Two items from the Art Association:
Having just read a Jackson Hole News and Guide profile on Art Association new Executive Director Jennifer Crawford’s feeling for space between art and its viewer, it really seems like kismet that a new show, Redefining Space, has opened at Artspace Loft Gallery. Kismet, or great marketing coordination…you decide! Whatever the force, this exhibit does something new. Creative personalities fall into ruts; our spaces can rot, and worn space often sabotages creativity. It creates resistance, a monumental foe for artists and writers.
Gallery and museum spaces manipulated to make the best of any display are not as common as you might think. In that spirit (and not because there’s worn space to rectify) Redefining Space aims to flex and stretch existing concepts about gallery space in particular. Former Art Association board member Cindee George flexes her own creative biceps by reinterpreting Artspace’s Donnelly Photography Loft Gallery. The result is an exhibit within an exhibit, as George’s redefinition of gallery space is the backdrop for a current art exhibition.
The Art Association notes, too, that its Summer Class Registration process begins March 15, 2010. Log onto the Art Association’s website, www.artassociation.org, to see this year’s offerings. There are classes for all ages and artistic predilections. A variety of levels of expertise are accommodated. The roster includes loads of childrens art classes, so keep your little ones in mind when signing up.
Death, Debt and Divorce. Those are the three certain facts of life continuing to drive the art market, even in an economic downturn. So says Christie’s CEO Edward Dolman in a business profile on the arts, published in Newsweek’s February 22, 2010 issue. (page 52.)
Last month, a Sotheby’s auction sold Alberto Giacometti’s 1960 sculpture of a needle-thin man, “Walking Man I” for $104.3 million. The price broke the previous record fine art sale, $104.2 million. That record was also set at Sotheby’s, six years ago. The hammer price bought Pablo Picasso’s 1906 work “Boy with a Pipe.” Prompted by the shockingly robust Giacometti sales price, Newsweek probed Doleman on the “hows and whys” of the sale. With the collapse and confusion in current world economies, where does a sales price like this come from? Is there no tactful reluctance, even when art up for sale is renowned?
According to Dolman, the answer is “no.” Top of the market art sales flourish because of rare supply and rare personal fortune. Dolman notes that as the Asian and Middle East art markets have grown, so has Christie’s investment in their sales bases. “Our Asian works of art department is now the single biggest revenue-generating part of our business, superseding impressionist (darn it!) and modern pictures, postwar and contemporary art,” says Dolman. He adds that when the most expensive art is involved, only a small number of people have the funds to buy it. Those buyers have so much wealth it is almost impossible to put a dent in it.
The bottom line on “bargains,” says Dolman, is that death, debt and divorce happen no matter how wobbly economies become. Death often piles debt onto family fortunes, and selling art that has accumulated high value is a handy way of paying off that debt. Even then, top works of art are scarce. So when a great work comes on the market Christie’s and Sotheby’s alert their best collectors and encourage them to bid while they can.
Supply and the ability to demand. Can’t help but think about Jackson Hole’s plunging real estate market, a market with limited pinnacle supply and that only the wealthiest can buy. Jackson’s real estate market has dropped near 80% in the last year, plus. Since the recession began, according to Newsweek, Christie’s sales have dropped from a reported $6 billion to less than $3 billion. A very few of the highest end valley properties have sold recently; “moderate” priced home sales remain fallow.