This is installment #11 of The Current State of the ART Market Series. ARTmostfiercefound the time to catch up with his dear friend /artist/photographer/curator and now Art dealer for Station Independent Projects @ The Bridge Art Fair , Leah Oates. Let's see what Leah has on her mind and planning for the upcoming Art Fair!
Ruben Natal San Miguel- Can you explain to us how and why you came about organizing a group show and taking a booth @ The Bridge Art fair?
Leah Oates-I have been showing as an artist and organizing shows for artists for approximately ten years at mostly non-profits and a few commercial art spaces. I have found that there are many talented and accomplished artists who are not yet known to the larger art world so my focus is on promoting their work. I love working with artists as well.
I organized the show for Bridge mainly so I could show work by mid-career artists whose work I think is strong, who are very committed to their work and who are not represented by commercial galleries. My hope is that many good things will happen for each artist is the show.
As an artist or gallery, if you are not in a fair you are not visible to the larger arts community in NYC, nationally and internationally. It brings the artists work to another level and a much larger audience sees the work which can lead to opportunity. Photo- ''Maria''Juliana Beasley
RNSM-What is the theme of the show for the fair and who is in it? Why you chose these specific artists? Tell us who they are and why?
LO-There was a theme originally but I thought that in the context of a fair it was better to keep it open so that people could draw their own conclusions. All I will say is that all of the work has a thematic concern with that which is below the surface and all of the images have a mysterious quality. I chose this group of artists as I believe in their work and I think that more people should see their work.
Photo-Yeni Mao" The Bust"
I'm showing Juliana Beasley, Iris Klein, Miles Ladin, Yeni Mao, myself and Pierre St-Jacques. Everyone has a great track record and is making strong work. Juliana just won a large grant for the New Jersey Council for the Arts and had a book published by Powerhouse. Iris has shown in NYC and in Europe and had a solo show at Leica Gallery in NYC. Miles has shown at Clamp Art and Exit Art in NYC and has had his work featured in the New York Times and W Magazine. Yeni has shown in China and in NYC at the ISE Cultural Center and in the PULSE Art Fair. I'm in two great group shows this year at the Tucson Museum of Art and Michael Mazzeo Gallery and have shown extensively in NYC and internationally at venues such as Wave Hill and Gallery Aferro. Pierre just had his work screened at the Berlin Film Festival and has shown extensively at venues such as the Wexner Center in Ohio and Real Art Ways in Connecticut.
RNSM- Are you part of the show as well?
LO-Yes I'm in the show too. Often the concepts I come up with do not mesh with the concerns in my work but this time my work fit into the overall theme so I have a few works in the booth.
Photo-Miles Ladin"Blass and Co"
RNSM- Please tell us how do you feel as an artist showing in this Art Fair during this economic climate?
LO-I think if the work is original and compelling then people who have the means will buy. You know the sensation when you see a work that grabs you and you keep thinking about it and it stirs something in your mind? This is what good art does and people will always respond to that. There are also other things that could happen for the artists beyond sales such as making contacts, having follow up shows at museums and at other galleries and getting press for their work. I feel very positive and my focus is on creating the best show that highlights each artist’s work. Photo-Iris Klein "Schwalbe / Swallow # 3"
RNSM- Was your selection of artists and works purely thematic or just simply a business one from a potential sales point of view?
LO-I chose the artists based on the strength of their work and vision, their strong commitment to their practice and also their track record. I think that their past shows, press etc shows knowledge of the art world as well as an ability to work hard to have ones work seen and out in the world. All of the artists I'm showing have proven themselves and I think they are also very talented. It also helps that I like them as people.
RNSM- Do you think that being an artist yourself helps more translating and communicating other artists work better to potential buyers and clients?
LO-I once worked for a gallery that was run by a former banker and his wife. They could sell anything as they where trained in sales but they knew nothing about art. The work they showed was not so great but I'd watch in amazement as they kept selling. I have a different model for what I'm doing and I'm focused on art and artists. Of course I want to sell work for each of the artists I'm showing but my main aim is to show what I think is great work and my belief is that this will translate into sales.
I have total respect for professionals in the arts who are critics, collectors, curators and galleries as they do so much for artists and I think many love art just as much as artists. The longer I'm in the arts I think that all the various ways that the arts community classifies various strata of the art world is unnecessary and silly. Every person working in the art is doing something that completes a whole and is necessary. The gallery is no more important than the artist and the artist is not more important than the critic. It’s all part of a whole process and I'm happy that there are so many people who love art and who work in the business.
Photo-Pierre St-Jacques " A Hidden Place for Fragile Things"
RNSM- Why the Bridge Art Fair in particular?
LO-I went with Bridge because we are friendly with the organizer and also the price was reasonable this year compared to other fairs.
I also like that it’s a small fair as the larger fairs can be so big that it’s hard to take in all the art. Armory and Basel do a wonderful job organizing their fairs but they can be overwhelming. There is so much going on in the arts that is interesting and the other fairs represent additional aspects of the larger art world.
RNSM- You and your husband Pierre are both artists...how you both as a couple feel about all this current world economic turbulence and its effects in the ART world?
LO-I think everyone in the arts will adapt to the current crisis in the economy. Artists are very adaptable creatures and are familiar with lack of funds. Some of the best work ever made was created on simple materials such as paper, canvas or with found materials so artists will continue to make art. Many artists have to make their work so will keep creating. The art market will make adjustments and only time will tell how that will all play out. It may end up being good for art and terrible for the market.
RNSM- What do recommend to other artists right now as a way to deal with these challenging times? Options? Ideas? Plan of action?
LO-I hope that artists do not sell themselves short because the art market is bad by offering their work at reduced prices. But then again artists need to make money just like in any other profession. I always think that if one focuses on their work and attempts to make work that has a personal vision and is strong then somehow it all works out.
RNSM- Has your own work changed or being influenced by what we are experiencing now? in the future?
LO-I'm making work now that is connected to work I began when I first arrived in NYC eight years ago. I consider myself an artist and as well as a photographer and I trained as a photographic printmaker and artists' bookmaker in college. My work still has a quality to it that has always been there, which is a poetic and textural sensibility. In some ways my work has not changed at all but what has changed is the specificity of my visions and the use of the correct medium to present the ideas.
RNSM- I think your photographic work shown in light boxes are not only innovative but, they can have a multi-purpose in a residential/commercial environment due, to the light source it provides...Had you ever market it in such way? Even in these times when everything with a multi function art has more sales potential?
LO-I have to really consider this so lets talk more about this! I'm honored that you like the format and it has not been used too much as well. I used light boxes for the double exposures as this format shows the different layers in the image and has more depth. Also, people are drawn to light sources and to the photographic images so it seemed a good combination.
RNSM- You do some work with some Non for profit organizations like for example The NY Camera Club...can you tell us about it? Why?
LO-I highly respect the work that organizations like the Camera Club of NY and the many other arts non-profits in the city do for artists and the local arts community.
They are often running on small budgets, are run by volunteers and have small staffs and support artists by offering space, grants, shows and you name it. Without the non-profits somehow the art world would seems too much about the market and thankfully there are still organizations that operate outside that model. Many of them including Camera Club of NY have been in NYC for so long and should be protected by the city as historic arts organizations as they have enhanced the arts community here in ways that go beyond the flash of the art world.
RNSM- How was your residence experience in Beijing? Did it influence your work in anyway? Why?
LO-I LOVED Beijing! I was not expecting to love it as much as I did but its a beautiful and interesting city. The city is really dynamic, the food it great and I loved the hutongs and the gardens. The Chinese have a good way of life overall which is not what most people in the west think. People where very friendly as we had our son Max who is 4 with us, as they adore children.
I shot mainly in several hutongs that where in the process of being torn down. I think the work connects to the location as this is happening in Beijing so it’s a loss of history for the culture. But on another level is deals with themes I have been working with for years such as temporality, constant change and flux. These are spaces that are undergoing tremendous change very quickly so it was perfect for what my work is about.
RNSM- What are you working on right now? Your work is mostly Natural and Urban City Landscapes..any plans of a new departure of work?
LO-I'm working with the images from Beijing. I will be making digital photo strips of several images from my contact sheets that will be large scale 3-4 panel photographs with a white border. I created a series several years ago called Durations which where selections from my contact sheets that hung vertically in rows. I'm returning to this work but with the images from Beijing. My thinking at the time was on how to break out of the preciousness of the singular photographic image. The singular image can be very powerful and it’s a valid concern but its not what I'm dealing with. I'm more concerned with a subjective view of times passage, in how we recall our experience and how to translate that into a photograph which is the medium everyone uses to make sense of their life passing through time and place. Photography is a very human media in this way.
RNSM- Any final thoughts?
LO-I look forward to seeing the various fairs and art during fair week. Hope its a success and that people have fun. It only art not "war and peace" after all so enjoy!
RNSM-Thanks Leah! best of luck @ the Bridge Art Fair .
Please see below the Press Release for Independent Projects @ The Bridge Art Fair
OR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Station Independent Projects Presents at The Bridge Art Fair, New York City
Juliana Beasley, Photography Iris Klein, Photography Miles Ladin, Photography Yeni Mao, Collage Leah Oates, Photography Pierre St-Jacques, Video Installation
About Station Independent Projects:
Station Independent Projects is a Brooklyn-based freelance curatorial business that organizes exhibitions and events with a focus on artist advocacy. Station Independent Projects specializes in discovering new emerging and mid-career artists that are not represented by galleries and organizes shows to connect artists to broader audiences.
Station Independent Projects has organized exhibitions in the New York City area with Peer Gallery in Chelsea, The Center for Photography in Woodstock, NY, Chashama in Time Square, Nuture Art in Williamsburg and in the Chicago area at Randolph Street Gallery and The Peace Museum.
For additional information or images please contact:
Station Independent Projects Assistant: Megan Flaherty 10 Jay Street, Suite 809 Brooklyn, New York 11201 www.stationindependent.com email@example.com 917.698.2012
Bridge Art Fair information: The Bridge Art Fair is at 222 12th Avenue @ 27th http://bridgeartfair.com
March 5th 12:00 pm-5:00 pm-Professional Preview 5:00 pm-10:00pm - Vernissage
March 6 12:00 pm-9:00 pm
March 7 12:00 pm-9:00 pm
March 8th 12:00 pm-7:00 pm
Juliana Beasley, Photography
Juliana Beasley began her career as a printer for Annie Leibovitz. Beasley was a nominee for the International Center for Photography Infinity Award and has shown her work in The Frieze Arts Festival in London, Pulse Art Fair NYC and The Mannheim/Heidlberg Photo Festival in Germany. Her work is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert in London and her book "Lap Dancer" was published by Power House Books in 2003. Beasley is the recipient of a 2009 New Jersey Council on the Arts Grant in Photography.
Iris Klein, Photography
Iris Klein has had solo shows at Leica Gallery in NYC and at Bannister Gallery in Providence, Rhode Island. Klein's work has been included in group shows at Peer Gallery, Momenta Art, Leubsdorf Gallery, Danny Simmons Gallery, Austrian Cultural Forum and Washington Square East Galleries in NYC.
Miles Ladin, Photography
Miles Ladin's work has been featured in The New York Times, George Magazine and W Magazine. Ladin's work has been shown at the Photographer's Gallery in London, Exit Art and Clamp Art Gallery in NYC. His work is in the collections of MoMA, Victoria and Albert and the Whitney Museum.
Yeni Mao, Collage
Yeni Mao has had solo shows at ArtWare Editions, Nigel Hamill Gallery, Jon Tomlinson Enterprises and Backbone Gallery in NYC. Mao's work has been included in group shows at La MaMa Galleria, PULSE Art Fair, Brooklyn Artists Gym, Art Gotham and ISE Cultural Center in NYC. Internationally Mao has shown at Red Gate Gallery, Shang Element Contemporary Art Museum, and the Songzhuang Art Festival in Beijing, China and at Galeria Metropolitana in Santiago, Chile. His work is in the collections of BBC Productions Corporate, GLAAD, Lijiang Studio and the Nicoykatiushka Foundation for the Arts.
Leah Oates, Photography
Leah Oates has had numerous solo shows at venues including Real Art Ways and Sara Nightingale Gallery. She has shown her work in the NYC area at Flux Factory, Photo NY, The Center for Book Arts, Nurture Art, Peer Gallery, Elizabeth Heskin Contemporary, Gallery Aferro and Metaphor Contemporary Art. Her work is in numerous public and private collections including MoMA, The Brooklyn Museum,The British Library and The Walker Art Center.
Pierre St- Jacques, Video Installation
Pierre St-Jacques has shown his work at Artist's Space in New York, Peer Gallery in New York, Gallerie Joella in Finland, Metaphor Contemporary Art in Brooklyn, Red Saw Gallery in New Jersey, The Wexner Center in Ohio, and more recently at the DiVA and Pool art fairs in New York and Miami, at Artopolis in Chicago, the DC Art Fair in Washington DC, the Bronx Museum of Art in New York and Real Artways in Connecticut. His work was recently shown at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2009.
ARTmostfierce recommends to start Art Fair Week extravaganza by stopping by and seeing the new creations by photographer and friend Jeremy Kost. When: -- Tuesday March 3rd, 2009 from 7pm to 9:30pm
Where: ?The Dactyl Foundation -- 64 Grand Street (between West Broadway and Wooster)
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
After-party to follow at the TriBeca Grand Hotel -- 10pm til late
RSVP for the opening will be forwarded to the after-party as well.
From the press release:
"Set to open March 3rd,?Dactyl Foundation presents "After the Party," an exhibition featuring the art and photography of Jeremy Kost. The show is curated by Tim Goossens of P.S. 1. Known on the New York circuit as ?the Polaroid artist,? Kost creates art with his tried and true Polaroid camera. His Polaroids are about power and desire; whether it is obtained or not, the works presented lend to the notions of instant gratification, restraint and the overall fulfillment of desires."....
"The results of the photo sessions take the form of one-of-a-kind Polaroid grids and collages. The Polaroid images allow for instant gratification thanks to their quick development, but at the same time the observer is left with a certain craving. Certain of the artist?s feelings, they are perfectly conveyed in the essence of the Polaroids:??he is at once self-involved and far-removed.???The offhand whirr-whirr-whirr of Polaroids - push, click, eject; push, click, eject - ideally suits them to be parts of greater photographic wholes: rectangular tessellations in many-eyed mosaics. "
Photo- Newstand 2 by Rachel Barrett For those who are not in Facebook, ARTmostfiercefound this limited edition by Rachel Barrett. From the Newstand Series, you can get one 8 x 10 of the Rachel Barrett, Newstand series for only $100.00 !
Check it out and get one!
Next American City is pleased to announce the second print in its limited edition series. 1st Avenue & 79th Street, NE Corner by Rachel Barrett. It is part of Rachel’s NYC Newsstand Project and was featured in Issue No. 22 of Next American City.
Limited Edition of 100, digital-chromogenic print, 8” x 10
Wow! This a good piece of business for Christie's! Considering the status of the Global Economy ..this is a success! Please read about General view of the interior of the Grand Palais where the auction of the collection belonging to Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé is being held. Photo: EFE/Yoan Valat.
PARIS.- The three-day sale of the magnificent Collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé at the Grand Palais, offered by Christie’s in association with Pierre Bergé & Associates auctioneers, realised in total €373,935,500 / £332,802,595 / $483,835,144. A remarkable 95.5% of lots sold by lot, and 93% sold by value. This historic sale set a world record for the most valuable private collection sold at auction, was the highest grossing sale in Europe on record, and set multiple world records for Impressionist and Modern Art, 20th Century Decorative Arts, Silver, Sculpture and Works of Art. One of the most exceptional and significant collections of art in private hands, it generated unprecedented interest from bidders throughout the world and pre-sale estimates for both the sale as a whole and the individual works, were significantly exceeded.
Highlights of these exceptional and rare works of art, each with impeccable provenance, captured the attention of international collectors as they were exhibited by Christie’s, in association with Pierre Bergé and Associates, in New York, London, Brussels and Paris in the last four months. The spectacular public exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this unique curated collection of art and to experience the evocative atmosphere of Yves Saint Laurent’s apartment at rue de Babylone, was viewed by over 30,000 visitors over 3 days (21-23 February), and over 1500 people gathered for each of the sales, held in a specially built saleroom, the largest in Christie’s history.
The top lot of the sale was Les coucous, tapis bleu et rose, 1911 by Henri Matisse, which sold for €35.9 million / £31.9 million / $46.4 million. 16 works of art sold for over €5 million and 61 works of art sold for over €1 million. Numerous world auction records were set in each sale, and in almost every part of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s Collection, a tribute to their discerning eye for provenance and museum quality.
The proceeds of the sale will go to the Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent Foundation, created to prolong the history of the House of Yves Saint Laurent, and to a new foundation that will be set up for scientific research and the fight against AIDS.
Pierre Bergé said: “The sale of the collection that I had built in partnership with Yves Saint Laurent draws to a close and has been a triumph. My expectations have been fully realized. I thank Christie’s for the organization of both the preview exhibitions and the sale itself in the setting of the Grand Palais. I offer my gratitude to the public who came in huge numbers and were prepared to queue patiently for many hours. The results of the sale exceed our highest expectations and confirm the potential of the Paris marketplace to rise to such an occasion. The results also demonstrate that even in a difficult economic climate, works of art of great quality preserve their power and their value.”
Impressionist and Modern Art On 23 February, at the inuagural session of the sale, the most significant collection of Impressionist and Modern Art in private hands sold for a total of €206 million / £183 million / $266 million, a world record for a private collection at auction and the highest total achieved for any Impressionist and Modern Art sale in Europe. The top lot of the evening was Les coucous, tapis bleu et rose, 1911 by Henri Matisse, which sold for €35.9 million / £31.9 million / $46.4 million, the highest price ever achieved for a work by the artist at auction, and 8 works of art sold for over €5 million. 25 works of art sold for over €1 million (24 lots for over £1 million / 25 lots over $1 million). 7 world records were set for artists at auction, including Matisse, Brancusi, Mondrian, de Chirico, Duchamp, Klee and Ensor.
Thomas Seydoux, International Head of Impressionist and Modern Art said: “This record sale, which achieved the highest total for any Impressionist and Modern Art sale in Europe, and was the most valuable private collection ever sold at auction in the world, was a tribute to two great men: Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent. Collectors, gathered in the largest saleroom that Christie’s has ever seated, responded to the opportunity of a lifetime to buy into a Collection carefully assembled over almost five decades. There was significant bidding on the telephone from a deep pool of international buyers and many rare and exceptional works, each with impeccable provenance and condition, set world record prices for artists at auction. This historical sale demonstrated the timeless appeal of Impressionist and Modern art, this long-established and highly valued category.”
Other major highlights of the sale included:
•Madame L.R. (Portrait de Mme L.R.), a magnificent example of Constantin Brancusi’s earliest and enigmatic sculptures in wood sold for €29.1 million / £25.9 million / $37.7 million (estimate: €15,000,000 – 20,000,000), a world record for the artist at auction.
•Three abstract paintings by Piet Mondrian, which each belong to key stages in the artist’s work, and express degrees of tension between line, form and colour were all sold above their high estimates. Composition avec bleu, rouge, jaune et noir, 1922 sold for €21.5 million / £19.1 million / $27.9 million (estimate: €7,000,000-10,000,000), a world record for the artist at auction; Composition avec grille 2, 1918 sold for €14.4 million / £12.8 million / $18.6 million (estimate: €7,000,000-10,000,000), and Composition I, 1920, sold for €7.0 million / £6.2 million / $9.0 million (estimate: €5,000,000-7,000,000).
•Fernand Léger’s great mechanical paintings of 1918 and 1919, painted during one of his most brilliant periods drew significant attention: Composition, dans l’usine, 1918 sold for € 5.5 million / £4.9 million / $7.1 million (estimate: €6,000,000 – 8,000,000). La tasse de thé, 1921, sold for € 11.4 million / £10.2 million / $14.8 million (estimate: €10,000,000 – 15,000,000).
•The ready-made masterpiece “La Belle Haleine – Eau de Voilette” by Marcel Duchamp, with the assistance by Man Ray in 1921, witnessed fierce bidding in the room and realized € 8.9 million / £7.9 million / $11.5 million, nearly 9 times its estimate of €1,000,000 – 1,500,000, a world auction record for the artist.
•James Ensor’s monumental Le désespoir de Pierrot, the most important work of art by the artist to be presented at auction in the last 25 years, sold for € 4.9 million / £4.4 million / $6.4 million (estimate: €2,000,000 – 3,000,000), a world record for the artist at auction.
•Three works of art were acquired by two of the most important French museums in Paris: Les Lilas by Edouard Vuillard and Au Conservatoire by James Ensor was bought by the Museé d’Orsay, and Il Ritornante by Giorgio de Chirico was bought by the Centre Georges Pompidou.
Old Master and 19th Century Paintings and Drawings The sale of Old Master and 19th Century Paintings and Drawings on 24 February totalled €22.2 million / £19.7 million / $28.7 million. 75% of lots sold by lot, and 90% sold by value. Drawings from the 19th century, predominantly portraits by Jacques-Louis David, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones generated significant interest and Portrait d’Alfred et Elisabeth Dedreux by Theodore Gericault, the figurehead of French Romantic painting, was the top lot of the sale and realised €9.0 million / £8.0 million / $11.6 million (estimate: €4,000,000 – 6,000,000), a world record for the artist at auction. 5 works of art sold for over €1 million (4 lots for over £1 million / 6 lots over $1 million). 6 new world auction records for artists were set.
Cécile Bernard, Ketty Gottardo and Etienne Hellman, specialists in charge of the sale said: “The works of art offered, which ranged over four centuries, from the early 16th Century to the early 20th Century, mirrored this unique collection's breadth and exceptional diversity. Each of the twenty-four works that were sold had exceptional provenance and an impressive art historical pedigree; thus attracting very active bidding from top international collectors and connoisseurs”.
Major highlights of the sale included:
•Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ elegant Portrait de la comtesse de la Rue, 1890, sold for €2.0 million / £1.8 million / $2.6 million (estimate: €2,000,000,000 – 3,000,000,000), a world record for the artist at auction
•Jacques-Louis David’s Portrait d’homme de profil, which has long been thought to be a self-portrait sold for €577,000 / £513,530 / $746,580 (estimate: €400,000 – 600,000), a world record for a work on paper by the artist at auction.
•Théodore Gericault’s Portrait d’Alfred et Elisabeth Dedreux sold for €9.0 million / £8.0 million / $11.6 million (estimate: €4,000,000 – 6,000,000), a world record for the artist, and a world record for any ‘non-impressionist’ painting from the 19th Century. International collectors and connoisseurs where quick to recognise the significance of this painting, its relevance within Géricault’s oeuvre, its status as an icon of early romantic portraiture, and its particularly unforgettable atmosphere.
• Arnold Böcklin’s Odysseus and Polypheme, 1986, sold for €577,000 / £513,530 / $746,580 (estimate: €400,000 – 600,000), a world record for a work on paper by the artist at auction.
Silver, Miniatures and Objets de Vertu The afternoon sale of Silver, Miniatures and Objets Vertu on 24 February totaled €19.8 million / £17.6 million / $25.7 million and set a new world auction record for a silver sale. An impressive 100% of the works sold to an audience of over 1,000 people. The star lot of the session, which saw over 111 breath-taking lots of silver, silver-gilt and gold come under the hammer, was the Osterode cup, a silver-gilt quadruple cup, 1649, which sold for €853,000 / £759,000 / $1.1 million (estimate: €100,000 – 150,000). The collection of Hanover cups alone, one of the most exciting collections of early German silver to appear on the market for years, totalled €6.1 million / £5.4 million / $7.89 million. Collectors also bid fiercely for drinking cups in the form of lions, bears, horses, deer, a unicorn, bull, swan, owl and even an elephant with soldiers in the castle turret on its back.
Anthony Phillips, International Director, Silver said: “The sale of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s silver collection was a record sale. Not only was it the most valuable silver sale ever in the world, but numerous world records were established. A truly international group of collectors responded positively to the museum-quality pieces of rare silver, silver-gilt and gold and in particular to the collection of Hanover cups”.
Major highlights of the sale included:
• The top lot of the huge standing cups – formerly in a German royal collection was the Osterode cup which sold for €853,000 / £759,170 / $1,103,697 (estimate: €100,000 - 150,000).
• A 16th century silver hunting bear sold for €313,000/ £278,570 / $404,990 (estimate: €80,000 - 120,000).
• An important Louis XIV rose-cut diamond and enamelled gold-mounted presentation miniature, portrait by Jean I Petitot (1607-1691), circa 1680 which fetched €481,000 / £428,090 / $622,366 (estimate: €200,000 - 300,000). This work was acquired by the Louvre.
• The remarkable pair of German gold and enamel tazze, probably Augsburg, circa 1730 which sold for €481,000 / £428,090 / $622,366 (estimate: €200,000-300,000).
20th Century Decorative Arts The 24 February evening sale of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge’s meticulously selected group of Art Deco treasures, a sophisticated celebration of one of the most brilliant chapters in Parisian cultural life, realised a total of €59.1 million / £52.6 million / $76.5 million, a world record for a collection of 20th century decorative arts. 95% of lots sold by lot, and 98% sold by value. The star lot of the evening was Eileen Gray’s ‘Dragons’ armchair, circa 1917-1919, which achieved €21.9 million / £19.4 million / $28.3 million, a world record for a work of 20th century decorative art at auction, and a world record for the artist at auction. 10 works of art sold for over €1 million (10 over £1 million and 10 over $1 million). The auction saw a total of 12 artist records established.
Philippe Garner, International Head and Sonja Ganne, European Director, 20th Century Decorative Art & Design said: “Tonight’s sale was a homage to the great personalities, designers, collectors and patrons who so marked their era in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s and, of course, to the pioneering vision of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé as collectors.”
Leading highlights of the sale included:
• Eileen Gray’s ‘Dragons’ armchair, circa 1917-1919, originally in the collection of Suzanne Talbot, sold for €21.9 million / £19.4 million / $28.3 million, a world record for any work of 20th century decorative art at auction, and a world record for the artist at auction (estimate: €2,000,000-3,000,000). Gray’s unique Enfilade, circa 1915-1917, realised €3.9 million / £3.5 million / $5.1 million (estimate: €3,000,000-5,000,000).
• The Gustave Miklos pair of palm wood and lacquered bronze banquettes, 1928-1929, commissioned by Jacques Doucet, sold for €1.7 million / £1.5 million / $2.2 million (estimate: €2,000,000-3,000,000), a world auction record for the artist.
• Monumental in size and striking in design, the Jean Dunand pair of lacquered and gilt metal vases, 1925, stirred competitive bidding and sold for €3 million / £2.7 million / $3.9 million (estimate: €1,000,000-1,500,000), a world record for the artist at auction.
• Works by Claude Lalanne sold for prices that far exceeded their estimates and a spectacular set of fifteen bronze and galvanised copper mirrors, modelled as branches, 1974-1985, sold for €1.8 million / £1.6 million / $2.4 million (estimate: €700,000-1,000,000), a world record for the artist at auction. Specially commissioned by Yves Saint Laurent, in 1974, they took 11 years to complete.
• The sculptural YSL bar, François-Xavier Lalanne’s first commission from Yves Saint Laurent, and a centrepiece of the library in Yves Saint Laurent’s apartment in rue de Babylone sold for €2.7 million / £2.4 million / $3.5 million (estimate: €700,000-1,000,000), a world record for the artist at auction.
• A pair of floor lamps, 1930 by Eckart Muthesius commissioned by the Maharaja of Indore for his Modernist palace sold for €2.5 million / £2.2 million / $3.2 million (estimate: €400,000-600,000), far exceeding the world record for the artist at auction.
Sculpture and Works of Art The afternoon session of the Sculpture and Works of Art sale on 25 February realised a total of €24.2 million / £21.5 million / $31.3 million. 95% of lots sold by lot, and 98% sold by value. The top lot was a 16th century bronze double head of Janus, unusual in both its iconography and its scale, which attracted committed bidding from a wide range of private and trade buyers and sold for €2.0 million / £1.8 million / $2.6 million (estimate: €100,000 – 200,000), a record for a 16th century French bronze. 5 works of art sold for over €1 million (4 lots for over £1 million / 6 lots over $1 million).
Donald Johnston, Director and Head of European Sculpture, said: “The depth and breadth of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s collection of sculpture was an inspiration. Seen in its entirety and splendour at the public exhibition at the Grand Palais, it captured the interest of a large number of new private buyers from all over the world. This culminated in one of the longest-lasting sculpture sales ever to be held. Over six hours, 278 lots works dating from the 13th to the 19th Century were sold, bringing the sale total to €24.2 million, triple its low estimate.”
Major highlights of the sale included:
• A group of parcel-gilt white painted carved wood allegorical busts representing the four continents, French, from the 18th century sold for €841,000 / £748,000 / $1 million (estimate: €200,000 – 300,000).
• An exquisite silver gilt and ruby mounted rock crystal vase, Milanese, from the late 16th or early 17th century, which was formerly in the French royal collection, sold for €529,000 / £470,810 / $684,473 (estimate: €100,000 – 150,000).
• A bronze figure of Hermaphrodite, attributed to Gianfrancesco Susini sold for €625,000 / £556,250 / $808,688 (estimate: €400,000 – 600,000), a world record for a bronze by the artist.
• A 17th century German turned ivory cup and cover sold for €457,000 / £406,730 / $591,312 (estimate: €100,000 – 150,000), a world record for a German turned ivory.
• A Venetian parcel-gilt polychrome circular enamel ewer basin, circa 1500 sold for €421,000 / £374,690 / $544,732 (estimate: €180,000 – 220,000), a world record for any Venetian enamel.
Asian Art, Ceramics, Furniture, Islamic Art and Antiquities The evening session of the Sculpture and Works of Art sale on 25 February, which included a wide range of Asian Art, Ceramics, Furniture, Islamic Art and Antiquities and conveyed Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s taste for exceptional decorative works, realised a total of €42.8 million / £38.1 million / $55.4 million. The top lots were exceptionally rare bronze heads of a rat and a rabbit made for the Zodiac Fountain of the Emperor Qianlong’s Summer Palace in China which each sold for €15.8 million / £14.0 million / $20.3 million. 3 works of art sold for over €1 million (3 over £1 million and 5 over $1 million). Other major highlights of the sale included:
• An important gilt and red lacquered wood figure of Buddha, China, Ming dynasty, 16th century, sold for €313,000 / £278,570 / $404,997 (estimate: €30,000 – 40,000).
• An impressive Roman marble minotaur, circa 1st-2nd century A.D., the focus of the apsidal terrace outside Yves Saint Laurent’s apartment at rue Babylone, sold for €913,000 / £812,570 / $1.6 million (estimate: €300,000 – 500,000).
• An exquisite over life-sized and imposing male marble torso, circa 1st-2nd century A.D., which stood in the entrance hall of rue Babylone, sold for €1.2 million / £1.1 million / $1.6 million (estimate: €300,000 – 500,000).
• A Louis XIV exotic tapestry, Gobelins, after a painting by Albert Eckhout and Frans Post, possibly woven in 1720 by Jean Lefebvre Fils sold for €553,000 / £492,170 / $715,527 (estimate: €100,000 – 150,000).
• A set of eighteen Italian chairs from the Rococo period from the Palazzo Carrega-Cataldi in Genoa, which surrounded a monumental Art Deco dining table in marble and silvered bronze in rue Babylone, sold for €961,000 / £855,290 / $1.2 million (estimate: €300,000 – 500,000).
ARTmostfiercefound this article and could not believe what he was reading.This article titled That Old Master? Its at the Pawnshop by Allen Salkin of the NY Times is quite telling.Please read.
Last fall, Annie Leibovitz, the photographer, borrowed $5 million from a company called Art Capital Group. In December, she borrowed $10.5 million more from the same firm. As collateral, among other items, she used town houses she owns in Greenwich Village, a country house, and something else: the rights to all of her photographs.
Photgrapher Annie Leibovitz
Julian Schnabel turned to an art lender when building Palazzo Chupi in Greenwich Village, later borrowing against his artwork with a bank.
By ALLEN SALKIN Published: February 23, 2009
In other words, according to loan documents filed with the city, one of the world’s most successful photographers essentially pawned every snap of the shutter she had made or will make until the loans are paid off.
Those who know Ms. Leibovitz said she used the money to pay off mortgages and deal with other financial stresses. But whatever her reasons, she is not alone in doing business with Art Capital and similar lenders. At a time when stock portfolios are plunging and many homes, even grand ones, have no equity left to borrow against, an increasing number of art owners are realizing that an Old Master or a prime photograph, when used as collateral, can bring in much-needed cash.
“It’s very discreet,” said Ian Peck, a co-owner of Art Capital.
This little-known corner of the art business is lightly regulated and highly litigious. But this has not dissuaded clients who have included rich collectors like Veronica Hearst, art galleries and prominent artists themselves, including Ms. Leibovitz and Julian Schnabel.
Art Capital’s headquarters in the former Sotheby’s building on Madison Avenue looks at first glance like an art gallery. Two Warhols, a pair of Rubens portraits of Roman emperors and a pink nude by the contemporary Mexican painter Victor Rodriguez hang on the cool white walls. A sculpture of a faun by Rembrandt Bugatti sits on a windowsill in a conference room where transactions are discussed.
But it would be more accurate to describe the airy space as something far less genteel: a pawnshop.
Art Capital issues loans of $500,000 or more at interest rates from 6 percent to 16 percent. Fail to pay and you lose your Rubens; several of the works on display in Art Capital’s office on Madison became subject to sale after their owners defaulted.
The company expects to make about $120 million in art-related loans in 2009, up from $80 million in 2008. At a Manhattan-based competitor, Art Finance Partners, “we are up 40 percent in originations in the last six months,” said Meghan Carleton, a partner.
ArtLoan, a similar company in San Francisco, is actually regulated by California’s pawn laws. It opened in 2004 and has seen “exponential” growth in the last year even though it charges interest rates of 18 percent to 24 percent, said Ray Parker Gaylord, an owner.
“It’s a very rough-and-tumble corner of the business,” said Marc Porter, who heads the American operations of Christie’s auction house. Christie’s and Sotheby’s also offer loans against fine art but focus on bridge loans to customers who have pledged their art for planned auctions.
“For years, one of the reasons this wasn’t an especially big business is that everyone was getting money for something else,” Mr. Porter said. “It was easy money everywhere. But now people are looking to every asset they have to unlock cash.”
ArtLoan prefers to make loans on items that are physically small and thus easy to store or to ship to auction houses and dealers in case of a default. A recent loan was for $115,000 against a collection that included an early 20th-century bronze sculpture, a 19th-century Persian carpet and a Swiss music box.
Art lenders typically lend up to 40 percent of what they appraise the artworks to be worth, and usually take possession of the works.
A former investment banker in New York, who spoke anonymously because he did not want friends to know his financial situation, is sending six modern paintings to ArtLoan, hoping to borrow $50,000 against them to finance a business venture. His former company’s stock, which he was given as part of his annual bonuses, has gone from the high $70s a share to $22, he said.
“At this point, I’ve been not working for a year and a half,” he said. “I have a choice, which is sell part of my art collection, which when I first left my job in 2007 was an option because the art market was strong, but like all markets it has gone south. Now I can take a loan without having to sell at a discount.”
For her $5 million loan, Ms. Leibovitz put up as collateral a country house in Rhinebeck, N.Y., three town houses in Greenwich Village and all “copyrights ... photographic negatives ... contract rights” existing or to be created in the future, according to a loan document filed with the City Register’s Office in December. That month, Art Capital granted her an additional $10.5 million loan, which was to consolidate the existing mortgages on her homes, according to loan documents.
This is installment#10 of The Current State of the ART Market Series. This one is going to my fabulous, glamorous and knowledgeable red hair friend and Gallerista, Sara Tecchiaowner ofSara Tecchia Roma NY Gallery. Sara is not only a great gallerist but also, a perfect hostess @ her home. With the opening ofCorey Arnoldshow @ her gallery February 26, 2009, ARTmostfierce wanted to catch up with Sara . Lets see what Sara is sharing with us! Photos- Sara Tecchia Roma Gallery NY
Ruben Natal-San Miguel- Please tell us how such a fabulous glamour girl like you got into the art business? How long ago? What triggered it?
SaraTecchia-I'm a very independent thinker/workaholic and needed to find a profession that would cater to these needs. In 2003 I graduated with honors in Political Science, International Affairs at La Terza Universita' di Roma and was at a crossroads. What to do? I didn't have a particular talent or disposition towards anything in particular. I had studied photography during college and some of my work had been exhibited. I thought: "Great, I'll move to NY, pursue graduate studies in Contemporary Art and take it from there" and this I did, at Christie's NY. I was very naive and uneducated in the matter. Thus, after confronting myself with those who set the paradigms of contemporary art I quickly realized that creating art wasn't my talent while finding, promoting and fostering the careers of emerging and mid career artists was a more realistic possibility. Thus, I opened Sara Tecchia Roma New York on September 15, 2005.
RNSM- I always admired your knowledge , professionalism and charm...I mean you are a great hostess @ home also... something that some art dealers can lack @ times...Is it hard to be so composed at all times?
ST-I've never been defined as composed: I like it. I believe that it all comes down to extreme organization and attention to detail, planning ahead of time. I never do things last minute. I notice everything and try to troubleshoot in my mind before problems occur so I know what to expect. As for entertaining I enjoy bringing people together and think of the salons led by the likes of Madame deStaël and Gertrude Stein. When people gather and are comfortable the conversations that generate lead to ideas - ideas to enthusiasm - enthusiasm to action.
RNSN- How do you come about choosing your artists for your gallery?
ST-There isn't an established method. Every time is different: introductions, artist submissions. You never know when or where it will happen. That's the beauty of my profession.
Corey Arnold The Wave, 2003 Bering Sea, Alaska Chromira C-Print 30 x 44 inches Edition 1 of 6
RNSM- Photojournalist Corey Arnold, is part of the stable of your gallery...how did you find him? I mean he is very popular. Please explain. Tell us a bit about Corey.
ST-I first encountered Corey through an image that had nothing to do with his Fish-Work photography: a hefty man laying on a bed with an equally, if not more, hefty cat. I was curious, explored his website and discovered his life/life-style and was captivated by his courage and aesthetics. Corey shows a side of the sea that is unfamiliar to most of us. His images elude the stereotypical narrative of the sea. Otherwise I would have not been attracted to the work. There's a sublime quality to the imagery along with undeniable beauty. Corey Arnold Opilio Morning, 2006 Bering Sea, Alaska Chromira C-Print 30 x 44 inches Edition 1 of 6
RNSM- Corey Arnold is your next show at Sara Tecchia Roma New York gallery. Why now ?
ST-Although the show was planned one year ago it's the right moment: with times being so dire people need to remember the beauty of their natural surroundings however distant and unapproachable they may seem. Corey Arnold Hyse, 2005 Mahemn, Norway Chromira C-Print 30 x 40 inches Edition 1 of 6
RNSM- What do you think about the current economic market now and its effects on the ART world? and Are you taking any kind of measurements or plan of action to weather this climate?
ST-Everybody is experiencing different types of issues in connection with the current crisis, dependent upon on the amount of years in the business and personal experience. There is an ongoing correction and this is not a bad thing. Not everybody is gifted with the rare talent that allows one to be an artist on a professional level and the same applies to art dealers, not everybody possesses the necessary business savvy. Too many galleries have opened in recent years without a strong overall vision. For a gallery to have a possibility of success it's not enough to have a few artists and wall space. There must be a reason. The vision is the reason and is the driving force when times are tough. The program is my main focus and the program is made by a group that must remain strong and confident and not by one or two artists. I avoid reading about all the bad. It's depressing and doesn't help. I keep a very strong focus on what I'm doing, allow few factors to influence my path and work more now than I've ever done. Times are slow for everybody, it's a common status but the great news is that the curve will eventually turn. Hopefully during this "sabbatical" artists, curators, critics and dealers will stop to ponder, bond and innovation will arise. Corey Arnold Matthew and the Sleeper, 2006 Bering Sea, Alaska Chromira C-Print 30 x 40 inches Edition 1 of 6
RNSM- You currently did an art fair in Bologna, Italy...,Can you tell us your experience? Good? Bad?
ST-Bologna was a surprise. It was my first venture in my homeland and we were greeted with open arms. Sales were strong and consistent. I realized that attitudes and personal situations aren't universal. Trust is a big factor where sales are concerned.
RNSM- Now in March 09 , you are also @ SCOPE NY in Lincoln Center ... Can please tell us what are you showcasing? Any additional thoughts?
ST- At Scope-New York I'm showcasing new oil paintings by Paul Jacobsen, large scale 3D photographs by Sebastian Denz, Robert Brinker's cut-paper drawings and David Fried's sound activated sculptures. I feel confident and look forward to a fun week. I truly enjoy meeting new artists, curators, collectors and reconnecting with those I haven't seen in a while. Right now it's important to not nurture high expectations. Whatever comes I take as unexpected surprise and a small victory.
RNSM- How you develop a collectors base? What steps do you take to keep a collectors base even at challenging times like now?
ST-When I opened the gallery I was absolutely unknown and didn't have any connections. Thus, I focused on marketing and branding. I did a lot of advertising, which involved listing the name of the four artists I was then showing and listing my cell phone number. The first art fair I did was Scope Hamptons nine months after opening the space, which allowed me to meet collectors that soon after became clients. Since then I had many fortunate chance encounters with seasoned collectors who share my taste and appreciated/appreciate the facts that my artists are very active, have strong resumes, and fair prices. The most important thing to me is to be just towards all parties involved. I'm not interested in the one time sale. It would have been easy to inflate prices from the get go but I knew that in the long run it would have worked against me. Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler stated that there was a strong reasoning that backed Picasso's prices. I work in the same manner. I seek true patrons who purchase art because they absolutely need to live with the piece of their choice and not because they get a rush out of closing the deal at a certain discount. I always wonder if collectors understand that a good chunk of the money from the sale goes towards paying the printer, framer, shipper, buying supplies, studio rent, insurance etc. It's a whole chain of people who benefit from the sale and keep their business afloat, not only the artist and dealer. If sales stop a very large group suffers. It's important that this be known and collectors understand that this is the time to pick a handful of galleries and help out as much as they possibly can. This is the sense of true patronage.
RNSM- What suggestions or ideas can you provide for a new artist seeking gallery representation now?
ST-Truth be told it's not a good time to seek gallery representation. Every time a gallery takes on a new artist it's a big financial risk that involves large expenses. My advice is focus on your work, don't think of the possible returns, wait. Corey Arnold Crab Gate, 2008 The Bering Sea, Alaska Chromira C-Print 30 x 40 inches Edition 1 of 6
RNSM- Any final thoughts Sara...tell us what is in your mind now?
ST- What's on my mind is to: stay positive, focus, try not to worry too much about the downturn as it's only temporary, enjoy life. My daily mantra that keeps me grounded is: "It's not supposed to be easy" and "Sara, you can do this".
RNSM-Thank you Sara! See you @ Corey Arnold's opening 2/26/09!
Photo-Melanie Flood- The Perfect Hostess @ the Bradley Peters Home Theater Opening
This is installment#9 of The Current State of the ART Market Series .
Artmostfiercehad a chance to see for himself first hand what Melanie Flood Projects is all about. Melanie Flood is a photographer and her gallery concept @ Melanie Flood Projects is a good vision of what most art dealers will end up doing due to the current economic turbulence going on right now,causing a lot of gallery closings. Let's see what Melanie can tell us about it.
RNSM- Please explain to us about Melanie Flood Projects...How did it start it? Why in your house?
MF-I began Melanie Flood Projects over the Summer of 2008 because I felt that artists and photographers (like myself) needed a new style of venue to showcase their art. I was tired of it being utterly impossible for a young, talented artist to display their work, other than online or in crowded group shows that require a participation fee.
The Idea came to me when I was in the position of Managing Editor at Zing magazine. We were involved in Art Chicago 2002 and while visiting I came across stay at home mothers that ran public galleries from their homes. These women were artists, curators, collectors, and they didn't allow motherhood prevent them from being involved with what they loved. I was influenced most by a young woman who had Amy Sillman watercolors displayed on her fridge with magnets. Made me think differently about he way art should and could be displayed.
So based on the inspiration from these women, I decided to base the gallery from my home and I am fortunate enough to live in a lovely brownstone in a great part of Brooklyn. I am also drawn to the idea of the home as a social hub apart from public spaces such as bars, clubs, galleries, & cafes.
RNSM- In my opinion you are pioneering the new resurgence concept of private dealing @ home...Is there a reason why?
MF-I believe that in the environment of a gallery or museum the real importance of the artist is lost in the pressures of the "gallery" experience. By removing that factor I believe I am placing all the emphasis on the artist, using the comfortable and welcoming environment of a living space to ease viewers. I hope that in inviting people to view art in these circumstances, where art eventually ends up, will remove the formal pressures of the "art world" and will help people focus on art in it's most natural state or form.
Photos-'' Mi casa es su casa''Photos of Melanie Flood Home where exhibitions take place. Current show shown is Home Theater by Bradley Peters
RNSM- What is the advantage of it? Disadvantages?
MF-I am not affected by the immense overhead of having a gallery space. Because I don't have to worry about rent, making money is not at the forefront of my mind, this frees up the types of art I show. I also get to display art in my most favorite way-among domestic life, my own personal decorations. It's like a revolving art collection! Another advantage is being able to have many styles of events other than showing art on walls. One example was a party in December where I invited 17 artists to come over for one evening and sell their wares; books, mags, zines, prints, etc…
The disadvantage is obviously that this is a private residence that I share with my husband, so during receptions we're opening our home to the public, which can be frightening at first. People sloshing around with their dirty boots, glasses' overflowing with wine, things can be damaged or stolen. As well, having complete strangers wanting to see the show after the reception. It could be viewed as unsafe to be here alone with someone I don't know. That's where Google comes in.
Also, our apartment always must be clean in case of last minute appointments!
RNSM- With several Art Galleries closing nowadays ...do you see your business template as an adequate and affordable response and possible art market solution to continue art dealing?
MF-Yes, absolutely, but making one's private space public is not for everyone. You have to be a bit more laid back to open your home. The space also needs to be welcoming and able to accommodate crowds of visitors. In this relaxed environment I feel that I have been able to facilitate & encourage dialogue between viewers, artists, and gallerists.
RNSM- How do the artists that you represent feel about this business template?
MF-I have all kinds of artists contacting me who want to be a part of this salon revolution that is taking place. This must mean that artists find it appealing, and they're willing to take a chance on their work in alternative venue. Artists who ordinarily sell prints for $800, are making limited edition magazines so they can be included in my events, they're having fun with their work, taking it a little less seriously. I really love this aspect of Melanie Flood Projects.
RNSM- You are based in Brooklyn...Other than the fact that a great number of artists live there ...how about art collectors?
MF-Everyone I know that lives in Brooklyn collects art. It may not be fine art photography, it may be more folk art, or paintings, but I think there is a great respect and interest for all kinds of art in Brooklyn.
RNSM- Is your business more beneficiary of on line services than lets say appointments and foot traffic? MF-I get the word out about shows, events, openings, and submissions online. If it weren't for Facebook I think it would be more difficult to reach such a wide audience. With that said, my website is just an information portal. I do not treat it as a place for people to view the work. I rely on the opening reception, then appointments for people to really experience my concept. There's no foot traffic because the house does not appear to be a public gallery from the outside.
RNSM- How do you feel towards the Current State of The Art Market now? Any suggestions for other art dealers? Artists?
MF-I realize that the art market is suffering greatly and much less business is being done everywhere. But to look on the bright side this forces artists, gallerists, collectors to look to alternative venues, and emerging artists. I'm strictly into showing work that I believe in, and that I want people to see. I'm not sure if other dealers are doing it for that reason. Perhaps some people out there are in it for the money, but I am realistic, and know that this is not the business to make money in- at least not at this point. Maybe after I've been doing this for ten years I'll have more experience and some advice for other art dealers.
My advice for emerging artists is to not worry so much about selling your work. Just focus on making quality work. Get into group shows, publications, collaborate with friends, & find your voice.
If asked while an undergrad student at the School of Visual Arts if I'd be a curator or an art dealer I would've scoffed. But when I graduated and took a position at Zing magazine, curating a project was part of my job description. I was terrified! I loved Todd Hido's photographs at this time, so I contacted him and asked if I could curate a project of his work. To my delight he said yes. Then again I pushed through preconceptions about myself, & curated another, of Jenny Holzer's work. I believe that being open-minded, & well rounded has helped me flourish.
RNSM- You are also an art collector, has your collecting ways slowed down?
MF-I'm not purchasing any items right now, not really because of the economy, but because I've made many smaller acquisitions over the past two years that need to be properly framed, so I'm more concerned with showcasing that work than adding more.
RNSM-. You are also a photographer; tell us about your work. Photos- Photographer Melanie Flood
MF-I've never been able to tell anyone what I photograph when asked, I'm just getting used to the idea of saying I began taking photographs in 1989 & that I'm obsessed with recording my life, my memories, and surroundings. I'm photographing what exists in front of me. I do not search for projects, or meanings, or ideas. I see it, I like it, and I photograph it. I miss this simplicity in photography. Everything is about the project right now. I was bothered for a while that my work wasn't that way, and because of this, I recently stopped looking at other young artists work-in comparison to my own. I have a tendency to lose my vision while viewing my peers' work. I'm taking photos for myself at this time, getting back to what makes me love photography so much instead of focusing on outsider recognition for my work.
When I'm not taking pictures, I'm organizing a collection of nearly 10,000 family photographs beginning from about 1930. Separately, but ultimately I imagine it will all come together, are photographs beginning in the year of my birth, 1979 to the present, taken by myself and members of my family.
RNSM- Do you include your work in some of your shows?
MF-I am asked this question frequently, and I never do display my work at any of the shows. I also remove any of my photographs that are hanging because I'm not trying to further my career as an artist on the shoulders of whom I am showing. When I have an event its about the artists, not myself.
RNSM- Has your choices of work, artists, pricing and theme shows has changed due to the current climate that we are experiencing?
MF-My choice of artists never has to do with pricing, or themes. I see an artist I like; I contact them, that's it. Whether their work sells for $100, $1000 or $5000 it is irrelevant to my project.
RNSM- Right now you have Home Theater by Bradley Peters on display, which I think it is a pretty good show, and had a good reception opening...Who is next? Why?
MF-Thank you. I find his photographs incredibly compelling. I'm always surprised by a new detail every time I walk past them. It really is quite the luxury to have such a talented artist showcased in my home. Uninstalling them will be a sad day.
The next event will be held in Mid-March, another one night party with items prices at $100 or less. Without giving all the fun away, a few participants' include Jason Polan, Stephen Wong, Grace Kim, & Elizabeth Fleming -painters, photographers, zinesters, magazines, fashion designers- it's a mish mosh of talented people that I'm really excited to support & showcase.
After March I don't have anything planned. I like to keep the schedule open, wait until I feel inspired. I also have a serious case of wanderlust, so that really is what comes first.
RNSM- Any final thoughts?
MF-New York will always have a vibrant art scene regardless of the economy. I'm optimistic about the future of the art world, & very proud to be part of such an exciting time in New York.
This is installment #8 for The Current State of the ART Market Series. The turn now is for talented photographer Tema Staufferwhose amazing new portrait series will be shown alongside Francesca Romeo @ Dan Cooney Fine Art Gallery , February 19- April 18, 2009.
This is going to be a great show , I had seen most of the work to be shown already and there is some great photography portraiture from both artists. I chose Tema because her portraiture series is about young men and I wanted to know if this body of work is dealing in some way with what we are all experiencing these days. Lets see what is in Tema's mind!
Please click on photo name and you will get Tema's blog post story about Jacob and David
Ruben Natal San-Miguel- This is your first show in the Chelsea Gallery District @ Dan Cooney Fine Art Gallery alongside Francesca Romeo … Congratulations! How do you feel about it?
Tema Stauffer -I am excited and honored, to say the least. It is a big moment for me.
RNSM - Please tell us about your Binghamton, NY upstate portraits photography series? What inspired you? Why Binghamton? Why Young Men only? Why Upstate NY?
TS - In July, I got involved in a relationship with a musician who lives in Binghamton, NY. She grew up in Binghamton and she has lived there most of her life. I started making bus trips to visit her, and as we drove around her hometown, I was moved by Binghamton on a number of levels. For one thing, it evoked my own experiences growing up in a small city in the Midwest. It had its own unique soulfulness, but also seemed iconic of any number of towns across America with old brick buildings and new strip malls and an economy on the decline. I recognized its potential as a setting for a story I wanted to tell, and I watched its characters unfold from the window of her car, but it wasn’t immediately clear to me what that story would be. At the end of the summer, I had a conversation with a close friend, a gay man in his mid-forties, who was preparing to teach a workshop in a theatre department at school in Minnesota. He described an assignment he had given his students to create musical performances based on songs that resonate with “our stories, our past, our hopes, our fears and our losses.” The song that my friend had chosen as an example for himself was “The Ballad of Sad Young Men" - a song that has had historical relevance to the gay community as a melancholic reflection on the pain and uncertainty of adolescence.
I began to think about how the song related to both my friend’s and my own struggles as gay teenagers, as well how it expressed something universal about the vulnerability and intensity of that period of life for everyone. I also had been conscious for years that I wanted to make work that addressed themes of gender and sexuality, but I hadn’t determined a clear way to approach these subjects. I had previously shot video footage of men at rodeos in New Jersey and New Orleans, but that work never arrived at a finished art piece. I also took a photograph of a striking teenage boy at a swimming hole in Austin, and what was revealed in that image – something sexy, rebellious, uneasy and haunting – influenced my motivations for photographing these young men in Binghamton.
Photo-Tema Stauffer-Teenage Boy Austin,Texas
The easiest way to explain why I chose to photograph young men is that I wanted to create a very specific structure in the concept of a project because one of the biggest challenges for me has been to give myself enough structure to know what I was searching to photograph. I decided to remain in one town, in proximity to one street, to photograph one gender, and to search for young men who resembled a kind of character I had envisioned. I stuck literally to the notion of “sad young men” despite inevitably wondering at times while I wasn’t photographing young women as well. I told myself, if I saw a young woman who seemed relevant to this kind of character, I wouldn’t stop myself from approaching her, but it didn’t happen.
The other part of the explanation for why I chose to photograph young men has to do with my own fascination with masculinity. My earliest memories of childhood involve feeling at odds with the expectations of being a girl and rejecting those expectations at every turn. I felt a longing to be a boy and I was drawn to symbols of masculinity like cowboys and motorcycles. My friends were boys and tomboys, and I had no interest in anything “girly.” These feelings of being uncomfortable with the conventions of femininity got even more intense and complicated when I reached adolescence and began to understand that I was gay. Once I actually got involved in relationships with women after I left my hometown and went to college, I stopped longing to be someone or something else and began to grow into myself as a gay artist who could carve out an identity and a life outside of the conventions of traditional gender roles. Now, I like the androgyny in myself and I like it in other people. My attraction to the youthful masculinity of these subjects is an attraction, but it is an attraction altogether different from the emotional, intellectual, sexual attachments I develop for grown-up women. And if you look carefully at these young men whom I choose to photograph, I think there is an androgyny present in some of them as well – a softness – even when they are trying to look tough.
RNSM - How did you meet Dan Cooney? Did you know that he is originally from Binghamton?
TS - I met Daniel Cooney through a reference from my friend, Brett Bell – a wonderful young gay artist who had asked me to participate in the committee for his MFA review at Parsons in August. Daniel had taken an interest in Brett’s work and had invited Brett to contribute a photograph to his first Emerging Photographer’s Auction this past fall. When Dan and Brett met to select Brett’s piece for the auction, Dan asked Brett is he recommended other artists whose work he should consider, and Brett mentioned my name among others, and then called later to encourage me to send work to Dan. I have since discovered that Dan actively makes a point of asking artists for insight about other artists - which I think is great way to search for work, and says a lot about how much Dan respects the emerging arts community.
When I sent a link to my website and blog to Dan, he wrote back immediately. Having noticed the first couple of portraits I had posted on my blog of young men in Binghamton, he asked, “What the hell were you doing in Binghamton, the place of my childhood??!” I think we both found it both funny and uncanny that I had been shooting young men in his hometown, and I met him at the gallery shortly thereafter. The following day, he wrote to ask if I might be able to bring this project, which was in its very early stages, to a point where it could be exhibited along with Francesca Romeo’s work in February, and of course I said yes.
I am grateful to Dan not just for providing me this opportunity for an exhibition, but for having faith in the idea of what I was trying to do and what I might accomplish. His enthusiasm and encouragement were integral to motivating me to make the work this fall, and the chemistry and communication between us felt natural and open throughout.
RNSM - Do you think your Binghamton series are in some way reflecting, documenting, or a demonstration of the current economic times we are experiencing now?
TS - I started shooting these photographs of young men shortly before the market crashed in September. As my fears grew in the following weeks along with the rest of the world’s with the news becoming more grim each day, I felt a greater sense of urgency to be connecting to people, photographing people, understanding what people were experiencing during this anxious time. At that point, I also made the decision to remain on or near Binghamton’s Main Street in my search for young men, to give the portraits the context of this literal space that was becoming a metaphor in the media for middle and working class America.
Since I had already embarked on the idea of photographing these young men, many of who were clearly struggling economically, I made a point of asking some of them about their anxieties and their search for work. A number of young men talked about the difficulty of finding jobs and how they had walked along Main Street asking about work in the various establishments with no success in landing jobs.
The subject with whom I talked at greatest length and who is pictured twice in the exhibition, Jacob, immediately opened up to me about his struggle to find work as a construction worker or anything else, and I sensed his anxiety and discouragement, which was heart-breaking. Before we parted after I shot the first portrait of him in a green doorway on Main Street, I suggested to him to set up a free email account at the library and explained to him how to search for jobs on the Internet, and I received an email from “Joker B” the following week – “hey Tema its Jake.” He made my day with that message.
Throughout the fall while I was shooting this work, my own income in New York was deteriorating rapidly with the collapse of the economy. I was, and still am, in a difficult place in regard to making a living, so these anxieties and pressures were constantly part of my consciousness while shooting this project and preparing for the exhibition.
RNSM - How do you feel as an artist showing your work in these turbulent times in a gallery?
TS - These turbulent times feel like the perfect time to show my work. I mean that because this work is about people who are struggling, or who are marginalized in some way, or who are rebelling against conservative and mainstream forces in America. It is an exceptional, painful, fascinating moment in American history, and I am grateful to have even a small voice in the dialogue.
Of course I recognize that this is a harder time for galleries to sell work in the current art market. While those considerations are very real and important to my survival, and to the survival of artists and galleries in general right now, the single most important driving force behind my desire to exhibit this work is for it to be seen and to be felt. I also think that the exhibition it is a great step forward for me with an excellent gallery.
RNSM - I read several of your blog posts in Palm Aire and was mesmerized by how you came across your portrait models and the stories behind them … How did you get started? Were you scared? How did you make a connection with the subject? Did anybody refuse to be part of the project? Please tell us.
TS - There was nothing intimidating about approaching these young men in Binghamton. The worst thing they could do was say no, which happened in just a few instances. During my trips to Binghamton, I spent many weekdays driving up and down Main Street searching for subjects. When I saw someone compelling, I simply got out of the car and introduced myself as a photographer from New York City who was working on a project shooting portraits of young men on Main Street in Binghamton. I told them I was planning to show these photographs in an art gallery in February once I was aware of the exhibition. I was happy to discover how open and willing so many of these young men were to participate in being photographed. I think many of them were flattered to be noticed and to have someone ask questions about themselves.
RNSM - Is this portraiture series a departure from your previous body of work?
Photo-Tema Stauffer- Car Skeletons Dusk
TS - As I mentioned above, I created a tighter structure for this project. The work I had been shooting for the past few years which falls into my ongoing American Stills project explores the psychological character of American spaces – mostly images of landscapes and interiors in the Midwest and more recently, the West. This series of portraits shares this same kind of distinctly American setting, but it is its own body of work. While I had been shooting some portraits during these previous trips, I hadn’t been focused on a specific type of person in a single location.
RSNM - Are any of your portrait models coming to the opening?
TS - I recently sent messages to the subjects for whom I have email addresses. I told them about the opening and the exhibition and gave them links to my website and Dan’s website. I also told them that if they were interested in coming to the gallery at any time during the exhibition, I’d be happy to take them to the gallery. I haven’t heard back from anyone yet. Partly, they don’t check their email as often as you or I do. Also, it is hard to know what is happening in some of their personal lives. I imagine that New York might seem inaccessible to many of them.
RNSM - Do you think that by recognizing, documenting and for a brief moment of time, being in contact with these young men, you were able to inspire and influence their future in any way?
TS - I don’t want to overstate any influence I had on these young men. The time we spent together was brief – even if poignant in some way. It is unclear at this point how much contact I will have with any of these young men in the future, though I certainly hope to stay in touch. Perhaps I will even photograph some of them again.
RNSM - I had seen most of the portraits and there is so much vulnerability and defiance expressed in them … was that your main purpose … to show a diamond in the rough sort of speaking?
TS - I think you said it well, Ruben. It was this combination of roughness and vulnerability, defiance and tenderness that I was looking for in my search for subjects. I only took photographs of young men I thought I’d like as people – guys who seemed sensitive on some level. Daniel mentioned in his press release that there is a “sexual tension” that surface in the exchange between the photographer and the subjects. Well, if there is a sexual tension, which I think there is in some cases, that tension is purely about the relationship created between my role as a photographer and them as subjects expressing themselves to the camera. On simply a personal level, I felt more like an older sister would feel towards a younger brother.
RNSM - As a Juror from Photolucida’s Critical Mass 08, you were one of my finalists 50 choices … your body or work shown there is so different than the ones shown now … I must tell you these new portrait series, I think elevates your work to a higher level! Can you tell us a bit about that experience?
TS - I am still invested in goal of making work in the vein of my American Stills series. But the biggest challenge for me is finding the resources to travel for any length of time, and it has made the progress of that work move slowly. I’d like to have longer stretches of time to travel and to explore these charged American spaces in the West, but it is difficult to afford that kind of wandering at this point …
RNSM - Are you planning to continue this series in another part of the USA? I mean the Americana portraits feel to it is so strong … If so, why?
TS - I hope to continue shooting portraits of young men in Binghamton. But I always hesitate to talk too much about future plans, because life is so complicated and unpredictable, especially right now. I don’t know what I can do or will do until I am closer to doing it. I prefer to talk, or even better, to write about experiences after they have happened.
RNSM - Do you feel that the average eye will relate to these portraits in the same way as a sophisticated art collector? How? Why?
TS - I don’t know that there is such a thing as an average eye. Everyone brings their subjective experiences to looking at photographs. But I do think that these images are relatively accessible to people who don’t necessarily have an education or background in the arts. I mean that because they are portraits and they are straightforward and classical in some ways.
RNSM - Your work is different compared to Francesca Romeo but there is something that binds them together … what do you think it is? Why?
TS - I think Francesca and I share an attraction to people who are on some kind of an edge. And I think we both bring a sense of narrative to our work. Seen together in the context of this exhibition, it is almost as though the subjects in my photographs are the young people in their hometown who feel some isolation, restlessness, discontentment – who might dream of being in cities and finding people who are more like them. And then in her photographs, they have grown up a bit, moved to New York City, fallen in love, had their hearts broken, gotten bruised chasing their dreams and figuring it all out.
RNSM - I had purchased your work done by 20 x 200, which I like, but this series in my opinion, your work crossed the barrier of commercial art into the serious fine art territory … I mean, Tema, the portraits series to me is your breakthrough … how do you feel? You think you finally found your voice? Theme? Passion?
TS - I want to stay as open-minded as I can to exploring different people and stories and places of interest. I do think this series of portraits has a strong and specific focus and I am committed to the idea of continuing to address these themes.
RNSM - What is next for Tema?
TS – Something good, I hope. Thank you, Ruben, for your excellent questions and for the efforts you have made to understand what artists and various figures in the art world are experiencing right now. I’m honored to have a voice in your interview series. And I greatly appreciate the support and enthusiasm you have brought to this group of portraits.
RNSM- Thanks Tema, Congratulations!
I think your show with Francesca is going to be a great one, Thanks again for contributing to the interview series and I wish you lots of success. Keep up the great work!