neue Nationalgalerie. We dealt with the backpacks propped around the base as a riff on modernist control freaks, but we were taken aback when a father helped his kid use the yellow slopes of Gabriel Kuri’s sculptures as a slide. Until we noticed a guard smiling benevolently. Later we found out that all this was pretty much what Kuri intended. But kids, don’t try this on a Donald Judd.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

As if you didn't know

“The world of contemporary art is not that big. There are about 10,000 museums, art institutions and public collections worldwide, 1,500 auction houses and about 250 annual art fairs and shows. There are 17,000 commercial galleries worldwide, 70 percent of which are in North America and Western Europe. Average turnover per gallery is about $650,000, implying gross sales for the primary market and part of the secondary market of about $11 billion – of which $7 billion could be considered contemporary art.”
Don Thompson in his book The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Art and Auction Houses


For everyone who had a tough Friday night on the town - Dali for Alka-Seltzer.

Friday, June 13, 2008

First, you show me yours

Further to our recent post on the mystique dealers use to sell art, we’ve been thinking about the recent rush of record prices for art at auction. This obsession with the highest paid price for art is of course largely driven by the auction houses, and it drives the dealers nuts. As we saw recently in New Zealand, when an auction house claimed the highest price for a living artist, the dealers all started muttering about mysterious sales that had far exceeded the auction houses wildest dreams. The latest rumour in this antler clash was sent to us by a reader yesterday. Apparently a living New Zealand artist (a male abstract painter living in Auckland with the initials SB) has been commissioned – does that count? – to create a work for an American casino for $NZ 1 million. (Not very subtle, but thanks anyway G.) You see the problem. To make the understatement of all times, the dealer system is not transparent, and this is what gives it its mystique. Prices and deals are kept quiet. Triumphs are celebrated by the few with champagne and looks over the shoulder. Not much good if you also want to be publicly acknowledged as the King-of-the-world sales-wise. Gow Langsford obviously thought this when they so publically slapped their million dollar ($US 764,749) price tag on the Hirst heart. Of course what the piece actually sells for will probably only ever be known behind the bike sheds.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Face value

The face above the door of the Giacometti Gallery at the Kunstmuseum in Basel

Water colour

Did any Picassos go down with the Titanic when it sank in 1912? - the year Jackson Pollock was born, incidentally. Apparently not, but that didn’t stop Titanic director James Cameron. Soon after Rose (Kate Winslett ) gets on board she unpacks her art works secured in Paris: a couple of “Picassos” and a “Monet” from a suspiciously contemporary-looking fitted crate. They are not the only art featured in the movie. The drawings by Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) were in fact made by the director James Cameron and it is his hand you see when Jack is drawing Rose maja-like on a couch. Maybe Rose’s two Picasso-like products are Cameron’s work too.

One is a version of Picasso’s 1907 Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Sure the composition has been changed and the figures compressed, but it reads like the original well enough at 24 frames per second. The other ‘Picasso’ is more obscurely based on the 1910 Portrait of the dealer Ambroise Vollard, who presumably ‘sold’ Rose both paintings (in fact the original portrait was sold to the Russian collector Shchukin the year the Titanic sank and was probably not in the market for Rose to ‘purchase’). As for Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, it was first exhibited at Art Moderne en France at Salon d’Antin in Paris four years after the sinking and it was at this exhibition Andre Salmon gave it its title.

As a footnote, many years later the director of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, William Rubin, claimed he would “kill myself” if the plane taking Les Demoiselles d'Avignon to the Musee Picasso in Paris were to crash and sink like the…er…Titanic.
Images: Top to bottom, Rose checks out ‘Les Demoiselles d'Avignon’, puts the portrait of Vollard on the couch and prepares to strip for Jack’s portrait, James Cameron’s hands in their cameo role.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Camo redux

Over the years we have done a couple of posts on camo art, one on a great book called Disruptive Patterns and the other on camo helmets. A reader has now sent us the ultimate shipping-camo art collection post, you can read it here. It probably won’t be too long before airlines start doing their own paint jobs to conceal guilty travellers as they burn up carbon in the sky. Thanks for that B.

Images: Right Cunard poster. Left top USS Leviathan (photo: Jim and Jamie Richter), bottom Russian ship (Photo: John Prolly)


The latest round of CNZ grants have been published. You can download them here from the top of the list.

Shah la la

In Berlin we are staying just round the corner from Michael Stevenson and Cornelia Schmidt-Bleek. This time last year we posted on Mike’s work at Art Basel's Unlimited which replicated the framework of a tent used for one of the Shah of Iran’s mega feasts. In researching the exhibition Mike visited Teheran and photographed the still visible, though faded, signage of the Shafrazi Gallery which ended its may fly life with the collapse of the Shah’s reign. Tony Shafrazi now runs a gallery in New York, but back in the 1970s he was a consultant to the Contemporary Art Museum of Iran as the Iranian royal family began to build an art collection. The Shafrazi Gallery, which had its regular stand at this year’s Art Basel, only had one exhibition in Teheran. And who knows how much, or if at all, Sharazi’s taste played in the formation of the collection which is still in deep storage in Teheran. It has remained there, with a brief outing in 2005, since the Shah was ousted by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. An announcement that this incredible collection is about to go on display again resulted in this peek into the store room by ABC News you can see below.
Image: Two women look at works from the collection

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wind up

Wellington sculpture enthusiasts will be pleased to know that London has wind sculptures too.

I will need walls

As one of his greatest works is in New Zealand, Richard Serra’s work always has special resonance when we come across it. And so at Basel, at the top of an escalator itself transformed by Daniel Buren (another global artist with strong New Zealand connections) with his trademark green stripes, we came across a suite of recent Richard Serra prints. And, what a surprise (sorry Francis), we both immediately read them as landscapes, thanks to McCahon. This effect is not something that probably affects anyone under the age of 30. This time though for us the switch to reading the works for what they probably were, walls of steel, was almost instantaneous. And, in there somewhere, is a good argument to get even more art from other cultures and other places into and onto our land. While McCahon’s revelation of our landscape in abstraction was important, there’s even more to it now with interventions like Serra’s meandering wall - a landscape with lots of lovers, Richard Serra included.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Spot the art work 1

There is an art work hidden in this picture, can you spot it?

Keeping it in the family

While we were in Basel we dropped in to see the Basel Design Fair. It was held in an amazing domed building that looked like it had been a garage at some time in its life. Among the very cool and very expensive chairs, bookcases and lamps we saw Atelier Van-Lieshout’s Family Lamp. It immediately reminded us of the works from the Vigland Sculpture Park, home to the world’s most bizarre public sculpture. Nearby, his trilby hat resting on his lap, Brad Pitt was arranging for his people to talk with the gallerist’s people about shipping Family Lamp (from an edition of 10) home. Don’t know the sticker price, but a dining room table by the same Dutch designer would expect between $US20-30,000. We assume there was a discount.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Look alike

Images: Left, Nashville Fiddles LP cover. Right, I’ve got it all by Tracey Emin

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Big Ears (Limited edition)

Buyer: Can I sit on it?
Dealer: That's a $1 million euro Roni Horn glass work that weighs three tonnes
Buyer: Sure, but can I sit on it?
Dealer: If you wanted to.


"You can alarm it if you like, but we've gone with guards."


Stimulusresponse is up and running again.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Pipe dream

Leaving Basel, thinking of Rose Nolan.

The big issue

The Art Newspaper publishes every day of the Basel Art Fair. Mostly gossip and interviews, the second issue featured a Dane Mitchell and Starkwhite story, right next to a piece on Brad Pitt who the paper had sighted at the fair and called “diminutive”. Lucky they didn’t use that on John McCormack or they might have had a fight on their hands.

Hide and seek

If we were to make a list of the most compelling spaces in New Zealand, right up there would be Peter McLeavey’s stock room. What was in there was the subject of many, many conversations and only a rare few were allowed to squeeze in and check it out. Add the stock room upstairs that nobody ever seems to have entered and the sense of mystery was complete. Guessing what was in Peter McLeavey’s stock room or pretending to have insider information about it became part of an elaborate game with Peter and his artists playing centre court.
We were reminded of this experience and the allure of the unknown at the Basel Art Fair as we watched selected collectors ushered into small backrooms constructed in some gallery booths. More than stock rooms many of them were private selling areas. Not all dealers used the mystique of the back room to entice sales though. Larry Gagossian, one of the most powerful people in contemporary art, spectacularly did his business from a desk in the front of his booth, in full view of anyone who walked by. But then, that has a mystique all its own.
Images: Larry Gagossian where everyone can see him. Right, backrooms.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Nice spot

A not very good photo (sorry Judy) of a big painting by Judy Millar at the very big Basel Art Fair.

Theme park

Things we saw a lot of in art works at the Basel Art Fair.

White neon, video screens in elaborate picture frames, abstract human heads on animal bodies, vitrines hanging on walls, film projectors, mirrors, triangular shapes in paintings and sculpture, and, still, rabbits (lots of them).

Big Ears

Basel Art Fair: Day 2

The Dealers:
Dealer: "So we ship it back to New York. OK?"
Collector: "Colorado."
Dealer: "I meant Colorado."

"Do you not hear what I'm saying. This thing weighs 5000 pounds."

"We need the guys to come and we need to rehang this thing. (pause) Lots of guys."

"She hates my guts. There's nothing she wouldn't do to destroy my interest in all this."

"It might be possible, now that his brother has become a studio assistant."

The Collectors
"For someone who doesn't have one I guess it's ok."

Dealer: "And if you say, 'Yes, I definitely want it' you're on the list."
Collector: "I want it."

"My one's bigger (pause) ... and I think, better."

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Advice to collectors

Don't bother booking a rental for the Basel Art Fair.
Image: Publicity shot being taken of VIP cars and drivers on the opening morning of the Basel Art Fair.


If anyone had doubts about how et al. would fare in an exhibition of top international artists (SPOILER ALERT: we never did), they would have had them removed at Art Unlimited at the Basel Art Fair. Walking past a truly great Carl Andre, a spectacular Murakami and an entire train craned in by Chinese artist Qiu Anxiong, et al.'s installation was right up there with the best of them and ahead of a lot. Starkwhite's John McCormack and Dominic Feuchs had good cause to be pleased with themselves and their artists. They also had Dane Mitchell in Statements. Mitchell, in cahoots with a witch, had cast a spell over part of the exhibition space. We noticed that even the doubters kept their feet and hands well clear of the demarcated space. Even we took a spell check on risking a photograph. CNZ was involved in supporting Dane Mitchell and may have (they will no doubt tell us in their own good time) supported et al. too. If so, good on them.
Image: entrance to et al.'s installation altruistic studies 2008