Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Eli Broad's Basel Bash

Last week, one of the world's richest art collectors, Eli Broad, and his wife, hosted an extravagant party in honor of this year's Art Basel. The event took place in their California home, which could easily be mistaken for a contemporary art museum or gallery, with their extensive art collection. The Broads' collection is astonishing, and guests mingled and ate, all the while surrounded by some of the best art made over the past 50 years.

W Magazine wrote about the party:
Almost everything about a recent dinner at Eli Broad’s Los Angeles home in honor of the 40th anniversary of Art Basel was outsize, starting with the estate itself. Visitors approached the mansion—designed in part by Frank Gehry—through a private sculpture park, then entered a sitting room the size of a hotel lobby before descending a stairway into a series of double-height galleries. “This is bigger than the Gagosian Gallery,” said fashion-world fixture Richard Buckley as he arrived at the first subterranean white cube, with its cranelike Calder sculpture and pair of giant Chuck Close portraits. A moment later Ann Philbin, director of UCLA’s Hammer Museum, summed up the installation with a wry understatement: “Not bad,” she said, in a tone that meant something more like, Can you believe? ...

keep reading the W Magazine story about the Broad Basel party

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Herb and Dorothy Vogel

If you are an art collector, an artist, or an enthusiast, you have got to love the story of Herb and Dorothy Vogel - very unlikely, but very important art collectors.

Self described art lovers, they married in 1962. After Herb's brief stint as an artist (and a painting student at NYU), they moved on to modest careers and to collecting art. The couple decided to live on Dorothy's salary as a librarian, and to use Herb's salary from the U.S. Postal Service to buy works of art.

The Vogels' collection amassed to over 4000 pieces during the course of 40 years. They kept much of it in their rent-controlled, one bedroom apartment, covering the walls, floors, furniture, etc. with as much art as possible.

The Vogels plan to donate 2500 works from their collection to public institutions - 50 works to each 50 states.

Click here to see the NY Daily News article on the Vogel art collection

More information about Megumi Sasaki's documentary HERB & DOROTHY

Monday, June 8, 2009

Basel Art Fairs

As art collectors, art fairs can be some of the best places to acquire new work. Art fairs are typically large indoor events defined by the "booths" that each gallery/venue represents. The booths are stocked with some of the best work from the gallery's roster, and can be particularly good places to find contemporary and emerging art.

Later this week, Basel, Switzerland will be hosting a slew of fairs surrounding Art Basel, including Liste, VOLTA, Scope, to name a few. What happens with sales there this year will be an interesting marker to gauge the current state of the art market.

Click here for a list of art fairs in Basel this year.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Interview with conservator Christian Scheidemann

Earlier this week I posted about the conservation studio Contemporary Conservation. While looking through the archives over at Cabinet Magazine's website, I stumbled across a 2001 interview with the studio's founder and head, Christian Scheidemann. Here he discusses the special challenges associated with caring for the odd materials contemporary artists use - hence the name of the article - "Conserving Latex and Liverwurst".

Scheidemann provides some really great insight into the theory and philosophy of restoration - like who makes decisions on how to restore something, perhaps some works were meant to just decay, and the Code of Ethics. Plus, there are some good little stories and anecdotes about famous artists like Matthew Barney and Paul McCarthy.

here's a peek at the interview:

We once spoke about the time you had to preserve a giant pound cake produced by Matthew Barney. Can you tell me more about that experience?

Yes, indeed, it was right after Documenta IX (1992) in Kassel. Matthew phoned me to ask if I could bake a big pound cake in the shape of an extended pill (Hubris Pill). His cake, which he showed in the instal-lation OTTO-Shaft, had been destroyed by rats in the parking garage, which was the site of the installation. It took us about one year to find a bakery that was willing to let us experiment with paste in their work space. Finally, we found a solution, a tech-nique to build up a pound cake in the mold Matthew had sent. The problem was that either the inside was still raw after an hour of baking time or the outside started to turn black after 90 minutes. So we made a construction with wire mesh containing a void inside and it worked. Eventually, the grease had to be extracted with chemicals and the space of the grease had to be replaced by synthetics. We had acquired the necessary experience earlier with the conservation of Robert Gober's doughnuts.

Do you feel that there are some works that are simply meant to be ephemeral (for instance, leftovers from Fluxus events, certain works by conceptual artists, or props used in performances)? Or should these objects be maintained as historical documents?

Richard Tuttle once stated in a conversation with me that all his works were meant to go with the wind. He said he would never care about his materials and he liked the idea that his objects were so lightweight that they would just fly away and disappear like a cloud in the sky. However, when looking at his elaborate production of artist's books, I cannot take this statement seriously. During the early days of their careers, most artists do not really care about the materials they use; they are not meant to last forever. As interest increases from collectors and museums, they often care very much about proper materials and techniques. This, however, runs the risk of losing all the charm of fragility and ingenuity...

click here to keep reading the full interview with Gregory Williams and Christian Scheidemann

Monday, June 1, 2009

Contemporary Conservation

A few weeks ago I posted about the importance of conservation with your collection. Contemporary Conservation Ltd. is perhaps the finest place for - you guessed it - the conservation of contemporary art. The studio was founded by Christian Scheidemann in 1983 in Hamburg, and moved to New York in 2002. They specialize in the odd and non-traditional materials that contemporary (and particularly American) artists tend to use.

The studio has an unbelievably impressive list of clients that can back them up, so if you're willing to go to the best - go to Contemporary Conservation.