“The Encyclopedic Palace”, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, is the key exhibition of the Biennale. The first section is located in the Central Pavilion within the Giardini, where I began the day. The exhibition is essentially about the impossible dream of universal knowledge. From the opening installation of Carl Jung’s illustrated manuscript, “Red Book”, to the riveting performance piece created by Tino Sehgal, artists grapple with ways to reconcile the self with the universe. Whether the source is the personal internal or the social external, images are the vehicle of communication.
Gioni asks: What room is left for inner images in an era besieged and obsessed by external ones? What do we see with our eyes closed? How can images help us understand ourselves and the world around us?
Contemporary art enthusiasts who eschew art history and the work from other cultures in favor of solely focusing on the present miss a critical link in understanding current art. Artists continually mine the past. Recognizing the use of and nuance from antecedents is part of the appreciation and pleasure of contemporary work.
Richard Jackson at the Orange County Museum of Art
This approach is in clear evidence in the wonderful Richard Jackson Retrospective currently on view at the Orange County Museum of Art through May 5. Although I had not previously been a fan of the work, this show won me over. Imagination and an unconventional spirit infuse the pieces. The exhibition is filled with innovation, bold execution and plenty of artistic connection to both antecedents and contemporaries. Take pleasure in the nod to Jacques-Louis David, Duchamp, Pollock, Keinholz, Richter, Nauman and others.
People frequently ask me what I am working on. My business by its nature is discreet. Despite this blog and my presence in the social media, I tend to be reserved in describing my activity. However, as Facebook has proven, the era of sharing reigns. Here is a brief status update.
Robert Mapplethorpe, "Calla Lily", 1984, 9/10, gelatin silver print, 26 x 22"
I’ve just completed a three-year project for a client in which I resold a group of 14 pieces that I had previously acquired for them. Net proceeds to the client exceeded $5 million and represented more than double the initial investment. Works included emerging artists and blue chip favorites such as Gerhard Richter, David Smith and Louise Bourgeois. The iconic photograph above by Robert Mapplethorpe was part of the collection.
Amy Ellingson, "Untitled", (straight/curved yellow, black, orange), 2003, oil & encaustic on canvas, 30 x 132" (detail), acquired for Neiman Marcus, San Francisco.
While my clients are almost exclusively private individuals, I have been a consultant to Neiman Marcus for more than 10 years. Neiman’s art collection features abstract painting from artists in the communities across the country where their 42 stores are located. A new store in Walnut Creek will open next month. For that location, I arranged 4 commissioned artworks including the amazing kinetic sculpture on the exterior of the building by Ned Kahn. In addition to my own blog, I write for NM Daily, Neiman’s blog, which features articles on fashion, food and culture.
Here is the video of “Wind Fins” in action. There are three phases to the video, so watch until the end!
Mark Twain, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", early edition
In December, I had an opportunity to enter into the realm of rare book collecting. A longtime client for whom I acquire paintings and photographs wanted to begin a rare book collection for her young son. As a Christmas gift, we acquired several rare books by Mark Twain, including an illustrated edition of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” from 1910.
"Have Gun-Will Travel" featured Richard Boone as Paladin, a gunslinger for hire who also enjoyed gourmet food and the opera. The show was a top-rated Western series from 1957-1963.
My motto, a la Paladin, is “Have Gun Will Travel”. If a project has integrity and involves high quality art, I’m there. Speaking of travel, I’m headed to Palm Springs for Modernism Week and a private tour of Sunnylands, the Annenberg Estate in Rancho Mirage, which opens to the public shortly. March brings the Armory Show and the multiple treasures of New York. Lastly, in the realm of performance art, don’t miss “Pina” , the academy award nominated dance film in 3D by Wim Wenders.
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Uber-collector, Charles Saatchi, rarely gives interviews, so a provocative article in the August 30 edition of The Observer was of keen interest. In advance of the publication of his new book, “My Name is Charles Saatchi and I Am an Artoholic”, Saatchi shared some viewpoints. His razor-sharp wit leavened with wry humor and seasoned insight is a great read. On the subject of undiscovered talent, he noted “By and large, talent is in such short supply that mediocrity can be taken for brilliance rather more than genius can go undiscovered.” The book is due out on September 8, Phaidon Press. The Observer
Damien Hirst, "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living"
Saatchi is also launching a new reality television show, “Saatchi’s Best of British” on BBC2 this November. It will feature six artists which Saatchi has personally selected from relative obscurity. They will be put through a specially created art school for three months with the goal of discovering the next great artist, perhaps another Damien Hirst. Saatchi TV Show The Saatchi website has already become a portal of its own. Saatchi online