Friday, June 21, 2013

Artmaking as Factory

Abbey House artist Jakub Slomkowski, whose work will be shown at the Saatchi's Polish Art Now exhibition.

From The Guardian...

What if someone came up with a scheme that offered artists financial security while giving them time to work and develop their practice? Abbey House, an auction house and gallery based in Warsaw, Poland, has done just that. 
Set up in 2010 by a young team with backgrounds in business and the luxury sector, the company has agreements with nine Polish artists – some established names, some emerging talent – paying them each a monthly stipend in exchange for an agreed number of works per month. Abbey House then sells these works, via monthly hammer auctions and through private sales, to a growing group of largely Polish collectors. 
But here's the catch. Aside from their fixed salaries and occasional bonuses triggered when a certain number of works are sold, the artists see nothing from these sales. All proceeds go to Abbey House, which is also free to do what it likes with any works that go unsold. The other kicker? These contracts are exclusive and last five years. 
Curious about this new model, I travelled to Warsaw in advance of an exhibition that Abbey House is presenting at the Saatchi Gallery in London.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Civic Collections & Civic Bankruptcy

This is a shocking development...
After walking up the stairs of the Woodward Avenue entrance to the Detroit Institute of Arts, passing one of Rodin's "Thinker" statues and entering the main lobby, visitors are quickly drawn toward a sky-lit courtyard with four walls painted by Diego Rivera. The frescoes signify, in many ways, the museum's identity: art at an awe-inspiring scale, serving as a testament to the industrial heyday of the Motor City. 
Rivera's work, and the rest of the DIA's contents, may soon be seen merely as financial assets in the eyes of creditors looking to get back the massive amounts of long-term debt the city of Detroit owes, currently estimated to be as much as $15 billion. The DIA's collection is believed to be worth billions, and art museums do sell off parts of their collection from time to time, though usually to acquire other art. 
"This is unprecedented in the history of any art museum," says the museum's vice president, Annemarie Erickson. "We’re in unchartered waters."

From The Atlantic CIties. Link.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Cynicism & the Biennales

This article from The Daily Beast is interesting.  It makes you think but it bas a bitchy tone which makes it delicious, in a way, like gossip. But it calls out the sale of the image above and exposes what has become of the biennales.
And then, of course, there’s also our 21st-century, celebrity-ravenous, hair-trigger media. In late May that hunger had its True Blood incisors out at Christie’s sale of a beloved if bizarre 20th-century American gem: Bea Arthur Nude, a topless 1991 portrait of the late Golden Girls actress fashioned by 51-year-old American painter John Currin. Sold for $1.9 million on the same bullish evening that saw the auction house rake in a record $495 million, it garnered far more Gawker and gossip traffic than the auction’s $56.1 million Lichtenstein or $58.4 million Pollock canvases. The reason? In a phrase: the crack epidemic–like qualities of the global fame game. To paraphrase the tagline from the Twilight saga—when groupies live online forever, what do you really live for? 
 Witness the endless round robin of openings, lunches, dinners, cocktails, parties and late-night socializing that characterized the recent preview for the Venice Biennale—the Oscars of the art world. A biannual event that gathers plane and boatloads of artists, curators, and gallerists, as well as yacht-borne flotillas of celebrities, politicians and Fortune magazine boldface names, the 118-year-old art festival is a revolving door of powerhouse events that genuinely rivals the Academy Awards for unabashed glitz, glamour, and power tripping.... Celebrity sightings—as chronicled by dotcom oracles like ­LaineyGossip and Italia-online—continued unabated on a set of islands nearly sinking under the combined weight of art and money….  
The takeaway from this Bikini Atoll–like explosion of peacock feathers? It’s rather simple, really: despite the ongoing global recession, a tanking Italian economy, and significant cutbacks affecting myriad cultural institutions worldwide, relations between art’s super-rich and the planet’s super-famous have apparently never been cozier….


Saturday, June 8, 2013

How To Display Your Artwork Online

A blog very popular with artists is lines and colors and it hosts two great posts about displaying your artwork online—one is about how NOT to show your work, the other is about HOW TO do so well.

This is intended as a rough guide for illustrators, gallery artists, cartoonists, comics artists, concept artists and other visual artists who want to present a professional representation of their work on the web. If you’re just putting up your stuff for the benefit of your friends, do what you want, it doesn’t matter. If, on the other hand, you’re trying to have your art seen by art directors, publishers, gallery owners, webcomics readers, reviewers and prospective buyers, how you present it can make a big difference in how it’s viewed and received.