Picasso breaks Giacometti’s record, the Met is promised a $10 million fountain, and architecture for the people were among this week’s headlines.
TURF WARS: ELI BROAD, SHEPARD FAIREY, AND BANKSY
Debate continues as to whether Los Angeles should lease city-owned land to billionaire Eli Broad for $1 a year, as incentive for Broad to fund construction and operating costs on a public museum housing his art collection. Critics say that taxpayer loss is not worth the gain on what is arguably the most valuable real estate in the city. Meanwhile on the East Coast, Shepard Fairey’s new mural, painted to coincide with “May Day,” the final exhibition at Deitch Projects, was tagged, punctured, and stickered by other street artists almost immediately after it went up on the Lower East Side—despite the big names involved and guards protecting the work. In Melbourne, a graffiti-removal crew accidentally painted over a mural by Banksy from 2003. And, it turns out, Banksy accidentally stole a London band’s name for the title of his documentary, “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” The band agreed to change their name, and in gratitude, Banksy gave them a painting worth over $300,000. Keep reading at ArtWeLove.
Blacklists, inappropriate patrons, and “degenerate art” were among the week’s headlines. Keep reading at ArtWeLove.
For the week of April 5: London’s Eiffel Tower, censorship in Zimbabwe, and long lost Ansel Adams prints were among the week’s news headlines.
For the week of April 12: A painting disowned by Picasso, a BMW designed by Jeff Koons, and a new underwater museum in Mexico were among the week’s news headlines.
A summary of last week’s art news, minus the Met’s Rose Period Picasso fiasco, because that’s hardly news at this point…
Demand and short supply prevailed at the Sotheby’s and Christie’s old masters sales this week. The $109 million that changed hands at Christie’s set a new record for a single old masters auction and established new price highs for the artists Rembrandt, Raphael and Domenichino. Sotheby’s old master’s sales totaled $74 million, well situated in the pre-sale estimate of $54-75 million. Sotheby’s most buzzed items included “Portrait of a Woman, Called ‘La Belle Ferronniere,’ ” once thought to be authored by Leonardo da Vinci. It sold for $1.5 million—triple the $500,000 estimate.
These outcomes support the prediction that high quality conservative art will fare better during a recession. The old masters, the impressionists and the modernists are an inflation hedge, while acquisitions by recent superstars have become risky investments.
In a survey of 25 museums, The Art Newspaper notes that endowments are recovering, and the Met reports that its income is at pre-recession levels. But California closings (Claremont Museum of Art and the Fresno Metropolitan Museum) and cautionary moves, such as the Los Angeles County Museum sending 17 pieces through Sotheby’s last week, indicate that institutional art budgets remain shaky.
All is not lost in our most leveraged state. On Wednesday the Getty Foundation announced that it will award $3.1 million in grants to 26 California institutions to help fund next fall’s bevy of exhibits, “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980.” This gift doubles the previously announced commitment. Continue reading