Friday, November 30, 2018

Contemporary Art: Nancy Spero @ Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo Mexico City

(Drivebycuriosity) - Contemporary art is full of discoveries. My wife and I used our stay in Mexico City with a visit @ Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo. Their regular show was closed due to installations but they have a temporary exhibition with work by the late American artist Nancy Spero (through February 7, 2019museotamayo ).  I display here my favorites from the exhibition, a very subjective selection as usual.

The curators explains: "A first-generation feminist who sought social justice and equity for women, Spero’s art engages histories of woman as victim, goddess mythologies, and then, on deciding to view the world through solely representing women, woman as an active agent". Above a detail from "Dancing Totem" (1985).

Above details from "Female Symbols" (1981)

Above "La Renomée" (1994) followed by "The Birt of the Fatherland Spirit" (1997)

Above "Lovers IX" (1966r) followed by "Great Mother, Birth" (1962) ; "Nightmare Figures II" (1961) & "Scenes from the Mediterranen" (1963).

To be continued.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Street Art New York: Fall 2018 Edition

(Drivebycuriosity) - I like street art. Being an ambitious amateur photographer I took a lot pictures from the murals, graffiti and stencils I spotted in my neighborhoods, the streets of Lower East, Soho & East Village. I show here my  favorites from the recent weeks, a very subjective selection as usual.

On Rivington Street on Manhattan´s Lower East Side I saw a huge mural which depicts the infamous Club 27: Musicians who all lost their lives in the age of 27.

On Allan Street I found a similar mural.

The girl & astronaut dispute somewhere in East Village.

The sea monster lives in a little park between East Houston & 1rst Street.

I believe the huge balloon flies on Avenue C.

The infamous Epstein`s on Allen Street (a dive for the raucous bridge & tunnel crowd) has reopened  and there are still amazing murals like these tropical birds.

Above a mural seen on the wall of rag & bone at the corner of Elizabeth & Houston. For years this fashion shop impresses with frequently changing art work of high quality.

This  funny teddy bear I spotted on East Houston across Whole Foods.

On Ludlow Street I saw this wild mural.

Another mural on Ludlow Street, not my favorite, but I like the combination with the girls before.

More murals found on the Lower East Side & in East Village.

There are a lot of stencils & stickers of course

and some interesting graffiti.

To be continued

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Economics: Why The Art Market Has A Bright Future

(Drivebycuriosity) - The art market is changing, benefiting from the growth of the global economy.  Art is not only bought by collectors, who love it and want to own it, art is also purchased by investors & speculators who hope to sell it later for a higher price. These people consider art as an asset, comparable to stocks, bonds & real estate - and as long as they become more wealthy, they spend more for art. The rising global wealth is flowing into stock markets, into real estate and into art works. As long the global economy is advancing and can avoid a recession a lot of money will stream into art work and the market will continue to climb.

There is a growing number of Chinese billionaires who want to show their wealth & taste by amassing impressive art collections. According to "major Chinese collectors are actively and vigorously diversifying their acquisitions. Aware of changes in their domestic market, they are investing in major signatures of Western art from all periods including Old Masters, Impressionists, Modern and Contemporary art" (artprice). CNN mentions "Joseph Lau, who bought one of Andy Warhol's Mao Zedong portraits for $17.4 million in 2006, and Wang Jianlin, one of China's richest men, who paid $28.2 million for a Picasso. Billionaire and former taxi driver Liu Yiqian famously paid $170.4 million for an Amedeo Modigliani painting -- reportedly using his American Express card." (cnn). China's new collectors aren't only looking for big names. They also buy works by both Chinese and Western artists -- many of them up-and-coming (cnn).

                                                   Preparing For The Future

And there is a second trend, which is also pushing the market for art. Museums, especially private collections, are mushrooming all over the world. This summer I visited The Broad Museum in Los Angeles (driveby). The contemporary art museum is founded and owned by the billionaire Eli Broad,  who had build two Fortune 500 companies in different industries: KB Home & Sun America. The private institution has a spectacular collection - and the admission is free (on top of this post an image by Takashi Murakami with observers spotted @ The Broad).

The Broad is not alone. More than 700 new museums are opening every year, reports the magazine Artprice  (artprice): "More museums opened between 2000 and 2014 than in the previous two centuries". Many of them are owned by private investors. "Trophy galleries transform art landscape", claims the British Times and reports that "700 new museums are opening each year as the super-rich rush to put their collections on show" (thetimes).

Many of the new museums are privately owned like The Broad. More than 200 of these were founded after the millennium, and 60 or so in the past five years, reports Condé Nast Traveler (cntraveller). And the oil rich states of the Middle East are investing their wealth into cultural centers to create magnets for tourists to prepare for their future. Artspace reports about 8 new Middle Eastern mega-museums on the rise, mostly in Abu Dhabi (UAE) & Doha (Qatar)  (artspace).

The legion of new art museums and the growing private collections create a huge demand for art work. The magazine Artprice concludes that the demand for museum quality works from this industry has been one of the driving factors in the spectacular growth of the art market. Today’s museums are like yesterday’s cathedrals; open to people from all generations and all social classes eager to experience the singularity afforded by artworks in a world of increasing standardization (artprice).

Anyway, I wouldn´t buy art as an investment. I think stocks are the better alternative and their average return beats other asset classes by far  (  investopedia). But buying art for fun, to demonstrate one´s taste and wealth, to impress friends, neighbors & family, makes sense. The wealthy need to fill the walls of their classy new flats & mansions in Manhattan, London and Miami.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Science Fiction: Beyond The Stars - Unimagined Realms

(Drivebycuriosity) - I like science fiction. Unfortunately most science fiction novels disappoint. Often a writer has an interesting idea which carries a story about maybe 100 pages or less, but when she stretches the plot the story gets thinner and thinner and the text has too many fillers.  Just a minority of authors is capable to keep the tension over hundreds of pages. Therefore I usually skim collections of science fiction short stories in order to find some gems.

I just finished reading the anthology  "Beyond The Stars - Unimagined Realms" edited & curated by Patrice Fitzgerald (amazon). The book collects 12 stories by different authors  (print version 285 pages)

I have 2 favorites:
 "Fractals" by G.S. Jennsen, written in first person. A female captain of a space ship on a deep space exploration has to respond to a bizarre cosmic signal (this is a spoiler free blog) A fine piece of hard scientific scifi & space opera with a surprising twist spiced with quantum & astrophysics.

"Entanglement" by Joseph Robert Lewis, also in first person. A woman is exploring the atmosphere of Jupiter by being mentally connected (entangled) with a drone which leads to a bizarre encounter. Evolution & quantum physics!

I also enjoyed "The old fighting Goose" by Sean Monaghan, again told in first person. The narrator and his partner are struggling to survive in a wrecked space ship while being attacked. Serious military science fiction.Hitchcock in space!

"Klevor Barnes and the Stinky Cats" by Mark Sarney is a hilarious tale about space pirates and strange contraband.

The rest of the stories contains also interesting ideas and may cater different tastes. In the moment of writing the Kindle edition cost just $2.99. A bargain! 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Art Market: Impressionists & Modern Art - Tidtbits From New York`s Fall Auctions 2018

(Drivebycuriosity) - I love contemporary art. Last week I went to New York´s auction houses to see their galleries for their fall auctions in Post War and Contemporary art. But Sotheby´s & Christie`s had more gems. They also displayed work they had amassed for their auctions of Impressionists & Modern Art (ca. 1870 - Word War II). I spotted there many awesome paintings and I display here my personal favorites, a very subjective selection as usual.

I was most impressed by Ludwig Meidner´s "Apokalyptische Landschaft (Apocalyptic Landscape)", executed between 1912-16, apparently influenced by the outbreak of WWI. The curators @ Phillips call this work "a quintessential Expressionist painting". Rightly so.

I am a fan of René Magritte`s surrealistic worlds. His "Le Principe du Plaisir" (1937), one of two portraits commissioned from the artist by Edward James, an English heir to an American railway fortune, hammered @ Sotheby`s for $26.8 million (artnet). I also enjoyed seeing his "Le pain quotidien" & "Lat statue volante" @ Christie`s.

I am also glad that the always amazing Tamara de Lempicka reached a  new personal record with her oil painting "La Musicienne" (1929), which made $9.1 million @ Christie`s (estimated at $6 million–$8 million.). The auction house had more work by her. Above you can see "Nu féminin"  followed by "Nu masculin"; "Coin dàtelier"; "Etude pour Portrait d`Ira P" & "Nu assis".

                                         Mixing Monet with Manet?

Claude Monet`s "Le bassin aux nymphéas", 1917–19, sold for $31.8 million @ Christie`s. I wonder why? The painting is not my favorite, I prefer other impressionists, which I show below.

I like Éduard Manet`s cute "Portrait De Madame Jule Guillement" (@ Sotheby`s). Btw I suppose art students might mix Monet with Manet.

I would like to walk Gustave Caillebotte`s wonderful "Allée de la Villa de Fleurs á Trouville” (@ Sotheby`s)!

I also prefer Maurice de Vlaminck`s powerful landscapes. Above "La maison lointaine" followed by "Paysage de rivière" & “L´Ìnondation” (Christie`s & Sotheby´s).

I really love Julius Leblanc Stewart`s elegant  paintings "Jeune Femme, Place De La Concorde" &  "Full Speed" (@ Sotheby`s)

and Jean Beraud`s "Le Parc Monceau" too.

Edgar Degas` "Petites filles spartiates provoquant des garçons" are so beautiful (showed @ Christie`s).

And so are Jean-Pierre Cassigneul`s ladies: “Profil devant la mer  followed by “La Vase bleu” & "L´Ecuyère" (all @ Christie´s).

Above some more eye cookies:  Kees van Dongen`s "Jeune femme au petit bouquet" (Christies`s)  followed by Moïse Kisling "Femme, Bras Levés" (Sotheby´s) & "Petit nu assis de dos" (Christies`s).

Above another gem: "Melancholie Interlude" by Francis Criss (Christie`s).

Above some German expressionism: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner`s  "Das Soldatenbad" & "Weiblicher Akt & Blaue Dame im Tiergarten" (Sotheby´s)

At Phillips I spotted Max Ernst`s surreal "Le peuple des oiseaux" (1942).