Art|44|Basel|2014: «Money Makes The Art Uprise»

28 Jun

The artist Hamish Fulton found a great way to camouflage the positive price development on the artmarket as a spectacular and emotionally moving uphill mountain panorama, which is simply fantastic.

Click all photographs to enlarge egoenlargingly

Our this year’s report about Art|Basel starts in the ICE going from Karlsruhe HBF to Basel SBB arriving short before noon. A guy, aged mid-fifties, chooses to sit opposite from us. It is quite obvious that he tries hard to be categorised as an art collector pretending to be an artist pretending to be an art dealer. Consequently, our humanised three-in-one-package celebrates a sophisticated form of understatement that – let’s face it – fails dramatically: two of its four kissing buttons on the left are heavily broken, its glasses, however, are over-polished and all its rumbling-mumbling-stumbling mind knows about art must have been generated from pseudo-glam magazines such as Superillu or Das goldene Blatt with which he must have come in contact with while visiting his hairdresser: «There is no quality in art anymore!» Or: «I don’t like the mechanisms of the artmarket.» Finally: «Jonathan Meese, Wolfgang Tillmans and Gerhard Richter are not artists. I can do this by myself as well!» Really?

About identity crises the famous psychoanalyst (an art collector and artist) Dr. Mustapha Mandelbaum says: «It is an expression of a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in society. Some try to cure this dreadful disease through hugging a serious amount of trees. Others simply go to art fairs and think that will do. Both does not. When you try to cure yourself with the gracious help of art it is very important to know that you have to start building up your own art collection for which you have to pay real money. Imagine: A collector who recently paid $ 107m for Edvard Munch’s ‹The Scream› is surely pretty fare from having ever heard anything about something that is called identity crises. A person like him always knows who he is and what he wants.»

These two young art collectors seem to have just bought some art for almost $ 2.5m. Any signs of an appearing identity crises? One cannot really say so.

So, this might be a perfect moment to make three things clear:

1) Whatever the price for a piece of artwork is; as long as there is an artist or an art dealer who will mention it and as long as there is an art collector who is willing to pay it then that’s the price. And, most importantly, it is only the business of the people who are involved in it – and no one else’s.

2) The term quality, especially when it comes to art, cannot be defined. In case of doubt, please consider reading Robert M. Piersig’s «Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance».

3) As an artist you can do whatever you want unless you do not affect someone else’s rights significantly. You can create a painting which colours will vanish within a year, or even faster; you can built a house which will collapse if it pleases you; you can chop off your fingers if you think you need to do so. All that is not necessarily art but it will be if you declare it as such.

The entrance hall of Herzog & de Meuron’s new building for the «Schweizer Mustermesse» looks a little bit like an American airport terminal. Is this to be seen as an homage to the high flying artmarket prices? If so: why not?

Taking full advantage of the fact that an artist can do whatever he wants our this year’s feature about Art|Basel will not be a traditional reportage but labeled as communication art. Enjoy.

If there ever was a proof missing that the process of negotiating an acceptable price for a work of art can be very passionate – here it is.

Isn’t it great to move upwards in the artmarket world with the creative support of Daniel Buren? By the Milky Way: the art collector who is to be seen on the left-hand side is Hollywood actor Kevin Spacy. Maybe he still wonders how quick everything was sold out.

Katja Novitskova’s «Pattern of Activation» also reflect about the power of the uprise. Is horsemeat getting more expensive? Or do we see how agile the sperm of a covering stallion can be? Any other suggestions?

Another «Pattern of Activation»: L’art pour l’art becomes L’art c’est moi.

Everything that can be in motion will be in motion – even it is an atomic blast offering items of daily use a new place to move on …

The artist Wolfgang Tillmans introduces his very young family member to the positive aspects of being relaxedly in motion.

Video installation by Julian Opie

Video installation by Julian Opie

We do not know what Sir Simon Rattle and Warren Edward Buffett are talking about specifically but we would not be surprised if the subject was «something about music, art and investment».

The smell of a freshly chopped off tree comes from Giuseppe Penone’s «Matrice di linfa».

The Long March Space presents Xu Zhen.

The New York based Edwynn Houk Gallery presents Vik Muniz’s «Hercules and Omphale (Detail) After Francois Lemoyne, 2007» from the series «Pictures of Junk». The chromogenic print, sized 227.3 x 179.1 cm, costs $ 95,000. The edition is 6 + 4 APs.

Since decades a great and stunning art magazine: «Flash Art» – If you haven’t yet you should better subscribe it!

Vincent van Gogh Reloaded? Art collectors come in various types and forms.

There are lots of brand new «Mirror Paintings» by Michelangelo Pistoletto to be seen. However, this is here not the case.

The small street between Halle 1 and Halle 2.

The way to «14 Rooms» leads through the small street between Halle 1 and Halle 2. The artists are: Bruce Nauman, Xu Zhen, Marina Abramović, Roman Ondák, Ed Atkins, Joan Jonas, Otobong Nkanga, Santiago Sierra, Laura Lima, Allora & Calzadilla, Damien Hirst, Jordan Wolfson and John Baldessari.

The two artworks by Gavin Kenyon (foreground) and Kara Walker (background) match perfectly: One could associate that we see human viscera, a product of stupid war games, such as ironically projected against the wall.

The Publishing House Taschen features Annie Leibovitz.

The Gagosian Gallery presents (from left to the right): Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Calder and Andreas Baier.

On the left: One of Jonathan Meese’s best paintings ever: «Lolly, The Spiritual Homebase of My Mind». However, we have an emotional problem with Jonathan Meese linked to his strange spleen – just to express it most politely – to notoriously demonstrate the «Hitler Salute» in public, which is not only naive but stupid and dangerous as well. At least Hitler saw himself as an artist too … and we all know what this psychopath of an artist did to the rest of the world.

We are pretty much certain that Meese is not a Nazi but in a lot of European countries right-wing extremists are gaining ground, in France they already made it up to 25% during their last election. So, if someone who feels responsible for our quite mindless and lollyesque yetibaby it would be cool if such person could just explain him to better stay away from topics he obviously suffers serious problems to cope intellectually with.

The Berlin based artist and «Lollipop Monster» Franziska Riemann has left the underground: her distinctive «Portrait of a Friend» was sold for Sfr 43,000.

The galleries Sprueth Magers Berlin London and Xavier Hufkens present this environment by Sterling Ruby.

Kherystyna Gmurzynska talks to an art collector. Both Kherystyna Gmurzynska and Mathias Rastorfer were awarded the «Chevalier des Art et des Lettres» by the French Minister of Culture. Krystyna Gmurzynska was the first foreigner to receive the «merit for special achievements» by Michael Shvydkoy, the Russian Minister of Culture, recognising her «important contribution to scientific research, and for the organisation of exhibitions in the field of Russian art of the 20th century.»

This year Gmurzynska Gallery presents a stunning Richard Serra as well as this incredible piece by Scott Campbell:

Scott Campbell

Looks like as if this photograph was taken in the 1960s: Günter Behnisch meets Herzog & de Meuron.

An installation by Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys.

A view from the Media Center following a tram going to Basel’s downtown.

The Galerie Daniel Templon presents Jitish Kallat’s «Syzygy», a group of friendly dwarfs staring romantically at the moon phases which are brought into shape through the usage of differently eaten pizza wheels.

This looks as if Jeffrey Deitch himself has created this piece of art – and it reminds us a bit of New York’s Guggenheim Museum. Apropos Jeffrey Deitch: This article is about «Deitch curates Deitch».

The next BMW waiting to be transformed into a masterpiece of art?

MCH’s delicious bonbonnière …

The Gray Gallery states that «Money Separated From Art» (left) can only be liberated if the art collector opens generously his wallet. A move which leads automatically into a classic win-win-situation. How great is that?

Another 1960s-look-a-like-photograph which was taken during lunch time while our staff-photographer had a schnitzel with french fries at the Warteck.

The artist Sabine Hornig comes up with a roofless but semi-transparent apartment that provides you with the twisted feeling living half in nature and half in a concrete world – an a little bit in a huge exhibiton hall as well.

As we already pointed out: everything that can be in motion will be in motion. The funny thing about the art scene is that famous art collectors (see photograph above) do attract more and more attention than famous artists. Well, to share lunch with Jeff Koons is as exciting as doing the same with Eli Broad or Roman Abramovich but in general: for normal art groupies it is much easier to collectively recognise money as an adorable value than a certain piece of artwork including its intellectual baggage coming along with.

The Media Center where press accreditation takes place. Here you receive all the information you need. One highlight is surely …

«The Art Newspaper» freshly squeezed. The Art Basel Daily Edition is been published by Umberto Allemandi. Its makers are quick and essentially straight to the point. Even the already printed edition always enjoys being placed close to the window in order to do some proper research in CinemaScope for the next day’s issue …

Art collectors come in various types and forms.

The Konrad Fischer Gallery presents (from left to the right) some «Mistreated Breakfast Sausages With Cream Hammer» by Andreas Baier; a «Hanging Base» by Yuji Takeoka and a couple of water towers by Bernd and Hilla Becher.

This year we made it to Art|Basel for only just one day. It was a great one. Bringing our reflections on the best art fair in the world to an honourable end, we are getting excited to have wrapped this indispensable nourishment for the spirit in the pretty dress of communication art – a technique we might like to use much more in futher future.

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In the past we reported about Art|40|Basel|2009 and Art|41|Basel|2010. At the end of last year our staff-photographer’s mentor Carl Laszlo died. This is his obituary.

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