“interview”

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...

Tags: , , , , , ,

In Julian Schnabel’s studio

An hour with Julian Schnabel, who shares with Art Media Agency reflections on the ground he has covered, the Plate Paintings series, surface and matter, film, sun and shade… An encounter in Manhattan. Born in 1951 in New York, the city where he continues to live, Julian Schnabel has maintained a reputation as an undisciplined artist. Winning the attention of critics early on while refusing to be pinned down by any particular style, he also became known to the public in 1996 thanks to his film Basquiat. Ever since, he has continued to paint, sculpt and make feature films when he’s not surfing near his villa in Montauk. And let’s not forget: Julian Schnabel is also an interior architect… It was incidentally in his Venetian palace in the West Village, New York, that he received us – at the heart of the Palazzo Chupi, in which the artist has based his studio and apartment, with a view of the Hudson…   At the very start of your career in the 1970s, did you feel close to European movements such as the Italian Transavanguardia? In terms of style, we get this impression, but did you know the artists that made up the movement such as Francesco Clemente, Sandro Chia, Enzo Cucchi or Mimmo Paladino? In 1982, when Harald Szeemann curated the “Settore Arti Visive” exhibition in which I took part at the Venice Biennale, Francesco Clemente was one of the artists. I then saw him again when Jean-Christophe Ammann showed us in Basel, along with Enzo Cucchi and Sandro Chia, and we started to keep up with one another. I particularly liked the work of Clemente, especially from that period, and we then became friends, but before this encounter, I didn’t know who these artists were.   This was also...

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Alexis Hubshman: “Scope is like a treasure hunt”

Scope is celebrating its eleventh birthday this year by launching Scope Haus, a new private art centre in Basel. Its president, Alexis Hubshman has managed to launch a fair that today enjoys widespread success. For this edition, 70 exhibitors have been chosen. Independent and atypical… Scope has stayed loyal to its commitments.   Scope has now been around for about 16 years. Its president, Alexis Hubshman, didn’t go to business school. He’s an artist… and an entrepreneur. He previously worked with a landscaping company and even invented a gadget allowing users to walk around on rollerblades when he was 20 years old. He went on to invest some of his profits in opening an art gallery in the Meatpacking district in New York City where no young galleries existed at the time. Three years later, he decided to create his own art fair, Scope. He has already curated shows on China, India, the Middle East diaspora…   Can you outline the context in which Scope has emerged? We started at a beautiful space in Basel, where we were for more than ten years, and we’ve now evolved by taking possession of a beautiful Crédit Suisse building in the centre of town. For the next five years we have it every day, every month, all year. I first came to Basel to show emerging contemporary art – that was sort of where we started. The business started 16 years ago at a time when here weren’t really any satellite art fairs, as they’ve come to be known, so we were really one of the first. Our goal is to show new young emerging dealers and artists whereas the Armory, Art Basel, or Cologne are for the more established. So a lot of the galleries that have come to Scope are...

Tags: , , , , ,

“Volta, more flexibility for the system”

Rendezvous at Volta, a fair whose selection is both inventive and rigorous. Seventy galleries will be waiting for you, from 12 to 17 June, for the thirteenth edition of an event that is still high in the popularity stakes. A stroll through its alleys, in the company of Amanda Coulson. Prior to launching Volta New York in 2008, Amanda Coulson cofounded Volta Basel in 2005. Today, the art critic and exhibition curator is also Director of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas and resides in Nassau. So how does she approach the market? With a primarily curatorial vision and a gaze characterised by a critic’s eye… For its thirteenth edition, the artistic director is welcoming no less than 70 galleries from 43 different cities to Volta.   Can you tell us about this 2017 edition? What’s the atmosphere like? This is quite a difficult question because we see new things every year and that’s what’s interesting! Our galleries evolve, some take part in major fairs, others have different projects… But we work in a very organised manner. In New York, we only present solo shows whereas in Basel, we have more variety and we ask our galleries to change their programmes for every new edition. We’re not a fair that looks to gather as many people as possible, but our aim instead is to make Volta an attractive spot for curators and collectors who feel concerned. From the start, we thought that Volta would be held in a luxury hotel, a cheap youth hostel or else a boutique hotel… The idea was to create a well-groomed but human-sized concept because we always wanted to offer a break compared with the main fairs, a place where people also come to relax.   And have you tried to create links...

Tags: , , , , , ,

Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi: an influential collector

“100 Masterpieces of Modern and Contemporary Arab Art”… This is the title of the exhibition currently showing at the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) in Paris, unveiling part of the Sooud Al-Qassemi collection. We meet the young collector behind the Barjeel Art Collection based in the United Arab Emirates. The IMA exhibition presents modern and contemporary Arab works in two parts. The first, “Exhibiting”, is based on the curatorial model of the traditional exhibition; the second, “Curating”, offers a scenography inspired by a museum’s reserve collection. Here, we find figures from the international scene: Adel Abdessemed, Etel Adnan, Walead Beshty and also Hayv Kahraman. But we also discover modern artists less well-known by the French public, such as Ahmed Cherkaoui and Achraf Touloub. Let’s bear in mind that Sooud Al-Qassemi has already organised exhibitions in Singapore, London, Toronto, Teheran… and others opening shortly in Amman, Washington DC and Dubai. As well as launching the Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates in February 2010, the energetic collector produces and presents a television programme (Art Plus, on AJ Plus Arabi).   How many works make up your collection? The Barjeel Foundation conserves around 600 works – as well as artists’ editions –, mainly modern and contemporary works. Works date from 2015-2016 back to the 19th century. My idea, in setting up this foundation, was to promote and present Arab art everywhere in the world. I find that foundations and museums aren’t active enough. We’re the opposite of that, and we really want to exceed the current limits, even if it’s much more difficult at the moment with the situation in Syria and elsewhere. We want to show another face of the Arab world, not just a negative one. In the Arab world, many works have been destroyed,...

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ad.