Amidst a Rocky Stock Market, Sales Remain Steady
As the sales at the major galleries on the floor of the convention center continued to clip along- albeit not in a particularly spectacular fashion- The Canvas decided to venture out into the further corners of the fair to see how the galleries participating in Nova, Positions, and Survey were fairing.
In our December monthly edition, we spoke to Director Americas for ArtBasel, Noah Horowitz and specifically asked him about the placement of smaller galleries throughout the fair floor, and whether the fair would consider situating these younger, lesser-known galleries alongside the likes of market heavyweights such as Hauser & Wirth, Pace, Gagosian, and David Zwirner. His answer was that when Art Basel surveys fair attendees, "it comes back to us that there’s a high premium placed on seeing these kinds of projects side by side, and ultimately that’s why we’ve chosen to stick with this model."
However, when we brought this up to Dominique Lévy in a separate interview (also featured in The Canvas Monthly), the powerhouse dealer insisted that this is "Not true. I am sure this is not true. I think that if he would have the courage to reshape the art fair whereby big galleries and small galleries were placed next to one another, and allowed to have a dialogue with each other, then sure, David, and Larry, and I might all do a little less business for a year or two because it would be a bit difficult for people to find their way around, but it would be so much more exciting. I would like to see a fair that has the courage to change, and the courage to be mindful that medium galleries that have nurtured artists for so long, need to be preserved at all costs."
Those are certainly fighting words indeed, and we wanted to investigate in full. When The Canvas made the rounds in the Survey, Positions, and Nova, sectors throughout both yesterday and today, we noticed that the foot traffic was indisputably quieter than in the main central plazas where the biggest galleries dominate. That was to be expected. However, when we asked many of the dealers at these younger galleries how the fair has been going so far, most expressed an extreme satisfaction that their artists were being presented to a wider collecting audience in the first place, and that they have been experiencing a steady stream of sales over both days.
We'll be covering this further in the Sunday edition of The Canvas which will include our takeaways and full round up of the week. In tomorrow's edition, we'll be talking about some of the satellite fairs making a splash this year including Art Miami, Untitled, NADA, and others. In the meantime, here are some more sales trickling in from the first two days of the fair. And if you're interested in reading more from those Noah Horowitz and Dominique Lévy interviews- in addition to interviews with Amalia Dayan and Daniella Luxembourg, Sukanya Rajaratnam of Mnuchin Gallery, and Pamela Cohen and Nick Korniloff of Art Miami, we invite you to subscribe to The Canvas monthly by clicking on the link below the sales information.
Emilio Vedova "Di Umano 83-4" sold for 490,00 EUR
Robert Longo "Untitled (Snow Trees)" sold for $600,000
Georg Baselitz "Ist das der Weg?" sold for 950,000 EUR
Daniel Richter "Dean" sold for 185,000 EUR
Mark Bradford "Amendment #6" with an asking price of $2.5 million
El Anatsui "Almost" with an asking price of $1.35 million
Ed Clark "Untitled" (2009) with an asking price of $250,000
Sean Scully "Doric August" with an asking price of $500,000
Jack Whitten "Bright Moments: For R.R. Kirk" with an asking price of $850,000
Rashid Johnson "Untitled Microphone Sculpture" (2018) sold for $235,000
Jonas Wood "Blackwelder Speaker Still Life" sold for $450,000
Two works by Mary Weatherford sold for $225,000 each
A work by Huma Bhabha sold for $150,000
A work by Lauren Halsey sold for $40,000
Wifredo Lam "Personnage" sold in the range of $500,000
Alberto Burri "Combustione" sold for $220,000
Louise Nevelson "Untitled" (1987) for around $90,000
Josh Lilley Gallery
Four Derek Fordjour works sold for $48,000 each, one sold for $38,000, two sold for $32,000 each, and one sold for $26,000
Blum & Poe
Two abstract paintings by Karel Appel for $136,000 each and a recent portrait by Henry Taylor for $325,000
Van de Weghe Fine Art
Pablo Picasso "Tete de Femme" (1971) with an asking price of $17 million
Five works by Paola Pivi sold for between $45,000–$115,000 each
An Anton Gormley sculpture for $446,000
The Three Things People Are Talking About
1. The inimitable Jerry Saltz’s November 25th New York Magazine cover story, “How to Be an Artist or, Just Live Life More Creatively” is obviously a must-read. The self-proclaimed “would-be artist who burned out” shares 33 rules he’s compiled in response to the many people who ask him for advice on becoming an artist. The Pulitzer Prize winning art critic (who is married to fellow critic Roberta Smith of the New York Times) continues to get the recognition he deserves for continuing to open up the insular art world to a wider audience. After all, how often do we see an art critic grace the cover of a magazine? And, to those haters on Twitter (you know who you are) who are criticizing Saltz in the name of cultural appropriation for his cover photo posing as Frida Kahlo (in addition to Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí), The Canvas suggests you back off and direct your energy toward something useful instead of expending it in indignation over literally everything.
2. In the continuing saga of high-profile exits from auction houses, Sotheby’s recent reorganization saw COO Adam Chinn’s position eliminated in favor of the creation of two new roles. Chinn was in the position less than two years and came to the auction house when it acquired Art agency, Partners, where Chinn was a partner along with Allan Schwartzman and Amy Cappellazzo. While not a department specialist à la Brett Gorvy or Francis Outred, Chinn is known as a savvy, aggressive dealmaker responsible for many of Sotheby’s most high-profile successes. With the smoke still not quite cleared, The Canvas isn't sure of the real story yet- but don't worry, we'll get to the bottom soon- and are definitely sad to see him go. To read more about the indisputable trend of high-level departures from the auction houses, check out The Canvas’s December monthly edition where we asked Dominique Lévy for her take on the exodus of talent from the major auction houses.
3. In what The Canvas can only categorize as a stunning, pathetic, and reckless display of “insecurity,” three barely-disguised men entered Vienna’s Dorotheum auction house and strolled out minutes later with a paper shopping bag containing Renoir’s “Golfe, mer, falaises vertes.” The 123-year-old landscape was due to be auctioned with estimates ranging from $131,000 to $181,000. Though caught in real time on closed-circuit television inside the auction house, apparently no one was paying close enough attention to notice. The average department store is savvy enough about security to attach anti-theft devices to designer purses, but one can just walk out of an auction house with a Renoir? Note to Dorotheum – maybe spend a bit less on advertisements that do nothing for your overall business and more on security. For now, The Canvas can only suggest that you hold onto your wallet if visiting Dorotheum's showroom in Austria.
Six Must-See Booths In Art Basel's Galleries Sector
The Party Circuit
ICA Miami and W Magazine's Annual Artists' Dinner (Spotted: Stefano Tonchi, Larry Bell, Judy Chicago, Jeffrey Deitch, Tiffany Zabludowicz, David Maupin, and Pari Eshan)
Pace Gallery Cocktail Party for Lightness of Being at The Edition Hotel (Spotted: Chuck Close, Nate Freeman, Jen Joy, and The Canvas)
Chloé and The Bass Celebrate: Aaron Curry (Spotted: Ellie Goulding, Laura de Gunzburg, Caspar Jopling, Aaron Curry, and Annie Sama)