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Think Like An Art World Expert: Episode 2 Review

In the second episode of Think Like an Art World Expert, host Glen Hardwick-Bruce interviews Anakena Paddon, Studio Manager for Kevin Francis Gray. Paddon explained her role in the studio as handling many of the operations and logistics details so that the artist is free to focus on creating works. I really loved this interview because Paddon distinguished her role from that of a personal assistant (a role often confused with studio management).

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Paddon describes her role as involving a great deal of coordination between Gray’s UK and Italian studios, as well as serving as a representative for the studios when interacting with other entities (such as galleries and interested collectors). She also worked tirelessly on creating the uniform social presence that Kevin Francis Gray studios now enjoys online.

A peek inside of the studio as Gray works

I love the many facets that Paddon outlines in her role, and I will listen to this one again and take good notes! Definitely check out the podcast, or, if you’re interested in learning more about the studio, check out Kevin Francis Gray either on the website or on Instagram.

art · culture

Welcome Back, Smithsonian Institute!

I’m finally writing a post that I’ve wanted to write for weeks now: welcome back to the Smithsonian Institute! During what is officially the longest shutdown in US history, visitors had to go without this cultural treasure.The Smithsonian Institute (SI), along with the National Gallery of Art (NGA), are finally running again after shuttering their doors at the end of December. Even when several other federal agencies were furloughed, SI and NGA both made sure to continue operating until the end of the calendar year.

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It’s this commitment to the American public that really distinguishes these fine organizations. No one is happier to welcome them back that I am.

You’ve been missed.

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Think Like An Art World Expert: Episode 1 Review

In the inaugural episode of Think Like an Art World Expert, host Glen Hardwick-Bruce interviews Nico Epstein, partner and director of Artvisor. Artvisor brings the world of art advisory to the internet, blending the best that the web has to offer by way of location independent advisory services with traditional brick-and-mortar art offerings (such as occasional in-person viewings).

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On the podcast, Epstein describes his background in the Arts, as  well as his career path post-college. He didn’t hold back in describing the closed-off nature of the art world. He identified his own competitive advantage – specifically, several family members (including his mother) who had successful careers as art academics and commercial gallery management. What I’m really enjoying about this podcast is how the host made sure to ask specific questions about the career path and tips that the guest has to offer the listening audience. Hardwick-Bruce asked some pointed questions that would be a great starting point for anyone interested in entering the online art advisory field.

Photo from Epstein’s interview with Hardwick-Bruce

Epstein also didn’t disappoint when it came to giving tips about how to succeed as an art advisor.  I really appreciate it his transparency when describing his experiences as a gallerist and an advisor. This interview was a great length – right around 20 minutes – and stuck to the pertinent information regarding Epstein and his career path.

Great first episode, Christie’s Education! I’m so looking forward to the next one! You all can keep up with Nico Epstein by following his Instagram account, or by following Artvisor’s Instagram page.

art · hollywood glamour

Celebrity Curators – Art’s Magic Bullet?

Happy Tuesday, beloveds! I’m enjoying these glimmers of summer that will be happening this week, as I’m still a bit resistant to the beginning of fall. I’ll get on board eventually, but for now, I’ll savor whatever warm weather I can get!

In the past, I did the Collector Conundrum series, where I considered different issues regarding the world of art collecting. This is a sort of addendum to that topic: not directly related to the conundrums discussed but a little something to consider. I recently read this article on Angela Bassett curating an art show for Band of Vices Gallery in Los Angeles, CA. I thought about the appeal of a major celebrity, personally selecting artwork that she found interesting, impactful, and meaningful. It occurred to me that the celebrity curator could be a magic bullet for some of what’s ailing the art world.

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Angela Bassett, actress and first-time art curator (photo courtesy of Instagram)

There will always be art collectors, enthusiasts, dealers, etc.,. However, the inclusion and integration of younger collectors has been challenge for some art institutions, especially in this age that emphasizes minimalism and location independence. With the prominent shift away from excess and a prioritization of living with less, art ownership is still prestigious but not as alluring to many young would-be collectors.

But the celebrity curator is a fascinating draw for museums and galleries: the collaboration can be good for the institutions as well as the celebrity. Institutions get a fresh vision from an individual that is probably very similar to many potential collectors (people that probably purchase art using their personal taste and amateur-to-intermediate level knowledge); celebrities get the chance to express themselves in a new way, meet new people that share their interests, and support cultural institutions in a substantial way.

Personally, I’m excited to see what other celebrity curators arise in the upcoming years. I’d also be interested to see how many galleries and museums see a rise in sales and visitors due to these celebrity-curated exhibits. This could be a great opportunity to leverage current tastes into museum and gallery success. I hope that these institutions explore and take advantage of celebrity curator opportunities in the future.

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5 Things That Will Transform the Art Market

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As part of my personal study of the art market, I like to see if I can predict trends and spot opportunities within this realm.

I identified 5 things that are poised to cause a complete shift in the art world as we know it. Continue reading to learn about what I suspect will completely transform the art market.

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Cryptocurrency – Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology will continue to be a factor in the art market. Both the legal and black markets will thrive due to the fact that cryptocurrency makes it easier to exchange value without dealing with traditionally recognized currency. Blockchain can be repurposed to assist with provenance research and the public nature of its design will continue to transform how art is traded and sold.

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The Push for Diversity in Museum Leadership and Galleries – After the Brooklyn Museum faced tremendous backlash over hiring a White curator for its African Art department, a spotlight was shone on the lack of diversity within the museum world. Since then, there have been numerous discussions over how the art world will rise to the occasion and foster a more diverse environment. Even the New York Times has asked questions about the ethnic makeup of the world of art dealing. Obviously, there is a lot of potential here and the museums and galleries that take the lead in this regard will position themselves to stay current and relevant in these ever-changing times.

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Elimination of Section 1031 Provisions – With the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017, Section 1031 of the tax code eliminated the loophole that allowed art investors to defer the realization of capital gains for an indefinite period of time. This has sent investors scrambling to devise a new tax strategy when it comes to the sale and later purchase of art. Fortunately, there are some preliminary measures that will offer an alternative to Section 1031, though it will take some creative accounting and subject matter mastery to execute properly. It’ll be exciting to see what other innovations come along that will benefit art investors.

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Virtual Art Galleries – In this increasingly digital world, it should be no surprise that the virtual art gallery will account for a healthy portion of art sales. Virtual galleries appeal to a previously unexplored group of patrons: this virtual space combines the collectors that want to enjoy art but are too busy to go browse a gallery in person with the art lovers that may have initially been intimidated by going to a gallery in person. The flexibility and ease of purchase will continue to appeal to many art enthusiasts, and I imagine that this form of art vending will continue to grow in popularity. A few of the most popular online art vendors can be found by clicking here.

Barack Obama  as painted by Kehinde Wiley; Michelle Obama as painted by Amy Sherald

Renewed Interest in Artists of Color – Artists of color are not unpopular but have largely been ignored or relegated to “supporting” roles in art museums and galleries. However, there has been a renewed interest in artists of color, especially since these artists have many influential fans and collectors. Barack and Michelle Obama both chose Black artist to create their official Presidential and First Lady portraits. High profile collectors are seeking to carve a space for these artists that will allow the artwork to shine in its own right. Pamela Joyner has graciously allowed her personal collection to be exhibited nationwide in the Solidary and Solitary exhibition. In a recent article on Artnet, Tina Knowles Lawson gives a tour of her art collection. Collectors aren’t the only ones bringing artists of color into the spotlight. Within the past 10 years, there have been more retrospectives featuring artists of color than ever before. A retrospective of Howardena Pindell’s work is slated to exhibit at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and it’s already gathering lots of buzz.

 

Those are my predictions for the changes that will transform the art market. Do you have any predictions that you think may affect the art world as we know it? Let me know in the comments below: I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

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Feeding My Gerome Addiction

Part of my Philadelphia trip included a visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I love to believe that the muses communicate directly with me when I’m in any museum, so I am inclined to go wherever I’m “led”, so to speak. I stepped over to the European art wing, and I got the feeling that I would quickly find something incredible. My intuition didn’t disappoint: less than a few steps into the first room I entered, I was face to face with a painting by one of my favorite artists, Jean-Leon Gerome.

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Portal of the Green Mosque (Sentinel at the Sultan’s Tomb), Jean-Leon Gerome, 1870

I’ve written about Gerome before, and back then, I struggled with expressing exactly what it is about his paintings that I love. I *think* I have the language to express myself now LOL! I love the realism in Gerome’s work. His paintings featured lots of African, Middle Eastern and Asian subjects and, unlike many European artists, he chose to depict his subjects humanely, touchingly, and accurately. For that, I’ll always be a fan.

This painting, Portal of the Green Mosque (Sentinel at the Sultan’s Tomb), was completed by Gerome in 1870. By this time, Gerome was a very experienced painter (more than 20 years experience, to be exact) and had quite a few commissions, honors, and his own atelier to his credit. He had established a name for himself and was a master at Orientalist paintings. While many may conclude that Gerome’s work objectified his subjects to the point of being lecherous, I’m inclined to take a different perspective.  The combination of “exotic”, non-White subjects and a Neoclassical or Romantic depiction of these subjects results in capturing the subjects’ humanity in ways that had never been done before.

The sentinel depicted is solemn, a little melancholy, but not to be pitied: he seems at peace with his position and dutifully stands in defense of the sultan’s remains. You can sense that this is a hot and hazy day, if the languorous hound in the foreground is any indicator. However, I sense that the dog in the background, that is standing closer to the entrance, is much like the sentinel himself: alert, solemn, ready to defend.

I enjoyed this painting, as I enjoy every other Gerome work that I’ve seen. I know that the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC has several Gerome paintings on view. I intend to make a special trip to view and photograph some of them. Look out for that post soon! In the meantime, enjoy, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

 

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Spotlight on Monet

Happy Monday, beloveds! Can you believe it’s almost been a whole month since I went to Philadelphia? That trip, which was mainly for the purpose of attending my first Freeman’s auction, was a lot of fun, and a great “break” in the monotony of my day-to-day life.

While at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I made sure to tour the European art wing, because I’d be experiencing a bit of a deficit. The museum nearest to me, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, has an incredible European art collection featuring impressionist works by Claude Monet and Edgar Degas. However, the Monet and Degas works are on an international tour and won’t be returning to VMFA until 2020.

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The Japanese Footbridge and the Water Lily Pond, Giverny (Monet, 1899)

So, as you can imagine, I was excited when I saw some Monet works in Philadelphia. I got to enjoy different versions of his Water Lilies series. I love both versions that I saw: the painting that has deeper tones feels more dynamic and calls to mind a scene from a lake during the autumn season. On the other hand, the painting with the lighter colors evokes warmer weather and the freshness of spring and summer.

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Water Lilies, Japanese Footbridge (Monet, 1918-2916)

What I love most about Monet is the thing he is known for: impressionism is one of my favorite art movements. The gentle intermingling of colors (the result of applying wet paint to wet paint), the way that light is captured, and the softness of nature all speak to me in indescribable ways. Monet’s depictions of his environment make me want to experience Giverny (the commune where Monet spent more than 40 years) in person.

Ah, how I enjoyed these! I’m excited to check out more of Monet’s work at the National Gallery of Art this summer. The museum currently has 16 of his works on view, and I plan to check out each of them!