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At Art Basel’s First Paris Fair, Great Expectations Meet Great Wealth – BNN Bloomberg

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(Bloomberg) — It’s a small art fair saddled with massive expectations. 

Well before it opened on Wednesday, Paris+ par Art Basel had become a symbol of Paris’s ascendance as a contemporary art capital. London, the story goes, is hobbled by self-inflicted economic wounds, while Paris is newly business-friendly, filled with fresh galleries, and ready to return to its 19th century cultural dominance.

Within that framing, the success (or failure) of the fair’s first edition, which runs through Sunday, Oct. 23, could be seen as a bellwether for the city’s art scene as a whole. If it does well, it’s a sign that Paris is back. If not … tant pis.

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It’s a neat narrative, and perhaps it’s even partially accurate. But as the doors opened promptly on Wednesday at 10 a.m. inside the Grand Palais Éphémère, a temporary structure used for events while the Grand Palais is renovated, dealers being dealers were mostly concerned with the pragmatics of how much art would be sold, and to whom.

“I think it’s a banality to say that Paris is the place to be nowadays due to Brexit, even though it’s true,” says the French dealer Jérôme Poggi, whose Paris gallery is located next to the Pompidou Center. “I’ve received many messages from collectors around the world saying they’d be coming to Paris, and usually they don’t, they go to Frieze,” last week’s art fair in London, where both dealers and attendees were as preoccupied by how this new art fair would go as much as they were by the strength of the dollar in relation to the pound.

Poggi’s booth was filled with contemporary art but also showcased a €2.5 million painting by Edvard Munch from 1911. He had sent out a preview of what he planned to bring to the fair to collectors, and immediately sold three works before the fair even opened—one to an American, two to people in France. As a consequence, he says, he had to scramble to fill his stand with fresh, unsold art before the fair opened.

But, he adds, he’s not overly focused on sales. “I’m not into that,” he says. “I find it very vulgar.”

A Very French Fair

Paris+ par Art Basel (an unwieldy name, and one that almost no one uses, instead simply calling it “Paris+” or “Art Basel Paris”), began in a swirl of intrigue. The stalwart Paris fair FIAC, which took place every year a few weeks after Frieze, was blindsided when the cultural organization that oversees the Grand Palais opened FIAC’s slot to a public competition, which it then lost out to Art Basel.

After Art Basel’s new fair was announced in late January, the organization, which is a subsidiary of MCH Group AG, had nine months to pull it together. “There’d been a fair amount of pessimistic speculation about this,” says Marc Spiegler, the global director of Art Basel, speaking a day before the fair opened. “You know, everybody wants progress, but nobody wants change.”

The goal, Spiegler continues, was to keep the regional flair of the French fair, but attract an international swath of collectors who’d perhaps stayed away from FIAC. 

“We have a contractual obligation to the Ministry of Culture as part of our deal, to maintain the same level of French galleries in the fair as FIAC had before,” Spiegler says. That said, Art Basel “has more than 30 people working with VIPs all over the world,” he continues, “and you’ll see that reflected in who shows up to the fair this week.”

Big Collectors

The fair’s first day opened to a calm, comparatively subdued line of well-dressed collectors who shuffled, unhurriedly, through the doors. But after a few hours had passed, aisles and booths for the fair’s 156 galleries were packed with people speaking what felt like an equal division of French and English.

“It’s very Haussmannian,” says Francois Trausch, the CEO of Allianz Real Estate GmbH, standing in one of the fair’s aisles and talking of the new fair in general. “Very well-organized.”

His companion, the consultant and arts patron Alexandra de Royere, says that they began their day in the back of the building, where younger, somewhat emerging galleries are grouped. “We started with the young galleries, because we wanted to see two artists,” she says, “but all the big collectors were there.”

The fair, she adds, is filled with “big collectors, and not just French ones.”

Bigger Sales

Smaller galleries’ booths were indeed swept through. “Sales are going well,” says Alexander Hertling, standing in the booth of his Paris-based gallery Balice Hertling. He points to a €15,000 work by the artist Zhi Wei, which he says “we could have sold five times.”

Similarly, Hertling says that “people are fighting right now” over a €35,000 ($34,179) painting by the highly sought-after French artist Pol Taburet; contenders, Hertling says, include multiple Parisian museums. “We’re going to have to figure it out,” he says.

There was similar enthusiasm in the front of the building, where the mega-galleries were clustered.

There, the dealer Thaddaeus Ropac, who has gallery locations in Paris, London, Salzburg, and Seoul, says that he’d brought “more important works this year for Paris, which we’d normally consider for Art Basel,” referring to the original Swiss edition held in June. In the first hours of the fair, he sold “three or four” paintings by Georg Baselitz for €100,000,  a sculpture by Antony Gormley for £450,000, and a hyper-realist sculpture by Ron Mueck for $850,000.

“I sometimes felt that London is a business place and transactional, and Paris was more about the beauty of the place,” Ropac says. “And this changed, because transactions are much easier here now than they used to be.”

Other large galleries say that they notched similarly robust sales.

David Zwirner says it sold over $11 million worth of art on the first day, including a $4.5 million painting by Joan Mitchell from 1989 and a 1963 work by Robert Ryman for $3 million.

Hauser & Wirth reported nine sales including paintings by George Condo for $2.65 million, Avery Singer for $800,000, and Rashid Johnson for $1 million; each of these, the gallery says, was painted this year.

So: did the fair’s day-one success mean that Paris is now the continent’s cultural king?

“The fact that Art Basel is here is very good for our business,” says Sarah Lévénès, a director at Marcelle Alix, a gallery in Paris’s Belleville neighborhood, which had a booth filled with work that ranged from about €2,750 to €32,000. On an international scale, “Art Basel is doing a great job calling collectors and making Paris attractive, and that’s good for us too.”

Even a week before the fair, her gallery held an opening that was attended by Chinese, American, and British collectors, she says. “We met new people, and had a great exchange.”

Perhaps, Ropac suggests, the fair’s success could mean that Paris is simply more appealing to visit for a few days.

“In the last few years London just had a more international crowd, with American collectors, and this year it’s reversed,” he says.  “It doesn’t matter where you do it, it matters if you have the players. And they’re here, now.”

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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‘Amazing’ art, dance program a hit for local seniors (3 photos)

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The Orillia and District Arts Council (ODAC) has married dance, visual art, and art history in a comprehensive new arts program created specifically for local seniors.

The HeARTS (Helping Elders with ARTS) program is held every Tuesday and Thursday at St. James’ Anglican Church; the goal is to get participants’ bodies moving before trying their hand at various disciplines of art.

The 26-week program began in September after ODAC secured federal government funding earlier this year, and each lesson includes a dance component, supplementary lectures on the session’s artistic theme, and — of course — the opportunity to create art.

Organizers offer a wide-ranging variety of programming and artistic styles for the participants to learn about, ranging from Picasso-inspired self portraits, to re-creations of Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’, Japanese Suminigashi marbling, and more.

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An “intelligent” approach was brought to the program, organizers say, adding they hope to give seniors legitimate opportunities to explore their artistic sides, as well as the opportunity to self-reflect.

“It (isn’t) juvenile, like arts and crafts. We wanted to do something intelligent and fresh, and have something that seniors could be excited to come to weekly,” said HeARTS art facilitator Sukhi Kaur.

“They’re taken on a journey of self-reflection that they get to explore through different art techniques, and different artists and activities,” Kaur said. “By the end, they’ll hopefully create a small body of work that represents their time here, as well as connecting to the memories that the art prompts are supposed to bring up, and they have the opportunity to share that with new people.”

Each session’s programming is designed to tie into a specific theme, Kaur said, noting those themes are guided by participant feedback. For example, a dance session based in mirroring was included with a lecture on Picasso before participants painted their own self portraits.

A variety of guest artists — and even a harp player during the Vincent Van Gogh session — have been brought to the program to enrich its sessions.

Above all, however, the program offers the opportunity for seniors to have fun and socialize.

“We were hoping that it would be an opportunity post-COVID for seniors to socialize,” Kaur said. “They come here for art, and they come here for dance, but they get to talk about their week. There’s been some new friendships made here that I’ve got to watch flourish over the weeks.”

The idea is catching on.

“Our board made a decision some time back that we wanted to be more socially involved with vulnerable or underrepresented groups, and we thought seniors would be a good fit,” said ODAC board secretary Christine Hager.

“It was a slow start … but now it’s catching people by word of mouth. They are telling other people what’s going on here, and they’re having a lot of fun — that’s the main thing.”

So far, the program has been a success, with one participant celebrating it as “an amazing get together for seniors” that got her out of a rut through COVID-19.

“It gives us something to look forward to, shows us our cognitive abilities, and motivates us to do better than we thought we could do,” said Donna Howlett.

“I love the dance class — just hearing the music has brought me back to my childhood, and the art class is so interesting. I did not know that I had some talent there,” said Maryann Van Arem.

Miriam Goldberger, the program’s dance instructor, said she enthusiastically joined the program when she learned it would incorporate multiple styles of art, and highlighted the importance of movement for both physical health and creating the right mindset to engage with art.

“Movement and physical activity prevent serious physical and mental and emotional decline of seniors,” she explained. “It also really lubricates all the creativity and the social goals that happen with the other part of the program.”

“They’re relaxed, they’re comfortable with themselves, they’re feeling positive,” she said. “They’re open to new things.”

Beyond offering arts programming to seniors, the HeARTS program also serves as a placement opportunity for Georgian College Social Service Worker students.

Program volunteer Joan Berndt said the addition of these students is “incredibly beneficial” to breaking down stigma surrounding seniors.

“The addition of social work students is incredibly beneficial because they don’t get frontline experience when they’re in school,” Berndt said. “They learn about seniors, (and) there is a discrimination in some younger people, that they don’t want to work for seniors, but they’re meeting some fabulous seniors, and it’s working.”

The HeARTS program is offered to local seniors free of charge. It takes place at St. James’ Anglican Church, every Tuesday and Thursday, with a drop-in session from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., with dance and arts programming taking place from 1 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Organizers are hoping to secure funding to continue the program following its current 26-week run.

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Christmas-themed “One Man Art Show” at Evergreen Park

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This will be his second show in the Chuckwagon room at the TARA Centre, which he thoroughly enjoys, having fallen in love with it during his last show in the fall.

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” It’s so perfect (Evergreen Park) has so much room there to park and the room is just the perfect size, and like you said the light shows out there and stuff, the whole thing has such a nice Christmas feel to it, they’ve had so many events over there lately here with the Christmas theme. It just fits in perfectly, again, with my niche and stuff I couldn’t imagine a better location to do this,” said McCaffrey.

He does expect a bigger crowd for this time round after his last “One Man Art Show” took place at the start of hunting season, which is a big chunk of his target demographic.

“They’ll be a little bit of new stuff, but mostly stuff that was already there in September, but there were a lot of people that didn’t get a chance to come to the show in September because of hunting season and different stuff like that, and I thought Christmas would be another opportunity for those people to come out.”

McCaffrey says among the stuff he’s bringing back from the September show is a piece not for sale. It is a portrait of his granddaughter that he enjoys and just likes to show off to the community.

McCaffrey’s “One Man Art Show” runs December 7, and 8, starting at noon until 9 p.m. both days, at Evergreen Park in the TARA Centre, inside of the Chuckwagon Room.

If you want to browse McCaffrey’s collection online, click here.

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The Ottawa Art Gallery and The Ottawa Hospital select winners of the TRIAS Art Prize – The Ottawa Hospital

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The winning artwork will be displayed at The Ottawa Hospital campuses as a way of enhancing wellness through art.

OTTAWA – December 6, 2022 – The Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) and The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) have selected the winners of the 2022 TRIAS Art Prize. This included five prizes in three categories.

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  • Art and Science Residency winner: Svetlana Swinimer
  • Indigenous and Inuit Healing Art Award winner: Koomuatuk (Kuzy) Curley, Sikusilingmiut
    • Honourable Mention: Christine Toulouse, Courage
  • Art as Healing winner: Andrew Morrow, Neither Brightly Lit Nor Completely Enlightened
    • Honourable Mention: Jovita Akahome, Soul

TRIAS Art Prize is a juried art competition that intersects art, science, medicine, and community. All winning artwork will be displayed at The Ottawa Hospital with the aim of enhancing care through restorative art, engaging the community, and supporting artists from Ottawa, Eastern Ontario, Western Quebec, and Nunavut.

“They say all good things come in threes and the TRIAS Art Prize program is no exception, bringing together Art, Health and Community, through three great prize categories, that demonstrate the power of working together to bring about positive change. We are appreciative of the artists who submitted and of the jury who were challenged to choose from over 130 applications!” expressed Alexandra Badzak, Director and Chief Executive Officer at the Ottawa Art Gallery.

“We are grateful to our partners at the OAG for the opportunity to combine art, science, and medicine to help us create a hospital environment that is reflective of the diverse community we serve while showcasing TOH’s core values of research, medical care, and healing,” said Joanne Read, Chief Planning and Development Officer at The Ottawa Hospital. “Congratulations to the winners of this year’s TRIAS Art Prize.”

TRIAS Art Award is part of the Creative Wellbeing program, a city-building initiative connecting artists and communities with hospital researchers and clinicians to create original works of art to enhance hospital spaces. Creative Wellbeing aims to increase awareness of patient care at The Ottawa Hospital, incorporate art as part of the patient experience, and further develop art as therapy programming.

Ottawa residents Jennifer Toby and Dr. François Auclair, who have been integral to Creative Wellbeing since its inception, have provided the inaugural funding for the awards. The Indigenous and Inuit Healing Art Honourable Mention prize is provided by The Lawson Foundation.

For media inquiries or to book an interview:

Ottawa Art Gallery:

Véronique Couillard
Officer, Media, Public and Francophone Relations
613-233-8699 +244

vcouillard@oaggao.ca

The Ottawa Hospital:

Rebecca Abelson

Media Relations Officer

343-576-0259, rabelson@toh.ca

About the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG)

The Ottawa Art Gallery is situated on traditional Anishinābe Aki and is Ottawa’s municipal art gallery and cultural hub. Located in Ottawa’s downtown core, the expanded Gallery is a contemporary luminous cube designed by KPMB Architects and Régis Côté et associés.

oaggao.ca

About The Ottawa Hospital (TOH)

The Ottawa Hospital is committed to providing each patient with the world-class care, exceptional service and compassion that they would want for their loved ones. Over their three campuses, they serve tens of thousands of patients in Ottawa and the surrounding area each year. They rank 5th in Canada for total research funding and published over 2,200 research papers in 2019. As one of the largest research hospitals throughout the country, they are constantly innovating and providing new insight into the healthcare sector.

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