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Tuesday, May 30, 2006
  Most Expensive Vase
The wealthy Las Vegas casino man, Steve Wynn has shocked his critics by showing that he has a caring/giving side to him. Firstly he paid a record amount for a vase (5.5 million pounds), only to give it away.
Wynn is better known for his casinos and great excesses than he is for being generous. After buying the copper and white porcelain Ming vase from a Hong Kong auction room, he gave it to a Macau museum in China.
Coincidently, Macau is also famous for casinos and gambling. I wonder what benefits could come from such a generous gift?
Vase bought for world record - and given away
"The piece he bought at the Christie's Imperial Sale in Hong Kong yesterday was lovely, an exceptionally rare Hongwu period - that is, 14th century - Ming vase, decorated in copper red scrolling flowers and in pristine condition.
It was assumed he was buying for his ultimate hotel, the Wynn Las Vegas, which is said to have cost $2.7 billion to build. It has the Cirque du Soleil as in-house cabaret, shops including a Ferrari Maserati dealership, an enormous casino and 2,716 rooms - a lot of wall and shelf space to fill." Guardian
>> Art Auctions
 
Monday, May 29, 2006
  Elton John Libel Payout
The Daily Mail newspaper in the United Kingdom was recently ordered to pay Sir Elton John 100,000 pounds. The publication criticized his rude behavior at his annual AIDS charity ball.
The Daily Mail claimed that Elton "had issued a bizarre and absurd edict to guests.. ordering them not to approach him.. thereby acting like old fashioned royalty or some tinpot dictator and exhibiting self-important, arrogant and rude behavior bordering on paranoia."

There have been accounts of bloggers being sued too, so I guess buygazette better be nice to rich people and never offend anyone.

>> Controversies
 
Saturday, May 27, 2006
  Mona Lisa - Technology Smiling
mona lisa - leonardo da vinciIn an exhibition in Beijing there's a version of Leonardo's Mona Lisa done with computer panels and part from computers, titled "Technology Smiling". Obviously it doesn't hurt for publicity that the Da Vinci Code movie is creating a lot of interest for all things Leonardo, but I wonder how many times the Mona Lisa painting has been reproduced and/or appropriated by artists?

Without even thinking much about it, I can think of 5 famous artists that have used the Mona Lisa to create new work from.

I also just did a quick Google search and found a site devoted entirely to the Mona Lisa painting! Here's some versions of the famous painting here.
>> Art Exhibitions, Leonardo, Mona Lisa Painting
 
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
  Monsters in Famous Paintings
Over at the Worth1000 website there was a Photoshop competition where artists were asked to imagine that the renaissance period in art also had monsters and aliens around.
There's some pretty scary works submitted, and a lot of them are very convincing! One of my favorites was this scary looking Mona Lisa below (Scary Lisa). There's also Mona Satan and another scary Mona Lisa here.

mona lisa

This contest asks a simple question: If the renaissance took place in more recent times, and the models were famous movie monsters/aliens, what would the artwork have looked like? See the rest of the entries at Worth1000.
>> Art Competitions, Mona Lisa Painting
 
  Damien Hirst's Diamond Skull
The contemporary British artist Damien Hirst is working on creating one of the most expensive works to be created. The work will be a life sized skull cast in platinum and then covered in diamonds.
"For the Love of God" will cost up to $18 million to create and will have as many as 8500 diamonds stuck to it.
"The biggest expense will be the fifty-caret beauty that will sit on the forehead. That one alone will cost in the region of three to five million pounds. It is certainly the biggest single undertaking by a jeweler since the Crown jewels." Damien Hirst

I still haven't worked out if I love or hate Damien Hirst. He's an artist that you have to either embrace or reject completely. One thing that no one can deny the artist, is that he is a master marketer.
>> Damien Hirst News
 
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
  Contemporary Art Auctions
Sotheby's mention in a recent article that contemporary art sales are reaching the heights previously only reserved for impressionist and modern paintings. Recently departed and living artists are now frequently reaching prices above $10 million at auction.
In the recent May sales by the big three auction houses (Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips) there was a total of $432,080,560 worth of contemporary art sold. That's $432 million! I wouldn't know how to count that high!

Top Ten Contemporary art sales in May

"Only the buyers can say why with certainty, but the Contemporary art market today continues to encroach on the price levels previously reserved for the high end of the Impressionist market." Sotheby's
>> Art Auctions

 
Monday, May 22, 2006
  Mao Portrait by Zhang Zhenshi
chairman mao portraitThe original portrait that was used for the Mao image in Tiananmen Square will soon go up for auction. Zhang Zhenshi painted the portrait in 1950 to celebrate the first anniversary of the People's Republic of China.
The painting is expected to fetch up to $120,000.
The selling of the portrait has created a bit of a stir in Chinese chatrooms and message boards online. Many believe it should go straight to a museum because of the historical importance of the painting.
Web fury over Mao portrait sale
"The painting, owned by a Chinese-American, is due to go under the hammer on 3 June.
The Beijing Huachen Auction Company says the sale will be open to both Chinese and foreign bidders.
But the auction comes at a sensitive time - a day before the anniversary of the 1989 military crackdown on pro-democracy students in Tiananmen Square." BBC
>> Controversies, Art Auctions
 
Friday, May 19, 2006
  Artist Anthony White Interview
australian artistThe Australian artist Anthony White was recently working as a stockbroker for Credit Suisse First Boston. Early this year he quit his day job as a stockbroker to take up painting full time. He hasn't completely left the money industry behind though, as he is now painting it.

I asked him a few questions about his money series that he is currently working on..

# What got you started on the money series?

My girlfriend got sick of me thinking about money all the time. I guess this happens when you work as a stockbroker. My girlfriend thought I needed to get a hobby to try and get a more rounded personality. I went back to art and The Money Series was the first thing that came out.

# How did a stockbroker become an artist? (Paul Gauguin was also a stockbroker before being an artist)

I started painting and exhibiting my work about 15 years ago before I became a stockbroker. Being dedicated to my art generally kept me quite poor. I worked part time to support my art habit. During this time I was also trading shares which I was quite good at. Unfortunately I never had big funds behind me so I was only making a lot of small wins. When I started working for Credit Suisse First Boston I was well and truly over being the poor artist. During the last 6 years that I worked as a stockbroker I was able to acquire some property and more shares. I left stockbroking in February to go back to art. I guess I am a glutton for punishment.

For inspiration I tend to think of Jeff Koons who was a commodities trader which is similar but different to stockbroking.

# How have you been marketing/selling your work?

Living in a small town of 11 000 people I try and take advantage of all local opportunities because I don’t get many. I don’t think I will sell too many more works locally because everyone who wants one of The Money Series has already bought one. A lot of locals hate my work but I find that they do the best job when it comes to advertising.

I try and use the internet to overcome the lack of local exhibiting opportunities. When I sell a painting I always write my web address on the back. This is not really artistic but it is good marketing. At a couple of group art exhibits I have entered a painting that all it had on it was my web address.

eBay has been very good. I would say don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. This could be the future of art sales.

I do send out press releases but they never seem to be well written. I think I need to have sex with someone famous for anyone to take notice.

I keep good records of people who have bought my work and tend to get in touch every six months. I also aim for 100% customer service and I think this results in repeat sales.

I spend a lot of time writing to curators of corporate art collections and private galleries telling them to buy my work.

I find that I focus a lot more on marketing than the production side. When I am not focused on marketing then I don’t tend to get the sales.


# You sell the works for whatever the amount is painted on them. Do you plan to stop at any number? What about more currencies like the Yen and Euro?

I don’t really have any incentive to stop at any particular number. If people stop buying my work then I will stop painting them. I think the series will just get better with age. I do see it as a large piece of conceptual art that gets better as the numbers go up and more people from around the world participate in it. I see my web site as an integral part of the work as well. I am aiming to launch the Euro in London next year. I have not really worked out how to make money from the Yen yet.

See more of Anthony's art at his website - Anthony White
>> Artist Interviews
 
Thursday, May 18, 2006
  Dan Bodner Paintings from Photographs
dan bodner painting
After the discussion on painting from photographs, Karl Zipser has gone out and almost been converted into a photograph using artist ;-)
Karl visited the studio of Dan Bodner recently and had a talk to him about how he uses photography with painting..
Photographs are not only Bodner's subjects, but a way to study his own work. He has found that by making a photograph of a painting, he can see it as though looking for the first time. As Bodner explains, "By making the photographs daily, I can get a distance from the work as I'm painting it."
Read Part 1 and Part 2 of the interview over at Karl's blog.
More Dan Bodner paintings can be seen on his website too.
>> Contemporary Artist News, Art Blogs
 
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
  Spencer Tunick Flesh Architecture
spencer tunick studioNot everyone knows his name, but I'm sure most people know the work of Spencer Tunick. He's the guy that gets thousands of people all around the world to take their clothes off in public places and pose for him, while he attempts to create his "flesh architecture".

Harry Mount of the Telegraph was shown around the artist's New York studio and got a few quotes out of him..

Read the rest here or check out Spencer Tunick's official website to see when and where his next outdoor project is (you can register to participate if you're brave enough).
>> Spencer Tunick, Photography News

 
  Turner Prize 2006 Shortlisted Artists
2006 turner prize artistThe usually controversial Turner Prize has announced the four shortlisted artists for 2006. The Tate Britain announced that Tomma Abts, Phil Collins, Mark Titchner and Rebecca Warren are in the running to win the £25,000 for first place or £5,000 each for the runners up.

Here's why they were shortlisted..
Tomma Abts - For her solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland, and greengrassi, London, that revealed her rigorous and consistent approach to painting.
Phil Collins (no not the singer) - For solo exhibitions at Milton Keynes Gallery, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, and his presentation in British Art Show 6 in which he showed engaging photographic and video installations involving diverse social groups.
Mark Titchner - For his solo exhibition at Arnolfini, Bristol in which his hybrid installations furthered his exploration into systems of belief.
Rebecca Warren - For her exuberant sculptural installations as seen in her solo exhibitions at Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, and Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne, and for her contribution to the Tate Triennial 2006.

My prediction for the year is that Rebecca Warren's expressive sculpture will win the Turner Prize for 2006! See more about the competition at Tate Britain.
>> Art Competitions
 
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
  Guy Goma BBC Interview
bbc interviewI know this isn't art, but it's funny..
A few days ago a guy went into the BBC for a job interview and found himself being interviewed live on a worldwide broadcast. The funny thing is it was the wrong "Guy".
The BBC presenter thought she was interviewing "Guy Kewney" of newswireless.net, but she was really talking to "Guy Goma" who was looking to be interviewed for a job with the BBC.
Guy Goma had only been learning English for the past 4 years and did the best he could in the challenging situation. He was interviewed as "Guy Kewney" and happily answered whatever difficult questions were thrown at him by the presenter, Karen Bowerman.

Here's what he said about the incident..
"It all happened so fast. I had just signed my name when someone said 'follow me'.
He was walking so fast I had to jog to keep up. He led me into a room and this lady tried to put some make-up on me. I thought it was all part of the job interview.
When realizeded I was already on air, what could I do? I just tried to answer the questions and stay calm."

See the video of it here.
There's more about it here.. and the BBC brought him back on air a few days later here.
>> General Arts News
 
  Howard Hodgkin at Tate Britain
The British artist Howard Hodgkin will soon be exhibiting at the Tate Britain, from June 14 to September 10. The exhibition will span his career from the 1950s through to present.
The Guardian went and had a chat with the artist and visited his studio recently. Here's what they wrote about the large screens that he uses to cover the paintings he is working on (sounds like an unusual working method to me!)..
"Secrecy is very important for him. No one else knows what these screened half-finished paintings look like. When I ask him if he would ever unscreen them all, have all his unfinished work look down at him in one fell swoop, he says he would run screaming out of the studio. The idea is unthinkable." Read the rest of the story..
>> Famous Artists, Museum Exhibitions
 
Monday, May 15, 2006
  Lamborghini Art
Lamborghini artA man in California liked the look of his Lamborghini Countach so much that he has done a Marcel Duchamp with it. The Californian millionaire Richard Moriarty has bolted his 1974 sports car to a wall in his house and called it art.
The vehicle had to be lowered through his living room skylight using a 70 ton crane.
The engine was also taken out to become the "200 mph coffee table".

I think it's more of a statement about the price of oil than a work of art. Like a museum piece, from an age of excess and ego. But it's much more beautiful than any ready-mades that Duchamp ever "created".

Lamborghini installed in California home
"Joiner has installed offbeat elements in previous mansion projects — including indoor rifle ranges, bowling alleys and a 28-foot-high interior waterfall — but the Lamborghini is "one of a kind," he said." Seattle Times
>> Art News
 
Thursday, May 11, 2006
  Michael Leunig Interview
Michael Leunig interviewThe quirky Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig was recently interviewed on Andrew Denton's Enough Rope program.

He's famous for cute little people with big noses, ducks, teapots, and for creating the odd controversy or two. His poetic little cartoons have provoked enough people to receive a steady stream of hate-mail and death threats.

Here's some Leunig quotes from the interview (see his article about the interview at the bottom of this post too).
See the full Enough Rope interview here. Leunig also talks about doing the interview..
"I learn that Andrew likes to "reveal the person behind the public mask. A minor worry is forming. What if he tries to tear my mask off and pulls my head off by mistake?" The Age
>> Cartoon News
 
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
  Art-o-mat Art Vending Machine
art vending machineThe more I think about the Art-o-mat, the more I like it! It's a vending machine that sells affordable original art.

Here's the story from the founder of the Artomat, Clark Whittington..
"The year was 1997, the town was Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Whittington was set to have a solo art show at a local cafe, Penny Universitie (now Mary's Of Course Café). This is when Whittington used a recently-banned cigarette machine to create the first Artomat. In June 1997, it was installed, along with 12 of his paintings. The machine sold Whittington's black & white photographs for $1.00 each."
"This art show was scheduled to be dismantled in July 1997. However, Cynthia Giles (owner of the Penny Universitie) loved the machine and asked that it stay permanently and machine remains unaltered in its original location to this day. At that point, it was clear that involvement of other artists was needed if the project was going to continue. Giles introduced Whittington to a handful of other local artists and Artists in Cellophane was formed."

To see if there's an Art-o-mat near you, check out the website. Artists can also have their work added to the vending machines. Here's the guidelines for artists.
>> Art Collecting, Art Marketing, General Arts
 
  Karel Appel Dies at 85
This is old news, but new news to me, so I thought it's still worth a mention. The Dutch painter and sculptor Karel Appel passed away at the age of 85 on the 3rd of this month.
Here's a Google image search of the artist.
There's also a good article about Karel Appel by Christopher Masters over at the Guardian..
"The Dutch artist Karel Appel, who has died at the age of 85, famously declared that "If I paint like a barbarian, it's because we live in a barbarous age" - the sentiment of a man who had reached adulthood at the beginning of the second world war. Yet, like other members of that shortlived but celebrated movement of radical artists and intellectuals, the Cobra group, he absorbed a variety of intellectual and artistic influences, out of which developed a frenetic style of sweeping brushstrokes and vibrant, even lurid, colors." Guardian

Karel Appel - Born on the 25th of April 1921 and died on the 3rd of May 2006
>> Famous Artist Obituaries
 
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
  eBay Art Fraud
eBay may be a great tool for contemporary painters to sell their work online as the paintings usually only sell for hundreds or perhaps a few thousand at most. So investors can afford to take a risk on the work.
But when paintings start selling for very large sums, art collectors seem reluctant to gamble online. One high profile case of art fraud that didn't help the cause was back in 2000 when a Californian lawyer by the name of Kenneth Walton sold a fake Richard Diebenkorn painting for $135,805.
Basically, he played dumb and pretended that he found the work at a garage sale and helped the eBay auction along by getting his business partner to keep bidding on the work. It was eventually found to be a forgery signed by Walton, which got him plenty of media coverage and the attention of the FBI.
Anyway, now he has written a book (Fake: Forgery, Lies, & eBay) about it and seems to be cashing in on the whole eBay art auction scam. It's sad that a fraud can profit from his crime by writing a book about it, but such is life.
Here's some quotes by Kenneth Walton from an interview with the Wired magazine..

He also seems to be doing quite well according to his website over at kennethwalton.com (I couldn't bring myself to make the link live to his homepage as it felt like I was supporting an art fraud).
>> Art Auctions, Art Frauds, Controversies, Art Books

 
Monday, May 08, 2006
  Saatchi Gallery Online
The Saatchi Gallery website has recently started an online gallery that is open to all artists. It is free to add your portfolio and allows you to display up to 8 works, your biographical details, your website address, and exhibition announcements.
I haven't added mine yet, but it looks like a lot of others have already added theirs, with more than 700 artist profiles now online. If you're not adding your profile, it's also a great way to use an hour or two browsing through the artists online already.
So, you may not have your work hanging in a Saatchi Gallery anytime soon, but anyone can show their work at the online Saatchi Gallery here.
>> Websites
 
  Art Daily is Back Again
ArtDaily.com is back online again. It has had a couple pauses in the past, but seems to be back stronger and more determined than ever.
I hope they have a better long term plan for the future this time around, as it would be a pity to see them disappear..

Finally, ArtDaily has seen the light at the end of the tunnel. And no, it is not the locomotive coming towards us head on, but the exit to the tunnel.
People with great vision and enormous success in the business world, who support many and very diverse causes, have seen ArtDaily with good eyes. This has given us new strength to continue once again with this project that was born ten years ago. What happened? This is not a game: ArtDaily is a part of my life. ArtDaily has taken up 10 years of the 48 years that I have been working.
Ignacio Villarreal of ArtDaily
>> Internet News
 
Saturday, May 06, 2006
  Hazel Dooney Print
australian artist hazel dooney The Australian artist Hazel Dooney has a high resolution work that can be downloaded online and printed out as an original print. She will also sign the work if you send it to her, along with a stamped, self addressed envelope.

I can imagine Andy Warhol would be doing something like this if he was still alive. The only difference would probably be that he would charge $5000 for each download!
Anyway, here's what Hazel says about her print..

"Several years ago, the American sculptor, Robert Graham, came up with the bold idea of creating works that could be distributed over the web. He posted a series of high resolution drawings that could be downloaded for free from his site, reproduced on a collector's own home or office printer, then displayed as original Robert Graham prints. Part of the idea's strong appeal, for me, was that it ran counter to the commercial imperative of an increasingly avaricious art business and enabled those who might not normally be able to afford a work of any kind by a major artist to do so."

"I have long wanted to attempt something similar with my own work and now, finally, I have! Derived from themes dominant in my new paintings, I Will Not Be Your Give Man Anymore, is a twisted self-portrait that recasts the anguish of a familial relationship within the context of an Haitian zombie 'curse' (in reality, according to the author and ethnologist, Wade Davis, an insidious poisoning with a powerful marine neurotoxin) that turns its victim into a 'give man', a mindless slave not even worth giving away."

"The image is available to be downloaded free from my web site under a Creative Commons license. It can be reproduced and distributed in any way for any non-commercial purposes. For those of you who would still like to have my 'real' signature, along with an authenticating stamp, on the work's verso, you can send your print of the image along with an adequately sized, stamped (Australian only, please), self-addressed envelope to the studio's post box address listed on my site. However, the studio and I cannot be held responsible for any prints that are lost, damaged, or overlooked."
>> Contemporary Artists, Art Collecting, Art Marketing
 
Thursday, May 04, 2006
  Dora Maar Sells for $95.2 Million
pablo picasso dora maar paintingA painting of Dora Maar by Pablo Picasso has sold for $95.2 million at a Sotheby's auction in New York. The estimate of $50 million was almost doubled!
The work was completed in 1941 and titled "Dora Maar au Chat".
It might have the Picasso signature on it, but is it really one of his better paintings? It is the second most expensive painting ever sold!
Picasso Portrait of Lover Sells for $95.2 Million at Sotheby's
"There is a lot of newly minted wealth,'' collector and money manager Scott Black, president of Boston-based Delphi Management Inc., said after the sale. "This is a way to confirm status, by buying a collection with a signature. New wealth doesn't know one period from the next.'' Bloomberg
The Picasso painting helped Sotheby's total auction sales for the night to $207.6 million, which passed the $180 million total of Christies the previous night.
>> Pablo Picasso, Art Auctions
 
  Ron English Billboards
ron english popagandaI watched a documentary on the contemporary pop artist Ron English recently. He is probably most famous for defacing public billboards in America. He covers legitimate advertisements on prominent billboard with his own version of pop culture.
I recently mentioned that graffiti artists should go out and buy canvases like the rest of us, but this guy should be allowed to deface any billboard he chooses! It's probably a contradiction to support an artist that covers advertising billboards with his own "POPaganda" and not artists that paint buildings and trains, but Ron English is trying to make people think.
He pokes fun at the Bush government, McDonalds, Religion, cigarette companies, and popular culture.
See more of his billboards here.
"The modern day Robin Hood of Madison Avenue, Ron paints, perverts, infiltrates, reinvents and satirizes modern culture on canvas, in songs, and directly on hundreds of pirated billboards."
He also paints more traditional paintings that look at popular culture and painters of the past. The Homer Simpson painting like Jackson Pollock is interesting.
>> Contemporary Artist News, Controversies
 
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
  Van Gogh Painting Sells for $40 Million
vincent van gogh paintingA painting of the cafe owner from Arles, Madame Ginoux has made $40.3 million USD at a Christies art auction in New York recently. The 1890 painting by Vincent van Gogh was expected to reach between $40 and $50 million.
The work was extensively marketed to major art collectors around the world, but there was only two bidders fighting over the rare portrait by the Dutchman.
So, in an absurd kind of way, it was probably a bargain for such an important work. I should of put in a bid! ;-)
In 1990 Van Gogh's "Dr. Gachet" went for $82.5 million.

There were 50 works in the Christies sale, with only seven not finding a new home. Which means that 43 modern and impressionist paintings sold for $180.2 million.
Another important work will go up for auction tonight. Pablo Picasso's portrait of Dora Maar With Cat is expected to reach $50 million.
>> Art Auctions, Vincent van Gogh News
 
Monday, May 01, 2006
  Artist Makes $25,000 on eBay
In the last post I mentioned how I thought it is pretty important for artists to have good business and marketing skills. A painter that was recently interviewed here is a great example of an artist that understands the value of marketing yourself and creating a brand or an image.
Michel Leah Keck, also known as The Raw Artist™ recently made $25,000 USD from sales of her art on eBay.
Here's a snippet of a Press Release by Michel (A Press Release is a great marketing tip in itself!)
"She has eschewed the traditional starve-until-you-get-big-gallery-representation route, instead concentrating on Web sales since 2003. In less than two years, Keck has become one of the most popular self-represented artists on eBay, with recent average monthly sales of $20,000. It is not uncommon for The Raw Artist's works to be snapped up through the site's "Buy It Now" feature before ever going to auction. In fact, three spiritual paintings from her Prayer Series sold through the "Buy It Now" feature within 48 hours of being listed in her store."

I love seeing other artists ignoring the challenges of being an artist and making their own path. Selling art online through eBay auctions is a very untraditional way of making a living as an artist, and is probably snubbed by a lot of artists. But with an average of $20,000 a month in sales, I'm sure the Raw Artist is quite happy taking the unconventional path.
>> Art Marketing, Artist Tips
 
  Challenges of Being an Artist
There's an interesting post over at the Art & Perception blog about the challenges of being an artist. Karl asks why is it so difficult to be an artist?

I think in this new world of mass media, hype, and money it's all about marketing. Artists often make it difficult for themselves because they're often humble, not very business savvy, not willing to invest in themselves, or don't know anything about marketing and branding.
You don't need business skills to create a good work of art, but you do need business skills to become a successful artist that lives on more than bread and water. If you have no interest in working on your business skills, you have to pay some one that has them.
An artist with great business skills and mediocre talent will always have more money in the bank than a talented artist with no business skills. Over the long term the talented artist may come out on top, but living on dry noodles and cheap coffee for most of your life (while you're being discovered), isn't very appealing.
Just browse through the contemporary art categories of Chris-toby's to see the value of good marketing. Artists with average talent are always selling works for $100,000++ at auction.
An artist and business skills is a bit like mixing oil and water, but it's a necessary evil if you want to be an artist that actually sells work.
>> Being an Artist, Art Marketing, Art Auctions
 
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