Monday, September 15, 2014

Going for broke

How dinged is busted? Not a question you're going to hear in the conservation lab of an art museum but if you’re on the look out for a cheap Hotere you might want to consider it. An insurance claim has taken a damaged work by Hotere onto the market via Turners the outfit you probably associate with second hand cars. As you can see it’s one of those painted-on-glass works and in this case the glass on the right hand panel is cracked. Still the Venus de Milo only has one arm and Duchamp certainly made hay out of broken glass. So will a crack leak all the value out of a 1992 Hotere work? Someone didn't think so as it sold yesterday for $6400 even if that is around $50,000 shy of its value in pristine condition. Turners were totally up front about the condition and suggest that it was beyond repair. “The glass surface is an integral part of the work. Repairing it would remove a large part of the original and you're probably better off just living with the crack.” In fact some of our museums might look at Turners Q&A as a great example of the art (we’ve copied it onto OTNSTUFF so you can read it here incase Turners take it down after the sale.)

If you want a transcendent Hotere experience on the other hand you need to get to Wellington where Robert Leonard has devoted the entire upstairs gallery to one painting the Godwit / Kuaka mural. There are not many artworks in this country that can hold that sort of space and this is certainly one of them. As we've mentioned in a previous post, the Kentridge playing at the City Gallery is very good but to see a great work by Ralph Hotere displayed like this is worth a return trip from anywhere in the country.

NOTE: news in that the final price for the Hotere was $19,950. (Thanks N)

Images: top, the Godwit / Kuaka mural exhibited at the City Gallery in Wellington and bottom, damaged Hotere for sale (thanks R and thanks yet again to you P without whom etc.)