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Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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Archive for the ‘Advisors’ Category

Important ArtInsight conference on Middle Eastern art market in London – event alert

Posted by artradar on October 6, 2010


MIDDLE EAST CONTEMPORARY ART LONDON CONFERENCES

ArtInsight, the events partner of leading art market research firm, ArtTactic, has organised what we think looks to be a very important conference for early October in London. State of the Art – Middle East [The Future of the Middle East Contemporary Art Market] will focus on trends and opportunities in the Middle Eastern contemporary art scene.

Artwork by Houria Niati. Image courtesy of Janet Rady Fine Art.

Artwork by Houria Niati. Image courtesy of Janet Rady Fine Art.

As detailed in the latest press release from ArtInsight, State of the Art – Middle East will include talks and in-depth panel discussions with leading figures from all facets of the Middle Eastern art world, including curators, gallerists, consultants, museum professionals, artists, patrons/collectors, auction house specialists and art market experts. With this event, ArtInsight hopes to provide an comprehensive insider’s perspective of both market and artistic trends in the Middle East today, and into the future.

Key issues and topics to be explored and debated at State of the Art – Middle East will include:

  • The impact of substantial museum building plans and activities throughout the region
  • Collector opportunities: The effect of the rapid and growing visibility of Middle Eastern artists across the international art scene and art market
  • The significance of the roles of auction houses, art fairs and galleries, in the development of the region’s art market

Leading speakers listed are:

  • Lulu Al-Sabah: Founding Partner, JAMM-Art
  • Alia Al-Senussi: Collector, Curator and Advisor
  • Bashar Al-Shroogi: Director, Cuadro Fine Art Gallery (Dubai)
  • Maryam Homayoun Eisler: Leading Patron/Collector and Contributing Editor
  • John Martin: Co-founder and former Fair Director, Art Dubai
  • Ahmed Mater: Artist
  • Jessica Morgan: Curator, Contemporary Art, Tate Modern
  • Anders Petterson: Founder and Managing Director, ArtTactic
  • Dr Venetia Porter: Curator, Islamic and Contemporary Middle East, The British Museum
  • Janet Rady: Director, Janet Rady Fine Art
  • Stephen Stapleton: Director, Edge of Arabia
  • Steve Sabella: Artist
  • Roxane Zand: Director, Middle East & Gulf Region, Sotheby’s
  • Conference Moderator Jeffrey Boloten: Co-founder and Managing Director, ArtInsight

State of the Art – Middle East [The Future of the Middle East Contemporary Art Market] will take place on Friday 8 October this year and runs from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Asia House in London. The £195 conference fee includes a Halal lunch and there is a student discount available. For bookings, visit www.artinsight.eventbrite.com.

MS/KN

Related Topics: Middle Eastern artistspromoting art, art market

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Posted in Advisors, Asia expands, Business of art, Collectors, Conference, Critic, Curators, Directors, Events, Gallerists/dealers, Globalization of art, London, Middle Eastern, Professionals, Resources, Scholars, Trends, UK, Venues, Writers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Young Chinese artist Li Hui lights up Netherlands: an Art Radar interview

Posted by artradar on September 28, 2010


CHINESE ARTIST SOLO EXHIBITION LIGHT ART NETHERLANDS

Li Hui at work. Image courtesy of Ministry of Art.

Li Hui at work. Image courtesy of Ministry of Art.

Following his impressive solo exhibition last year in Mannheim, Germany, young Chinese artist Li Hui brings yet another surprise to the European art scene. In the pitch-dark exhibition space provided by The Centre of Artificial Light in Art in the Netherlands, Li Hui presents a spectacular display of four of his light works entitled “Who’s afraid of Red, Amber and Green?. The show, which runs from 16 July to 24 October this year, showcases Li’s experiments with laser and LED light.

The current show, the title of which may remind people of Barnett Newman‘s painting Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?, exhibits four of Li Hui’s works: Amber, Reincarnation, Cage and Everything Starts from Here. The works were selected jointly by John Jaspers (director of The Centre of Artificial Light in Art), Christoph and Cordelia Noe (co-directors of The Ministry of Art who represent Li Hui) and the artist.

In an interview with the museum, printed on the museum guide, Li Hui describes his works:

“I can imagine that if someone sees my work for the first time, it can have a very strong visual impact. Just like in Newman’s paintings, the bright colors first have to get stored in one’s brain. I also understand that there are elements in my works that might make people feel a little puzzled or even a little scared when first confronted with them. However, from what I have experienced, it is not just the visual impact, but also the ‘otherness’ or their mysticism that can have this kind of result. It is somehow similar to … Shamanism.”

Art Radar Asia spoke to Li Hui about the ideas in his works, the challenges he faces and his future plans.

Light not an intended media

Specialising in sculpture at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Li Hui learnt to use stainless steel and wood but not light. In fact, he never meant to use light in all of his works, and would not call himself a light artist. It was in the process of production that he thought of light as a possible media for some of his works. He gives an example of how he came up with using LED light for Amber.

“I wanted the transparent material to glow, and I found that LED light is the only light that can produce the effect I wanted. The material is also thin enough for me to install inside the work, so I used it.”

Using LED light led to his discovery of the properties of laser light, a non-heating light which produces pure colors, and he started to experiment with it for other works. Light is not a usual medium for art in China or the world and Li says of this phenomenon,

“Light doesn’t seem like a material that can be used in art – if you do not handle it well, the outcome will be awful. Everyone can use light in their work, but light may not always be a good material to help them express what they want to express.”

"What I want to create is smoke rising from the bed softly and freely. It is a work that would evoke emotions, but this may not be obvious from photos," relays Li Hui. Reader's who are interested in experiencing these emotions firsthand can click on the image to watch a video. (Please note that the video is presented in Dutch.) 'Reincarnation' (200 x 110 cm; height variable) is a sculpture made of laser lights, fog, metal and medical bandage to create a mysterious, psychedelic, religious visual effect. In Buddhism, reincarnation means cycle or life circulation – the recurring process of our spirit being incarnated in another life after we die. Image courtesy of Ministry of Art.

"What I want to create is smoke rising from the bed softly and freely. It is a work that would evoke emotions, but this may not be obvious from photos," relays Li Hui. Readers who are interested in experiencing these emotions firsthand can click on the image to watch a video. (Please note that the video is presented in Dutch.) 'Reincarnation' (200 x 110 cm; height variable) is a sculpture made of laser lights, fog, metal and medical bandages. Image courtesy of Ministry of Art.

At this point, Li hasn’t thought about specialising in light art, and says that he would use whatever materials suit his concepts. Asked about what he is going to do next, Li says that he is interested in the spiritual and the inner world. When asked whether there are particular philosophies that Li Hui wants to convey in his works, he answers no.

“I want to create feelings which cannot be expressed in languages. There are just too many works attached [to] some kind of philosophy, but to me that’s not what art is about. You create feelings in art – if you can feel it, others will feel it too.”

Li Hui says about his work 'Cage': "There are two cages inside the work made of laser beams. Laser beams are special in a way that they look tangible while in reality they are not. The two cages appear alternatively so that a group of people who find themselves 'trapped' in the cage in one moment would suddenly find themselves outside the cage in the next. This work brings out the contrast between reality and illusion." 'Cage' (each 200 x 200 cm; height variable) is made of laser lights, mirrors and iron. Image courtesy of Ministry of Art.

Li Hui says about his work 'Cage': "There are two cages inside the work made of laser beams. Laser beams are special in a way that they look tangible while in reality they are not. The two cages appear alternatively so that a group of people who find themselves 'trapped' in the cage in one moment would suddenly find themselves outside the cage in the next. This work brings out the contrast between reality and illusion." 'Cage' (each 200 x 200 cm; height variable) is made of laser lights, mirrors and iron. Image courtesy of Ministry of Art.

Technological skill toughest obstacle

You may imagine Li Hui’s laboratory crammed with a lot of professional equipment to support his experiments, but in reality he has to seek technological support from others, such as LED light producers, to create his light works. In fact, technology is one of the greatest challenges in the artist’s production process.

“It is impossible to do the works in my own studio. I have to cooperate with others. I don’t have their professional equipment. It is very costly…. The most difficult [thing] is skill – I am not talking about artistic skill, but technological skill. Sometimes the problems are just impossible to solve.”

For Li Hui, every work is born from rounds of brain-storming followed by rounds of experiments in an effort to work through and predict potential problems.

“Experiments push toward the final outcome. At the initial stage of production, I may draw on the computer. Then I begin experimenting with materials. For example, I test a few shots of laser beams with smoke and find the proportion that suits what I want to express.”

Li Hui says about his work 'Everything Starts From Here': "This is a discovery in an experiment. The light beams strike through the transparent dining goblets to project a very impressive light image on the wall. Most of my works are large but this one is not because it is an experimental work." 'Everything Starts From Here' (20 x 30 x 20cm) utilises laser lights, a metal box with a crank, glass and projectors. Image courtesy of Ministry of Art.

Li Hui says about his work 'Everything Starts From Here': "This is a discovery in an experiment. The light beams strike through the transparent dining goblets to project a very impressive light image on the wall. Most of my works are large but this one is not because it is an experimental work." 'Everything Starts From Here' (20 x 30 x 20cm) utilises laser lights, a metal box with a crank, glass and projectors. Image courtesy of Ministry of Art.

Ministry of Art dedicated to Chinese art in Europe

Art Radar Asia spoke with Christoph Noe, one of the directors of The Ministry of Art, an art advisory and curatorial company based in China which represents Li Hui, to find out more about how European opportunities are secured for Chinese or other Asian artists.

“The Ministry of Art … has a broader scope than [just being] a gallery. Our idea is to give artists the opportunity to cooperate with museums or art institutions in Europe … as a lot of the Chinese artists have already had the opportunity to exhibit their works in China or Asia, and some of them lack the opportunity to exhibit in Europe. We come in with our expertise because of our European origins and networks with European institutions. Once we are excited about a Chinese artist we can find an institution that fits very well for that artist.”

Li Hui will participate in a group show called Internationale Lichttage Winterthur 2010 in Switzerland in November. He will present another solo exhibition in June 2011 in Berlin, Germany.

CBKM/KN/HH

Related topics: Chinese artists, light art, museum shows, emerging artists

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Posted in Advisors, Artist Nationality, Chinese, Curators, Emerging artists, Events, Gallerists/dealers, Installation, Interviews, Laser, Li Hui, Light, Medium, Museum shows, Professionals, Sculpture, Spiritual, Styles, Themes and subjects, Venues, Z Artists | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Blog provides ground view of Chinese contemporary art – interview Katherine Don

Posted by artradar on September 28, 2010


INTERVIEW CHINA CONTEMPORARY ART ARTS WRITERS BLOGGING

RedBox Review is one of the most prominent English-language blogs dedicated to Chinese contemporary art. In an interview with co-founder Katherine Don, Art Radar Asia gains some insight into the aims of this sort of online publication, the progressive nature of Chinese art and Don’s personal background.

The blog, which currently has around 8000 subscribers, was founded in 2005 by Katie Grube, Mike Hatch and Katherine Don, also a director of and art advisor for RedBox Studio. It features original articles, event listings, gallery reviews, and commentary on and links to other coverage on Chinese contemporary art. In this way, it is able to provide a unique view of the Chinese avant-garde. RedBox Review is aimed at people who either work with or are interested in contemporary art. Its success is based upon its selection of relevant information vetted by its young, bilingual team of writers who are actively involved in the Chinese art scene.

The homepage of English-language Chinese art blog 'RedBox Review'.

The homepage of English-language Chinese art blog 'RedBox Review'. Image property of Art Radar Asia.

Can you tell us about your background and how you became involved in art?

I am originally from Hawaii. I’m American. I’ve always been interested in arts. I went to school in New York at the Columbia University and studied art history there. I happened to spend a summer in China, where I was learning Chinese, and also started to intern for one of the galleries here. That was in 2001. I had travelled to China before then, just with my family. I am third generation Chinese-American…. [It was] through this relationship with China and learning about art when I was in school, that I became involved in the arts. I graduated with a dual-degree in Visual Arts, Art History and East Asian Studies.

So, how did you get involved in writing about art?

I have always wanted to write. The only way to be a better writer is to practice writing. So when I started working for a gallery in New York, focusing exclusively on Chinese contemporary art, I started writing. After two years, I moved to Taiwan to engage more in a faceted art community. But I realised that Beijing is the cultural hub of China, traditionally, but also with the contemporary art scene. So moving here to China was a way for me to get involved with the art scene and to see it on the ground. The curiosity and the desire to learn more about China from on the ground, this is RedBox Review.

You are one of the co-founders of RedBox Review. What is RedBox? What does it mean? How would you describe RedBox Review?

It’s our blog for viewing the contemporary art scene and art in China from [our] vantage point in Beijing. We write it in English, because that’s my mother tongue, but also I feel that there are numerous sites in Chinese that are available for the local audience to give them access to visiting shows or documentation about art. But in English it’s much more limited and if people don’t visit China, it’s very hard to know what’s happening…. RedBox Review is a way to edit the content by selecting which shows, news and articles we feature. We mainly do it objectively, linking to other articles, re-publishing texts that we think are worthwhile for reading. We’re not so interested in writing reviews of exhibitions. We’re more interested in being a research [tool] for people…. We’re not trying to be a critical voice.

Can you tell us the story of how RedBox Review began? What inspired you to start RedBox Review?

When I moved to China, I started… RedBox Studio. RedBox Studio began as… an art consultancy basically. All our projects are focused on promoting contemporary art in China. [RedBox Review developed as] a platform for my colleagues and I to share the information and the activities that we were seeing and doing here in Beijing.

You are also the co-founder for RedBox Studio. Can you tell us about this organisation?

Basically RedBox Studio is the platform for promoting contemporary art in China. We provide a variety of services, beginning with our graphic design studio. We print and publish artist catalogues, maps and guides for the art scene here. We also provide art advisory services.

Inside RedBox Studio, a China-based art consultancy firm.

Inside RedBox Studio, a China-based art consultancy firm. Image courtesy of RedBox Studio.

There are not many organisations like ours in China. The infrastructure is relatively young. I think that there is a need for art consultancy and people who provide a ladder-role between artists, galleries and museums. We are involved in a variety of different projects, basically introducing the art scene to new cultures, both Chinese and foreign.

We are not a gallery, but we are a consultancy, meaning that as an independent organisation, we work with different participants in the art scene – with galleries, with museums, with artists – directly to realise their projects. I do represent private clients and help them acquire acquisitions.

Over the time period that you have been covering art, what changes have you seen in the Chinese contemporary art scene? What are the biggest challenges facing artists in China?

There are many changes in the art scene in China, and that the artists are facing. But frankly, I think, by selecting shows or different articles and events on our website, we’re trying to provide a complete … picture of what might be happening here. Often the media abroad can only focus on, perhaps, sensational topics or the news [of] very well-known and established artists and often can’t really focus on some of the activities that are going on on the ground in China.

I think that there is a lot of room for development for art… [in] contemporary Chinese society. The way that people view art, the way that people understand art and collect art, is actively changing…. I think that this change is what is really exciting and interesting about the Chinese art scene today.

You also facilitate the sale of artworks. In your opinion, what are the current trends in Asian art?

In the past fifteen years, the Chinese art market has made its mark on the international stage and I think that the diversity of Chinese art, in terms of medium, makes [for] a very rich and engaging art scene in China. Artists are working in performance [and] video, exploiting different scenes such as Chinese painting, … photography, sculptures and oil-painting. There are artists experimenting with all mediums, but all with different kinds of content and different approaches to the art. I think that there is a lot going on in China.

Is there any particular information, news or advice you would like to share with our readers? What advice would you give to our readers about what websites and publications to follow about Chinese art?

Well, my first suggestion to people who want to know more about [Chinese contemporary art] is to read as much as they can. But if those sources are not available, my next [suggestion] is to visit China to take the opportunity to see what’s happening, because things change so quickly. The diversity of Chinese contemporary art goes beyond what can be reported and documented on in a two-dimensional format, meaning online and in pictures.

Installation view of work by Wang Tiande at the NBC Studio, Olympic Media Center (2008).

Installation view of work by Wang Tiande at the NBC Studio, Olympic Media Center (2008). The placement of these artworks was facilitated by RedBox Studio. Image courtesy of RedBox Studio.

How do you see the Internet being used to promote or communicate information about art in China? How important is it? Where and how do you see the art and the Internet evolving in the future?

I know a lot of people involved with contemporary art are trying to use and exploit the Internet and technology as a way to create a wider audience space. And it’s true, there’s a lot of opportunity [that comes] with using the Internet and technology, such as creating a virtual museum or electronic books or websites and blogs. But, I think that the first step is not only to invest in using the Internet, … people need to understand how diverse … art in China is and have an interest in viewing it and understanding what’s happening [here]. The diversity of art in China is really interesting…. It can’t be easily defined into one category. I think that the Internet plays a great role in disseminating information. That is actually quite innovative and I think it’ll continue to change in the future.

What is the biggest problem in obtaining information about Chinese art? What information is difficult to get hold of? What do you think could be improved?

Not reading Chinese. I think the language barrier is one of the biggest problems. I think one characteristic is that a lot more people [from China] can read English than those from abroad can read Chinese. They are very well-read and exposed to international art activity. In regards to writing, practiced critical writing, [this] is something that leaves a lot to be desired in the art scene here. I think objective critical writing is an evolving practice.

Where would you like to see RedBox Review go in the future? Do you have any plans or innovations?

I hope that more people read it and find it useful for understanding the art scene. Our plan is to continue contributing to this site [with] thoughtful and objective descriptions and posts about the art scene.

About Katherine Don

As a writer and specialist in contemporary Chinese art, her writing has been published in local publications, as well as Art in America and Art Asia Pacific. In 2005, she co-founded RedBox Studio, an art and design studio providing a unique combination of art consulting and graphic design services to the art community in Beijing and abroad. As Director, she works with artists, curators, galleries and institutions to realise exhibitions, art programs, and publications dedicated to the promotion of art and design in China.

JAS/KN/HH

Related Topics: interviews, art and the Internet, arts writers

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Posted in Advisors, Art and internet, Business of art, Critic, From Art Radar, Interviews, Katherine Don, Multi category, Professionals, Research, Resources, Writers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Asia Art Forum 2010 meets growing demand for art collector education in China – Jing Daily

Posted by artradar on May 5, 2010


CHINESE ART COLLECTING

Jing Daily, an online news source covering “the business of culture” in China, spots a new trend: burgeoning demand for collector education.

According to Jing Daily,

Along with the growing interest in buying and collecting art in China — whether for personal or investment reasons — has come increased demand for information and educational resources from the country’s “new collectors.”

To address this information gap, new books and online resources, along with more forums and conferences, have appeared on the scene in mainland China and Hong Kong, designed with Chinese collectors and art enthusiasts — rather than just academics and curators — in mind.

The publication cites several recent examples:

  • The upcoming Asia Art Forum, to be held in Hong Kong from 21 to 23 May, 2010. This is the third edition of a three day gathering of talks and artist studio visits with influential curators, collectors and experts designed for emerging and established collectors. This year’s forum focuses on Chinese art, with luminaries Phil Tinari, Valerie Doran and Karen Smith speaking. Read more about why organiser Pippa Dennis set up the Forum here.
  • The Global Collecting Forum was held in October 2009 in Beijing. According to Redbox Review it was a “‘private forum [of] a star-selection of 25 invited international art professionals, curators and authorities from the US, Europe, Russia and China [who met] to discuss and exchange ideas on the topic of global art collecting.”
  • The first meeting of Chinese art collectors at the Songzhuang Art Festival in October 2009.

We have been watching this trend and spotting some new education sources, too. To explore further, read in the related posts section below about a well-regarded book surveying the next crop of Chinese born artists and an online resource which tracks the collecting activities of international museums in the Chinese art arena.

KCE/KN

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Posted in Advisors, Business of art, Collectors, Conference, Corporate collectors, Critic, Curators, Events, Gallerists/dealers, Museum collectors, Professionals, Resources, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why do banks buy art and will they continue to? BBC podcast

Posted by artradar on December 15, 2009


ART PATRONS BANK COLLECTORS 

How has the 500-year-old tradition of art patronage by banks changed, particularly after the events of 2008? Why do banks collect art? Will they continue to collect after the Financial Crisis and if they do will their reasons for collecting change? Razia Iqbal asks art advisors and staff of banks including Deutsche Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland in a Wise Buddha production made for BBC Radio 4. 

Turning the World Upside Down Anish Kapoor

Anish Kapoor, Turning the World Upside Down III, Deutsche Bank Collection

Art has been bought by banks for all kinds of reasons over the centuries. In the Middle Ages art patronage helped banking families wash away the sin of usury and gain social status.  In more recent times art was bought to decorate boardrooms and for investment. Pre-recession banks came full circle and art collections were actively used for image management again. The events of 2008 have now created a double pull for banks with art collections: should they sell which would help their image of prudent fiscal management or should they keep and share their collections with the public who now own many of them.  Iqbal’s programme hints at intriguing echos: there may no longer be a need to atone for Christian guilt but corporate guilt is perhaps another matter. The podcast is no longer accessible but here are some snippets. 

Bank collectors buying wider range of media 

Alex Heath, Managing Director of Independent Art Consultants which sources art for Barclays Bank amongst others says that the type of works which banks are interested in buying have changed in the recent past. “It is now less about straight painting and prints” and more about bringing “variety into the workplace”‘ with other media. 

Art now part of marketing mix 

In the past many banks bought works for decorating public spaces and board room he explains and over time the pieces accumulated into collections. More recently though he says that art is used consciously as part of the marketing mix. He describes how, in his work with clients, the marketing department or agency is his first port of call where he will ask “‘What do you want to say about the bank?” and from there he will generate art ideas which will complement the marketing message. 

Deutsche Bank recognised by peers 

Asked if he thinks that banks are cautious in their purchasing decisions, favouring traditional over contemporary works, he explains that there are banks which are taking leading positions as collectors of contemporary art and particularly singles out Deutsche Bank as “‘doing very well” at this. 

Art for staff, art to stimulate intellectual curiosity 

Alistair Hicks adviser to Deutsche Bank, which has a collection of over 56,00o pieces, shows Iqbal some of the works in the Deutsche Bank lobby, corridors and board rooms and explains the bank does not buy for investment.  Deutsche Bank’s primary purpose in buying art which began in the 1970s as an initiative called “Art in the Workplace” is to stimulate the intellect of its staff. “A good banker has to be curious about what is going on in the world and artists play a leading role in expressing current ideas”. 

In the lobby an early spot painting by Damien Hirst is reflected in an Anish Kapoor sculpture called “‘Turning the World Upside Down”‘. Iqbal is invited by Hicks to come around and inside the “almost spiritual” sculpture to experience its echo effect. Artwork is so intimately integrated into the environment of the office that boardroom are named after artists and Kapoor’s sculpture, affectionately known as ‘The Silver Ball’, has been adopted as a meeting point “We are in the Freud room. Meet you at the Silver Ball in 5”.

Art atones for sin 

Banks have traditionally been patrons of the arts with the first significant example occurring in Italy in the 1300’s when a banker commissioned a chapel containing religious artworks to atone for the sins of the family who had gained their wealth as bankers at a time when money-lending with interest was regarded as sinful by Chrisitians. 

Art for social status 

Iqbal explains that the Medicis in the fifteenth century, developed the concept of patronage considerably but used art not to atone for the family’s sins but rather to elevate its status. Artworks funded by gains from the prosperous Medici bank became a means to help the family gain public prominence, access and power and eventually noble status. 

What will banks do with art collections after the Financial Crisis? 

In an interview with the management of the Royal Bank of Scotland which since the Financial Crisis 2008, is now almost entirely public-owned, Iqbal learns about their strategy for the Barclays art collection going forward.  

Acknowledging that the trust of the public has been lost and taxpayer money needs to be refunded, the art collection strategy of RBS comprises three parts: art of historical importance will be retained, loaned out and made accessible to the public, some art will be retained for decorative purposes and the strategy towards the remaining part of the collection is to become “net sellers”. 

Though the reasons why banks buy art may change over time, Iqbal points out that banks’ tradition of collecting art stretches back over 500 years so probably won’t change any time soon. Do you agree? Leave your thoughts below. 

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KCE

Posted in Advisors, Banks, Branding in art develops, Collectors, Corporate collectors, Professionals | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Is Singapore threatening Hong Kong as next Asian art mecca? Wall Street Journal

Posted by artradar on November 17, 2009


SINGAPORE AND HONG KONG’S COMPETING ART MARKET

Singapore’s art scene has grown rapidly since its 1989 government mandate to recognize the “importance of culture and the art.” Thriving to a point that, according to The Wall Street Journal, Hong Kong–Asia’s epicenter of art–is beginning to take its competitor seriously.

Hong Kong’s challenging art scene

Today’s numbers would suggest that Hong Kong has nothing to worry about for competition.  Hong Kong is currently the third-largest auction market in the world with both Christie’s and Sotheby’s in its territory, and has set aside close to US$3 billion in order to create a much needed world class arts and culture development known as West Kowloon Cultural District. The project, however, has been slow to start and left many frustrated.

“The Hong Kong government first hit upon the idea in 1998 of building an integrated arts and culture neighborhood on 40 hectares of reclaimed land in the West Kowloon district. After many fits and starts, planning for the project recently picked up some momentum…Nevertheless, even if it all goes as planned, the first phase won’t be open until 2016.”

West Kowloon

One of the proposed models for the West Kowoon Cultural Centre

The West Kowloon project has been “frustrating and painful,” says Asia Art Archive’s Ms. Hsu, who is also on the advisory panel for the museum at the new West Kowloon development. “For the public it has looked like the government is stalling, but it gives me a lot of hope. The government is very concerned about getting it right.’”

Singapore makes its move

The time spent behind making Hong Kong’s “necessary cultural move” may eventually result in Singapore gaining ground in the market by the country’s pushing ahead with so many art-hub projects of their own.

“It [Singapore] invested more than US$1 billion in infrastructure, including several museums and a 4,000-seat complex of theaters, studios and concert halls called the Esplanade, which opened in 2002, and spiced up its arts programming with diversity and a regional flavor.”

singapore esplanade

The Esplanade, Singapore

The benefits of Singapore’s art initiatives are already apparent. According to Singapore’s National Arts Council “between 1997 and 2007, the ‘vibrancy’ of the local art scene, measured by the number of performances and exhibition days, quadruped to more than 26,000.”

However, Singapore is still missing a key ingredient to perhaps prosper further: a big art-auction market like Hong Kong’s.

“Some smaller art-auction houses hold sales in Singapore, but the big ones — Christie’s and Sotheby’s — have pulled out and moved their Southeast Asian art auctions to Hong Kong, the former British colony that is home to seven million people and became a Chinese territory in 1997.”

For a city, having the ingredients for a thriving art market creates a virtuous circle. The powerful marketing machines of the big auction houses, including public previews of coming sales, raises awareness and appreciation of art in the community. All this encourages local artists to create more art. And that momentum, in turn, contributes to the development of a city’s broader cultural scene, including music, theater and design.”

Singapore looks ahead

The relationship between big art-auction markets and a thriving art scene can be so entangled that it would appear difficult to navigate a new course in order to adequately compete. Singapore, it seems, is trying anyways.

“Undaunted, Singapore is diligently pushing ahead and has opened several museums and other arts venues while Hong Kong has dithered on the construction of West Kowloon. Christie’s also recently picked Singapore to be the site of a global fine-arts storage facility to open in a duty-free zone in January.”

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Art loans can offer liquidity to your collection

Posted by artradar on November 4, 2009


ART LENDING INDUSTRY: ARTTACTIC PODCAST REVIEW

On October 13th, ArtTactic published there latest edition of the ongoing podcast series dedicated to art market topics. The new podcast titled “Art Lending Industry is an interview with Andrew Rose, the president of Art Finance Partners based in New York City. Highlights from the interview include detailed information about the array of available loans through Art Finance Partners, Rose’s opinions about how the recession has affected art lending, and a status update on the current state of the art market.

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Art Finance Partners is a specialty finance company that provides innovative credit and advisory solutions to owners of "unconventional" assets, such as fine and decorative art, antiques and collectibles.

Types of Loans

“Bridge Loan to Sale”– Advance in funds against and art asset that will be sold. Used to get cash before sale transaction happens. The duration is typically 12-18 months with renewal provision.

“Acquisition Financing”- Upfront loan given to buy artwork, paid back overtime. Similar to real estate loan/mortgage.

“Working capital line”– Used by dealer or collector to finance inventory or collecting needs. The duration is 12 months with the option to renew.

The advantages to employing art loans to your personal art investment strategy are two fold. They offer liquidity between auction cycles (bridge loan to sale), and allow you to defer payment which frees up capital increasing yearly collection budgets (acquisition financing).

How the recession has affected art lending

When asked how the recession has affected art lending, Rose’s response was upbeat.

“Every business is facing the same liquidity crisis at the moment.” He continued to state, “we are seeing a fair amount of demand. Surprisingly in this market we haven’t seen the for-selling that one may have expected in this recession.”

How are artworks valued and has the current recession depreciated these values

Art Finance Partners utilizes basic valuation strategies when determining the value of the artworks lent upon. Their strategy consists of referencing established auction prices for comparable artworks through online databases like ArtNet or AskArt. In the case of a rare artwork, they consult their database of private sales, or get the opinion of an appraiser or art dealer.

Art Valuation Facts:

Loan to value ratio: 40-50%

General value of artworks down 20-30%; ultra contemporary artworks down 50%

Andrew Rose ends the interview stressing that good quality artworks sell well. Although trends and tastes change, Rose reiterates: “there will always be demand for very good quality international artwork on the international market.”

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Crisis to impact art prices, number of Asian collectors increases – Business Times

Posted by artradar on November 4, 2008


ART PRICES FINANCIAL CRISIS

With fear at near panic levels recently in the stock market, it would seem almost anomalous that life goes on in some segments of alternative investments. No, we’re not talking about hedge funds or commodities, both of which suffer the whiplash dealt by severe market plunges. Instead, welcome to the rarefied world of art collection and investment. Proponents of the segment argue that art, being a real asset and devoid of the mind-numbing complexity of derivatives, should retain its sheen as a ‘passion’ investment.

Art is tangible with inherent value says Christie’s

Says auction house Christie’s president (Asia) Andrew Foster: ‘We stand in a curious position. Art is a very real and tangible thing. Clients agree that art has inherent value. So you start with the proposition that it’s not a highly leveraged investment. That’s almost refreshing now.

‘That doesn’t mean prices don’t fluctuate, but value is agreed upon and inherent, and it springs from cultural and global trends more than trading multiples.’

Christie’s confident about November Hong Kong sales

Christie’s recently exhibited highlights of its upcoming Fall 2008 auction in Hong Kong, to take place at end-November. ‘Our sales are nearly two months down the road; we’re confident markets will calm down,’ says Mr Foster.

Art, however, isn’t that impervious to the fallout from the evaporation of trillions of dollars in stock market value. Nor is it immune to the belt tightening that has ensued as individuals brace for more difficult economic conditions.

But recent Borobodur and Sotheby’s Asian auctions disappointing

Two auctions of Asian art last weekend, for instance, fell short of pre-sale estimates. Borobudur Auction’s two-day sale of Chinese and South-east Asian art fetched nearly $10 million, compared with pre-sale expectations of $18 million.

The recent Sotheby’s sale of contemporary Asian art in Hong Kong was also disappointing, with a number of works unsold or drawing bids below reserve prices.

Citi Art Advisory – stock market drop causes short term bounce and longer term fall

Citi Private Bank’s art advisory service senior vice-president Suzanne Gyorgy says that a prolonged economic downturn will take its toll. ‘A downturn in the equities markets often initially causes investors to turn to tangible assets. The art market can benefit from this turn to alternative investments with a bounce in the value, counter-cyclical to the equities markets.

‘However, a prolonged economic downturn in the equities markets will first result in a softening of the real estate market which is then followed by a downward adjustment in the art market.’

Asia undergoing structural change: more collectors

Still, the last few years’ robust pace of wealth creation is likely to have expanded the catchment of wealthy individuals globally for whom art is a passion, particularly in Asia. Christie’s own Asian sales are a testament to this. Last year, the firm’s Asian art division reported sales of US$654 million, a 49 per cent rise from 2006. Growth has been at a strong double digit clip since 2004.

Asian art showed broad uptrend even in Asian financial crisis

‘What is interesting about Asian art, from the period which includes the Asian financial crisis and a downturn in the West . . . global Asian art grew every year through that period. The broad trendline is up. This isn’t a surprise, because all the long-term economic indicators and information about this century is that it will be an Asian century,’ says Mr Foster.

He concedes that wealthy individuals may have sustained substantial losses in equities in recent months. ‘People need to recognise the losses in the context of the gains in the last three to four years. We’re talking about a tremendous, unprecedented increase in global wealth. It’s natural to have a correction.’

Citi Art Advisory predicts softening for mid value works

Citi’s Ms Gyorgy agrees. ‘Today, with the vast amount of newly created wealth across the globe, even after this recent economic turmoil, we are likely to continue to see record prices for the remaining top tier master works . . . by sought after artists, but expect to experience a softening in value for mid-level works.’

Art captured second largest share of ‘passion’ dollar of rich

Passion investments merited a highlight in Merrill Lynch and Capgemini’s 2008 World Wealth Report, which found that art captured the second-largest share of the global wealthy’s passion dollar at 15.9 per cent, after luxury collectibles (16.2 per cent). Among the well-heeled in Asia-Pacific, art’s share of their passion dollar was 13 per cent.

The most frequently quoted indicator of art’s investment returns is the Mei Moses Fine Art Index. Its index for all art for 2007 rose 20 per cent, a performance only surpassed by some of the annual returns achieved in the art bubble years of 1984 to 1990, it says on its website. This dramatically outpaced the 5.5 per cent achieved by the S&P 500 total return index. It was, however, outpaced by gold which rose over 30 per cent.

In the most recent five and 10 year periods, art trumped stocks, according to the index. Art returned 16.2 and 10.3 per cent per annum in the respective time periods, compared with stocks’ returns of 12.7 and 5.9 per cent, respectively.

1985 to 1990 art index up 30% per year then shed 65% 1990 to 1995

Yet art, too, has its boom and bust cycles, as Michael Moses, the creator of the index, told Reuters earlier this year. From 1985 to 1990, Western contemporary art values rose at an annual compound rate of 30 per cent, before shedding 65 per cent in the next five years, he said.

Now, one of the most frequently raised questions is whether there is a bubble in contemporary art, particularly by Chinese artists. Ms Gyorgy says: ‘In this economic climate, the portion of the emerging art market that has recently experienced huge jumps in value on the high end are poised to experience the greatest price correction.’

Only some artists survive a pricked bubble

She says that a similar spike in value and dramatic correction occurred in the 1980s and early 1990s for many ‘newly minted art stars’. ‘With the passing of time, a number of the 1980s artists have regained their value and place in the art market, and some have not survived the test of time. I expect we will see art market history repeating itself.’

Citi advises clients to do their homework, talk to experts and collectors, and to research great collections. Buyers should also learn how to evaluate the condition of art works, visit auctions and learn how to negotiate with private dealers.

New art fund launched to focus on emerging art markets

Art funds are also an option. Meridien Art Partners is working with Calamander Capital to launch the Emerging Art Market to invest in contemporary art, scouring the markets of South-east Asia, Vietnam, Russia and the Middle East. The fund has so far raised about US$10 million and the partners will be gearing up to market the fund to European, Russian and Middle Eastern clients as well.

Ultimately, you must love the piece that you buy. As Citi says in its art advisory material: ‘We do not recommend that clients buy art purely for investment. . . There are many other investment vehicles that give higher or more predictable returns than art.

‘The art market is a fickle place, but art can be a good investment if you take a long-term strategy, do your homework and are well advised.’

This article was first published in The Business Times on October 18, 2008

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Meet Chinese art scene leading lights: new art course in Shanghai autumn 2008

Posted by artradar on September 23, 2008


COURSE CHINESE ART autumn 2008

Two newly developed courses on contemporary Chinese art covering its history, development, markets and latest trends are to be held this autumn in Shanghai.

Course 1: October 21 2008 8 weeks Tuesdays 7pm (for Shanghai residents)

Course 2: November 14-16 2008 3 days 10am – 4pm (for non-residents)

Presented by the Asia Art Forum and designed for art professionals, collectors and enthusiasts, lectures will be given in English by respected members of the contemporary Chinese art community. The lectures will be supplemented by private gallery visits and specially organised social events which will give participants opportunities for priviledged meetings with prominent gallerists, artists and critics.

Lecturers include Philip Tinari, an important writer curator and China advisor to Art Basel and renowned art critic Zhao Chuan who writes regularly for the international press and is author of Shanghai Abstract Story (2006).

For more information contact info@asiaartforum

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Art consultants choose Singapore for Asian headquarters – International Herald Tribune

Posted by artradar on September 17, 2008


SINGAPORE ASIAN ART CENTRE Fortune Cookie Projects, a curatorial and art consulting service set up in 2006 by Mary Dinaburg and her partner Howard Rutkowski, has recently established their headquarters in Singapore.

The decision to open an office in Asia is a reflection of the rise of Asian art and the importance of Asian collectors in the world market, they said.

“All the international art world knows that Asia is beginning to be a major player and will be even more so,” Dinaburg said. “Galleries, artists, museums want to be in this part of the world, but they don’t know it, so for us it’s a perfect opportunity to work with them, to be their outpost.”

Singapore’s advantages: financial hub, English language, free port facility, space

While the partners considered several locations, including Shanghai and Hong Kong, they say they finally decided on Singapore because of its central geographical position in the region and its wide use of English. But most importantly, it is a financial hub for private wealth, and the city is setting up a free port with what Rutkowski called a “Fort Knox-like,” state-of-the-art facility to house works from all over the world.

Right now, the only other free ports for art are in Zurich and Geneva, he said. With a gross floor area of approximately 22,500 square meters, or more than 242,000 square feet, for Phase 1 (and an additional 24,000 square meters for Phase 2, to be completed in 2011), the Singapore FreePort will include showrooms, workshops, photo studios and private offices. Due to be completed toward the end of next year, it will be directly accessible to Changi Airport.

“The FreePort is a huge asset to the development of the art market here,” Rutkowski said. “There will be huge, secure warehouses, with no duty or taxes paid; a place for people to park their art safely for as long as they want and in total confidentiality.

“We also felt Singapore was a better place to set up shop than Hong Kong, because it has a much better infrastructure in terms of museums and exhibition spaces. Hong Kong doesn’t have space. When we did the Julian Schnabel show we had to transform office space, because major contemporary artworks, such as his, require proper presentation.”

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