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The Berlin- and London-based gallery Sprüth Magers is extending to Los Angeles, where it is searching for a space ahead of a planned opening next year. There it will be joining a busy art scene that includes Gagosian and Matthew Marks amid huge interest in LA artists, such as Sterling Ruby, Ryan Trecartin and John Baldessari – all represented by Sprüth in Europe. The new space will be run by Sarah Watson, who was with the LA offshoot of L&M gallery until it closed this summer after its founders and partners Robert Mnuchin and Dominique Lévy separated.
Asked why she has chosen the City of Angels, Philomene Magers says that in some ways LA is similar to Berlin – “it’s an artist’s city” – with a strengthening cultural scene, offering lots of space for artists to live and work. Sterling Ruby, for example, has opened a huge compound on three-quarters of an acre in Vernon, just southeast of downtown LA. “It’s the cultural and intellectual climate of the city that really excites us,” says Magers. “And while we already have collectors in the region, we are hoping to meet many more.”
It was pure bad luck that an uncommon but violent storm hit the United Arab Emirates and the entire Gulf region in the middle of the Abu Dhabi Art Fair last week. The event is housed in two buildings on Saadiyat Island, one being the Norman Foster-designed pavilion, originally built for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. In view of the lashing rain, the whole fair was closed for a time and 22 exhibitors in the leaking pavilion were moved into the adjoining Manarat Al Saadiyat building. But precious time was lost as well as visitors – and no sightings were reported of two influential collectors from the ruling family, Sheikha Salama and Sheikha Maryam.
This fair is unlike any other, and dealers – who depend mainly on a single buyer, the royal family – are wary of saying much about sales. “Unlike most fairs, where people buy at the beginning, at Abu Dhabi sales only happen at the very end, literally just as the fair is closing,” said one international dealer. “This is problematic, particularly as I am still waiting for confirmation of reserves.” According to another exhibitor, in view of the disruption, the organisers – ie the Abu Dhabi government – rather gallantly will be reimbursing a substantial portion of booth fees. The fair would only say that “a gesture” had been made.
Berlin-based Weng Fine Art, which is listed on the Frankfurt exchange, has bought 5.33 per cent of the shares of Artnet, the struggling online art data company that is widely used in the trade.
Now Weng is back but this time, he says, it’s different. He has no takeover intentions but rather wants to “establish a collaboration in certain segments of Artnet’s business”. Weng Fine Art was until recently business-to-business but Weng says he intends to initiate a much broader approach in the future, adding ecommerce, art advising and running galleries to its model. “We have the capital, art and access to art,” he says. “What we are missing is the contact network and brand names. With good management, Artnet would be an amazing company.” Artnet, however, said that while it was pleased that “Weng sees Artnet stock as a good investment opportunity ... There are no plans for any collaboration with [him] different from how we co-operate with any of our other clients.”
Want to know more about the contemporary art scene in Amsterdam? This weekend sees the second edition of Amsterdam Art Weekend, a three-day event with 40 participating galleries and institutions, as well as a small art fair. It is a chance to see Kazimir Malevich and the Russian avant-garde, as well as a solo show by the Polish artist Paulina Olowska, both at the Stedelijk Museum. In the galleries, Paul Andriesse is showing ceramic sculptures by Stephen Wilks and Flatland has works by the witty Icelandic photographer Sigurdur Gudmundsson.
On Monday the Parisian auction house Artcurial is selling a version of Gustave Caillebotte’s painting, “Le Pont de l’Europe” (1876). The famous image of a bridge over the Saint Lazare railway station is now in the Geneva Petit Palais museum but the artist also made a number of other versions of the subject. One sold at Christie’s New York in 2002 for an overestimate $4.4m and was bought by the Kimbell Museum. The one coming up for sale comes directly from a private French collection where it has been for 60 years, and is estimated at €3m-€4m.
Lee Ufan, the Korean-born, Japan-based artist has been chosen as the next contemporary artist to exhibit in the gardens of Versailles next year in a display curated by Alfred Pacquement, outgoing director of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Ufan is elegantly minimalist and what he will do in Versailles is hush-hush – but a hint might be gleaned from his current show in the Parisian gallery Kamel Mennour, where raked gravel, boulders and sand create a very Zen environment.
Georgina Adam is art market editor-at-large of The Art Newspaper
Events in Miami
Art Miami & Context
Midtown, Wynwood Arts District
The city’s longest-running contemporary and modern art fair has a loyal following among those seeking modern masterpieces and established contemporary artists. Context, housed in a neighbouring pavilion, offers a range of emerging artists and includes Art from Berlin, an EU-endorsed platform introducing galleries from the German capital to the international market.
1000 Ocean Drive at 10th
Scope embraces Miami’s cultural landscape, welcoming 100 exhibitors and 15 emerging galleries, and the actual landscape – its shoreside pavilion features an outdoor beach lounge and an ocean view. A perfect location for the fair’s famous bacchanal opening party Art+Music+Beach.
Midtown Miami, NE 29th Street and NE First Avenue
An all-American-gallery fair exhibiting contemporary and modern art in an easy-to-navigate space. Last year at the event Karen Finley painted works inspired by “sext messages” and Joe Zane exhibited a taxidermy chihuahua dressed as a princess.
Meridian Avenue and 19th Convention Center
From earrings to a full-scale house by Jean Prouvé, the best of modern and contemporary collectable design will be on offer at Design Miami under one (impeccably designed) roof. Coal slag is among the more unusual materials to be found used in a show that promises museum-quality pieces.
3011 NE 1st Avenue at NE 30th Street
Spectrum is a contemporary art fair showcasing music and entertainment alongside works by emerging and mid-career artists. The organisers are not ashamed to encourage business and support independent artists who exhibit in their Solo section – Warhol’s mantra “good business is the best art” brought vividly to life.
Ocean Drive and 12th Street
Two years old and twice the size it started at, Untitled returns with 90 galleries offering works by a host of living international artists. Marina Abramovic hosts a special charity preview on December 2 and a limited-edition print by the artist will be available to buy during the fair.
Aqua 13 Miami
Part of the Art Miami trio, Aqua champions young dealers and galleries with early-to-mid career artists, acting as an incubator for Context and Art Miami.
Brazil Art Fair
Midtown Miami, 3501 NE Midtown Boulevard
A new platform for the promotion of Brazilian artists and galleries. A group show titled “Suspended Time – Prologue” will explore Brazil’s late adoption of modernist art, its position as a future art centre, as well as the country’s economic success, and what it means for artists working today.
Ink Miami Art Fair
Dorchester, 1850 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
A small but specialised fair of 16 galleries exhibiting modern and contemporary works on paper by internationally renowned artists. Sponsored by the Fine Print Dealers Association.
Art Asia Miami
10 NE 36 Street at Midtown Boulevard
A selective fair offering a wide and fresh range of the best established and emerging Asian contemporary artists to challenge those who think they know what “Asian art” looks like.
The Ice Palace
Dancing flamingos on its website suggest this will be a fun affair. Pulse specialises in experimental art and last year YouTube maven Casey Neistat recreated a dorm-room complete with candy, condoms and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Miami River Art Fair
Miami Convention Center, 400 SE Second Avenue Miami
The only fair in downtown Miami during Basel week will live up to its name with large-scale sculptures on display along the banks of the Miami river. The fair itself offers more than 50 special projects, curated groups and solo exhibitions.
Select Fair Miami
Catalina Hotel, 1732 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
Select focuses on boundary-pushing contemporary art and includes video, fibre, performance, street and outsider art. It’s an opportunity for artists to find gallery representation as well as for buyers to discover the next big thing.