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An L.A. Gallerist Bought Out Warhol’s First Painting Show for $1,000—and Ended Up with $15 Million

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Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup Cans, 1962. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © Andy Warhol Foundation/ARS, NY/TM Licensed by Campbell’s Soup Co.

When Los Angeles gallerists Irving Blum and Walter Hopps offered a young Andy Warhol his first-ever solo painting show, they thought it would be a sensation.

They were wrong. Local critics panned it; the Los Angeles Times went so far as to publish a snarky cartoon of two barefoot beatniks contemplating Warhol’s Campbell’s soup paintings. “Frankly, the cream of asparagus does nothing for me,” says one, “but the terrifying intensity of the chicken noodle gives me a real Zen feeling.” A nearby gallery tried to capitalize on the outrage by setting up a window display of Campbell’s soup, accompanied by the sign: “Get the real thing for only 29 cents a can.”

But Hopps wasn’t deterred. Ever since his first visit to Warhol’s studio, he was certain that the ghostly pale, silver-wigged artist was something special.

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Hirst: “You Can’t Make Art” Without Money

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Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons at the Newport Street Gallery, London. Photo: Newport Street Gallery, London via Facebook

Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons at the Newport Street Gallery, London.
Photo: Newport Street Gallery, London via Facebook

Damien Hirst equated money to “love and death” insisting that it is “something you need to respect,” and that “you can’t make art without somehow taking it on board.”

Speaking to the BBC in a joint interview with Jeff Koons ahead of the American artist’s exhibition at Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery, in Vauxhall, south London, the bad boy of British art addressed a question on whether money obscured artistic creation.

“I think a lot of people think that artists need to be poor, or that you can’t have a focus on money,” he said. “When I did my auction, when I made all that money, it changed everything for me and it was made in such a short period of time.” Read More

The Financial Gaps Between Two Major Museums

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new-york-moma-esterno-31-9551337Uptown on Thursday morning, one major museum owned up to serious financial problems. Farther downtown on Thursday afternoon, another celebrated serious financial progress.

The bad news at the Metropolitan Museum of Art — ballooning deficits, possible staff cuts and a hold on the planning of a new wing dedicated to Modern and contemporary art — stood in sharp contrast to the jubilant word from the Museum of Modern Art that the entertainment mogul David Geffen had donated $100 million toward an expansion and renovation.

But both developments spoke volumes about the current state of the art world, where Modern and contemporary art dominate the action these days — in auction houses and galleries, as well as museums. Everyone wants in, including a revered institution like the Met, which is striving to play catch-up even as it is struggling to pay the bills.

“The audience for contemporary art has grown exponentially in the last decade,” said Tom Eccles, the executive director of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard, adding that the sector’s attendant money and glamour make it “a honey pot” and “the Hollywood” of the art world.

The Met has stiff competition in the Modern and contemporary realm, especially at home. MoMA is expanding and renovating; the Whitney last year opened a widely acclaimed new home downtown; the Guggenheim has multiplied around the world and the New Museum has helped lead an art surge in Lower Manhattan. In addition, the new Broad Museum in Los Angeles is drawing lines around the block since it opened last fall and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is about to open its new building next month. Read More

Review: How the West Was Weird

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wrongmove, giclee on canvas, 12 x 20 feet

By .  The following review appears in the March 17, 2016 issue of The Reno News and Review.

“I’m upending a story that wasn’t true and never happened,” said Tom Judd.

He believes that the West, the frontier, and the stories that surround it are part of a mythology that’s worth a more cynical look. In Home on the Range, now showing at Stremmel Gallery, the Philadelphia-based artist subverts one vintage perspective (the myth of the frontier) with another (painting). The resulting work is sad, funny and, above all, weird.

“One of the reasons the story of the West is so weird is because people are so weird,” said Judd in a recent phone interview. “They make up weird stuff and then pretend like it’s real.”

Displacing Native Americans and calling it settlement, going to war with Mexico under the guise of annexation, killing the buffalo and piling their bones in a giant heap of hubris. While domestic policy driven by manifest destiny is thought to be a thing of the past, it’s hard to deny the appeal that the quiet cowboy holds for our national character, even today. Read More

Picasso Inc: The Artist’s Messy, Messy Estate

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pablo-picasso-battle-empire-art-01

Vanity Fair has an excellent story (well worth reading in its entirety) by Milton Esterow, founder of ArtNews magazine, about the mess Picasso left behind with his enormous body of work, many heirs and no will. Here Esterow describes the size of the problem:

When Picasso died, 43 years ago at the age of 91, he left an astounding number of works—more than 45,000 in all. (“We’d have to rent the Empire State Building to house all the works,” Claude Picasso said when the inventory was completed.) There were 1,885 paintings, 1,228 sculptures, 7,089 drawings, 30,000 prints, 150 sketchbooks, and 3,222 ceramic works. There were vast numbers of illustrated books, copperplates, and tapestries. And then there were the two châteaux and three other homes. (Picasso lived in and worked in about 20 places from 1900 to 1973.) According to one person familiar with the estate, there was $4.5 million in cash and $1.3 million in gold. There were also stocks and bonds, the value of which was never made public. In 1980 the Picasso estate was appraised at $250 million, but experts have said the true value was actually in the billions.

Picasso did not leave a will. The division of his holdings took six years, with often bitter negotiations among the heirs. (There were seven then.) The settlement cost $30 million and produced what has been described as a saga worthy of Balzac. The family, writer Deborah Trustman noted at the time, “resembles one of Picasso’s Cubist constructions—wives, mistresses, legitimate and illegitimate children (his youngest born 28 years after his oldest), and grandchildren—all strung on an axis like the backbone of a figure with unmatched parts.” Read More

World Premiere of “A Man With Stones” in Los Angeles

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AMWS- pc -front b and w Organized by the Downtown Independent, the world premiere of “A Man With Stones” is on Thursday, September 17, 2015 from 9:00-11:00pm. The film documents the work of LA artist Woods Davy, directed by Ron Colby. On making the film, Colby said, “Walking into a Santa Monica gallery at Bergamont Station, I saw an installation of large, gray, rock sculptures. They immediately spoke to me in a primitive but lyrical way. The artist was there and I impulsively asked if I could make a film about him, his work and how it all came to be. Soon thereafter my camera and I witnessed heavy stones transformed into blithely floating assemblages that delight the eye and spirit.”

For more information and to RSVP to this event, please visit the Downtown Independent’s website.

View works by Woods Davy at Stremmel Gallery or Craig Krull Gallery.

Art Word – Michele Maccarone, the Dealer Making Collecting Cool Again

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By James Tarmy for Bloomberg Business

Michele Maccarone of Maccarone Gallery. Photographer: Ben Grieme for Bloomberg Pursuits

Michele Maccarone of Maccarone Gallery. Photographer: Ben Grieme for Bloomberg Pursuits

The $54 billion art market is making record sales and is increasingly dominated by a handful of behemoths. With a new gallery in Los Angeles, New York art dealer Michele Maccarone has plans to make art fun again. Her buyers are listening

The art dealer Michele Maccarone is sitting with Alex Hubbard, one of her star artists, in the restaurant Redbird in downtown L.A., five minutes from her new 50,000-square-foot gallery. Maccarone is there to scope it out for the Sept. 19 celebration of the inaugural show, a solo exhibition of Hubbard’s work. Instead of discussing the food or art, they’re talking about natural disasters.
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ART WORD – SECRETS TO LARRY GAGOSIAN’S SUCCESS

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By Cait Munro for artnet News.

Larry Gagosian & Jeff Koons at the Met

Larry Gagosian & Jeff Koons at the Met

 

Larry Gagosian has built a veritable art sales empire. From humble beginnings as a poster salesman in 1970s Los Angeles, Gagosian has climbed his way to the top. He currently operates 15 spaces in New York, London, Los Angeles, Rome, Athens, Hong Kong, Paris, and Geneva, where he represents some of the biggest names in contemporary art.

How does Gagosian do it? Magnus Resch, in his buzzy new book, Management of Art Galleries, has revealed some of the secrets to Gagosian’s success. The book features case studies of various ultra-successful art dealers, and among them is Gagosian. While Resch was unable to speak directly to anyone from the gallery directly, he’s culled information from unofficial interviews with gallery employees as well as profiles in Vogue and the Wall Street Journal.

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Coeur d’Alene Art Auction: Western Art Market Remains Strong

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Charles M. Russell (1864–1926) A Bronc Twister bronze, 18 inches high Sold at Auction: $1,089,000

Charles M. Russell (1864–1926)
A Bronc Twister
bronze, 18 inches high
Sold at Auction: $1,089,000

 

The annual Coeur d’Alene Art Auction was held July 25th, at the Peppermill Resort in Reno. An overflowing crowd of approximately 750 bidders packed the auction room for what has become the single largest event in the field of classic Western and American Art. Total sales for the 322-lot event exceeded the $22 million mark, with several records being set for both deceased and contemporary artists.

Click here to read the Press Release.

ART WORD – What’s Really Going On At the Top End of the Art Market?

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Andy Warhol's Dollar Sign, 1981 featured in the money-themed Sotheby's auction

Andy Warhol’s Dollar Sign, 1981 featured in the money-themed Sotheby’s auction

 

By  dealer/curator/writer Kenny Schachter for Artnet News

The school year for the international art world stretches from Frieze London in early October to the London contemporary auctions, which this year, due to the crowded-out calendar that included the Venice Biennial in addition to Art Basel, pushed the calendar uncomfortably into July.

It’s a long year for the art world.

The British summer heat wave, still underway, was not the only drain affecting the mood in the London salesrooms over the past week or two. There were numbers missed, excessive estimates that choked off bids, and a dearth of energy that gave the whole undertaking an underwhelming feel. All in the face of the greatest year in the greatest world art market that ever was. Mmmmmm…

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