December 3rd, 2021
Banksy, Love is in the Air, 2005
“I always wanted to own art, even when I had absolutely no money—I wished I could have at least a tiny stake in the paintings that I liked.” So said Loïc Gouzer, the ex-head of contemporary art at Christie’s and a co-founder of Particle, a new NFT company that aims to fractionalize ownership of traditional artworks by converting them into sets of NFTs called Particles, thus allowing for potentially thousands of people to share ownership of certain works. After receiving $15 million in seed funding from a venture capital firm and announcing its presence as a company this past summer, that wish is now a reality.
Particle revealed on Wednesday that its first acquisition is Banksy’s Love Is in the Air (2005), which the Particle team acquired for $12.9 million at auction. The work has been segmented into 10,000 NFTs, each representing a unique section of the painting. An initial offering of Love Is in the Air will begin January 10 and run through January 14, allowing collectors a chance to purchase a Particle of the work for about $1,500. After the initial offering, the Particles will enter the secondary market across NFT platforms and there’s no telling how they might change in value.
The physical version of Love Is in the Air will be handed over to Particle Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the company that will maintain, preserve, and tour the work so that collectors can see the pieces they can rightfully claim to own. Royalties received in the resale of Particles (like all NFTs, Particles are attached to a smart contract that ensures a portion of the resale value is returned to the creator of the NFT) will be partially used to fund Particle Foundation. And the foundation will also retain 1 percent of Love Is in the Air Particles to act, as a press release explains, “as a protective shard and ensure no one person can envisage claiming possession of the physical painting.”
With the entanglements intrinsic to the fact that each Particle will fluctuate in value across a vast and changing collector base, it would be intensely complicated to ever attempt to sell the physical work. To make a comparison: For a company like Rally, which fractionalizes ownership of collectibles in a more traditional manner, the sale of an entire object or work is the only way for collectors to see a return on their investment. Currently, some 5,500 joint holders of a copy of the Declaration of Independence are voting on whether or not to sell the historical document. If they decide to sell together as a group, they’ll all get their investment returned, and potentially more.
November 13th, 2021
In its relentless effort to secure the title of most crypto-forward auction house, Sotheby's will next week accept live bids in the form of the cryptocurrency ethereum (ETH) for physical works of art.
For the time being the new gimmick will apply to two works, both by Banksy, which are being sold at Sotheby's inaugural The Now Evening Auction on 17 November in New York. Here Sotheby's chairman Oliver Barker will announce bids in increments of both ETH and USD; the winning bidders will have the option of paying the hammer price for each work in fiat currency or in the three cryptocurrencies accepted by Sotheby’s: ETH, Bitcoin (BTC), and USD Coin (USDC). The buyer's premium must still be paid in fiat currency.
Love is in the Air (2006) is a classic flower thrower Banksy canvas work and comes with an estimate of $4m to $6m. Meanwhile, Trolley Hunters (2006), a unique work depicting three prehistoric men in a savannah hunting for empty shopping trolleys, will make its auction debut. Described by the auction house with little trace of irony as "an indictment against the excesses of consumerist society", it is offered at $5m-$7m. The identity of their consignors remains anonymous, although both works were purchased in 2007 from Banksy's longtime London dealer Steve Lazarides. Both are verified by the artists's authentication body Pest Control.
Banksy recently made his auction record at Sotheby's, achieving £16m (£18.5m with fees) for the famously shredded Love is in the Bin, which sold to an Asian bidder at last month's contemporary evening sale in London.
"Banksy is an artist whose work is popular with young collectors, many of whom are also crypto conversant, so there is a natural overlap in audience that we want to tap into," says Alex Branczik, chairman for Modern and contemporary art. He adds: "His work appeals to the crypto community because of a shared sense of being part of a movement that is not of the mainstream, and that anti-establishment mindset creates a connection between the two".
Previously Sotheby's became the first auction house to accept ETH as a form of payment for a physical work of art, also by Bansky. It also recently announced the launch of Sotheby's Metaverse, an online platform designed for the selling, exhibition and discussion of NFTs.
"To take the bidding process even further by announcing [bids] in ETH only shows the ways in which cryptocurrency continues to become more a part of our business," Branczik says. "With each new sale that we offer with crypto, we see increasing numbers of new bidders from that world engage with us, and we hope this will encourage even more."
October 30th, 2021
By Chantal Da Silva
LONDON — For more than a century, she lay hidden beneath one of Pablo Picasso's most famous works.
But now the nude portrait of a crouching woman has been brought to life by an artificial intelligence-powered software trained to paint like the legendary artist.
October 20th, 2021
The London-based auction house Phillips has gained a reputation as the go-to venue to acquire works by emerging artists in high demand on the primary market. Each season, the New York day and evening sales at Phillips typically generate records for rising talent, and last week, that was certainly the case. At those sales, new benchmarks were set for 26 artists, including Cinga Samson, Avery Singer, Titus Kaphar, Julie Curtiss, and Kehinde Wiley. Together, thee sales brought in a collective $153 million with buyer’s premium across 324 lots, surpassing the $101 million hammer low estimate.
Phillips specialists have been vocal about tapping increased fervor among collectors for works by emerging and mid-career women artists and artists of color. Relative to their Western male peers, these artists have long been under-represented in the institutions around the world. “There was a lot of intentionality in going after under-represented artists,” Robert Manley, Phillips’s deputy chairman and worldwide co-head of 20th- and 21st-century art sales, told ARTnews last week.
But which artists are at the top of collectors’ lists? Below, a look at the works from Phillips’s New York sales that saw the most competition among bidders.
By ANGELICA VILLA
June 28, 2021 5:14pm
October 17th, 2021
A comprehensive list of the most well-known visual art movements during the 20th century, spanning two world wars and several cultural revolutions.
Feb 19, 2020 • By Charlotte Davis
The 20th century saw a new era of visual artists who challenged the precedent art styles. Beauty and aesthetics gave way to abstraction, expression and symbolism. This metamorphosis formed numerous distinct and important art movements which presented a new type of aesthetic, some which overlap with or influenced the others. Below is a broad overview of the most influential visual art movements during the 20th century, excluding some of those shorter-lived or lesser known.
Fauvism (1905-1908)… Etc
September 4th, 2021
Non-EU visitors will have to apply for Swiss Covid-19 certificate before attending and, with certain vaccines not recognised, some will have to take tests onsite
UPDATE: 1 September, Art Basel clarified that anyone required to isolate will be able to remain in the same hotel to do so. The fair will also cover the cost of one PCR test at the start of the fair for non-EU exhibitors who have received the Astra Zeneca vaccine—they will not have to repeat the test if they test negative.
Art Basel visitors walked around mask-free in 2019. This year they will have to wear face coverings Courtesy of Art Basel
With the US issuing a "do not travel" advisory for Switzerland on Monday and the Swiss authorities laying down some tough requirements for entry into large-scale events, getting into Art Basel this month is going to be far from straightforward and is causing rising concern.
The fair (24-26 September, previews 21-23 September) is having to comply with prescriptive requirements set out by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health for large-scale conventions. But many of these instructions have only recently been communicated to exhibitors, with many visitors still likely to be in the dark.
In a nutshell, here is what you must do before you go:
Every visitor from a non-EU/EFTA country (eg. the US or UK) must email their proof of vaccination and a copy of their photo ID or passport to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 13 September at the latest.
This will then be converted into a Swiss Covid-19 certificate that visitors will be able to collect (in paper form) on site at the fair from from Friday 17 September onwards—look for the Covid-19 Certification Centre. You will need your original documents (proof of vaccination and photo ID) in order to collect it.
If you forget to apply for the certificate, it will be possible to register on site—but be warned, this will delay your entry into the fair.
Those travelling from EU countries or Switzerland must provide a valid Swiss or EU Covid-19 certificate and a form of ID.
Another complication causing concern among galleries is that not all vaccines are recognized by Swiss authorities when it comes to entering large-scale events—although they are approved for entry into the country itself. Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson are approved by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health for large-scale events.
But it was communicated by Art Basel last week that Astra Zeneca is not approved by the Swiss authorities for live events—a cause for concern for many UK-based exhibitors and visitors aged over 40 who had the vaccine. Visitors will have to take a test on arrival at the fair and repeat it every 48 hours. However, exhibitors will be able to take one PCR test (paid for by the fair) on arrival in Basel at a testing facility in the exhibitor lounge and, providing they get a negative result, they will not have to repeat the test for the duration of the fair.
For all non-exhibitors, PCR test will gain you access for 72 hours, a lateral flow test for 48 hours—the latter will be available at the fair at a cost of CHF37 (£30) each; results will be turned around within 15 minutes. Although Art Basel is recommending that you pre-book a testing slot, you will be able to turn up and get a test without a booking if necessary—but you will probably have to wait.
An added complication to this is that the Astra Zeneca vaccination is recognized by the EU, therefore those vaccinated in an EU country will be able to apply for their digital EU Covid-19 certificate and be able to enter the fair without a test. Those vaccinated with Astra Zeneca outside the EU will have to apply for the Swiss Covid-19 certificate as above.
Those with any other vaccine (for example Sinovac)—if they are non-EU or EFTA citizens—will need to be tested on site as these are not registered by Swiss authorities.
Be aware of risk of hotel quarantine
So what happens if you, as an exhibitor or visitor, catch Covid-19 at the fair? Art Basel says they must take a PCR test to confirm the result at the Covid-19 Certification Centre in Basel. If the PCR test is positive, the person then must isolate for ten days. Basel hotels have been asked to provide isolation rooms to cope with this eventuality and, according to an Art Basel spokesperson, anyone who tests positive will be able to quarantine in the same hotel as they are already staying. It is recommended that visitors to the fair take out extra travel insurance to cover the possible additional costs of quarantine which are likely to be hefty considering the steep price of Basel hotels, particularly if a gallery has to quarantine its entire team.
If you test positive, the Swiss local authorities will contact you directly to request a list of people you have been in contact with—which is likely quite a few—and inform them of any necessary next steps.
Finally, remember your face mask—Art Basel is requiring all visitors to wear one.
Please email email@example.com if you would like to share your thoughts on exhibiting at and visiting Art Basel and other art fairs this autumn.
September 4th, 2021
Fair says it is committed to going ahead but offers concessions to exhibitors, including rolling over booth fees to 2022 if they cannot enter the country and offering staff to man stands.
Art Basel has written a letter to exhibitors in an attempt to calm nerves in the run up to the Swiss fair later this month, telling galleries it is "committed to hosting the fair under the current conditions because we firmly believe that we can do so safely."
The missive was issued this evening in response to an open letter penned by a number of powerful US-based galleries outlining their concerns about participating in the fair after US authorities advised Americans on Monday not to travel to Switzerland. Some flights to Basel from the UK have also been cancelled.
Stringent and confusing entry restrictions for the fair—and particularly the fact the Astra Zeneca vaccine is not recognized by Swiss authorities for entry into large-scale events—have caused some concern, with the London-based (Astra Zeneca-jabbed) art advisor Emily Tsingou telling The Art Newspaper she is "appalled... we are there to work, not be judged. It will put a lot of people off."
One exhibitor, who did not wish to be named, told The Art Newspaper earlier this week that they thought the fair should have just run in June 2022. "There's a lot of anxiety. Many of my gallery colleagues have concerns about fairs in general this autumn, from both a health and financial perspective." They add: "It's a minefield. None of our clients are going [to Basel]. Galleries are stuck between a rock and a hard place—you don't want to pull out of Art Basel and lose your place, but then it's also about the health of your staff and what's responsible." They worry that some galleries "might not be able to survive the hit" if the event goes badly for them.
Marc Spiegler, the global director of Art Basel, says in a letter sent to exhibitors this evening: "We write to you today to address concerns expressed by some galleries in response to two pieces of news announced earlier this week: the European Union’s recommendation to member states to increase restrictions on US travellers; and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) placement of Switzerland on its Tier 4 Covid-19 list with a recommendation to limit non-essential travel. We know this has caused concern among some galleries, especially those in the US, and wish to update you regarding several changes we are making in view of these issues."
Spiegler acknowledges the stressful situation and says Art Basel can "understand why some galleries are suggesting we should cancel the fair."
He adds, "to be frank up front, the current conditions are not what we had hoped for when we rescheduled the fair to September. At the same time, many other galleries and collectors have reached out to stress the importance of doing the show under the circumstances".
New rules for exhibitors
Art Basel has made the following concessions to try to reassure galleries:
If Switzerland introduces new restrictions barring owners and gallery staff from entering the country or making them subject to quarantine, a gallery can withdraw participation and its entire booth fee will be rolled over to Art Basel 2022. Should any gallerist or member of their staff feel uncomfortable attending the fair, leaving the gallery short-staffed, Art Basel will provide "qualified personnel" from its Satellite booths team to work on the stand.
Art Basel is also offering to convert stands to Satellite booths, for those wishing to send art but not staff. "As per the option announced for Art Basel Miami Beach, we would collaborate with you on any adaptations to your booth size while reducing your booth fee by 15% and recruiting qualified personnel to staff it entirely," the letter says.
Art Basel will be holding a "virtual forum" tomorrow, 3 September, at 3:30pm CEST/2:30pm BST/9:30am EDT/9:30 pm HKT to hear exhibitors' questions.
The letter also states that anyone entering the fairgrounds in any capacity, starting with the exhibitor move-in on Thursday, 16 September, and Friday, 17 September, "must show proof of being fully vaccinated, supply a recent negative test, or have proven antibodies to Covid-19 due to recent recovery." Anyone attending will have to wear a mask, both indoors and out.
On the increased travel restrictions imposed on US travelers entering the EU, Spiegler points out that Switzerland is not a member of the EU and: "Based upon our discussions with Swiss authorities and Switzerland's declared strategy of “normalizing” society as quickly as possible—rather than imposing further restrictions on vaccinated people—we fully anticipate that vaccinated Americans will be able to enter Switzerland for the show."
Regarding Switzerland being listed on the CDC’s Tier 4 list, Spiegler says "there is actually no change concerning re-entry into the United States for vaccinated travellers, whilst unvaccinated travellers are now supposed to quarantine at home." He adds that "the Covid-19 situation in Switzerland is once again stable, following a spike in new infections in August as travellers returned from summer holidays."
Some exhibitors are firmly in support of the fair going ahead. Franck Prazan, the owner of the Paris-based gallery Applicat-Prazan, says: "I have no doubt this year’s edition of ArtBasel might prove somewhat different from the previous editions. In my opinion, one should never forget that the art market is not only [reliant on] American or Chinese [buyers] and that the continental European clientele is amongst the most powerful in the world: Swiss, German, French, Italian, name them."
Prazan thinks many clients are "more than happy to resume and to meet at live events" and adds that "after all those years during which Art Basel had been a condition of our success, it is now up to us to support the market and I will personally bring there the utmost I am able to gather in this goal."
December 15th, 2020
This year was a turbulent one, and auction houses were not exempt from facing the changes wrought by it. Because of the pandemic, Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips swiftly adapted their marquee evening auctions for a new era, ushering in live-streamed hybrid mega-sales that saw a host of masterpiece-level works reach staggering prices.
Signs of success at those sales was felt early on. Sotheby’s led the pack with a major evening sale in June; a Francis Bacon triptych was among its top lots. Two weeks after, in July, Christie’s staged its relay-style auction “ONE,” which brought major works by Roy Lichtenstein, Gerhard Richter, and more to market—and saw big prizes realized for them.
While auction houses worked to mitigate any potential losses resulting from the pandemic, some top collectors struggled, too—in particular Ronald Perelman. The Revlon Inc. owner, who had ranked on ARTnews‘s Top 200 Collectors list for years, began parting ways with the bulk of his touted holdings. Works by Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Gerhard Richter, Alberto Giacometti, and more departed his collection for the auction block, where buyers exhibited interest. Together, Perelman is said to have sold off $350 million of art since the pandemic began.
Source: ArtNews by Angelica Villa
December 9th, 2020
Is this the future of art?
The French art collective Obvious is back with another project featuring artworks generated through artificial intelligence, this time training algorithms to blend prehistoric cave art with contemporary street art.
Obvious has teamed up with German graffiti artist Kai “Raws” Imhof to produce the new work, which is based on one of his painting and ancient art from the famed French cave art complex Lascaux Parietal Burner #1, comes from the technical term for art painted in caves, and burner, a word for an elaborate graffiti piece.
By involving Lascaux, Obvious is reaching across the full span of human history, connecting the world’s earliest artistic activity with advanced technology. Training the AI to create new works merging Raws’s style with the work of the ancients was a two-step process, starting with examples of the Lascaux cave paintings.
First, Obvious trained the AI using machine learning Generative Adversarial Networks to create new drawings of animals in the prehistoric style.
“We then trained a second type of algorithm to learn from the style present in Raws’s artworks, and to translate this style on the drawings initially created with artificial intelligence,” a representative for the collective said in an email.
The result, based on a Raws work called Chaos and a “new” Lascaux animal figure, is a blend of the two aesthetics.
Obvious made a name for itself in 2018 when Christie’s New York auctioned off its work, Portrait of Edmond de Belamy, the first AI-generated artwork at auction, for $432,500—more than 4,320 percent its high estimate of $10,000.
November 15th, 2020
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