April 1, 2008 - Artforum - April 2008
April 1, 2008

April 2008

April 2008


Artforum: “Art and Its Markets.” In this special issue featuring more than a dozen essays, case studies, and interviews, Artforum seeks to tease out the root causes—and diagnose the symptoms—of the contemporary art market’s unprecedented recent expansion.

“Historical Returns.” In his keynote essay, art historian Thomas Crow traces the origins of today’s art market from early-modern patronage systems to contemporary relationships between artists and megacollectors such as Eli Broad and Charles Saatchi, arguing that recent spectacles—be they glistening balloon dogs, monumentally scaled Cor-Ten steel geometries, or a diamond-encrusted vanitas—should trouble us less than certain shifts in attitude among the philanthropic class.

“Who needs iconoclasts at the door when the vandals are inside the walls? There is a symbiosis emerging at the moment between what appears to be a peaking art market and a disquieting development in trustee culture: that is, a desire to enjoy the prestige of position while off-loading the obligations to give and to raise money that traditionally came with it.” —Thomas Crow

“Art and Its Markets: A Roundtable Discussion.” To look at the various factors contributing to the creation of values in art, Artforum assembled a cross-section of art-world figures: Beijing-based artist Ai Weiwei; Amy Cappellazzo, international cohead of postwar and contemporary art at Christie’s; Thomas Crow; Donna De Salvo, chief curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Isabelle Graw, a founding editor of Texte zur Kunst; Dakis Joannou, collector and president of the Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art in Athens, Greece; and Robert Pincus-Witten, scholar, critic, and former director of exhibitions at L & M Arts in New York. Artforum contributing editor James Meyer moderates with editor Tim Griffin.

“The taste for the successful and celebrated is fickle. What waxes, wanes. Artists can be as quickly discarded even as they once may have been pressed with invitations to the laden table. Talk to the middle-aged abstractionist and listen to what is said.” —Robert Pincus-Witten

Also: Art historian and sociologist Olav Velthuis crunches the numbers of the art market boom; Joe Scanlan muses on artists’ inevitable creation of new markets through conceptual work; Christine Mehring describes the birth of the contemporary art fair in Cologne; Tim Griffin speaks with Frieze Art Fair founders Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover; Martin Herbert reports on the changing relationships of public and private funding for the arts in Britain; Johanna Burton interviews Museum of Modern Art, New York, curator Ann Temkin about “Color Chart”; Bidoun editor Negar Azimi looks at the newly invented art world of the United Arab Emirates; case studies on Jeff Koons, Paul McCarthy, Lee Lozano, Barry McGee, and Anselm Reyle examine how individual market successes reflect the various influences of institutional, gallery, and scholarly forces; and retail anthropologist Paco Underhill offers his views on art’s place within the broader landscape of
mass commerce.

“We can say that art has evolved into a way of overcoming status inconsistency.” —Paco Underhill

Plus: Gregory Sholette considers how artists have abandoned the label “worker” for “entrepreneur”; Tom Vanderbilt finds uncanny oil troubles in “1973: Sorry, Out of Gas” at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal; Graham Larkin discusses the Getty Museum’s “The Object in Transition,” a recent forum on conservation issues in contemporary art; Jeffrey Kastner probes the controversy surrounding the oil drilling proposed near Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty; Paul Arthur views Standard Operating Procedure, Errol Morris’s new documentary on Abu Ghraib; Arthur C. Danto lauds architect Steven Holl’s interior renovation of the philosophy department at New York University; Yve-Alain Bois weighs in on “Georges Seurat: The Drawings” at MoMA; and Berlin-based artist Nora Schultz lists her Top Ten.

Visit Artforum online at www.artforum.com

To subscribe, visit www.artforum.com/subscribe

Visit artguide—Artforum’s free directory of the international art world, listing art fairs, auctions, and current gallery and museum shows in more than four hundred cities—at www.artforum.com/guide

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