Two influential art dealers leave their posts for higher-profile gigs, museum directors settle down in plush, tax-free homes, and artists cash in on lucrative sneaker design deals. This week in art news: When opportunity knocks…
1. Lehman Brothers to Auction Off More Art
In an effort to repay creditors, Lehman Brothers will auction off office signs and artwork-including works by Lucian Freud and Gary Hume-from its European offices in a September 29 sale expected to bring in about $3.2 million. Lehman previously announced it would sell off much of its New York collection at Sotheby’s on September 25.
Our take: The collection itself appears fairly conservative (think nautical paintings by Samuel Walters and Thomas Luny). Too bad Fuld didn’t donate any of his bank-robber art.
2. Dealer John Connelly to Lead Gonzalez-Torres Foundation
John Connelly will close his Chelsea gallery John Connelly Presents to become director of the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, Lindsay Pollock reported. The Foundation is represented by Andrea Rosen Gallery, where Connelly worked for eight years.
Our take: Connelly will be a good advocate for Gonzalez-Torres’ work. We just hope all the artists in his stable are able to find new representation.
[Art Market Views]
3. Museum Directors’ Free Housing: Revealed
Several of the city’s most prominent museum directors live in astoundingly plush, tax-free housing provided by their employers. MoMA director Glenn Lowry lives in a $6 million condo above the museum; Met director Thomas Campbell shacks up in a $5 million co-op across the street from the Fifth Avenue institution. Some tax lawyers say the deals seem fishy.
Our take: And here we thought rent control was enviable.
4. Robert Goff Heads to Haunch
Robert Goff will become a director of the New York branch of Christie’s Haunch of Venison Gallery, and he’ll be bringing several of his artists with him. The gallery will also be moving from Christie’s current home in Rockefeller Center to a new location in Chelsea.
Our take: In the face of rumors that the gallery is merely a front for the Christie’s contemporary art division, a new director and location may give Haunch some much-needed distance. [Observer]
5. Trend Alert! Art Sneakers Attack
Art Fag City provides an exhaustive report on the latest art-meets-fashion trend: the art sneaker. From Jenny Holzer’s truism-y Keds to Roy Lichtenstein’s graphic Pumas to Terence Koh’s pristine Converses, the kicks tread the line between charming and tacky.
Our take: Say what you will about artists selling out-everybody’s gotta make a living. Plus, now you can finally make that joke about understanding Terence Koh because you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. [AFC]
6. Richard Price Doesn’t Really Like LES’ “Lush Life”
The New Yorker toured the LES gallery circuit with Richard Price, whose novel Lush Life inspired coordinated exhibitions at nine galleries, one for each chapter of his book. He doesn’t seem to like the artwork very much. (“It’s like that old phrase ‘You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.’ You don’t bring a book to an art show,” he said.)
Our take: The guy’s got an unprecedented gallery collaboration, a screenplay in the works (“doing the book lite,” he called it), and a Platinum American Express card. Why’s he so darn grumpy?
[The New Yorker]
7. American Folk Art Museum Plagued By Debt
The Folk Art Museum isn’t just losing one of its prized curators-it’s also losing money. The museum’s deficit almost doubled between 2008 and 2009, attendance is down substantially, and fundraising has stalled. MoMA’s next-door neighbor also recently became the first institution to default on a loan from a city trust created in 1980 to aid cultural institutions.
Our take: It would be a drop in the bucket, but maybe Glenn Lowry could offer up that $6 million, tax-free condo to help out the Folk Art Museum. It would be a nice gesture.
8. Back to the Drawing Board for Kapoor’s Olympic Monument
Anish Kapoor’s swirly, massive red tower for the 2012 London Olympics failed to get the green light from the government’s architecture watchdog. The group said the current design does not appropriately incorporate sewage pipes or surrounding security checkpoints and ticket kiosks.
Our take: The report provides, mercifully, one last chance for Kapoor to change his mind about this red monstrosity. Beijing’s Birdcage is a hard act to follow, but come on!
9. Bill to Stop Certain Artwork Sales May Be Dead
A bill aimed at preventing art institutions from selling artwork to pay off internal debts has all but died in the New York State Legislature. Cultural heavyweights like the Met argued the bill was too broad, and the bill’s sponsor subsequently withdrew his support.
Our take: As it is written, this particular bill would prevent zoos and aquariums from transferring animals. If that’s not a tip-off that it might be too broad, we don’t know what is.
10. Abu Dhabi Gunning for Largest Art Competition
Abu Dhabi is holding an art competition to raise awareness about traffic and road safety. The contest, open to participants across the globe, has received 134,583 entries since last February and aims to become the largest art competition in the world.