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Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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New technologies for spotting art fakes gain acceptance – Forbes

Posted by artradar on December 11, 2008


ftir-microscope

 ART FAKE TECHNOLOGY

$6 billion a year is the sum the Federal Bureau of Investigations says is paid for forged, misattributed and stolen art. Until now serious connoisseurship and provenance researchers have been the main resource in helping the market to avoid fakes but recent developments in technology now available or currently in development are gaining acceptance says Forbes. And while some technologies are still prohibitively expensive, software tools in particular are affordable and in some cases even free.

Spectroscopy: FTIR and Raman

Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy – a staple in medical and weapons research labs for a decade or two – have gained acceptance in the art world in the past five years.

Both provide a nifty way to tell what the ingredients in a surface coating are because there’s no need to chip off a sample of the paint. Just shoot a light beam at a surface–a Raman microscope can zoom down to areas as small as one-1,000th of a millimeter–and then match the pattern of absorbed or altered wavelengths detected to those of known materials. Most major museums still don’t have this equipment, which can cost $100,000 to buy.

Canvas thread analysis software

This software, developed at Cornell University by Professor Richard Johnson, is currently being offered free although there are plans to charge for it later.

 Curators have known for years that the slight irregularities in the spacing of threads in old canvases, particularly those woven on hand-operated looms, are almost as distinctive as fingerprints. Alas, measuring the spacing between canvas threads by hand is painstaking, so it’s virtually never done.

Designed to run on Windows XP, this software doesn’t even require curators to make new scans of their paintings. It interprets the drawer-fulls of X-ray scans that most museums have already taken of their paintings.

Johnson has been asking museums who accept his free software–two of the recent takers are the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Rice Museum in Georgetown, S.C.–to publish reference catalogs of their canvases for use by other curators and art authenticators.

Brush stroke analysis software looks promising

Some experimental new computer programs seem to be able to spot a fake by mathematically comparing brush stroke patterns–how many, how long, how thick–to brush strokes on better-known works by the same artist. Last summer the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam commissioned a forgery of one of its paintings and presented a high-resolution image of the fake along with shots of four authentic Van Goghs to three teams of brush stroke-analysis researchers. All three teams succeeded at ferreting out the forgery.

Penn State computer science professor James Z. Wang, who headed one of the three teams, admits his software probably isn’t good enough yet to catch a master forger whose brush strokes would match the original artist’s closely. But there’s enormous promise for the future.

Forbes for full story

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13 Korean artists in survey at Singapore Museum to March 2009 – IHT

Posted by artradar on December 5, 2008


Yim Tae-kyu 'Fly Away Home'
Yim Tae-kyu ‘Fly Away Home’

KOREAN ART SINGAPORE

Singapore Art Museum 8 November 2008 – 15 March 2009

Over the past six decades, Korea has witnessed enormous economic and social changes that artists have responded to with a diverse range of approaches, as they grappled with tensions between tradition and modernism, and issues of industrialization and urbanization. Two main ideological movements have emerged, one trying to transcend tradition, and the other trying to rediscover it, yet both have one common quest: finding a strong cultural identity.The exhibition, “Transcendence: Modernity and Beyond in Korean Art,” at the Singapore Art Museum, examines the development of Korean art from the 1950s to the present as seen through the works of 13 artists.

“From a broad perspective, modern Korean art may be seen to be oscillating between two seemingly divergent approaches. On one hand, there seems to be an effort to transcend traditional forms; yet, on the other, many artists have been attempting to rediscover the spirit of traditional art,” said Suenne Megan Tan, one of the two curators of the exhibition, “The idea is really to give visitors a good taste of Korean art over the last 50 years.”

Section 1: 1950s Korean Modernism

The show, which runs until March 15, has three broadly themed sections. The first part looks at the origins of Korean Modernism in the 1950s and focuses on three major artists: Park Seo Bo, Lee Ufan and Kim Tschang Yeul. “They’re generally regarded as key artists that have helped move Korean art into modernity,” Tan said.

Informel period

After the Korean War (1950-1953), artists started to seek new ways of expression, while reflecting on the scars of the war. “I think poverty was really the origin of creation for many artists right after the civil war,” Park said recently through an interpreter while in town for the opening of the show. “There was no food, no job opportunity, everything had gone back to ashes; all conventional values and ideas were laid naked and bare. I had to raise questions.”

Between 1957 and 1965, Park was one of the leading forces behind the Korean Informel movement, the first major abstract movement in Korea to challenge the established Japanese-mediated, French Impressionism style (Korea was under Japanese rule between 1910-1940). Informel works often used rough brushwork and mixed media on a large-scale canvas with strong color in an abstract style. Yet, although artists were looking at ways to experiment, they also sought to adapt abstract principles and include some Korean iconography in their works, noted Choi Eun Ju, guest curator for the show and branch director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Deoksugung in Seoul.

 Monochronism

Park was also a key player in another important Korean art movement, Monochromism, which he defined as the synthesis between the traditional Korean spirit and contemporary art. Proponents of this 1970s movement, which included Lee Ufan, emphasized the color white, a color often associated with the “spirit” of the Korean people.

Today, Park’s works are characterized by the use of soaked Korean mulberry paper mixed with glue, which he then manipulates on the canvas with constant strokes using a small wooden tool to create small, equidistantly spaced paper ridges. Through the repetitive, rhythmic force on the canvas, the artist says he is striving to reach “something absolute.”

“For me, painting has become a mere tool and method to cleanse and purify myself,” the 77-year-old artist said, likening his work to chanting in a temple.

Although they have different backgrounds – Park was trained in Korea, Lee in Japan and Kim in Europe and the United States – all three have imbued their works with Korean sensibilities, aesthetics and philosophy, Tan pointed out. Kim, who is best known for the translucent water drops on his paintings, has introduced Chinese characters in his work, an intrinsic part of Korean culture because of the neighboring country’s influence on Korea over the centuries.

Section 2: 1970s- 1980s

The second part of the exhibition looks at the generation of artists who emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and who started to incorporate everyday objects into their canvas and to work in a more figurative style.

One of them, Kim Kang Yong, has become known as “the brick artist” because of his use of sand on canvases to depict bricks in various permutations.

“My work is very much about the industrialization of our society,” Kim said. “I first started using grains of sand and bricks as a reflection on individuality and the role of individuals in nation-building. But today, I’m using the motif more as an aesthetic tool.” Sometimes the bricks are arranged in a grid-like format, conveying the beauty of order; in others, they tumble toward the viewers, conveying turbulence.

Several of the other artists shown in this section, such as Lee Yong Deok, Cheong Kwang Ho and Lee Lee Nam, have been stretching the notion of the painting medium. Lee Young Deok, for example, first sculpts a figure then creates a cast of it and uses that mold as his final art work, thus offering the viewer a “negative” of his sculpture. Cheong Kwang Ho uses thin copper wire to create three-dimensional, see-through sculptures that have a certain weightlessness to them as though drawn in the air. Using video, Lee Lee Nam gives viewers of his “moving paintings” an opportunity to reflect on the passing of time and to question what is real. Using traditional Chinese landscapes in digital format, he “transforms” them, slowly changing the landscape – modern skyscrapers appear and disappear amid a traditional mountain landscape, or snow starts to fall.

Section 3: 1990s

The remainder of the show focuses on Korean art of the 1990s, which has largely been a reaction to the modernism of the ’70s and ’80s, showing a greater concern with the social function of art. “The contemporary generation goes beyond visual aesthetics and pushing the boundaries of the medium; rather, their art reflects their social concerns for the individual, the marginalized, as well as the tensions that exist within society,” Tan said.

Yim Tae Kyu, for example, started his “marginal man” series in 2002 as solitary melancholic figures that have evolved into a more optimistic and colorful series based on childhood imagery. “I first started with black and white works, looking at people alienated from society. But I then began to see that these people have dreams, hopes, aspirations. I felt marginalized because I was an artist, but I also started to have my own dreams; that’s when I started using color,” said Yim, who recently moved to Beijing: “I think the Beijing art scene is very experimental right now; I want to feel the vibes.”

Tan said that in the 1990s art took on a public function. “In the case of an artist like Kang Ik Joong,” she said, “art is used as an important tool in fostering connectivity across geographical boundaries and cultures.”

Kang has described himself as a collector of people’s dreams, translating those onto miniature canvases, providing “windows” into the hopes and dreams of the people he meets.

International Herald Tribune

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Saatchi back with new gallery, school programme, China show, – Reuters, BBC

Posted by artradar on October 12, 2008


COLLECTOR SHOW CHINESE ART

Influential British art collector Charles Saatchi is back after three years out of the limelight, opening a major new gallery in central London showcasing some of China’s hottest artists reports Reuters. The man who introduced the world to Britart stalwarts like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin has been largely absent from the art scene since his gallery was forced out of its previous home on the River Thames in 2005. Now he is back with a huge new exhibition space in upmarket Chelsea, where he hopes free entry to the imposing former headquarters of the Duke of York will attract passers by.

Critics have lauded the imposing three-storey building with its glass and white-walled interior, and welcomed back one of contemporary art’s biggest players. But the inaugural show, opening on Thursday, has earned mixed reviews.

The Revolution Continues: New Art from China” is dedicated to Chinese artists including established stars like Yue Minjun, Zhang Xiaogang and Zeng Fanzhi, whose painting fetched $9.7 million in May, a record for Asian contemporary artwork.

Some critics have categorized the crazed, laughing men of Yue or the gray, stylized portraits of Zhang as repetitive, even “mass production” art.

Generally more popular were the sculptures, particularly an installation piece called “Old Persons Home” by Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, involving 13 aging men on wheelchairs moving randomly around a large basement room. Their striking resemblance to late world leaders turns the work into a commentary on the pitfalls of power and conflict. The gallery calls it “a grizzly parody of the U.N. dead.”

But the gallery’s head of development, Rebecca Wilson, said Saatchi’s target audience was less the experts — critics, collectors and curators — and more the general public, most of whom are unfamiliar with contemporary Chinese art. “There was a feeling that all of these artists were suddenly emerging from China, doing very well at auction, there were the Beijing Olympics coming up,” she told Reuters. “There was this kind of convergence of interest in China, so we felt it should be the exhibition that we open with.”

IRAN, IRAQ ART TO COME

Early next year the Saatchi Gallery will put on a show dedicated to contemporary Middle Eastern art, including from Iran and Iraq, by artists never seen in Britain before.

“None of those artists have been seen in this country before and will be very little known elsewhere in the world as well,” said Wilson. “I think Charles has been searching for months to try to find interesting works.”

Saatchi sells some art after an exhibition ends, partly to fund his enterprise. Auction house Phillips de Pury is supporting the gallery to ensure entry will be free.

_____________________________________________________________________________

BBC coverage:

Only free contemporary art museum in world

The BBC reports that the Saatchi gallery claims to be the only completely free entry contemporary art museum of its size in the world. Simon de Pury, of auction house Phillips de Pury & Company, who is sponsoring the exhibition, said they expected “millions” of visitors.

Ground-breaking school education programme to come

The gallery said it was seeking to establish a “ground breaking” education programme “to make contemporary art even more accessible to young people.

“It is anticipated that the facilities that the Saatchi Gallery plans to offer – at the gallery, via its website and the gallery’s own classroom – will ensure that teachers receive the best on-site and outreach support for their students.”

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Artists: Zhang Dali, Zeng Fanzhi, Wang Guangyi, Zheng Guogu, Zhang Haiying, Zhang Hongtu, Zhang Huan, Qiu Je, Xiang Jin, Shi Jinsong, Fang Lijun, Yue Minjun, Li Qing, Wu Shuanzhuan, Shen Shaomin, Li Songsong, Zhan Wang, Liu Wei, Zhang Xiaogang, Zhang Xiaotao, Cang Xin, Shi Xinning, Li Yan, Bai Yiluo, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Zhang Yuan, Yin Zhaohui, Feng Zhengjie

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Posted in Chinese, Collectors, Cultural Revolution, Gallery shows, Individual, Iranian, Iraqi, London, Mao art, Middle Eastern, Political, Sculpture, UK | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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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Financial meltdown impact on the art market – Time, Artinfo

Posted by artradar on September 22, 2008


ART MARKET RECESSION

At least for now, the US has managed to avert a complete collapse of the banking system permitting the press breathing space to ponder the potential impact of the financial crisis on businesses and individuals around the world.

How will the art market fare? The views are mixed.

From Indian art galleries to billionaire art collectors noone in the art market will be immune from the fallout claim some observers. Prices will alter, collections will change hands, art businesses will consolidate, change strategy or move. Others point out that art indices such as the Mei Moses index show that art has a low correlation with stock indices. But can you rely on art indices when art as an asset class is so illiquid and non homogenous compared with stocks goes the counterargument. According to Philip Hoffman of the Fine Art Fund a third of investible art assets is in the hands of just 20 or so very wealthy collectors providing some price protection. However others point out that the market is splitting and the upper end may have a different outlook to the lower end. 

Time will tell how events will unfold but in the meantime some press sources have started to report stories hinting at what they expect ahead.

Impact on Indian galleries – Time

It is easy to be dazzled and forget for a moment that India’s markets, like those around the globe, are in the throes of financial turmoil. But even here, worries are starting to surface reports Time. Mumbai is India’s financial capital, but it’s also the center of the country’s booming fashion industry and contemporary-arts community. Those three worlds feed each other here, just as they do in London, Tokyo and New York. As the markets plunge – the main Mumbai index, the Sensex, is down 36% since January – many of Mumbai’s wealthy financiers are beginning to spend less in the city’s galleries and luxury boutiques. “I’m extremely worried,” says Jai Bhandarkar, owner of an art gallery in Colaba, one of Mumbai’s toniest neighborhoods. “The spending power of the people who collect art is going to be affected. The art market has already gone down so much.”

The fate of Lehman’s art collection – Artinfo

Artinfo : When Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday, it left out Neuberger Berman, its giant asset management unit and, according to Artnet, one of its “few profit-making divisions in recent months.” The investment bank is now taking bids for the unit – which includes an impressive corporate art collection – with five private equity firms reported as possible buyers: Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Hellman & Friedman, Clayton Dubilier & Rice, Bain Capital, and CVC Capital Partners.

Neuberger Berman was cofounded in 1939 by Roy Neuberger, whose name also graces the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, New York, established with the help of Nelson Rockefeller in 1974 so Neuberger could show off his collection. Neuberger Berman has had a fund since 1990 to buy works from “emerging to mid-career artists, with an emphasis on the former,” according to a press release for a 2004 touring show. That exhibition, “Crosscurrents at Century’s End: Selections from the Neuberger Berman Art Collection,” included pieces by such artists as Marlene Dumas, Andreas Gursky, Takashi Murakami, Neo Rauch, and Sam Taylor-Wood.

The firm is now reported to have some 600 works in its collection, which is displayed in its offices worldwide. It remains to be seen whether the new owner will keep the collection intact or sell the pieces off while the art market is strong.

Billionaire art collectors not immune – uTV

It is unlikely that art will retain its value in the current slump, despite the record-breaking Damien Hirst sale earlier this week says UTV Business News. This will come as a shock to Donald and Doris Fisher, the founders of the Gap clothing chain who returned to the Forbes Rich list in joint 377th place – on $1.3bn – thanks to their $1bn art collection which includes pieces by Chuck Close, Richard Serra and Alexander Calder.

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