Collectors are cautious but still buying at The Armory 2008 Art Fair.
So far we've gone to both The Armory and The Pulse fairs.. and while we at MAO have been
wrongly slandered labeled as the main evil soothsayer for the coming of the Art Apocalypse, we are very happy to report the contemporary art market is NOT crashing yet.
We directly witnesses lots of
over highly priced art works getting swooped up by well known collectors. On Wednesday afternoon we personally know collectors who bought Kehinde Wiley, Paul P, and Chris Dorland paintings.. plus a Spencer Finch Light Sculpture and even several new photo works by Ryan McGinley were all sold to wise members of the MAO fan club.
(Photo #1, Paul Pfeiffer, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.2001, digital duralex print)
We'll post more on the NYC art fairs...as we see the rest. But here's one of the first stories we've seen in the press... Story on Bloomberg by Lindsay Pollock of Bloomberg News.
Worried Dealers, Cross-Dressing Potter Open Armory Art Fair
By Lindsay Pollock
March 27 (Bloomberg) -- Collector Donald B. Marron noticed a less-frenzied pace at New York's Armory Show art fair yesterday as he strolled the aisles during the VIP opening. "You can see people contemplating the art,'' said Marron, chairman of Lightyear Capital LLC, with his curator at his side. "It's the way you ought to look at art.'' Following a seven-year jump in prices for contemporary art and a proliferation of international art fairs, the speculative boom may be losing some steam. "I'm not sure, at the end of the day, how good business is,'' said Roland Augustine, head of the Art Dealers Association of America and co-founder of Chelsea gallery Luhring Augustine, which isn't exhibiting. "I'm not sure if the market can absorb all this.'' The fair, a showplace for 160 international galleries selling from booths on Pier 94 on the west side of Manhattan, runs through Sunday. Last year attendance topped 52,000 and organizers reported sales of $85 million.
Marie-Josee Kravis, chairwoman of the Museum of Modern Art's board, and real estate developer Arthur Zeckendorf were among other VIPs. Europeans, particularly French and German, attracted by the weak dollar, were out in force. Some dealers fretted over few or no sales, but business was brisk in some quarters. Chelsea gallery Friedrich Petzel sold works by Allan McCollum, Sarah Morris and a $120,000 sculpture by Cosima von Bonin, made from grungy stuffed animals dangling on clothespins.
Greenberg Van Doren Gallery sold their priciest work, a $275,000 androgynous wooden sculpture by Katsura Funakoshi with an elongated neck and pendulous breasts. Sales outperformed London dealer Victoria Miro's expectations. "Everyone is quite nervous about the economy,'' she said, "but it's been quite normal.''
Miro sold three vases by the Turner Prize-winning cross- dresser Grayson Perry, priced $30,000 to $90,000. She sold five paintings by Varda Caivano, a young artist whose subtle pastel- hued abstractions cost $12,000 to $18,000. Renee and Robert Belfer, philanthropists and collectors who have a named gallery at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, raced over to a dealer to buy two photographs. "They were already gone,'' he said.
Die-hard collectors were oblivious to gloomy economic forecasts. Don and Mera Rubell, who own a private museum in Miami, charged around in black sneakers. They said they weren't inclined to buy less. "After 40 years of collecting, are we pulling back? No! We are buying a ton of art,'' said the tanned, white-haired Don Rubell. "But if everyone else pulls back, we'd be delighted.''
Blur of Art
With over 2,000 artists on view, the art tended to blur, but one-person booths stood out. A one-woman show of Jenny Holzer paintings, marble footstools and LED installations based on declassified U.S. documents at Cheim & Read gallery seemed more museum-like than most. Annette Lemieux's installation at Paul Kasmin Gallery, based on a country fair, featured gingham paintings, old barn wood, and free apple pie served with whole milk from the jar. A bumper sticker proclaiming "No Bull'' cost $1.
Most of the art wasn't rebellious, but Joe Bradley's bland beige painting at the Lower East Side's Canada gallery poked fun at "art as luxury goods,'' said Wallace Whitney, a dealer at the gallery. "This is a tough piece.'' The "Bread'' painting -- Whitney said the color reminded the artist of Wonder bread's crust -- was priced at $30,000.
There were no takers.
--Editors: Mary Romano, Yvette Ferreol.