Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu's Tutu (1974) was sold at Bonhams London for £1.2m in February 2018. The sale was livestreamed to a Lagos hotel to allow Nigerian bidders to participate Courtesy of Bonhams
Prices for Modern and contemporary African artists have been on the rise in global art capitals for more than a decade. But just as in the case of more classical African art, the works or the sums they fetched seldom returned to the continent.
This is beginning to change thanks to a growing class of collectors in Nigeria, South Africa, Morocco, Ethiopia and Ghana—often beneficiaries of their countries climbing economic prosperity—increasingly viewing works by African artists as a wealth to be kept in Africa rather than exported to Europe and the US.
Since 2015, several new international fairs have opened across the continent, such as Art X Lagos, Latitudes Art Fair in Johannesburg, Investec Cape Town Art Fair and 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, the Marrakech edition of which opens on 22 February. These fairs typically show contemporary African and African diaspora artists who enjoy some global buzz but whose works are not normally seen within Africa.
While supporting the existing international collector base was intrinsic to the vision of 1-54, building a new body of local collectors is an “integral part of the art ecosystem” in Africa, according to Touria El Glaoui, the founder of the fair.
Primary market sales through fairs and galleries are only a small part of the equation, though. Rising secondary market sales in these same cities reveal a shifting attitude among collectors, both private and institutional, as well as a growing desire to reclaim Africas contemporary cultural heritage as its own.
The African creative industry is experiencing a renaissance … as a result of the growth in the local auction market Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, art dealer, Lagos
“The African creative industry is experiencing a solid renaissance … as a result of the growth in the local auction market, which heightened buyer confidence,” says Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, a Lagos-based art dealer.
At auctions in Nigeria, African collectors snap up works by Modern artists. Last June, Arthouse Contemporary, an auction house based in Lagos, sold Ben Enwonwus Ogolo, a 1992 watercolour on paper, for $114,236. Works by Ghanaian artist El Anatsui fetched $43,882 at an Arthouse auction in 2017. Now, younger Nigerian artists such as Peju Alatise and Nnenna Okore see their works going for between $25,000 and $39,000 at local auctions.
This growing class of collectors is one that global auction houses are keen to capitalise on. Last October, Sothebys Modern and Contemporary African Art sale in London realised £4m, “the highest ever total achieved for an auction in this category,” says Hannah OLeary, the head of the sale. Sothebys was the first to introduce a dedicated contemporary African art sale in 2017 due to increasing demand from African collectors, according to OLeary.
Gustav Klimt's Portrait of a Lady (1916-17) was stolen from the Ricci Oddi Gallery of Modern Art in 1997
The saga of the stolen Gustav Klimt painting discovered within the walls of an Italian museum has taken a new turn after the widow of the institution's former director was taken in for questioning by police.
Rossella Tiadina, the widow of Stefano Fugazza, the former director of Ricci Oddi Gallery of Modern Art in the northern Italian city of Piacenza, remains under investigation by the Piacenza police in relation to the robbery, according to a source close to the gallery. No charges have yet been brought but Piacenza police have confirmed Tiadina is under investigation.
The work in question Portrait of a Lady (1916-17), which was taken on 22 February 1997 from the gallery, was found by a gardener last December, after they removed a metal plate on an exterior wall of the gallery. The painting was found concealed in a bag buried within a cavity. In early January, officials at the gallery announced that the work has been authenticated and is a genuine work by Klimt valued at €60m.
The Ricci Oddi Gallery of Modern Art in Piacenza, Italy
The investigation was prompted by an entry in Fugazzas diary which was first reported by the BBC in 2016. Fugazza, who died in 2009, wrote that he had considered faking the theft to draw attention to a forthcoming Klimt show to be held at the gallery. “I asked myself what could be done to give the exhibition some notoriety, to make the exhibition an unprecedented public success,” the museum director wrote.
“And the idea that came to me was to organise a fake theft of the Klimt, just before the opening of the exhibition (this is exactly what happened, my God), and then for the painting to be found after the exRead More – Source
A fair visitor inspects Maurizio Cattelan's new sculpture, Comedian, on Perrotin's stand at Art Basel in Miami Beach in December © David Owens
The performance artist David Datuna—who made a splash at Art Basel in Miami Beach in December when he ate one of Maurizio Cattelans $120,000 bananas duct-taped to Perrotins booth—is opening his own interactive food show titled Hungry Artist at New Yorks Cad Oro gallery on Thursday.
Datuna will assist visitors in creating their own art using around 30 of the most common objects found in every New York City bodega. Cans of Coke, candy and other tasty snacks will be affixed to the gallerys walls as art, and participants are encouraged to rip them off and eat them on the spot.
“What we perceive as materialism is nothing but social conditioning,” the artist says on his Instagram, where he announced the show. “Any meaningful interaction with an object could turn it to art. I am a hungry artist, and I am hungry for new interactions.”
Thirsty collectorRead More – Source
Ghost of a Dream artist duo, Lauren Was and Adam Eckstrom, preparing their site-specific installation, Yesterday Is Here in the lobby of Bostons MassArt Art Museum Courtesy of MassArt
The contemporary galleries of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design will officially become the MassArt Art Museum on 22 February, when they reopen after a $12.5m revamp.
Admission to the rechristened institution, a non-collecting teaching museum that was formerly known as the Bakalar & Paine Galleries, will be free. The renovations of its 15,000 sq. ft galleries were led by designLAB Architects and involved major upgrades, including a humidity control system that will now allow the museum to operate year-round.
The priority of Lisa Tung, who has been the galleries director since 2008, was to have a new front door installed to get the publics attention. “People would often get lost, since they had to walk through the school to get to us,” she says.
The project also includes a new plaza named for the Pace Gallery founder and donor Arne Glimcher that may soon be activated with an installation of public art or a projection on to the buildings Beaux Arts facade. An education studio has been added as well as a preparatory workshop where crates can acclimatise to their new surroundings before being unpacked.
“The word museum signifies that the works we showcase are all of a professional nature,” says Tung, who describes the renamed galleries as a community-focused kunsthalle.
Three inaugural shows are planned. The artist duo Ghost of a Dream harnessed 30 years of ephemera from the galleries—from catalogue pages to flyers—to crRead More – Source
Museum Art Cards
BIS Publishers just released the latest development in museum engagement. Museum Art Cards offer ways of approaching works of art in a museum, all laid on in step-by-step instructions on a suite of cards. With prompts that run the gamut from the goofy (“make a dating app profile for this portrait”) to the more traditional (“choose an artwork that stands out for its use of colour”) to the abstract (“interview the artwork”), the deck of cards could tease a Read More – Source
Barozzi Veiga Photo: Christine Mendenhall
The Miami-based arts institution Oolite Arts, formerly ArtCenter/South Florida, announced today that it had tapped the Barcelona-based architecture firm Barozzi Veiga to design its new campus in Miamis Little River neighborhood. Barozzi Veiga was recently in the news with the announcement that it would be hired to redesign the Art Institute of Chicago.
Oolite Arts, founded 36 years ago, helps Miami-based artists by providing them with free studio space, exhibition opportunities and financial assistance.
"No two designs of Barozzi Veiga's are alike,” said Dennis Scholl, president and chief executive of Oolite Arts. “They are always responsive to the areas where they are located. We loved that approach, and also their extensive experience in the cultural sector.” Scholl added that the new space will “enable us to better meet the needs of both visual artists and the community”.>Read More – Source
Donald and Catie Marron. © Patrick McMullen
Donald B. Marrons art collection will be sold through Acquavella Galleries, Gagosian and Pace Gallery, marking an exceptional collaboration between the three blue chip dealers. The financier and esteemed collector, who died last December at aged 85, amassed a collection of around 300 Modern and contemporary masterworks valued at more than $450m.
The galleries announced today that they will organise a joint exhibition in New York this May divvied up into three distinct eras of Marrons collecting, dovetailing with Tefaf New York Spring and Frieze New York, as well as the citys spring auction season.
“Acquavella, Gagosian and Pace share a heritage in our deep roots within the New York community, so it is fitting to honour one of this citys major players through this unique collaboration,” says Marc Glimcher, the president and chief executive of Pace. He adds that the collaboration is “an occasion to honour Dons work as a pioneering collector, and to commemorate 60 years of connoisseurship”, as well as a celebration of the rewarding relationships that can develop between collectors and dealers.
Marron began collecting Hudson River School paintings in the 1960s, but soon began to buy work by artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns in the 1970s. The financier is best known for pioneering corporate collecting, accumulating 850 works over two decades through his brokerage firm PaineWebber, including works Jenny Holzer, Jasper Johns, Elizabeth Murray, Ed Ruscha and Andy Warhol. The collection became known as the UBS Art Collection when the Swiss bank acquired the firm in 2000. Many of these works have been displayed and promised to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where Marron was a lifetime trustee and president emeritus.
Pablo Picasso, Femme assise (Jacqueline, 1962). © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Courtesy the Donald B. Marron Family Collection, Acquavella Galleries, Gagosian and Pace
Other works in the collection have been displayed in numerous commercial office buildings. Marron's contemporary art holdings—including paintings by Richter, Mark Bradford and Mark Grotjahn—were displayed since 2018 in a special viewing space at the Fuller Building in Midtown Manhattan. The last work Marron is known to have bought was a Brice Marden drawing from the artists recent exhibition at Gagosian.
Highlights of the three-way exhibition will include two major paintings by Pablo Picasso, Femme au beret et la collerette (1937) and Femme assise (Jacqueline) (1962); Mark Rothkos Number 22 (reds) (1957); Cy Twomblys Untitled (Camino Real) (2011); paintings by Willem De Kooning and Gerhard Richter, and significant works by Marden, including Complements (2004–2007).
“Don was a true visionary and one of the most forward-thinking collectors of his time,” says Larry Gagosian in a statement. “He would frequently see something in a work of art that others did not, and the outcome is an unparalleled collection that encapsulates a defining moment in the history of Modern and contemporary art. I am delighted that our gallery is forming this collaboration… as we introduce this exceptional selection of artworks from his personal collection."
The collaboration between the three galleries is unprecedented, and signals a new way for families to handle the sales of their collections. Heirs of Marron had asked major auction houses to submit proposals for the right to sell works from the collection in January.
The Fashion Institute of Technology Ajay Suresh
An African American model at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) runway show says she was pressured to wear racist accessories like “monkey ears” and oversized lips. The show, held at Manhattan's Pier 59 Studios on 7 February during New York Fashion Week, was designed to showcase the work of the ten fashion and design graduates from FITs inaugural Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programme.
The accessories in question were designed by the graduate Junkai Huang and included large prosthetic red lips, black ears and stick-on bushy eyebrows. The dissenting model, Amy Lefevre, walked the runway but refused to wear the pieces.
“I was told that it was fine to feel uncomfortable for only 45 seconds,"Lefevre told the New York Post. “People of colour are struggling too much in 2020 for the promoters not to have vetted and cleared accessories for the shows.”
The show was directed by Jonathan Kyle Farmer, a FIT professor and chair of the new MFA Fashion Design, and produced by Richard Thornn, creative director of the British fashiRead More – Source
Caroline Baumann, then the director of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, at the institution's 2017 National Design Awards gala in New York Scott Rudd/Sipa USA, via AP Images
The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York is under the interim directorship of the Smithsonian Institutions provost following the controversial ouster of its director arising from an inquiry related to her 2018 wedding.
The provost, John Davis, who also holds the title of undersecretary for museums, education and research, already oversees all 19 of the Smithsonian museums, many research units, the National Zoo, multiple offices and programs related to education and the Smithsonian press and libraries. A Smithsonian spokeswoman, relaying Daviss interim role at the Cooper Hewitt, says that the institution was also preparing to begin a hunt for a new director and would form a search committee.
The New York Times reported that the museums director, Caroline Baumann, was forced to resign from her position on 7 February after an investigation by the Smithsonians inspector general into how she obtained the dress for her 18 September 2018 wedding and secured the site for the ceremony. The newspaper said that the inspector general had questioned the discrepancy between the $750 Baumann paid for the dress, created by the designer Samantha Sleeper, and the $3,000 starting price for gowns advertised on Sleepers website.
The Cooper Hewitt plays a key role in showcasing design and designers through its exhibitions and events like its National Design Awards.
The Smithsonians inquiry also focused on the location of the ceremony, LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton, New York, which has ties to the Cooper Hewitt and did not charge Baumann for the use of its facilities, the Times reported.
The museum declined to comment on the inquiry or the reason for the directors ouster, saying that her departure was a confidential personnel matter.
Six trustees on the Cooper Hewitts advisory board have resigned to protest Read More – Source