Yet another "news" story about NYC Art Gallery closings...
Today Bloomberg news decided it had to also have their own Art Recession news story.
Just a few MAO thoughts on the material points in this "news" story..
1. So, ONLY 4 NYC art galleries have closed since Sept.
This is a Big deal? It sounds like Art galleries are doing considerably better than most industries in NYC. Did you see this blog post, listing the HUGE number of NYC Restaurants which have closed, over 40 just since Jan 1?
2. Imi Knoebel works priced at Mary Boone Gallery for $170,000 to $325,000 had not been sold.. Hello.. SO? Did you see this show? Are they crazy???? MAO would call that, Total Common Sense.. not the result of a recession.
3. Hiroshi Sugimoto photographs at Gagosian Gallery have had their prices reduced from $450,000 to $360,000. Gasp... like what is that?
Even at $360,000, MAO would consider that price to be totally RIDICULOUS for a new Sugimoto photograph! While MAO loves some of Sugimoto's work.. there's NO WAY in any sane world, anyone
but a total fool would pay $360,000 for a single Sugimoto photograph.
We love this Gagosian press release quote..
In 1980 he began working on an ongoing series of photographs of the sea and its horizon in locations all over the world, using an old-fashioned large-format camera to make exposures of varying duration....
By returning to the same subject repeatedly, he reveals the subtleties that he.....
Perhaps, That "HE," Sugimoto, hasn't managed to do anything new or original in years? Except raise his prices beyond reality? Ok.. maybe MAO is being a bit harsh.. So no disrespect to Sugi...but we're just saying...Hmm..it's something to think about. Should a single newly printed Sugimoto photo sell for more than the average price of a house in most parts of the U.S. ? Maybe MAO is missing something..?
like an extra $360,000 to burn on a new and dull Sugimoto photograph.
4. Cindy Sherman's last show at Metro Pictures wasn't the sellout it would have been a year ago. Actually.. this was Cindy's best work in years.. but still not that great. So MAO is glad they sold some.. but again.. selling out photo editions for over $100,000/print by a living and printing artists, should never have been the norm. No?
(Photo #1, by Cindy Sherman, Untitled, 2004, c-print)
OK.. well.. Offically, for the record, We at MAO are very sad to see the Guild & Greyshkul Gallery go bye-bye. We always loved their gallery.. and we wish them all the best in their futures endeavors.
But just seeing a few (4+) art galleries close over the last few months in NYC is just not that bad nor that big a deal. There were perhaps a few too many anyway.
Plus.. Now, just think... How many multi-billion dollar financial institutions have totally gone bust in the last few months..? Well, Here's one hint.. it was MORE than 4 !! Can you say.. Bye bye, WAMU, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, AIG, Merrill Lynch, Wachovia, etc.. MAO will miss you all !
Well..What do you think? Agree, or Is MAO just too
old and bitter negative?
Anyway.. Here's the
silly Bloomberg news story from Katya Kazakina.
Gagosian’s $360,000 Photos Linger as Empty N.Y. Galleries Shut
2009-02-03 05:00:01.1 GMT
Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Guild & Greyshkul, one of the most
vibrant galleries in downtown Manhattan, is shutting down on Feb.
15, the latest casualty of the collapsing art market. Yet it
won’t go quietly.
The Soho gallery’s last hurrah begins Thursday: a four-day
extravaganza featuring the work of 120 artists. The show is a
fitting end for an exhibition space known for nurturing young
“I wake up at night thinking of what will happen to all the
people who do more experimental work, artists who are in the
beginning phases of their careers,” Johannes VanDerBeek, 26, one
of the owners, said. “We’ll be as flexible as we can be with
prices to get our artists a cushion of money.”
Guild & Greyshkul’s financial woes, a result of slowing
sales and tanking prices, are growing commonplace in the art
world. Since September, four galleries have shut their doors:
Roebling Hall and Cohan and Leslie in Chelsea; Rivington Arms in
the East Village and 31 Grand on the Lower East Side.
More established galleries are hurting, too. They’re firing
staff, dropping out of art fairs and extending their shows for
months in an attempt to cut expenses.
“Galleries are just hanging on with their fingernails,”
said Matthew Armstrong, who curates the collection of Donald B.
Marron’s Lightyear Capital, a New York private equity firm.
On a recent visit to Chelsea, Armstrong stopped by eight
“I was the only person in at least seven of them,” he
said. “I wish the best to these guys, but it’s a little scary.”
Two weeks into its show of veteran German artist Imi
Knoebel, Mary Boone’s Chelsea gallery hadn’t sold any of the
seven works, priced between $170,000 and $325,000.
At the Gagosian Gallery on West 21st Street, Japanese
photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto’s exhibition, which opened on Nov.
6, 2008, has been extended through March 7. The prices of some of
his meditative seascapes have been reduced from $450,000 to
$360,000, with plenty still available, the gallery said.
Cindy Sherman’s November exhibition at Metro Pictures did
well, said gallery co-owner Helene Winer, but it wasn’t the
sellout it would have been a year ago.
“Some of our big collectors said they weren’t buying, and I
was shocked,” she said.
Since its founding in 2003, Guild & Greyshkul has attracted
an eclectic community of artists, collectors, curators and
critics. The partners -- VanDerBeek, his sister Sara VanDerBeek,
32, and their friend Anya Kielar, 30, -- are all artists with
“They built a very culturally relevant program of both
critically and commercially well-received artists,” said New
York collector James Dorment, who has bought works by the
gallery’s artists Ernesto Caivano and Trenton Duerksen. “I tried
to see most of their shows. To me they were one of the most
interesting emerging galleries.”
Although Guild & Greyshkul has served a broad collector base
and put up new shows every four to five weeks, the gallery never
made a profit, VanDerBeek said. All the extra money went right
back into producing artists’ work.
“We managed always to keep even,” he said. “And as we
were progressing, our exhibitions were getting more ambitious.”
In 2007, Guild & Greyshkul began doing shows that
transformed the exhibit space. Artist Lisi Raskin installed a 30-
by-20-foot ceiling that hung 7 feet off the floor. Coupled with
orange light and a long apocalyptic drawing stretching around the
entire space, the installation completely distorted the gallery
The gallery’s overhead has averaged about $25,000 a month in
the past three years. Since September, covering those costs has
become increasingly difficult, VanDerBeek said.
“Sales when they did occur were at steep discounts on works
that were mostly under $20,000,” VanDerBeek said. “People said
they loved the pieces, but they were just not buying them.”
(Katya Kazakina is a reporter for Bloomberg News. The
opinions expressed are her own.)