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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
After enjoying a fun first day at Freedman’s Auction, I was eager to return the next day for the actual auction.
I arrived just after bidding started and I went to Client Services to retrieve my paddle. The young woman that assisted me the day before recognized me and grabbed my paddle and a form for me to sign before I started bidding. Once the form was signed, I returned to the main room where the auction was being held.
Ooh, what fun I had! It was amazing to see how high some of the prices would go! I couldn’t help but think about how this collection – carefully assembled, with pieces loved and well worn – would soon be parceled out and sent to new homes, to become beloved pieces in different collections. There were so many people eager to make these lots part of their own personal collections; it’s just a testimony to the lasting good taste of Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton (the original owner of the pieces).
And my beautiful platinum bow brooch? I didn’t get it. I’m not disappointed: I’m sure that the right piece will come along at the right time. I’m also sure that someone will absolutely LOVE it when they get it and see that beauty in person (a bidder on the phone was the lucky winner). It’s a treasure that I’m positive will be going to a good home where it will be loved and cherished.
My time as Freeman’s was so much fun! I’m already planning to attend again, but next time, my budget will be much bigger, and I will have a winning bid!
That’s all for my experience with Freeman’s Auction. I hope you all enjoyed, and have a Happy Wednesday! Talk to you all tomorrow!
I hadn’t recently posted about any auctions (partially because I’ve been working on a juicy post all about auctions just for you all!) but I came across this one and I had to share.
Some of the lots offered at Sotheby’s upcoming auction
Sotheby’s is auctioning off some extraordinary art from Africa, Oceania and the Americas (specifically, ancient Mesoamerica and North America). These lots are not just decorative objects: they are ancient artifacts that bridge the collector to faraway (both in the sense of time and distance) worlds.
This totem pole from southeast Alaska is estimated to command up to $350,000 at auction
The auction features 90 lots, expected to fetch from $2,000 on the lower end to upwards of $350,000. This wide range of estimated selling prices guarantees that this auction will attract a variety of collectors.
A Maori nephrite pendant is estimated to command a price upwards of $50,000
My favorite piece of the auction is the Yoruba Altar Emblem from Nigeria. It isn’t the most expensive piece of this auction, but the colorful detailing, as well as the connection to the orishas, fascinates me.
Yoruba Altar Emblem for Oko, Nigeria
The event will be held on May 14 at 10:30 AM, at Sotheby’s New York location (1334 York Avenue, New York, NY). All items can be viewed prior to the sale (10 AM to 5 PM Monday – Saturday, 1 PM to 5 PM on Sunday) so that you can experience these artifacts in person.
I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it! (Pointer Sisters reference, for those that are unfamiliar) I’ve been waiting for this since I first heard about it last year. And now we’re less than 10 days away from the grand event!
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is opening the Institute for Contemporary Arts (ICA) in Richmond, VA. The ICA will feature different contemporary arts exhibits and act as an “experimental” space for art discussions and initiatives. This is one of the most exciting institutions to come to Richmond in quite some time, and I’ll be there on Saturday, April 21, 2018, when the ICA hosts its grand opening festivities!
That’s all for today. Have a great Friday, and I’ll chat with you all tomorrow!
While vacationing in Kenya, I noticed that my hotel (Ibis Styles in Nairobi’s Westlands neighborhood) had beautiful artwork lining the stairwells. Upon closer inspection, I saw that all of the paintings – about 30 in total, displayed in sets of 3 amongst 10 different floors – were done by Tom Mboya.
My curiosity kicked into overdrive and I started researching Mboya. As it so happens, Tom Mboya is a local Kenyan artist (no surprise there) that started out working in the hospitality industry before pursuing his art fulltime. The paintings are stunning and lively; from dynamic depictions of life in Kenya to breathtaking portraits of his countrywomen, these paintings draw you in and hold you captive.
Here are a few of my favorites from the hotel:
If you’d like to learn more about Mboya, check out his artist profile here.
One of the greatest perks of working in Washington, DC is being able to visit the Smithsonian Institute whenever I have a little time. During one of the unseasonably warm days that we experienced last week, I felt inspired to go to one of the museums during my lunch break.
I decided to stop by the National Portrait Gallery, since it’s close to my job and I haven’t been there in years. The Kogod Courtyard used to be my favorite place for eating lunch.
This time, however, I didn’t come to eat lunch. I was there to view the Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image exhibit. I’m a fan of Dietrich’s work and how she lived an unapologetically authentic life off-camera. I came for the photos but stayed for the story of Dietrich’s life.
The brochures available for visitors have a beautiful, dramatic photo of Dietrich on the cover.
This striking white pantsuit was so intimidating to the French that Dietrich was threatened with arrest if she dared wear it on land.
Those threats of arrest were empty: Dietrich wore a different pantsuit when disembarking the Europa and was greeted with flowers from the French police.
Dietrich as Catherine the Great in The Scarlet Empress (1934)
Her undeniable acting talent, her anti-Nazism stance, and her consistent image maintenance throughout her career made Marlene Dietrich a star. However, it’s her legacy of living life on her own terms that make her an icon.
I highly recommend that you check out this exhibit if you’re in the Washington, DC area. It will be at the National Portrait Gallery (8th and F Streets, NW, near Chinatown) until April 15, 2018, so get there as quickly as you can!
While browsing the lots for Christie’s upcoming Rockefeller auction, I came across a partial set of dishes owned by Napoleon I, the legendary emperor of France. The set was beautiful on its own, but I stopped cold when I saw the detail on these dessert plates:
This is the ‘Marly Rouge’ Service, a porcelain dessert set made sometime around 1807 – 1809. This set is in outstanding condition, with the colors and gilding just as vibrant as when it was first presented to Emperor Napoleon. The write-up for this offering can be seen under the “Highlights” section of the Christie’s page featuring the Peggy and David Rockefeller Collection.
Aside from the flawless condition, I marveled at the detailing. Are you all seeing the gorgeous butterfly variety on these dishes? Of course the Bronze Butterfly noticed it and swooned. I need these dishes, now!
The sale occurs in May 2018. I doubt that I’ll have a spare $150,000+ to invest in this set (I remain hopeful!) but I plan to look for a set of similar design and high quality. If I find them (and, since I’m good at locating things, I’m sure that I will), I’ll post to this blog and give you all details. Until then, you’re free to drool over the Marly Rouge with me.