Director: Art Fair System Is in Crisis

By | Art Advisory, Art and Design, Art Auctions, Art Collections, Art Market, Shows

artfairtokyo2008_1The 21st edition of the Milan International Fair of Modern and Contemporary Art, or Miart, opens in Italy on April 7, bringing 154 international exhibitors from 16 countries to the financial capital of Italy. With a strong focus on modern and contemporary art, the fair is also known for its unique design section—a mix of genres that wouldn’t be easy to stage in other cities, but feels perfectly natural in Milan.

In 2012, Vincenzo de Bellis took the reins as the Miart’s artistic director, and has managed to transform it from a fair for local exhibitors mostly dealing in the secondary market, to a vibrant and exciting fair on the European agenda, attracting international exhibitors and European collectors to Milan for what has become a week of openings and events.

Last week, de Bellis was named visual art curator at the Walker Art Center, alongside Adrienne Edwards. artnet News caught up with the dynamic Italian fair director and curator before the fair’s 2016 edition—after which de Bellis will relocate from Milan to Minneapolis—to discuss the changing business of managing art fairs, the importance of working together with other institutions, and the relevance of smaller art fairs for exhibiting galleries. Read More

Review: How the West Was Weird

By | Art and Design, Art Collections, Art Market, Artists, Exhibitions, News, Shows

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

Artist Reception for Ewoud de Groot, Thurs, Sept 10

By | Exhibitions, Shows

Ewoud de Groot "Gannet Rock"Stremmel Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of recent paintings by Dutch artist Ewoud de Groot, on view from September 10 – October 3, 2015. A rising star in contemporary wildlife art, de Groot has exhibited widely throughout Europe and the United States, with this event marking the artist’s first solo exhibition in Nevada. The artist reception will be held Thursday, September 10, 2015 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Both the exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. Ewoud de Groot has been recognized for the refreshing perspective he brings to wildlife painting. As photorealism continues to be the prevailing mode of the genre, de Groot is not concerned with depicting all the painstaking details. Instead, the artist is concerned with conveying mood and atmosphere. He approaches his work as an ongoing experiment of color, composition, and technique, channeling traditional and contemporary masters alike. His paintings aim to find a balance and tension between the representational and the abstract, the traditional and the modern.

The artist’s familiarity with wildlife ensures that they have become his primary artistic focus. De Groot’s subjects are most often birds of the Northern Hemisphere, from Europe, Siberia, and into North America. Living in the Netherlands, he has met many of these creatures during treks throughout the Wadden Sea, a wetland known for its rich biodiversity of flora and fauna, particularly coastal birds. De Groot will often represent his subjects with accurate detail, but allow them to emerge from environments that are far more expressionistic.

Landscapes dissolve into luminous bands of color and shimmering explosions of colored shapes, with spontaneous drips and splatters of texture filling his canvases. De Groot graduated from the Art Academy Minerva and began his career illustrating nature and wildlife books before pursuing painting full time in 1999. Today, he is based out of the small coastal village Egmond aan Zee in the Netherlands. Recent exhibitions include Astoria Fine Art, Jackson Hole, WY; Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; and the 27th Annual Western Visions exhibition as the 2014 Featured Artist at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, WY.

View the exhibition.


Art Word – A Year of Record Sales – But at What Cost?

By | Art Advisory, Art and Design, Art Auctions, Art Collections, Art Fairs, Art Market, News, Shows
Jeff Koons' "Balloon Monkey"/Photo courtesy: Christie's

Jeff Koons’ “Balloon Monkey”/Photo courtesy: Christie’s

The art market appeared to be in rude health as 2014 drew to a close. More money was spent on blue-chip and emerging art last year than at any other point in history, and the trade has been in rapid expansion mode. But under the surface, the tectonic plates are shifting, and unease is bubbling up about the effects of the market on the art that fuels it.

“The market has been eating the art,” says Robert Storr, the dean of the Yale University School of Art. “There are still good dealers who understand the danger, and artists who can say no. But we’re in a perilous position and we need to talk about it.”

Buyers spent a staggering $1.66bn on contemporary art in four days of auctions in New York last November, including a record-breaking total of $852.8m at Christie’s. Even so, both houses dropped their chief executives soon after the sales. Sotheby’s has yet to announce a successor to Bill Ruprecht, while Christie’s has replaced Steven Murphy with Patricia Barbizet. She is François Pinault’s long-time and trusted executive but may prove to be an interim head of his auction house. Read More

Art Word – The 350,000 Percent Rise of Wool’s Masterpiece

By | Art Advisory, Art and Design, Art Auctions, Art Collections, Art Market, Artists, News, Shows
Christopher Wool's "Apocalypse Now"

Christopher Wool’s “Apocalypse Now”

Art dealer Christophe Van de Weghe strode into Christie’s auction house in New York with orders from a mystery client. His mission that night, Nov. 12, 2013, was to buy a specific painting—for which the client was willing to pay an astonishingly high price. “He gave me a number, and he had me bid on it,” Van de Weghe recalls. “He really wanted to have it.” The work was called Apocalypse Now.

By the end of the night, the auction at Rockefeller Center would make history many times over. As auctioneer Jussi Pylkkänen’s hammer fell on lot after lot, the figures posted on the screen behind him were as eyepopping as the works on display. A Francis Bacon triptych set an auction record for any artwork, at $142.4 million. Jeff Koons’s sculpture Balloon Dog (Orange), at $58.4 million, set a high mark for a living artist. An Andy Warhol picture of a Coca-Cola bottle sold for $57.3 million, pushing the overall take that night to $692 million, at the time the biggest single sale of art ever. Read More

Art Word – Post-Internet Art Waits Its Turn

By | Art Advisory, Art and Design, Art Auctions, Art Collections, Art Market, News, Shows
Joe Bradley's "Berlin Duck #2"/Photo courtesy: Christie's.

Joe Bradley’s “Berlin Duck #2″/Photo courtesy: Christie’s.

The old-fangled medium of painting continues to dominate the auction market for new art. Collectors and speculators are lining up to buy big abstracts by artists like Lucien Smith, Christian Rosa, Alex Israel, David Ostrowski and Israel Lund, knowing that a five-figure purchase from a dealer can quickly turn into a six-figure price in a salesroom.

A case in point was Phillips’s “Under the Influence” sale in New York on Sept. 16, where the top price went to Mr. Smith’s 2012 “Rain” painting. One of as many as 300 abstracts made by the artist using a fire-extinguisher, that work fetched $173,000, doubling its low estimate. Joe Bradley’s 2011 canvas, “Berlin Duck #2,” led Christie’s “First Open” sale in New York on Sept. 23 with a price of $869,000. Paintings, including abstracts by Mr. Smith, Mr. Lund and Mr. Ostrowski, will also make up more than two-thirds of the 59 lots at Sotheby’s Oct. 17 evening contemporary auction in London, timed to coincide with the Frieze Art Fair. Read More

Art Word – Wolf Kahn Exhibit Profiled by Geralda Miller

By | Art and Design, Art Collections, Art Market, Artists, Exhibitions, Shows

Kahn, Wolf_Color and Light_Install Shot_BANNERReno is very lucky to have a fine art gallery like Stremmel Gallery.

Specializing in contemporary paintings, drawings and sculpture, the gallery represents an impressive list of mid-career and established artists. And Wolf Kahn, who studied  under Hans Hoffman — one of the forefathers of Abstract Expressionism, probably ranks close to the top of that list.

Kahn has an exhibit, “Color and Light,” on display at the gallery through August 2. It features new works in oil and pastel by the 86-year-old artist, whose abstract landscapes burst with color.

He said on Stemmel’s website: “What I’m trying to do is to make a place that still looks like a landscape and at the same time doesn’t make you think of a particular place.  It makes you think of a texture, or relation of colors. But I’m not willing to give up the idea that underneath all of that, there’s objects.  Here I am, still trying to do things that I don’t know how to do, strike out in new directions. I think that’s very healthy, and I consider myself fortunate.”

Two main reasons to go see this exhibit are: Kahn’s work is in the top museums in the country, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and here’s your chance to see some of his work on exhibit for free. Second, Kahn, who suffers from macular degeneration, isn’t getting any younger. Although this isn’t a retrospective, you get to see the fine paintings of an artist who continues to work on improving his craft.

To read more from Art Spot Reno, click here.

Art Word – Stremmel Artist Marc Katano Receives High Praise

By | Art and Design, Art Collections, Art Market, Artists, News, Shows
"Rickshaw" (2014), acrylic on Nepalese paper by Marc Katano, presents a supreme example of improvisational composition/Photo courtesy: Unknown, Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco Chronicle

“Rickshaw” (2014), acrylic on Nepalese paper by Marc Katano, presents a supreme example of improvisational composition/Photo courtesy: Unknown, Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco Chronicle

Follow the arts long enough and moments of perfection occasionally present themselves.

I experienced one when I saw Marc Katano’s “Rickshaw” (2014) in his show “Angels’ Share” at Wirtz.

“Perfection” does not refer to a known benchmark of intensity, refinement or profundity, but to the attainment of an unforeseeable ultimate of some sort.

All 10 of Katano’s works here in a similar idiom demonstrate a high level of confidence, skill and – it’s not a pejorative – taste. But nothing about the handsome ensemble predicts, let alone guarantees, the thundering success of “Rickshaw.” Read More

Art Word – Modern Art Auctions are as Baffling as the Paintings

By | Art Advisory, Art and Design, Art Auctions, Art Collections, Art Market, Shows
Image courtesy: The Financial Times.

Image courtesy: The Financial Times.

On Tuesday in New York, modern art collectors will get the chance to spend tens of millions dollars on paintings such as Gerhard Richter’s “Abstraktes Bild (712)”, which is on sale with an estimated value of between $22m and $28m. Will the painting, which was sold 18 months ago at Sotheby’s for only $17.5m, set a new record for the German artist? It may be difficult to tell.

Like 38 other works in the Christie’s postwar and contemporary sale, “Abstraktes Bild (712)” has a guaranteed bid, which means it is bound to sell. Like five others, the undisclosed minimum bid has been promised by an anonymous collector or dealer who may also participate in the auction. A byzantine fee structure means that if he or she wins, the Richter’s true price will be less than the headline suggests. Read More

Art Word – Stremmel Artist Sarich Receives Glowing Review

By | Art Advisory, Art and Design, Art Collections, Art Market, Artists, News, Shows


Michael Sarich's "Good-Bye", acrylic on canvas/Photo courtesy: JayJay/The Sacramento Bee/Michael Sarich

Michael Sarich’s “Good-Bye”, acrylic on canvas/Photo courtesy: JayJay/The Sacramento Bee/Michael Sarich

Mickey Mouse, the Wal-Mart Smiley Face, the Devil Girl Tattoo, Day of the Dead skulls and Virgin of Guadalupe are pop culture symbols that Michael Sarich uses in his imposing show of paintings, mixed media drawings and sculptures at JayJay.

Sarich, who teaches at the University of Nevada,Reno, writes in a statement accompanying the show that he has a “love/hate” relationship with these cultural icons. Mickey is most often thought of as a cute little mouse, but in Sarich’s hands he often turns menacing.

“My Cup Runneth Over” is a ceramic bust with three Mickey Mouse heads, one of whose ears is incised with smiley faces, another with a Picasso-esque head seen simultaneously in full face and in profile. All three seem to be flying apart and the sculpture is worked over with markings that confirm Sarich’s commitment to drawing as a lynchpin of his art.