Museum Plans to Buy Muhammad Cartoons
The Art Newspaper has reported that the Museum of Danish Cartoon Art in Copenhagen is currently in talks to acquire the 12 controversial Muhammad cartoons that caused probably the largest and most insane reaction to a cartoon that I have ever seen. More than one hundred people were killed in protests around the world (according to wikipedia).
After seeing the reaction that the cartoons have already created, I think the Danish museum would be putting the public at risk if they were to buy them. Security would have to be tighter than any airport in the world as they are taunting a lot of angry bulls with a giant red rag. By having the Muhammad cartoons in one place they are making themselves a big fat target.
As much as I like freedom of speech, I like my life more, so I wouldn't go anywhere near the museum. We just have to accept that we live in an insane world and move on.
Danish museum to buy Muhammad cartoons which sparked global riots "Three men are currently serving six-year jail terms in the UK for soliciting murder at a demonstration outside the Danish Embassy in London in February 2006. A fourth man was convicted of inciting race hate and jailed for four years. In Germany as we went to press, a Lebanese man is on trial, accused of planting suitcase bombs on a train in Cologne in July 2006. His alleged accomplice, Jihad Hamad, was given a 12-year sentence by a Beirut court for the same offense. Hamad told the Lebanese court that the bombs, which failed to explode, were planted in “revenge” for the publication of the cartoons." The Art Newspaper
>> Art Controversies, Cartoon News¶ 7:54 PM11 comments
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Banksy at Auction
I have spent hours browsing through auction catalogues online today. I spend hours every month going through them, like I'm a billionaire art collector looking for prey, yet I have never spent more than $1,000 on a painting!
It's almost like an addiction, but it's free, it doesn't affect my health, and I love doing it, so I can't complain. Impressionists, modern art, contemporary art, and Australian art are my favorite art auctions to browse, but I have also found myself looking at anything from fine wine through to exclusive real estate auctions (I'm a dreamer).
Here's some Banksy works that will be up for auction at Sotheby's in London on the 28th of February.
I'm surprised that collectors haven't had more problems with the subject matter of Banksy. It's one thing to appreciate them on a public wall or in a gallery, but living with them is something different. The Happy Coppers isn't something I would like to pass by while going to the toilet at night. I would be happy to add any of them to my collection though ;-)
>> Art Auctions, Banksy¶ 8:45 PM9 comments
So, keeping with that theme, the Guardian has reported that a plot to kill the Nobel Prize winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk has recently been interrupted. Thirteen people have been arrested in Turkey and accused of plotting to assassinate the author.
"The suspects have now been remanded in custody, among them retired military officers and the lawyer Kemal Kerincisz. The latter has been instrumental in the pursuit of a series of writers and intellectuals through the courts, filing cases against Pamuk himself as well as the novelists Elif Shafak and Perihan Magden and the murdered journalist Hrant Dink." Guardian
Reality Check - Being an Artist
Most of the artists I know see reality in different ways to normal people. Their feet don't seem to touch the ground when they walk and they often bump into real things as their head is usually in the clouds. There are exceptions, but reality usually makes artists uncomfortable.
Sylvia White recently published an interesting article called "5 Facts Artists Have To Face To Succeed In Business". She calls it her cold water splash in the face for artists. Here's the 5 points..
You will not get "discovered."
You will not find a gallery that "understands your work" and feels as passionately about it as you do.
No matter how original you think your work is, it has been done before.
Just because your work looks just like Jackson Pollock, (or, fill in the blank) doesn't mean it's as good, or that you can price it the same.
You will not be able to make a living off the sale of your work.
Chinese Oil Painting Reproductions
My spam folder is kept full each day with at least 400 emails.. day after day.. and among the promises of lengthened manhood and pre-approved loans are emails with titles like "Cheap China Wholesale Paintings" and "Oil Paintings from China."
I have also heard from angry contemporary artists wanting to expose Chinese art factories for ripping off their art and profiting from it.
So, even though I don't know much about these Chinese painting factories, I don't think very highly of them. Being a spammer or ripping off working artists is no way to build respect.
Most of the famous painting reproductions of new and old masters coming out of China come from Dafen, the Art Factory Village in southern China.
James Fallows of the Atlantic says "in one sprawling area are many hundreds of individual art factories, in which teams of artists crank out hand-painted replicas of any sort of picture you can imagine. European old masters. Andy Warhol. Gustav Klimt. Classic Chinese landscapes. Manet. Audubon. Botero. The super-hot and faddish contemporary Chinese artist Yue Minjun, whose paintings and sculptures all feature people wearing enormous grins." The Atlantic
Evan Osnos at the Chicago Tribune talks more about the art village of Dafen in China. "In tiny garrets and vast factories, a few centuries' worth of art emerges each day in the southern Chinese town of Dafen. In barely as much time as it took Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel, this village has become one of the world's largest producers of art, shipping more than $120 million last year in copied and original oil paintings to stores near you." Chicago Tribune
Here's an interesting quote on the Tribune article from a Chinese artist / factory chief..
"A single painting is art. If you produce it in large quantities, it's an industry."
Robert Genn has also talked about Chinese copies in his newsletter.
Jan 09 Update: I have turned comments off on this post because of continual abuse from Chinese spammers posting hundreds of links to their crappy Chinese oil painting reproduction websites. Yet another reason to buy paintings from your own country and not support the lawlessness and abuse that many of these Chinese painting factories inflict upon the world. I have been deleting their spam for almost a year on this post, so they're persistant and I was patient until now!
>> Art Scams, General Art News¶ 6:37 PM14 comments
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Christie's Billions for 2007
ArtDaily recently mentioned the full year art sales of Christie's auction house. Christie's sold an impressive $6.3 billion in art for 2007 (Bloomberg says it's $6.1 billion).
It will be interesting to see if the next big art auction takes any notice of the recent (current?) stock market plunge. If the super-rich are getting margin loan calls and they keep hearing in the news that there's a recession ahead, will they continue to pay the high prices that are being paid for art?
Christie's 2007 Art Sales "Christie’s International, the world’s leading art business, today announced 2007 art sales totals of £3.1 billion/$6.3 billion, a 25% increase in £ and 36% increase in $ over 2006 sales. The results were achieved through more than 600 sales in 14 saleroom locations worldwide and include auction premiums plus private sales of £268 million/$542 million. For the year, Christie’s sold a total of 793 works of art at auction for over $1 million." Art Daily
>> Art Auctions¶ 5:57 AM4 comments
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Chinese Artist Cai Guo-Qiang
There's an interesting interview over at the Art Newspaper website with the Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang. He is one of a number of contemporary Chinese artists that are hot at the moment. By "hot" I mean really popular with art collectors (a set of drawings by Cai Guo-Qiang sold at auction recently for about 19 million).
Here's some Cai Guo-Qiang quotes from the interview at the Art Newspaper..
The main purpose in making art is to have fun and to redefine the nature of objects. Where are the limits when an object becomes a work of art?
Nature always changes but the fact of change.. or evolution.. never does.
Making contemporary art can throw up obstacles but it does not worry me. I am eternally optimistic; I am Chinese.
When I was a child, the Chinese government did not allow citizens to buy flowers because it was a very bourgeois thing, but since my hometown of Guangzhou was far from the capital, I could buy flowers from farmers and go home and paint them.
There's some really interesting painters working in China at the moment. Here's a popular art gallery in China that exhibits emerging and established Chinese artists. I love the figurative painters. Especially the quirky ones.
Egon Schiele Drawings at Auction
I think Egon Schiele is the most amazing draftsman. He would have to be the greatest artist to have picked up a pencil in the last 200 years. It's a pity he died so young though (1890-1918). Perhaps if he had lived longer he may have mastered the brush as well as he mastered the stick (pencil).
Anyway, if my credit card extended a little further than it currently does ($2,500 credit limit), I would love to be bidding on several major Egon Schiele works to be auctioned in London on February 4. There's some details on the Schieles at ArtDaily or go to view the actual works at Christies (Browse catalogues and go to the month of February - Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale).
Mutter und Kind
Auction Estimate: 1,500,000 - 2,000,000 British pounds
Frau in Unterwäsche und Strümpfen (Valerie Neuzil)
Auction Estimate: 800,000 - 1,200,000 British pounds
Selbstbildnis (recto); Liegende Frau (verso)
Auction Estimate: 800,000 - 1,200,000 British pounds
Stehender Mann (recto); Liebespaar (verso)
Auction Estimate: 1,500,000 - 2,000,000 British pounds
Auction Estimate: 400,000 - 600,000 British pounds
Selbstbildnis, Kopf (recto); Porträt Hans Massmann (verso)
Auction Estimate: 700,000 - 1,000,000 British pounds
Food Art - Jelly Beans and Chocolate
I seem to be coming across a lot of food art lately. Wacky stuff, like portraits made with jelly beans (thanks to Helly). Another link I recently found was of the artist Vic Muniz. He uses chocolate to create paintings.
Update: MadSilence has a bunch of weird food art projects posted here.
Getting off the food art topic for a moment, but sticking with art that is a little different, check out these amazing pictures taken from Google Earth. Big companies have found that satellite images are great for viral marketing campaigns, but artists are also going LARGE and creating art for the martians.
Art News Round Up
Lots has been happening in the world of art lately.
Anselm Kiefer is exhibiting at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art says the NY Times. One of the sculptures (or is it an installation?.. who knows..) is the large concrete "Narrow Are the Vessels" which was in the backyard of a Connecticut collector before he was forced to remove it. Here's the exhibition guide at the museum.
The Guardian says that the Royal Academy blockbuster exhibition with works from Russia is back on. Russia feared that the descendants of those that once owned some of the paintings may claim ownership of them. New legislation was fast-tracked to protect the art from seizure.
Bloomberg says that the billionaire art collector Eli Broad will keep his much sought after collection of art. It was expected that the Los Angeles County Museum of Art would receive much of his collection.
The Art Newspaper reports that the director of the São Paulo Biennial to be held in October will have an exhibition of no art, just an empty room. Sounds like somebody is out of ideas.
ArtDaily reported that the Japanese artist Mariko Mori at ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum in Denmark. I don't know anything about Mariko Mori but I loved the image of her "Oneness" work.
The message of this story is, don't start an art gallery in Baghdad, Iraq unless you're prepared to be patient.. very patient.
BBC says that a stolen Pablo Picasso and Candido Portinari have been recovered in Brazil. The paintings are now protected by armed guards, which sends a message that it may be harder to steal the works again!
Toothpick Sculpture of the Golden Gate Bridge
I have mentioned the toothpick artist (Steven Backman) before, with his toothpick portraits. He has since been working on larger and more complex toothpick sculptures of boats, cable cars, and bridges, but he has also started going micro.
He has made a toothpick sculpture of the Golden Gate Bridge from 30,000 toothpicks which is now in the "Ripley's Believe it or not" museum in Hollywood, which can be seen Here..
Steven has also recently created another version of the Golden Gate Bridge, but this time with one toothpick! (see pic in post) Measuring 1 7/8”(L) x 1/8”(W) x 3/4”(H), it was sculpted from 1 toothpick and glue.
Art Collector with 800 Andy Warhols
The art collectors Jose Mugrabi and his sons, Alberto and David have a collection of 800 Warhols. The number of works in the Mugrabi collection of Warhols is surpassed only by the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
The Mugrabis have bought the Warhols over a period of 20 years, starting back when the mean estimate of an Andy Warhol at auction was $66,000, through to the current estimate of $442,000. In a Wall Street Journal report, the Warhol collector says that he is happy to help "defend" these higher prices..
"Rival dealers say the Mugrabis are doing whatever they can to keep Warhol prices high, including occasionally overpaying.. or overcharging.. for the artworks. They say such moves make it far more difficult for others to collect the artist's work. Mr. Mugrabi said his efforts to "defend" the artist's price levels are legal and work in favor of Warhol owners everywhere." Wall Street Journal
And, more from the WSJ report, is a method that the collectors use to massage the art market..
"Lately, the Mugrabis have made some of their boldest attempts to build the Warhol market. In May, the family paid $2.8 million, or $700,000 apiece, for a quartet of small portraits of Jacqueline Kennedy that Warhol painted between 1964 and 1966. Just a month later in London, they paid $1.5 million for a single small "Jackie," a more-than-100% price increase over the previous sale. Mr. Mugrabi says the goal was to leapfrog the previous asking price and set a new threshold for all the paintings in the "Jackie" series. It seems to have worked: In November, Mr. Mugrabi says he sold another quartet of Jackies for $6.5 million to a new collector -- essentially doubling the market price in six months."
I think Andy Warhol would be happy to see that his art has become such a tradable commodity. He really is a "business artist" now.
Scaremongering Czech Artists - Ztohoven
A group of 6 Czech artists that call themselves Ztohoven face possible prison time after being acused of scaremongering and propagating false information. In June of 07 the group hacked into a Czech Republic television tower and replaced images of a live weather broadcast with a nuclear explosion going off in the Czech countryside.
The hoax called "Media Reality" was liked by the Czech National Gallery as the group received prize money of $18,000 for the work. Hopefully they haven't spent their winnings though as it will now be needed to try and keep them out of prison.
In a USA Today article on the nuclear hoax, the Czech National Gallery head said "This piece.. alongside all of the art the group Ztohoven is making — is crossing the border from art into something more social," said Milan Knizak. "The artists are trying to escape from the cage of art, and into real life. They would like to influence their own lives, and other people’s lives."
The Ztohoven group released a statement on their Myspace page, which I found here at Art Threat.. "We are neither a terrorist organization nor a political group, our aim is not to intimidate the society or manipulate it, which is something we witness on daily basis both in the real world and in the world created by the media…We hope our action will become an appeal for the future and remind the media of their duty to bring out the truth." Ztohoven
And here's a video of the live weather report on Czech TV..
List of Art Blogs
Wow, 2008! I thought I better get back on the bike and post something before I get too comfortable sitting around reading, watching television (pay TV is an evil brain deadener), listening to music, and playing with the dogs.
My main goal for 2008 is to notice and acknowledge each day, each hour, and each minute. I feel like I missed most of 2007 as I now think back on it as a blur. The blurring effect wasn't from too much red wine either. I think it was from spending too much time in the past or the future and forgetting about now.
So, smelling the roses and being thankful for the simple things in life will be my goal.
Forgetting me for a moment, I found a list of 8 art blogs that should be read in 2008. They were posted on the EmptyEasel art portal and used the following criteria..
"My criteria? I chose blogs that are focused on art, illustration, or design that consistently feature helpful and well-written articles, are frequently updated, and have the staying power to last all the way through 2008." EE
Kirsty Hall (thoughtful UK artist)
Making a Mark (artist blogging about art)
Laurelines (life of a watercolor & ink artist)
William Wray (figurative painter from California)
Lines and Colors (blog on all things art and design)