“New York”

Allan McCollum, encounter in Soho

Born in 1944 in Los Angeles, Allan McCollum has lived in the heart of Manhattan since the 1960s. He is represented by the Mitterrand, Thomas Schulte and MFC-Michèle Didier galleries. An in-studio encounter.   Your work, based on the repetition of forms, is a continuation of your first series dating back to the 1970s… Having been an artist for nearly fifty years, I’ve done a lot of research in my time, but at my age, it becomes important, and even necessary, to look back and see what all your work has in common. I haven’t finished thinking about it yet, even if some unifying themes recur, such as mass production and unique objects. Since the very start of my career, I’ve explored these distinctions, I’ve mixed them up, and while I’m not the only artist to be doing this, I’ve always systematically worked in enormous quantities! I don’t make fifty but ten thousand pieces, and each one is unique. All of my investigations have also considered the space of the gallery or museum, as opposed to that of a store. I always try to contextualise the different ways we have of showing objects with meaning for us. I’ve also made some “souvenirs” and collaborated with small towns to create pieces relating to their own craftsmanship.   Did you originally intend for this multiplicity and this notion of quantity to go against a certain fetishisation of art and the art world? I never use this word “fetishisation” but I agree with the idea. I was born during World War II and I grew up at a time when we discovered the horrors of Nazis and millions of people killed just because they were Jewish, Communists, homosexuals, gypsies… It was a nightmare. Of course I’m expressing my own view, but I...

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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...

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Success guaranteed: about art loans

Investment, leverage effect, liquid assets… Here’s the latest trend in the world of finance: the granting of loans using artworks as collateral. We examine this new practice, born from a simple observation. Art is now an asset: a big one.   The practice of borrowing money using art as a guarantee is not a particularly new one. Back in 1990, the Wildenstein family presented to the world The Lute Player, a misattributed work discovered to be a Caravaggio, and subsequently sent it to the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Recent findings during the family’s trial revealed that the work was also used as a guarantee for a loan: a big one considering the 100 million-dollar valuation. This financial tool, available to the Wildensteins because of the family’s unquestionable fortune, is now available to smaller collectors. While the practice is not a new one, it has only been in the last 5 years that it has become widespread in the art-banking world. It is estimated that there are between 15 and 20 billion dollars in outstanding loans (the sum of the value of all artworks currently backing loans). The structure of the deal is very simple: collectors offer an artwork in exchange of a loan with lower interest rates, based on the price of the piece, for a predetermined period. At the end of the tenure, the client gives the money back to the institution. What makes the system different from a pawnshop, apart from the big values, is the fact that clients pay interest for the loans, a small value every month. Depending on the structure of the deal, the artworks offered as collateral can stay with the collector during the period or not. There are 3 types of institutions that provide this service: big banks, boutique lenders and auction houses. Any...

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Data: Picabia, nihilism and humour at auctions

A painter with talent, cheekiness and an eventful life… Francis Picabia marked the 20th century with the eclecticism of his painting and his significant contribution to French and American intellectual life. And what does the market make of him? Francis-Marie Martinez de Picabia was born on 22 January 1879 in Paris. A single child born to parents representing Spanish aristocracy and French bourgeoisie, he grew up in a certain material comfort but was not spared from emotional affliction. He was seven when his mother died of tuberculosis, and he found himself stuck with his father, Juan Martinez Picabia, the Cuban consul in Paris, his bachelor uncle Maurice Davanne, a curator at the Sainte-Geneviève Library in Paris, and his grandfather Alphonse Davanne, a wealthy businessman and enthusiastic amateur photographer who at one time was president of the Société Française de Photographie. In this universe that was possibly a little too virile, Francis escaped boredom by painting. In 1895, after school, he signed up at the École des Arts Décoratifs with Braque and Marie Laurencin as his teachers. In 1899, Francis Picabia joined the Salon des Artistes Français thanks to his painting Une Rue aux Martigues. At the start of the 20th century, his painting owed a great deal to impressionism. He showed at the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Indépendants, but also in galleries such as that of Berthe Weill or at the Galerie Haussmann. His paintings sold well. In 1908, Francis Picabia met Gabrielle Buffet, a young avant-garde musician who encouraged him to continue his research. Supported by his personal fortune, he gradually shook off his ties with his synthetic style and his dealers to trace a path through the 20th century’s “isms”: fauvism, futurism, cubism and orphism. His style stretched in all directions and adapted itself to every constraint, every manifesto. Some of his...

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Trent Morse: Ballpoint Pens as a Serious Art-Making Medium

Featuring 30 artists from around the globe, Ballpoint Art, the first compendium of art made with ballpoint pens was published in 2016. These artists are producing amazing masterpieces with this humble tool, from densely layered portraits to abstract scribbles. AMA spoke with the author, Trent Morse, who lives in Brooklyn.   What is your background? I have always been very interested in art. I liked to draw little stick figures, war scenes and desert islands when I was a child growing up in Tacoma, Washington. I studied graphic design in high school and at the University of Washington, where I really got into art history and changed my major, even though a bachelor’s degree in art history has no real career prospects. I studied pretty diverse subjects there, from tribal art to contemporary West Coast art. After university, I spent a year in Guangzhou, China, teaching English and wrote my first magazine piece, for That’s Guangzhou. After returning to the United States, I worked in a Seattle art gallery and later at a professional photo lab in Portland, Oregon. Then, I moved to New York City for my master’s degree in nonfiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College, where I wrote my journalistic thesis on New York artists who focus on celebrities. After that, I started to write reviews for Saatchi Online Magazine, now called Saatchi Art. I also became the arts editor of a Brooklyn newspaper called WG News+Arts that eventually led me to become an editor of ARTnews. How was your experience working for ARTnews? It was a great experience. I really learned a lot about journalism and writing, such as how to open a paragraph, how to tell a story, which quotes are worth using etcetera. The editor in chief gave me helpful feedback. And I enjoyed...

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