“art market”

Marc Spiegler: Reflections

As Art Basel opens, we talk with the organization’s great Global Director, Marc Spiegler. He speaks very openly about his vision of his job, the Art Basel fairs, the market and its evolution, about art and the people making it. Marc Spiegler: the art market architect. Marc Spiegler, 48 years old, has always been a very fine analyst of the art market. He simply loves to understand it; and because we love that too, it is always a pleasure to speak with him.   How do you feel at the eve of your fair, a decade after taking on the job? I absolutely love the job and it’s tremendously rewarding, so it certainly doesn’t feel like ten years: it feels like yesterday. At the same time, this fair is my 26th with Art Basel. And if I look back, it feels like a lot has changed. Our organisation has certainly evolved enormously. When I started, we just had the Basel and Miami Beach fairs, we were solely coordinated from Basel, our digital presence was negligible… all we did was the two fairs. Ten years later, we’ve added an extremely strong fair in Asia, and built an extensive online presence – we now have an online catalogue with more than 20,000 artworks from past fairs, not to mention our very large reach on social media, with more than 2 million followers: eight times the 250,000 attendance across our three fairs. And the leadership structure shifted from being exclusively in Switzerland to spanning across three continents, with more than 80 staff making all that happen. When I started we were barely 20. At the same time, the business has changed greatly. The expectations for fairs continue to evolve. 10 years before I arrived, fairs were exclusively trading platforms. Now the international fairs are required to be events in the...

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Wolfgang Tillmans, at the frontiers of the visible

As one exhibition concludes, another opens… While the solo show dedicated to German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans is finishing at the Tate in London, the retrospective on him at the Fondation Beyeler is starting up in the Swiss city of Basel. Perfect timing for a closer look at this artist whose experimentations have taken him far and wide… Contemporary photography – unfortunately – doesn’t always have many superstars to boast about. Even if the medium has achieved recognition in the last decade, its ecosystem still remains closed: it has its own dedicated galleries, themed auction sales, mono-medium fairs, specialised journals… In this respect, Germany’s Wolfgang Tillmans emerges as something of a phenomenon. Earning steady recognition from institutions and art critics from a very early stage in his career, he is already counted amongst the most fashionable photographers… And yet we can sense that this artist still has more tricks up his sleeve. Born in 1968 in Remscheid in West Germany (near Cologne and Düsseldorf, and therefore also near Europe-focused Belgium and the Netherlands), he discovered the photography of Polke, Richter and Rauschenberg while he was still a teenager in the museums of big neighbouring cities. After three years in Hamburg, Tillmans continued his studies at the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design in South England. He then moved to London before staying in New York for one year in 1994. This is where he met gallerist Andrea Rosen, who would be the first to support him, as well as his lover, painter Jochen Klein. The two Germans would return to Europe where they lived together in the British capital until the death, in 1997, of Klein, a victim of AIDS. Tillmans was not yet 30 at the time. In 2000, the artist suddenly emerged from obscurity by becoming...

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Yesterday Is Aujourd’hui

After Brussels and before New York, the YIA fair is opening its doors for the first time in Basel. Romain Tichit, the dynamic founder of Young International Artists, here retraces his background, his projects, his doubts… And restates that Yesterday Is Aujourd’hui!   It often begins this way, as a passion, or an interest shared with friends. “Parallel to my job in advertising and the digital technologies, I used to organise exhibitions with artists in so-called nomad locations,” explains Romain Tichit, he of the unruly hair and three-day stubble. In the advertising world, he passed through Publicis, DDB and Lagardère. It was “Dynasty”, the show jointly presented at the Palais de Tokyo and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, that urged him to change direction. This mega-exhibition gathered around forty artists over nearly 5,000 m2, including Farah Atassi, Bertrand Dezoteux, Camille Henrot, Théo Mercier, Jean-Xavier Renaud, Bettina Samson and Oscar Tuazon. “In 2010, after ‘Dynasty’, I decided to set up the YIA (Young International Artists) concept, a fair to support the emerging scene.” In 2012, Romain Tichit founded the communication agency LFDAC (La Française des Arts Contemporains), which continues to be his instrument for steering YIA. In the first years, the initial concept was clear: exhibiting young artists represented by gallerists in (post-)industrial sites. For its first edition, it showed artists including Vincent Ganivet, Hsia Fei Chang, Lionel Sabatté and Guillaume Cabantous. It then worked its way across Paris, from the Cartonnerie to the Bastille Design Center, Loft Sévigné, the Espace Morin, the Espace Commines as well as the Galerie Joseph on Rue de Turenne. “After a number of editions in more or less confidential locations, we managed to get the hall of the Carreau du Temple, which we’ve been occupying for four years now.” This...

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Art Basel or shock aesthetics

An ardently arty atmosphere that anticipates the arrival of 100,000 art enthusiasts… Basel – the place to be in June, the fair where the art elite show their stuff. The spot where a mere trend can, in just a few hours, go viral. Welcome backstage at the world’s biggest contemporary-art supermarket.   It’s difficult to find anything that tops it in the art world… Let’s just say that Art Basel is like a VIP lounge where elegance reaches its peak. Everything smacks of luxury, from the Ruinart champagne to the chic dress code. In short, an ideal world that oscillates between the post-conceptual and the neo-Platonician. This is utopia, Swiss-style. And a megafair that is like no other. Because it’s the biggest and the best. To get a picture of this 48th edition, just imagine a penthouse with full view of the ocean of the avant-garde! It’s therefore in Switzerland that this planetary fest of the ultra-contemporary, in the oh-so Calvinist city of Basel, where – according to a certain Max Weber – Protestant ethics first started flirting with the spirit of capitalism. And since nothing happens by chance, it’s in the same city (whose symbol is a bishop’s crozier) that you’ll get a big shock: a large-scale service of worship drawing 291 state-of-the-art galleries from 34 countries and six continents. From aesthetic bliss to irritation, from works that will get under your skin to those that will make your hair stand on end, you’re going to love it. As mentioned in the press kit – that doesn’t hold back on superlatives – all of the art elite from across the globe will be converging in Switzerland for four days of jubilation. A geotropism that, season after season, assembles smooth dealers and moneyed collectors, crotchety curators and all kinds...

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The wheel of fortune

Elegant and persuasive, she embodies the discreet charm of private banking as the head of one bank’s art department. An hour with Mathilde Courteault of Neuflize OBC. Former director of the Asian art department of Ch­ris­tie’s in Paris, Ma­thilde Cour­teault, thirty-nine years old, welcomes us into the muffled rooms of a big private bank. Holder of a master’s in art history on “the European influence on Mughal miniatures”, this lively, enthusiastic woman has been managing, for three years now, the art assets of a clientele subject to France’s ISF (wealth tax). We talk about culture and investment strategy, collections and assets. It’s also a chance to discuss major trends on the art market, the concept of pleasure-investment… All this with the discretion and poise that are characteristic of wealth-management companies.   What exactly does art-wealth expertise involve? What does this profession consist in? The profession has existed in our bank for twenty-five years. We deploy our expertise in an integrated structure, wholly dedicated to consultancy and the management of art wealth. This, incidentally, is a specificity that is written into our company’s DNA. As the owner of a photograph collection and also as a sponsor of the Cinémathèque, a partner of the Palais de Tokyo, moreover holding ties to the Musée Jacquemart-André, Neuflize OBC is firmly anchored in the cultural domain. Let’s say that expertise is developed in three areas. First, the concrete management of collections which encompasses a full range of services for art assets, including storage of artworks in reserved strongboxes, offering museum-like conservation with controlled hygrometry. We of course offer insurance packages. We can also offer advice to clients wishing to make copies of their paintings or to get restoration work done. When we have collection-management mandates, we can also administer the loans of works to...

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