“report”

In Rotterdam, Haute Photographie revamps the fair concept

Putting on a museum-quality collective show, Haute Photographie, held in Rotterdam from 8 to 12 February, is renewing the concept of image-related commercial events. A lowdown on the first edition… Haute Photographie is a new fair concept tested out by Dutch gallerist Roy Kahmann during Art Rotterdam Week, from 8 to 12 February. After a pilot initiative last year, Haute Photographie has just welcomed crowds of visitors to its first edition, held over five days. Organisers filled a 1,250 m2 space adjacent to Rotterdam’s FotoMuseum. Some 250 works by around fifty artists were presented by five galleries. This new type of fair was designed to offer a more intimate and convivial version of the big yearly events that punctuate the photography market, of which Paris Photo has become emblematic. “I hate the current system of fairs organised by stands that are limited in size and in which the visitor’s attention gets lost,” explains the Haute Photographie founder. “I wanted image presentation to be closer to that in a museum while offering the possibility of buying works. Here, visitors can discover pieces in a relaxed atmosphere before going off for a meal in the starred restaurant or looking around the bookshop.” Instead of the customary stands, organisers have taken the collective-hanging approach, with each artist being accorded wide picture rails. These were presented in a highly organised space that facilitated circulation and offered armchairs and benches. Particular attention was paid to lighting. Young and vintage talent At the fair’s entrance, visitors were ushered in by a selection of three large prints by Antoine d’Agata, hanging opposite three images of Rotterdam’s parks by Jeroen Hofman.  Polaroid nude shots by Carla van de Puttelaar were on offer at €1,450 while black-and-white portraits of young sailors by Belgian Stephan Vanfleteren were priced at €2,950....

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Musées Debout, an alternative path to culture

Carole is an art-history student at the Sorbonne, Marie, a translator, Ariane, a doctoral student in archaeology. Meanwhile, Guillaume Kientz, is a curator in the painting department of the Musée du Louvre… They talk to us about this collective – this “pool of free electrons” baptised Musées Debout *, born in April 2016, and its strong belief in the museum’s federating power within society. The museum is seen not just as a player in cultural democratisation, but also as an object of personal appropriation. This participatory initiative also takes the form of a forum for discussion, where all are free to raise their wishes or regrets in relation to the institution. We take to the streets to investigate.   What was the starting point of the Musées Debout? Guillaume Kientz: It was a Sunday, 10 April. I was on the Place de la République (editorial note: gathering site of the Nuit Debout); a lot of people were gathered and talking about all sorts of topics, without ever raising the world of museums and heritage. I thought that this was a shame. Once again, people were trying to reconstruct the world without raising the issue of museums. I sent out a Tweet: let’s launch Musées Debout. On Monday, we met under the Arche du Carrousel. There were five of us. On Tuesday, between ten to fifteen of us, and on Wednesday we headed to the Place de la République. Ever since, we’ve continued to grow and even spread to other French cities: Caen, Montpellier, Lille, Toulouse, Troyes, Limoges… all Musées Debout collectives born out of this initiative.   In what form has this movement taken place? G.K.: The agora is the Place de la République, where we can talk freely about art and museums. We have two types of activities....

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Barnebys: Online Auction Report…

Barnebys report helps to understand what drives the online auction business. The last years saw a big augmentation in online auctions, taking the very traditional art market up to speed with the Internet revolution. While some might argue that artworks must be seen before bought and some JPEG image files are not enough to make a decision, the younger generation is more comfortable with the process. Both Christie’s and Sotheby’s employ efforts to boost online sales. In the last earnings call, Sotheby’s CEO Tad Smith praised the growth of Sotheby’s Internet presence, coming at a very small cost for the company. In May, a pair of diamond earrings was sold for an online bidder at 6 million dollars, a new record for pieces acquired via online bidding. Also, the merge involving Auctionata and Paddle8 earlier this year showed the consolidation of the sector, claiming the attention of the art market as a whole. The basic principle of a live auction is that the bidder must be at the place during the bidding of the particular lot he is interested in. Even if a high profile client is able to bid at the telephone, it’s still a very small timing window. Online bidding comes as the solution for people who can’t participate in live events because of timing or location. In a world where we can buy in the United States an Australian product to be delivered in France, items for auction should follow the same logic. The absence of actually seeing the object comes as negative aspect, but for some markets it is not so important. Back in a day, many people criticized when retailers started selling clothes online, arguing clients could not see or try it before buying. Today online sales are as important as physical sales to...

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Auctions: the ins and outs of unsold goods

As a terra incognita within the art market, unsold goods have long stayed in the shadows. But they may be set to live a second life. This month, Art Media Agency, in partnership with Auction After Sale, is publishing an unprecedented report on this topic. A foretaste follows… Until today, unsold goods have remained relatively overlooked by the media when talking about auction sales. Journalists, experts and researchers have only scantily broached the topic. As a direct consequence of this oversight, the art market faces a lack in knowledge — as well as tangible results — concerning this reality. Several reasons explain this silence: first of all, the negative image evoked by unsold goods. One need only look at the words used to describe the phenomenon — namely “burnt” works — to understand this. Such unflattering parlance refers nonetheless to a reality that is inherent to the distribution means offered by auctions. Things are gradually evolving, with the issue becoming more urgent, and after-sales procedures gaining in popularity. In France, a number of auction houses fought for the liberalisation of the nation’s 2000 and 2010 legislation, which struck them as less favourable than their overseas equivalents. Today, while after-sales sales are gradually authorised across the globe, they do not seem to be an opportunity capitalised on by a majority of auction players. If the situation is evolving — despite great resistance from the art market —, then this is also because auction houses are looking for new sources of growth, and several players are slowly getting involved with a market whose potential is increasingly apparent to them. Over the first six months of 2016, the turnover “lost” due to goods failing to sell totalled 4.3 billion euros worldwide — a figure that would have been reached if lots had sold for...

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Global warming threatens heritage

A report published by the United Nations on 27 May 2016 lists 31 natural and cultural sites in 29 countries as being threatened by global warming. Amongst the 1,031 World Heritage sites, around thirty are said to be directly threatened in the short term by global warming. The report World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate, drafted by UNEP, UNESCO and UCS (Union of Concerned Scientists), takes into consideration the impact of a general rise in temperatures, the melting of glaciers, the increase in sea levels, and the recurrence of natural disasters in certain regions of the world. Some threatened sites include Venice, Stonehenge, the Galapagos Islands or the Statue of Liberty. The report aims at raising awareness on the weakening of our heritage and our responsibility towards it. The tourism sector is called to coordinate its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and the impact of its activity on fragile sites. Following the Paris agreements in the wake of the COP21, this study reminds of the urgency to raise international consciousness about the threats overhanging world...

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