I was talking about this with a former boss and we both agreed we’d noticed a trend of some really low-ball estimates for works at auctions. Obviously auctions are a dynamic situation and there are quite a few times when pieces go for much more than the estimate b/c of the excitement of the moment. It just seems that every auction now has to be a record-breaking one and they have to post that they made a hundred bajillion dollars over the estimates just for the purpose of attracting more press coverage.
Or is it just the length the auction houses have to go to keep their wealthy clientele around? Are the buyers so desperate to be able to brag about the high they had when they purchased the piece for $60m more than the estimate? It just seems like such an unsustainable practice, and after so much turmoil in the last few years one would think (one being me, with no real knowledge of business) they would want to approach more conservatively? Or maybe they are and it’s the wealthy, so overly excited they can overtly and publicly spend their money, that they could always spend but didn’t feel it was socially acceptable, that they are just kids in a candy store? Maybe it’s both? Maybe I’m super off-base.
Anywho, anyone else notice this over the last year?
Donn Zaretsky does a great point-by-point analysis of Smith’s inflated and fictional account, highlighting Smith’s gluttunous use of hyperbole. Normally I would dismiss Smith’s off-the-cuff comments given that on occasion she does hit the nail on the head. But since the ongoing DIA situation is of key public concern with major consequences, many readers who respect Smith’s position as a Times writer will allocate significant truth and weight to her unfounded allegations, then turn around and disseminate these same ridiculous arguments.
I don’t think I would be too crazy to say that some of Smith’s comments border on being unethical and severely lacking in fact-checking skills, to the extent that I would encourage readers to contact the Times' public editor, Margaret Sullivan, and ask her to take a look into Smith’s lack of journalistic integrity.
Sergio Munoz Sarmiento’s response to Roberta Smith’s op-ed on the DIA deaccessioning issues.
I know my opinion is super unpopular on this, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we can’t look at this as a static black & white issue, we need to check our privilege and remember that the world, and art (and the art world!) are constantly evolving and organic and I know that if everyone stopped their high-horsing (TANTAMOUNT TO CLOSING THE MUSEUM? come on) we could actually find a reasonable solution that was good for the art and most importantly, Detroit.
This is a buck website and I love it. Also, nominate your favorites! There are also categories I don’t have favorites for b/c as much as I would love to say I pay attention to museum catalogs, I don’t really! But if that’s your thing, then this is for you!
“Suppose the academy needs $10 million for capital needs and $10 million for acquisitions. And suppose they can raise $10 million from donors. They can say they’re using that $10 million for the capital needs and so the proceeds from the sale of the Hopper will go to acquisitions. But we could just as easily say the $10 million from the donors went to the acquisition fund and the Hopper proceeds are being used for the capital needs. It’s all just a semantic game. Why anyone takes it seriously is beyond me.”—
“‘Can art save cities?’ My first answer immediately is, no. Obviously, no. It’s almost like, [at one time] engineers were expected to save us, and look where we are now, one generation later. Why put it in the lonely artists’ hands? That being said, perhaps I would like to be part of the attempt. The difference, I think, is not saying, ‘can art save cities?,’ but ‘can we save cities?’ Is it worthy to save cities? Then it takes a whole learning curve and analysis of the situation from all the varied disciplines that would have to come into play.”—Interview with Mel Chin, ArtPrize 2013 Grand Prize Juror (via artprize)
“The joke’s on all of you. This is not a roast. This is my greatest most elaborate art installation ever. I’m not the real guest of honor, these aren’t real comedians and we’re not even on a real network. What you’ve seen tonight was my brilliant opus to sequester an artistic visionary and subject him to the mindless incoherent trashings of talentless abnormalities. I call it Genius Unscathed and this is my masterpiece.”—And somehow James Franco just wormed his way back into my heart.
“On 25 September, Sotheby’s will introduce Contemporary Curated; a new, editorialised version of the mid-season sale offering diverse perspectives from today’s tastemakers. Renowned curators, art collectors, artists, and designers, as well as influential figures from the fashion, food, cultural and political spheres will contribute their unique view on works cutting across a range of contemporary genres and price points.”—What does that even mean?
“We were smoking a cigarette outside the police-headquarters before going in. The guy knew that he would be arrested and discovered that he had no money left. He asked me for some to be able to buy some extra food while being detained. I gave him all I had with me, 35 euros. Wee embraced each other and walked in with a cheap plastic bag containing the stolen works of art.”—
"…to vaporize the city’s obligations to struggling pensioners.”
"…the collection is only the most prominent candidate in what may become an asset-stripping orgy”
"…juicy targets for asset strippers”
"… regarding art assets as monetizable for the purpose of paying off creditors is not only wrong, it is strikingly venal and cruel.”
Russel does address a lot of the core more infrastructure related issues facing Detroit (with no solution) but I just don’t think this kind of sensationalistic language gets you anything but page views. There is still no plan to sell the collection and he’s talking as if they are ripping canvases from frames. Is it wrong that I expect a higher level of discourse when it comes to matters that are more important than what you or I think is right?
"Underlying poor service is a government that lacks modern technology and can’t perform such basic functions as bill collecting…’We have financial systems that are three, four, five decades in the past’”
“The city’s income-tax receipts are processed by hand, among the 70 percent of accounting entries done manually, according to Orr. He said in his report that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service described Detroit’s tax-collection system as “catastrophic” in a July 2012 audit.”
“Victims of heart attacks in Detroit are likely to die because of slow responses to emergency calls since so few ambulances are running”
“Brown said it’s difficult to find 45 operable garbage trucks in a fleet of 180 to pick up trash five days a week.”
The biggest challenge for the Motor City is serving a shrinking, poorer population that needs jobs, and is spread across an area larger than Boston, San Francisco and Manhattan combined, Mogk said.
Again, I know how important the arts are to a city, in a city of 700,000, in 2009, DIA had an attendance of over 400,000. That is some solid proof that Detroit and the greater area believe and cherish their museum. Also, it should be noted again that there are no plans to sell the collection and it is standard procedure in bankruptcy hearings that all of the assets be declared (or else!!).
I just don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world to think about options, just in case. Be constructive. Worst case scenario is obviously they sell the whole collection, which no one wants. No one is seriously saying, yeah let’s get rid of that shit, but there is a lot of grey in between and if we are going to be realistic, the solution is going to be there. Obviously, Detroit can’t just keep trucking along like they’ve been doing, so things are going to have to change. Can’t we use our creative minds for that, instead of sensationalizing the selling orgy your nightmares are made of? Maybe?