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- Auction Industry
Couture quill choker by Shaun Leane. Photo courtesy of Leane. In the wake of COVID-19, auction houses large and small have expanded their online infrastructure. Most have chosen to differentiate their offerings from those of retail stores that already have a large presence online. But Phillips has taken a different approach, launching a fully retail platform for their jewelry department last week. Phillips' new venture, Flawless, brings luxury jewelry collectors an inquire-and-buy option. The current catalog includes several pieces by the noted jeweler Shaun Leane commissioned directly by Phillips. The asking prices range from USD 11,200 to $199,800. Well-known makers such as Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co., and Cartier are also represented. Set of 3 Aurora rings by Shaun Leane. Photo courtesy of Phillips. Phillips' leadership sees this as an opportunity to have a commanding presence in both the retail and auction industries. “When you have the knowledge of an auction house and the commercial branding of luxury high jewelry, and you can occupy that space, that’s where the magic happens," Phillips' head of private jewelry sales, Paul Redmayne, told Bloomberg. In the same article, Redmayne noted that Phillips intends to eventually open a physical store where buyers can inspect the luxury items in person. He points to Phillips' watch department, which also has an online retail operation and in-person store, as an example of how this can be done successfully. Among the notable Shaun Leane pieces commissioned by Phillips is a set of three Aurora rings (price: $20,800). The rings can be worn individually or together, utilizing an interlocking system. Leane's inspiration for this piece was the aurora borealis, the impression of which he aimed to recreate with rubies, purple sapphires, and other gemstones. Couture feather fan earrings by Shaun Leane. Photo courtesy of Phillips. Leane explores the intersection of strength and femininity with a pair of feather fan earrings, available on Flawless for $17,100. The earrings are a reimagining of a runway look he produced for Alexander McQueen in 2000. Leane's collaborations with McQueen are among his professional highlights. "[McQueen] knew how it was all going…
Rania Matar’s Captivating Photographs of Young Women Around the World Capture the Transitory Beauty of Adolescence
Matar's series "She" is currently on view at Richard Levy Gallery online. A few years ago, photographer Rania Matar spending time in Ohio, in the dead of winter. The Lebanese-born artist had been awarded a residency at Kenyon College for the 2017–18 academic year. Born in Beirut to Palestinian parents, she’d moved to the US in 1984 and made her home in Massachusetts. But she’d never been to the Midwest before, never seen the landscape and the particularities of the winter there. She found herself inspired by this new landscape she was discovering—and the young women she saw moving through it. Rania Matar, Sara and Samira, Bourj El Barajneh Refugee Camp, Beirut Lebanon (2018).Courtesy of Richard Levy Gallery and the artist Matar’s career had already been devoted to photographing young women, mainly her daughters, in the transition between girlhood and womanhood—and in Ohio, unsure of what form her work would take, she began a series of portraits of young women she’d recently met. The series, which came to be known as “She,” continued after Matar left Ohio and traveled back to Lebanon, and throughout the US. Now, a selection of these portraits is being presented in an eponymous online exhibition at Richard Levy Gallery. Together, Matar’s images are a window into a precipitous moment in the lives of young women from around the world. Recently, we spoke to Matar about the inspirations behind the series, the stories behind some of her favorite images, and where her work has been heading during quarantine. Rania Matar, Alae, Khiyam, Lebanon (2019). Courtesy of Richard Levy Gallery and the artist. How did the “She” series come about? Throughout my career, my work has been concerned with the passage from girlhood to womanhood, especially in American and Lebanese cultures. Even though these cultures might seem to have very little in common on the surface, there is a universality to growing up, even in different cultures, even in different parts of the world. When I started this particular series at Kenyon, I had finished a project called “Unspoken Conversations” about mothers and daughters, at a time when my older daughter…
- Art Industry
Critics and Curators Are Finally Coming Around to the Riotous Pop Paintings of Peter Saul. So Why Is the Market Still Lagging Behind?
The "patron saint" of Day-Glo colors is having quite a moment. Peter Saul, Ronald Reagan in Grenada (1984). Photo: Jeffrey Nintzel, courtesy Hall Art Foundation. Peter Saul doesn’t fall into any of the easy categories that often define an artist’s trajectory. He isn’t being rediscovered per se, nor is he underappreciated. He’s not really making a comeback, and he’s not a newfound influencer. Instead, Saul is a mix of all of the above. And he may be undervalued, too. At the age of 85, the artist, who has frequently been overlooked over the course of his six-decade career, just wrapped up a retrospective, “Peter Saul: Pop, Funk, Bad Painting, and More,” at the Musée des Abattoirs, a modern and contemporary art museum housed inside a former slaughterhouse in Toulouse. And that’s not all. In New York, he is now the subject of “Peter Saul: Crime and Punishment” (February 11–May 31) at the New Museum, his first-ever museum survey in the city. (Owing to the artist’s prolific nature, there is virtually no overlap between the exhibitions when it comes to works on view.) The American show has already commanded glowing reviews from Peter Schjeldahl in the New Yorker and Holland Cotter in the New York Times, and the latter called it a “well timed” and “critically acidic dirty bomb of a show.” Peter Saul, Saul’s Guernica (1974). Image courtesy Hindman Auctions, Chicago. Playing Catch-Up Given the enthusiastic reception, some may wonder what took so long, especially considering how long the artist has been active. “Peter Saul has had many lives, and, in a sense, many rediscoveries,” says Massimiliano Gioni, the curator of the New Museum show. Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley, and Raymond Pettibon were “looking at him as a patron saint” in the 1980s and ’90s, Gioni says. And more recent up-and-comers such as Nicole Eisenman and Dana Schutz are now looking up to him as well. But his work has never been especially palatable to wider audiences. For decades, Saul’s unflinching, satirical, Mad magazine-style approach to political corruption, sexual violence, wartime atrocities, and capital punishment has shocked and confounded his audiences. His mashups of riotous, Day-Glo colors; his grotesque, cartoonish figures; and his brazen depictions of graphic brutality and violence are…
How Two Dealers Turned $25,000, a Roster of Unknown Artists, and Bravado Into the Global Powerhouse Blum & Poe
During Frieze Week in Los Angeles, Tim Blum and Jeff Poe reflected on impact they've had on the city's bustling art market. Tim Blum and Jeff Poe in 2017 at 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd, the current Los Angeles flagship gallery. Photo: August Blum, courtesy of Blum & Poe. In the early 1990s, Tim Blum met a guy named Jeff Poe working at the same Los Angeles gallery as his girlfriend. At the time, Blum was living in Tokyo, immersing himself in the Japanese contemporary art scene, and would fly back to LA when he could and stop by the Kim Light Gallery in Hollywood. “I’d visit, and say ‘hey’ to Jeff at the front desk,” Blum recalled earlier this month just ahead of Frieze Week, sitting across from me on a stiff-looking bench. “We were friendly,” said Poe, sitting on the same bench, but not really next to Blum. “He showed up in Christmas of ‘93, and he’s like, ‘Japan’s falling apart, I’m going to move here and open a gallery.’ And I’m like, ‘You’re out of your fucking mind, good luck.’” Los Angeles was not a big gallery town at the time. The young Poe had managed to strike gold by partnering with Kim Light, who had gained an international reputation for hustling a new generation of LA artists. Wildly ambitious, Light was on the verge of opening a foundation, with family funds, which would give her partner Poe a seriously cushy gig. “I was gonna rent a convertible Saab—I was on fire,” Poe said. “I was like, ‘Fucking finally.’” “A convertible Saab!” Blum said, laughing. Tim Blum and Jeff Poe in 2007 on the roof of 2754 S. La Cienega Blvd, their second space afterleaving Santa Monica in 2003. Photo courtesy of Blum & Poe. But then it all fell apart. In February 1994, Light’s grandfather pulled the money, the whole operation went kaput, and Poe was out of a job. He had no real prospects. Before working with Light, he had primarily played in LA punk bands, most recently one called Blissed Out Fatalists. “A month later, I was…
The Gray Market: Why History Equipped the Mega-Dealers to Win the $450 Million Marron Estate (and Other Insights)
Our columnist charts the precedents that positioned Pace, Gagosian, and Acquavella to beat the auction houses for Donald Marron's collection. The Romanian-born art dealer Ileana Sonnabend (1914-2007) in her gallery in front of a large-scale painting by AR Penck. (Photo by Michel Delsol/Getty Images) Every Monday morning, Artnet News brings you The Gray Market. The column decodes important stories from the previous week—and offers unparalleled insight into the inner workings of the art industry in the process. In this edition, leaping from the week’s biggest story back in time… PRIVATE PARTY On Wednesday, news broke that the powerhouse collection of late financier and former Museum of Modern Art board president Donald Marron would not, in fact, supercharge this year’s auctions as expected. Instead, a gallery-sector triumvirate of Pace, Gagosian, and Acquavella will team up to sell Marron’s roughly 300 works, which collectively carry an estimated value in the neighborhood of $450 million, entirely on the private market. But while the collaboration is newsworthy and novel in certain ways, we’re fooling ourselves if we treat it as an unprecedented paradigm shift in the trade. Granted, I’m more jaded than most when it comes to… well, practically everything, I guess, but especially the disintegrating boundary between major auction houses and major galleries. The theme was a pillar of the book I wrote in 2017, the cover story I wrote for the Artnet Intelligence Report last fall, and an undoubtedly annoying number of one-off pieces I’ve put out before, between, and after those milestones. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t still surprised when I heard Marron’s widow, Catherine, and his other executors chose to bypass the Big Three auction houses for three big galleries. It just means that I got over the initial jolt pretty quickly, and that the finer points seemed downright intuitive once they emerged. From left to right: Arne Glimcher, Bill Acquavella, Larry Gagosian, and Marc Glimcher ©Axel Depuex. A few of those finer points are worth mentioning here for context’s sake. From April 24 to May 16, Pace and Gagosian will present a joint exhibition in their Chelsea spaces of highlights from Marron’s collection, such as Pablo Picasso’s Woman With Beret and Collar (1937)…
‘We Each Bring to the Table What the Other Is Lacking’: Photographers Alana Celii and Daniel Dorsa on Their Classic New York Love Story
In Artnet News's Portraits of Love series, young creative couples offer insights into their partnerships. Alana Celii and Daniel Dorsa. Courtesy of Erik Tanner. New York City is a global metropolis, but sometimes it can feel like a small town—and the love that formed between young photographers Alana Celii and Daniel Dorsa is one of those city stories that perfectly illustrates the dichotomy. She, a New York Times photo editor, and he, a Florida-born photographer carving his own path, met by chance only to discover a shared world of common friends and interests (Erik Tanner, the primary photographer for this article, was a mutual friend to both). The two stylish Brooklynites might share a world of passions, but the inner workings of their relationship also reveal them to be an intriguing, unlikely couple: Alana, a bit watchful and idea-driven, makes an interesting foil to Daniel, who describes himself as gregarious and spontaneous. The mix, however, seems to be working. Celii’s new monograph, Paradise Falling, is about to be released by AINT—BAD, while Dorsa’s photography has recently been featured in the pages of New York Magazine, the New York Times, and Vogue Mexico. That’s not to mention their recent collaborations or their forthcoming show this summer. With us wondering what makes art-world couples tick, the recently engaged pair chatted with us about their idiosyncratic meeting, what they each bring to the relationship artistically, and how they like to spend their weekends together in Brooklyn. Alana Celii and Daniel Dorsa. Courtesy of Erik Tanner. Can you tell me a little bit about your backgrounds and how you each wound up working in the photography world? Alana: I was born in Illinois, but moved all over. Most of my family is from Pennsylvania. I lived there till I was 10. I lived in Tennessee for two years and I lived in Texas for six years and I graduated high school there. My parents gave me a camera when I was three. It was Care Bears-themed. My mom would take them to the drug store to get developed, so my interest kind of evolved from there. Then my dad gave me his camera. I…
Art Basel Launches Online Viewing Rooms to Help Dealers Reach Collectors Virtually After Canceling the Hong Kong Fair
The company is hoping to lure VIPs with a specially built platform. Art Basel in Hong Kong. © Art Basel Wondering what will happen to the art worth hundreds of millions of dollars that was slated to go on display at the now-canceled Art Basel Hong Kong? Fair organizers have an answer. Today, Art Basel announced that the first iteration of its new online viewing rooms will launch in March, allowing exhibitors to show works on the web that they had originally planned to bring to Hong Kong. (After weeks of uncertainty, the annual show, held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, was officially nixed on February 6 because of fears about the novel coronavirus.) “While the online viewing rooms cannot replace our 2020 fair in Hong Kong, we firmly hope that it will provide a strong support to all the galleries who were affected by the cancellation of our March show,” said Adeline Ooi, the Asia director for Art Basel. “We are delighted to be able to premiere this new initiative now.” Just as with the physical fairs, showrooms will open early only to VIP card holders from March 18 to 20, followed by several days of open access to the public, from March 20 to 25. In the future, according to organizers, the new digital initiative will run parallel to the shows, “rather than replacing the physical experience of an art fair, and will allow gallerists to showcase additional curated exhibitions of works not presented at the fair, each listed with a price range.” It is unclear whether the fair will charge a fee or commission, and how much, for participation in future iterations of the program. “We will be exploring the commercial dynamics of this after the Hong Kong launch; for now, all of our focus is on delivering a successful debut of the online viewing rooms,” a representative told Artnet News. The viewing rooms will be available through the Art Basel website and the Art Basel app. Organizers said further details on participating galleries and their presentations will be announced in the coming weeks. For now, collectors can expect to…
- Auction Industry
The card was found in 1992, but wasn't appraised until now. This 1916 M101-4 Babe Ruth Rookie Card was found stashed in a player piano and could now fetch upwards of $100,000 at auction. Photo courtesy of Goodwin Auctions. A rare Babe Ruth rookie baseball card found in an old piano is up for auction—and online bidding is already nearing $100,000 in the “Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons” sale at Goodwin Auctions. Ellen Kelly discovered the collectible in a stash of baseball cards wedged inside the pedal of a player piano that once belonged to her aunt. Kelly had admired the instrument as a child, but was never allowed to play it—until she finally bought it for $25 at her family’s estate sale in 1992. Along with the Ruth card were about 112 other vintage baseball cards, presumably hidden and later forgotten by Kelly’s father or uncle. Ruth’s card, which has a blank back, dates to his time as a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox, and comes from the historic M101-4 set, which featured photographs, rather than illustrated portraits of the players, as was done in earlier cards. “I don’t guess I realized what they were worth when I found them,” Kelly told Sports Collectors Daily, noting that family friends had long urged her to have the cards appraised. “Best $25 I ever spent.” The Ruth card has been given a 2.5 rating (out of a possible 10) from Beckett, a company that grades cards based on their condition and authenticity, in part because it has a print line running across Ruth’s chest. But according to the lot listing, the card “presents much nicer than the BVG 2.5 grade it received at first glance.” The sale runs through April 25. Dale Ball bought this 1921 Babe Ruth W575.1b card produced by Shotwell Manufacturing Co. for just $2, but he now claims it is authentic. Photo courtesy of Dale Ball. Last month, another Ruth rookie card—this one with a near-mint 7 rating from Professional Sports Authenticator—sold for $600,000 at Robert Edward Auctions. Separately, collector Dale Ball announced that he had authenticated a 1921 Ruth W575.1b card produced by Shotwell…
THE DAILY PIC: The French photographer makes dad's things stand for the man. THE DAILY PIC (#1307): This huge gilded photo was made by the French artist Paul Vinet, and is now on view in his solo show at Hamburg Kennedy Photographs in New York. It’s part of a project in which Vinet photographed decades’ worth of his father’s accumulated junk, not long before Vinet Sr. died. The objects gathered in this particular shot speak of a long-ago day at the beach, in an era when men wore hats unironically. The gilding that Vinet places all around his subject obviously turns a casual still life into a sacred icon, but I’m much more interested in the folding lounger: It’s empty, just ready to receive the limp body of Christ from Raphael’s Deposition. For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.
- Art World
Read about Alvar Aalto's versatile and popular piece of furniture, the Stool 60. The simple and stackable Stool 60 celebrated its 80th anniversary in production in 2013, a true testament to its straightforward yet pleasing design. Created by the designer and architect Alvar Aalto (Finnish, 1898–1976) in the early 1930s, the Stool 60 was an experiment in Functionalism and the International Style, design movements that emphasized a minimalist, utilitarian, and efficient aesthetic. The three-legged stool was constructed out of bent wood, varying from the popular tubular steel used by many of Aalto’s contemporaries. The result was a durable and practical stool that would go on to sell millions of copies over its 80-year production. Alvar Aalto, Hocker 60, 1932–1933, lacquered plywood, sold at Quittenbaum Kunstauktionen München, Munich, Germany The stools have been produced by Artek, a firm Aalto co-founded in Finland along with his wife, Aino Aalto (Finnish, 1894–1949), Maire Gullichsen (Finnish, 1907–1990), and Nils-Gustav Hahl. To mark this anniversary, Artek presented special editions of the Stool 60, including a series by the German art director and artist Mike Meiré. Meiré’s edition does not alter the classic form, but plays with its appearance, painting the surface in colors reminiscent of those used in Aalto’s building, the Paimio Sanatorium (1928–1933), in Finland. Whether stacked away in the corner or in use as an impromptu table, the simplicity and versatility of Aalto’s product have given his design an eternal presence in the design world. Alvar Aalto, Hocker 60 (set of 7), 1932–1933, plywood, lacquer, sold at Quittenbaum Kunstauktionen München, Munich, Germany