It's about the curious economics and psychology which underpin how the contemporary art market now works and the ways in which the auction houses it - notably Christies and Sotheby's.
photo from wikipedia
Why would a very smart New York investment banker pay twelve million dollars for the decaying, stuffed carcass of a shark? By what alchemy does Jackson Pollock's drip painting No.5 1948 sell for $140 million? And why does a leather jacket with silver chain attached, tossed in a corner and titled 'No One Ever Leaves', bring $690,000 at a 2007 Sotheby's auction?It provides an insight into the overall marketing strategies and and branding tactics used for contemporary art and explains how the contemporary art market transformed itself from being about art to being about investment portfolios.
Book jacket of The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art
It's so good I've started to feel the need to say something about it before I've even finished reading it - hence this blurb today!
There will be a review of the book posted on Making A Mark reviews...... in the very near future - I've just got a few more pages to go!
Also this week, of particular note, is the fact that one of the main 'players' in the book, advertiser and mega art collector Charles Saatchi has today provided an interview to The Observer newspaper - see 30 things about art and life, as explained by Charles Saatchi is. Saatchi very rarely gives interviews
In the past, he has explained his silence with, "I'm very shifty and very nervous - that's why I keep my gob shut," and he's renowned for never attending his exhibition openings......so I was more than a bit astonished when I saw this article. Plus it's got some really great quotes - the one below starts the article. This article is very much the second of this week's recommended reads!
By and large, talent is in such short supply that mediocrity can be taken for brilliance rather more than genius can go undiscovered.Don't whatever you do miss the bit towards the end where he provides caricatures of those constants of the art world - artists, curators, dealers, collectors and critics.
CuratorsWith very few exceptions, the big-name globe-trotting international mega-event curators are too prone to curate clutching their PC guidebook in one hand and their Bluffer's Notes on art theory in the other. They seem to deliver the same type of Groundhog Day show, for the approval of 250 or so like-minded devotees. These dead-eyed, soulless exhibitions dominate the art landscape with their sociopolitical pretensions.
The interview is of course also about marketing and is an article with a global advertising icon which is NOT unconnected with the fact that he has a book about to be published and a television series in the making - but c'est la vie!
- My Name is Charles Saatchi and I am an Artoholic: Everything You Need to Know About Art, Ads, Life, God and Other Mysteries and Weren't Afraid to Ask (Phaidon Press 2009) by Charles Saatchi is out on 8 September 2009, www.phaidon.com
- Saatchi's Best of British on BBC2 this November, is an "X Factor for artists", will feature six artists plucked from obscurity by Saatchi himself and put through a specially created art school for three months.
Drawing and sketching
11.5" x 17", pencil and coloured pencils in Daler Rowney Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
- On Wednesday I became a 'very nearly' Great Aunt and then went sketching - see Hampstead Heath and the Boating Pond. I've even now mastered the art of producing the sketchercise walking map with sketching locations - You can see the circular route we took from the tube, across Hampstead Heath and back again on this Google Map of Hampstead Heath Walk #1 - circular walk to the Boating Pond. Theer'll be a post coming soon on Travels with my Sketchbook with more examples and tips on how to do it.
- On Monday I was trying out a new exercise I invented One lake x 4 views x 10 mins each
- Ronell van Wyck reflects on Sketching with greens
- Robert Genn muses about Sketches on location
- Back to the drawing board with Ted Cullinan - 2008 RIBA Gold Medalist Ted Cullinan to talk about his passion for drawing, his favourite architects’ implements and why we’re seeing a return to pen and paper.
- I've always had great admiration for cartoonists - bringing as they do an abuility to get a graphic image down on paper while using elements of irony and wit. Peter Preston of The Observer laments the demise of the political cartoonist The coils of the net are filled with dead cartoonists. In particular he laments the apparent disappearance of the idea that a picture tells a story instead of just accompanying a story
Illustration and Fantasy Art
- Irene Gallo's The Art Department blog has got mentioned by Lines and Colors and also rated as one of Parka Blog's Art Blogs of Note (25 Aug 2009). She has an interesting post about the future of book covers and the impact of e-books on the delivery and economics of illustration.
In addition to her own terrific blog, The Art Department (required reading for anyone interested in science fiction and fantasy illustration),...........
- Jon Schindehette's blog ArtOrder and the Flaming Coward Challenge. Jon is the Senior Art Director for Dungeon & Dragons®
- The Spectrum Exhibition which will open on Tuesday. James Gurney provides a review in anticipation of it in Spectrum Exhibition Opens September 11 - except's it's the 1st it opens not the 11th!
"Spectrum" is on display at the Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators. Featuring the best contemporary "fantastic" art from renowned fantasy, science fiction, horror, and surreal artists from around the world. September 1 through October 17, 2009.
Painters and PaintingCongrats to Marie Fox (Marie Fox) whose work "Sounds of the Sea" was accepted to the 2009 California Open Exhibition in Santa Monica, California (65 selected out of over 400 works entered) - and then won first prize and $500! She then wrote to me to tell me about its story.........definitely worth a read
The magic for me is that "Sounds of the Sea" is only my 2nd figurative painting - and 2nd large painting. After all this time creating small still life oils (and years of folk art), I took a great leap to a new subject matter and size - to be rewarded by this level of recognition. I've always had a passion for drawing the human figure, but never dared paint it. I'm painting big too - which feels good because I'm tall....All this excitement on the eve of my 64th birthday! Happily, I'll be creating more big paintings of strong women at age 64, rather than worrying who will "still need me, who will still feed me", as the song goes.....Sculpture
- This was fascinating - a slideshow about how Dozens of artists transform a 100ft tall oak tree into art. The diseased tree was felled a year ago in front of 500 people during the annual Oak Fair on the 1,800 acre Stock Gaylard Estate in Dorse. I'm now wondering what they got up to a year later - yesterday!
Art Business and Marketing
- What Is In a Title? asks Richard McKinley in a thought provoking post on Pastel Pointers
- Jeanette Jobson (Illustrated Life) has been mulling over Business cards for artists
- Have you got a brag book? If not try reading about a lady who has in Anne's Story...
- That tip was provided by Tony Moffit who also recommends 5 Ways To Put Your Client's Mind At Ease
- Should I give up? Robert Genn responds to a question from a painter with a directness some may be surprised by.
- Annie Liebowitz is unfortunately providing an object lesson in what happens when it all does wrong with the debt management side of an artist's business - although it looks like she might not lose everything - read Leibovitz’s $40 Million Astor Barns, Townhouses Might Ease Debt
Art and the Economy / Art Collectors
- The Government Art Collection has spent £556,911 of taxpayers money on new artworks in the past year, including £14,000 on a piece of art made from old lightbulbs for an embassy. - see Government art cost taxpayers £500,000. Do you think the Shadow Culture Secretary has a point?
"It is deeply disturbing that during a recession the Government is spending so much of taxpayers' money on additional material for the Government's art collection....There are already thousands of pieces in the collection that aren't on public display so surely this is an area where the Government should cut back during tough times."
Jeremy Hunt, the shadow culture secretary
Art CompetitionsJust a reminder that:
- the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2009 - deadline is 21st September
- The final deadline for receipt of entries (in London) for the ING Discerning Eye 2009 is 5th September 2009! See ING Discerning Eye 2009 - call for entries
Art Exhibitions and art fairs
- The Crowds queue as Banksy show nears its end
- The second this year’sThreadneedle Prize Exhibition opens to the public at the Mall Galleries on Wednesday 2 September 2009. Voting for the £25,000 first prize closes at 12 noon on Monday 14 September 2009. I'm going to Press Preview on Tuesday and there will be a review of the exhibition posted either late on Tuesday or early Wednesday.
- The 10th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Feline Artists opened yesterday and the Private View is on Tuesday. There'll be a review on this blog on Thursday.
- “Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction” will be at Whitney Museum of Art between September 17th and January 17th 2010.
- I've been looking at future exhibitions at the National Gallery - which includes The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture 1600–1700 which opens on 21 October
Art Education / workshops / Tips and techniques
- Yesterday's post about Watercolour pencil techniques highlighted a YouTube Video about watercolour pencil techniques by Tim Fisher.
- Meanwhile Cathy Johnson (Cathy Johnson Fine Art) is giving away a free CD of her Watercolor Basics
- and Cathy Gatland (A Sketch in Time) has been writing about How to Sketch Crowds
- Dan at Empty Easel has a number of tips for How to Keep Acrylic Paints from Drying Out on Your Palette
- On Monday I highlighted how the Musée Picasso in Paris now closed until 2012
- It was great to to see posts last week by Charley Parker (Lines and Colors) about
- One of the paintings I have always really liked made it to the featured painting slot in The Independent this week - see Great Works: Doge Leonardo Loredan (1501-2), Giovanni Bellini. Once seen, never forgotten. I loved reading the analysis of why it works.
- You can Subscribe to the Artwork of the Day feed generated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
- On Steve Doherty's Blog (American American website) he asked Is Sargent the Greatest Art Teacher?
- While Germaine Greer took no prisoners in her Guardian article Desperate Romantics? The only desperate thing about the pre-Raphaelites was their truly bad art
- Read my Product review: Pentel Waterbrush which also references two very useful reviews of waterbrushes by Russ Stutler and Roz Stendhal
- pencil talk has a review of the Faber-Castell Pitt Oil Base pencil
- Richard McKinley has been writing about A New Surface for Pastels - a new paper called Pastelmat - on his Artists Network blog Pastel Pointers. This is always an excellent blog with lots of good advice and helpful reviews
- I'm afraid the same can't be said for another Artists Network blog Anatomy of Art Materials and this has now been removed from the blogroll of Making A Mark Reviews. There were only ever sporadic posts at best - but 5 months is quite long enough! I just find it so surprising that an art magazine empire which gets such a lot of its advertising from people advertising art supplies should have so much trouble providing useful blog posts about art materials. Maybe it's time to have a rethink of the blogging model used for this blog? After all blogs don't have to be written by one person!
- Which means I'm still looking for art blogs which are as useful in terms of reviewing art materials as one's like Roz Wound Up by Roz Stendhal. Roz always does a very thorough and very informative review - see for example her review on Friday of Commercial Sketchbooks: Exacompta 9920 Sketchbook and also Paper Choices: Strathmore Illustration Board for Wet Media
- I'm 'auditioning' a few new blogs for the MAMreviews blogroll. However if you've seen another reviews oriented blog which is worth taking a look at please do leave a comment and provide a link.
- Another summary of a previous book review has been posted to MAMreviews - Book Review: The Art Atlas
- Just a quick note to say that you have less than 24 hours left to vote on What's the MAIN way you have sold art in the last 12 months? I'll be posting an analysis of the results tomorrow in terms of the poll and a comparison with the results from the same poll carried out a year ago.
Websites, webware and blogging
- if you're using Twitter to help with your marketing you may well be interested in this post by Jakob Neilsen (the "guru of usability") and Twitter Postings: Iterative Design
Clickthrough decay: Twitter time passes 10 times faster than email time.
the shorter it is, the more important it is to design text for usability.
Has a President ever generated quite so much art before? Take a look at this website which is about The Art of Obama? There's 416 entries and counting.........