Just discovered the Met Museum’s really wonderful “82nd & Fifth” iPad app. 100 curators talk about 100 works of art that changed how they see the world: one work, one curator, two minutes at a time. Inspiring and fun and free: great for a long flight. Met Director Thomas P. Campbell said “In a world filled with constant information, these two-minute, authoritative commentaries provide powerful, compelling content in quick doses.” You can also watch on the Met’s website.
Eric Fischl’s Bad Boy: My Life On and Off the Canvas is a must read. The book is compelling and beautifully written — you won’t be able to put it down. It chronicles Fischl’s formative youth, his early days at Cal Arts, his marriage to April Gornik, the frenetic New York art scene in the 1970s and 1980s and his representation by Mary Boone. Adam Gopnik said “A brave and beautiful book about the difficulties of practicing as a painter in America, and a reminder of how essential the courage of the pursuit of a personal vision is to art.” I agree.
Sotheby’s shared their 14 Memorable Moments from 2014. One highlight is Gerhard Richter’s monumental abstract canvas Wand (Wall), which sold for over $28M, the third highest price achieved for any painting by the artist. Sotheby’s auction sales for the first half of 2014 stand at $3.12 billion, the highest in the company’s history. Sales of Impressionist and Modern Art have grown by 21% as compared to the same period in 2013 (more at Art Market Monitor).
(See segment video on 60 Minutes.) This makes our work as art collection managers and appraisers more difficult. Appraisers do not authenticate, and our pool of experts is diminishing as more and more skillful forgers come to light. Fearing lawsuits, many expert authenticators have stopped working.
Yesterday President Obama awarded James Turrell the National Medal of Arts, which goes “to individuals or groups who are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support, and availability of the arts in the United States.” (from ARTnews)
Watermark, a recent documentary film by industrial landscape photographer Edward Burtynsky (Canadian, b. 1955) about how water shapes us, and how we shape water, is an astonishing and powerful work of art. Don’t miss it…and if you can find it, rent Manufactured Landscapes, a 2006 film about Burtynsky’s work. Both films are visually arresting and magnificent portrayals of man’s impact on the environment, or as Burtynsky says “nature transformed through industry.”
The 29th annual Coeur d’Alene Art Auction, which specializes in classic Western and American Art, was held on July 26, 2014 in Reno, Nevada and brought in nearly $30 million. Only 13 of 304 lots did not sell, giving the auction a sell-through rate of almost 96 percent.
This is great news for museums!
Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4719, legislation that would permanently reinstate three charitable giving tax incentives, among them the IRA Charitable Rollover provision. This strong, bipartisan vote came on the heels of an open letter from over 850 nonprofit organizations in support of these provisions. More than 220 museums spanning 47 states joined the Alliance in signing on. Continue reading