All posts filed under: Art

Part 1: A Little History of the Art Market

Have you ever wondered how an art market even came into existence? I’ll tell you. And I will start from the very beginning: from the emergence of the art object to the birth of auctions, patrons, artists, academies and professional art dealers. Sit tight boys and girls, your history lesson is about to start in two parts (so that I don’t saturate your mind with way too much fascinating information). Part 1.0 Let’s start off with a fun fact: the Venus of Berekhat Ram (700,000 – 290,000 BC) is considered to be the first art object ever in the history of art objects. It was actually discovered not long ago in the Golan Heights by an archeologist in 1981. It is essentially a small rock that looks like a pregnant woman and it is believed that it was created during the Stone Age most probably by Homo Erectus (WOW!). But there’s no evidence of any trend of cultural collecting  in societies at this point in time so we can assume that artists were not competing with each other. As a result …

Part 2: A Little History of the Art Market

After the longest nap in the history of the naps – that had to be taken by force thanks to none other than Christianity – the ‘art market’ woke up with the early Renaissance in the 14th century. Two novelties had taken place: on one hand people had developed a new taste, almost a fetish, for finely bound books that developed into a whole other complex market. On the other, Medieval guilds were still regulating the quality of art which partially castrated individualism amongst artists. But among all this, in Florence, a hero was born. Hello Giotto – the absolute most important painter of the early Renaissance who introduced perspective and the third dimension to painting.  Yes, that is why painting is what it is today. Basically, and he changed the rules of the game for everyone. At the same time, a new type of art patron emerged. The most well known were the… come on, you know who… Their name starts with an ‘M’ and ends with ‘edici”. It was a Florentine family of merchant …

Blooming Mavericks in a World of Giants

This article was commissioned by and for Inside the Burger Collection and it was published in Art Asia Pacific in May 2018. Read it here. Nothing sounds more gratifying than making a living from selling art, right? The mere thought of spending your days surrounded by works that nurture your soul and spark your creativity make my hairs stand on end. The idea of supporting Art History, contributing your tiny grain of sand, traveling the world all year long attending art fairs and biennales, getting caught up in mind-blowing conversations with curious, like-minded nomads such as yourself is so romantic. All the while, you’re selling the work of artists you are passionate about that in turn allow you to live a full, exciting and comfortable life.  But having your own gallery is no walk in the park, and the job of a gallerist is the toughest one of all.  Enter Maria Bernheim: an art world wonder-woman of many talents. Petite, ambitious, dynamic, knowledge-hungry and sassy. Born in Romania but raised in Paris, Maria grew up …

Cubism: The Mother of it All

As an art historian and a self-proclaimed lover/groupie/fan to the core of Modern art, I am a bit embarrassed to say that I just realized just how important my least favorite art movement was in the grand History of art. I´m talking about Cubism. Are you rolling your eyes too? For the record, it’s still and will always be my least favorite “ism” in all of the “isms” (Impressionism, Futurism, Constructivism, Expressionism, etc.) but damn did it change the course of art. To start, let’s reiterate for the 999 trillionth time that Picasso was a genius. Yes he was an arrogant, selfish, egocentric, ladies man but thankfully we’re not any of the girls whose hearts he broke. And let’s be honest, all those affairs just make him so much more fun to read about. Picasso, or as I like to call him, Pablito, painted Les Demoiselle D’Avignon in 1907. For those of you who have a huge question mark on your face, this is one of the most important works of art ever to be produced. That’s right, I …

Bird in Space

It all started with Marcel. You know, Duchamp? He is considered the most influential artist of the 20th century (not Picasso) and for some reason, I think of him more as a whacky scientist than an artist. Maybe that’s just because he was in everyone’s business introducing people to one another, revolutionizing, criticizing and influencing his contemporaries unknowingly. He knew everyone and he played a key part in so many historical twisted events. My favorite story in all the stories of Art History that of Brancusi’s fabulous Bird in Space, the golden bullet-like sculpture located at the MoMa in New York. It was originally part of an edition of nine bronze casts and seven marbles created in 1923. An American collector by the name of Edward Steichen bought one of the bronzes in 1926 in France and he asked the artist to ship it to the United States. “Sure” said Brancusi, “coincidentally, a very good friend of mine, Marcel, is traveling to the States so I’ll just send it with him”. “Cool” said Steichen. So off goes Duchamp with Bird …

A Few Great Reasons Not To Open Your Own Art Gallery

In a perfect world, nothing sounds more desirable and gratifying than to be making a living from selling art. Think about it: you will be surrounded by art all day that will nurture your soul and creativity; you will be supporting these genius creators of art – art being the most intimate form of communication of certain concepts that cannot be described by words alone. You’d be supporting art history itself, contributing your little grain of sand to the history of mankind; you would be traveling to far away places like Istanbul, Hong Kong and Venice on a yearly basis to attend art fairs, exhibitions and biennales where you would interact with like-minded, cultured, curious individuals like yourself who are constantly exchanging ideas. Lastly, you would be enriching people’s lives in turn by selling them incredible, unique artworks whilst making very good money that will allow you to live like a king or queen. Luckily for all of us, dreaming is free as my father would say, and a successful gallery is a dream come true for a few visionaries and lucky ducks. But …

Birthday Letter to Frida {Kahlo}

Happy birthday to you, my dearest Frida. Today is your 106th birthday and I think we should celebrate it with chimichangas! It´s crazy how much the world that you once knew has changed. But I have some time now so let me catch you up on what has happened in the past 60 years that you would find interesting. Diego (Rivera), your beloved Panzon,  died in 1957 from heart failure, only three years after you ditched life on Earth. In his autobiography he said that he only realized when it was too late that the best part of his life was his love for you. I suppose he definitely hadn’t realized that when you caught him sleeping with your sister, Maria. What a bitch. Remember how you were a communist supporter? You might remember Stalin died in 1953, a year before you did, and his Soviet Union went on to become a pretty big and powerful thing until its collapse in 1991. Now modern day Russian is technically democratic but you should see the guy who’s running the country. …

Praise for Jerry Saltz

I think I fell in love with Jerry exactly one year ago during Art Basel in Switzerland with a picture he posted on Instagram. Love sweet love. The picture was of a beautifully pink and ripe tangerine and the caption read, “Dasha Z. Sent sent this selfie to me just now. I’m a frog prince in Heaven #artbasel2015”… I mean, are you in love as well already? I remember my stomach hurting from laughing, tears came to my eyes and after that and to this day, Jerry Saltz is my go-to guy for my daily dose of laughter. I can just imagine Dasha Zhukova and Roman Abramovich sipping their morning coffee in bed or eating a bratwurst outside of the fair, reading this and almost choking. The guy has the best sense of humor ever. He’s provocative, blunt, loves confrontation and I suppose he might have a death wish. This is Jerry Saltz: 65 years old, senior art critic for New York Magazine and he happens to be married to the admirable Roberta Smith, art critic for …

Successful Single Ladies in Art

My life is confined to a couch, a computer, a book, my phone, and Apple TV. Oh, and I have coloring pencils and white paper just in case I get desperate. Why? Simply because my knee was crushed, pulverized and manhandled last week. It was felt up on a sunny morning in a surgery room in Bern, like a slutty teen in the back of a pickup truck in 1963. I’ve digested magazines back to back, procrastinated on reading the last ten pages of my book because I don’t want it to end, skimmed over endless movie trailers online to pick one film, and I’ve starred at my dangling foot and a pack of ice over my knee that is currently the size of an elephant, more than I’ve dared to look at myself in the mirror in the past week. It’s not about vanity; it’s about the blasting pain I feel when I get up and the blood rushes back to my foot. Surgery is the price to pay for ski season. After all, I do …

A Tale of Three Muses

I have decided that today is good day for the revival of some good ol’ art gossip filled with passion and sex and crazy, overwhelming emotions and heartbreak. We have Ilona Staller, a.k.a. Cicciolina, a.k.a. Jeff Koon’s ex-wife and former porn star, to thank for this. I saw her portrait in the David Bailey exhibition in London’s National Portrait Gallery as the little coquette that she is and sparks flew and I just knew. I knew that a little passionate story-telling time is what we all need on a casual Wednesday in May. Here is a whimsical recap of my three favorite scandalous muses of the 20th century. I love these tragic creatures because they drove certain artists CRAZZZZZY and the artistic fruit that that craziness bore is just fabulous. In no specific order, please welcome our muses: 1. George Dyer was Francis Bacon’s most tumultuous lover. His name, now a days, is synonymous with $$$. The pair met on a cool English night when a confused Mr. Dyer broke into Bacon’s London home in late 1963. A disturbed genius, as …