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The opening of the new, David Chipperfield-designed Jumex museum in the heart of Mexico City last week brought together hordes of dealers, curators, collectors, art advisers and artists in a weekend-long jamboree that ended with a beyond-extravagant after-party for more than 2,000 guests in a sports stadium.
The museum is funded by the Jumex foundation, created by the sole heir to the privately owned juice giant Grupo Jumex, Eugenio López Alonso. He is the trailblazer for Mexican collectors, and has amassed one of the most important contemporary art collections in Latin America, with 2,700 works said to be worth some $80m, and which range from 1960s minimalism such as Dan Flavin and Robert Ryman to California artists Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley; he is also a strong supporter of Latin American artists such as Gabriel Orozco and Damián Ortega.
Reportedly costing $50m, the museum was inaugurated with three shows. One devoted to James Lee Byars is co-curated by Peter Eleey of New York’s MoMA PS1 – where it will travel next year – and is a sign of López’s ambitions to bring genuine curatorial heft to the museum. The other curtainraiser is a selection from the foundation’s collection curated by director Patrick Charpenel. Works include Robert Gober’s “Flying Sink” (1985), López’s first purchase at auction, for which he paid more than $500,000 in 1998, and Jeff Koons’s “Three Ball Total Equilibrium Tank” (1986), which he bought for about $350,000 three years later. Also on show is a Hirst flayed cow’s head vitrine, a copper-rose Judd stack and a Warhol silkscreen of Jackie Kennedy. They are shown with a group of seven works from the “string king” Fred Sandback estate and organised through dealer David Zwirner. In the basement garage, López’s art adviser Patricia Marshall has her own show, also drawn from the collection and including a Richard Jackson cage titled “Confusion in the Vault Room” (2005), which gave its name to the display.
According to Jumex curator Magali Arriola, acquisitions will resume next year, after slowing during building works. And the accent on exhibitions will change, she says: “In the Ecatepec space [at the group’s factory in the suburbs of Mexico City] we invited outside curators and held group shows; now we will reverse this and hold solo shows of artists represented in the collection, and we will make acquisitions towards these.” The next artist to be featured will be Cy Twombly, in June next year.
The Italian Fausto Melotti (1901-86) belongs to the generation of artists who moved away from the solid classicism of Rodin to redefine sculpture. Working in wire and sheet metal or ceramics, Melotti made poetic, delicate pieces, some of them similar to the cage-like constructions of Giacometti, or Fontana’s early wire sculptures. But Melotti has remained far less well known, and as a result his prices are a fraction of theirs. This has perhaps been because the Melotti estate has been less than active in promoting his work, but this has now changed. Karsten Greve in Cologne and Barbara Mathes in New York have held exhibitions this year, and now London’s Waddington Custot is offering about 30 works, some in collaboration with the estate, others from a Milanese private collection. Prices range from €40,000 to €200,000, and the pieces include metal sculptures and ceramic figures, along with a few paintings. Until December 20.
A new fair is being launched in Singapore by Laure d’Hauteville, the French organiser of the Beirut Art Fair. Slated for November next year, the event could be a future challenger to the existing Art Stage Singapore, which holds its fourth edition next January. For the moment no exhibitor list has been published, but the fair will concentrate on the Menasa regions: Middle East, north Africa and South Asia, and will include a pavilion devoted to Middle Eastern and Lebanese art created by the French curator Catherine David.
The interest of Asian collectors in art from these regions seems to be increasing – at Silk Highway 21C, an exhibition currently on show at the Yallay gallery in Hong Kong, a Chinese buyer – lawyer and collector Hong Shun Leung – quickly snapped up “Red Connection” by the Moroccan artist Mounir Fatmi, for HK$500,000 (about US$64,500). Silk Highway 21C is curated by the former head of Paris’s Institut du Monde Arabe, Brahim Alaoui, and continues until November 30.
The controversial sale of 24 Chinese works of art from the council-run Croydon Museum in south London is going ahead at Christie’s Hong Kong this week, despite howls of protest from the museum sector and from local residents. The ceramics, mainly from the Ming and Qing dynasties, were collected by a Croydon businessman, Raymond F.A. Riesco, and went to Croydon council after Riesco’s death. In the face of the uproar, Croydon Council resigned from the Museums Association this year, and then for good measure Museums Association kicked it out. Loss of membership of the association means that Croydon Museum and other council-run galleries may not be able to borrow from other museums or qualify for grants.
The whole group is coming up for sale on November 27 and the council hopes it will make about £13m. Top lot is a Ming moonflask, expected to fetch between £1.8m and £2.5m.
Georgina Adam is editor-at-large of The Art Newspaper
November 30-December 8
Fortezza da Basso
Contemporary art in a Renaissance fortress at a biennale entitled Ethics: DNA of Art. Censorship, an artist’s responsibilities and the links between art and science will be explored through a series of lectures and discussions.
Miami Beach Convention Center
The fair that brings Miami spice to the Basel brand will feature 258 leading modern and contemporary galleries exhibiting more than 4,000 artists. It is the self-proclaimed premier destination for galleries from the US and Latin America but there is also a strong show of European galleries, including Naples’ Alfonso Artiaco, which will exhibit works by Perino & Vele (“Boom 2013”). Collins Park will house more than 30 large sculptures in the “Social Animals”-themed public installation and there is a new “Edition” sector offering multiples by renowned artists. The fair has not only played a part in turning a city famous for pastel Art Deco glamour into a cultural city of substance, with plentiful commercial galleries in the Wynwood district, but has also sparked an explosion of satellite fairs, including Scope, Art Miami, Art Asia and Pulse.
London Art Fair
Business Design Centre, Islington
The UK’s largest fair for modern British and contemporary art returns with new features including a museum partner – this year the Hepworth Wakefield, which will display part of its collection in a pavilion at the entrance – and a “Dialogue” section, which showcases collaborative displays by UK and international galleries.
LA Art Show
LA Convention Centre
LA Art Show: Modern & Contemporary and the Los Angeles Fine Art Show: Historic & Traditional now operate under the banner LA Art Show but remain distinct fairs hosting more than 100 galleries. Tickets include access to the IFPDA Fine Print Fair and LA Jewelry and Antique show.
This year the show moves downtown with its widest offering to date of contemporary and historic works. Its Emerging Focus photo competition is still open if you would like to see your own work on display in January.
Art Stage Singapore
Marina Bay Sands
“We Are Asia” is quite a promise, especially for a region with such diverse art scenes, but Art Stage believes it can deliver. The fair brings together contemporary work from 100 galleries, 80 per cent of them Asia Pacific-based.
Unpainted Media Art Fair
A new art fair embracing the digital age. Some 50 international galleries will be putting their finest pixels on display.
Bologna Exhibition Center
Bologna Fiera has some big new initiatives for 2014, including a focus on art from the second half of the 19th century that heralded future trends, and sections devoted to eastern Europe and to fine art photography.
January 30-February 2
rue françois-peyrot 30
A modern and contemporary art fair that devotes a large area to public and private collections, with the aim of encouraging a dynamic relationship between dealers and institutions.
Art Los Angeles Contemporary
January 30-February 2
Barker Hangar, LA
Predominantly western galleries, with a strong contingent of Los Angeles talent, offer a cross-section of contemporary art.
India Art Fair
January 30-February 2
NSIC Exhibition Grounds, New Delhi
India Art Fair has grown a lot since director Neha Kirpal founded it in 2008: then there were 34 exhibitors, only two of them international; in 2014 there will be 91, of which about half will be from overseas. Among the participants will be photographer Dayanita Singh, who will show excerpts from her File Room series, also seen at this year’s Venice Biennale.
Sotheby’s has a troika of Russian painting sales, its first ever “Contemporary East” on November 25, “Important Russian Art” on the same day and “Russian Paintings” on November 26. The cover lot of the second sale, Robert Falk’s “Man in a Bowler Hat” and Petr Konchalovsky’s “Family Portrait in the Artist’s Studio” from the same sale have already sold to a private Russian collector. On November 26 there is an auction of vertu, Fabergé and icons.
Christie’s single sale of more than 300 lots is led by “Church in Alupka” (£2m) by Aristarkh Lentulov, an avant-garde oil masterpiece.
Bonham’s star lot is Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich’s landscape “Kanchenjunga” (£1m). The Himalayan mountain, considered sacred by the Sikkimese, was painted many times by Roerich, but this is one of the few examples to appear on the market. The sale also includes a number of icons.
Christie’s Hong Kong
Christie’s first auction in mainland China last month demonstrated an appetite for art across a wide range of categories; will its Hong Kong sale tell of a similar hunger for Chinese art? Over two days, more than 700 lots will be auctioned with combined estimates of $39m. Modern highlights include Fu Baoshi’s hanging scroll “Visiting a Friend in the Mountain” ($1m); and Zhang Daqian’s “Garden of Eight Virtues” (estimate upon request).