All posts filed under: Art

Poor Old David

Word around town is that Michelangelo’s David has weak ankles. But who can blame the poor guy? He’s been standing for 510 years in the same contraposto pose, looking beautifully innocent with his crisp curls and dashing gaze. Experts have identified small cracks that are making him frail – and when you are the world’s most famous sculpture and you have been carved out of a single block of marble, then yes, by all means small cracks are something to worry about. It’s no one’s fault really. When Michelangelo was commissioned by the city of Florence in 1501 to carve this colossal figure originally as an outdoor sculpture for the city’s Basilica, he made use of a 40 year-old piece of marble that belonged to no one. This chunk, cut from the famous, gleaming white peaks of Carrara (that once upon a time supplied the Roman empire for the construction of their monuments) had had two unsuccessful carving attempts by local artists. In order to avoid the hassle of getting a new piece, 26 year-old Michelangelo decided to use …

How To Become a Gallerina(o)

Ga-lle-ri-na (noun) – as defined by Urban Dictionary (my favorite), “The waif-like girls in opaque tights who rule the art galleries in Chelsea and other art districts. Like ballerinas, they are generally delicate-looking, coiffed, and can come off as cold. “ Art Gallery + Ballerina = Gallerina Although the term is as feminine as can be, gallerina applies to girls and boys alike, and we’ve all been gallerinas at one point or another (normally in your first job in a gallery). If you’ve been working in the art gallery circuit for over 5 years and you’re still a gallerina – run for the hills, my friend because something’s not right. This delectable term and stereotype came to my attention in 2008 when I was a sophomore in university, thanks to this must-read NY Times piece. I was majoring in Art History and interning at Marlborough Gallery in New York, and this article was my epiphany. The universe asked, What do you want to be when you ‘grow up’? 19 year-old me: A Gallerina! WHAT DO THESE GATEKEEPERS TO THE ART WORLD ACTUALLY DO, YOU ASK?  Gallerinas …

Canvassing for Colombia

Written for issue 5 of Suitcase Magazine I am extending a formal invitation to my favorite place on Earth: the place where palenqueras – dark, beautiful women clothed in colourful skirts and dresses – carry deep trays filled with fresh fruit on their head; the ancient entrance to South America that was once the object of desire of every pirate in the Caribbean; the old, walled city where vallenato is heard at all hours and a mix of sweet, delicious coconut pie, ocean and ceviche fill the air. This, my friends, is Cartagena de Indias, the most magical place in the world. In the past ten years this city of stories and legends, lust and love has become a cultural hub in Latin America. Next year, the name, Cartagena, will be ringing in your ears even more as from the 7th February until the 7th April 2014, the city will play host to the first biennial in Colombia: the International Contemporary Art Biennial Cartagena de Indias (BIACE). With the purpose of promoting contemporary domestic talent, a range of 150 to 200 local and international …

The “Madame X” Scandal

Are you curious to know the story of Madame X? The story of the dazzling parisienne beauty who was banished from the glamorous Third Republic society into oblivion? Her name was Virginie Amelie Gantreau and she was only 23 years old when John Singer Sargent painted the portrait that would change everything. Paris in the late 1870’s was filled with sophisticated French beauties whose breathtaking looks were heard of everywhere because that is what they lived off. These “it girls” dominated the social scene, lived for fashion and fascinated young artists who were obsessed with capturing their beauty. In the case of Amelie Gantreau, “every artist wanted to make her in marble or paint,” said Edward Simmons, an American student living in Paris at the time. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1859, Amelie moved to Paris with her mother when she was just 8 years old as her father had died several years before from a wound received in battle during the American Civil War. Soon mother and daughter ascended Paris’ social scene and when Amelie was …

Is Buying Art as an Investment a Good Idea?

Buying art purely as an investment is a very risky business, in my opinion. This morning I read an article in El Economista about Javier Lumbreras, the founder and director of the Artemundi Global Fund (AGF) where he talks about how there is no doubt in his mind that collecting art is currently the best investment as it will never lose its value, it is anti-inflation, the risk is very low, and the art market is booming. A few big figures were thrown in here and there by the author of the article, Vicente Gutierrez, like the fact that the art market is currently a $60 B I L L I O N dollar industry (Oh my!). However, Gutierrez failed to specify the minor detail that these $60 billion dollars don’t represent fine art sales only: they encompass everything from luxury goods to real estate, to wines and memorabilia, decorative art and contemporary art. It is a very fragmented market and so that massive figure presented on its own is very, and I mean very, misleading. This article got me …

The Holy Grail of the Auction World: The Mighty Auctioneer Book

This might seem absolutely ridiculous but I admit it, the one thing that has been nagging my curiosity for the past four or five years – ever since I got serious about this art “stuff” – is what the hell the auctioneer’s book looks like on the inside. That little black book that is printed an hour before the auction begins and is meant for the for the eyes of the auctioneer only and a couple of other top gear, auction house employees. So many people wish they could get their hands on it to see how many bidders have pre-bided on a lot (absentee bids), who is consigning the work (we all like a little gossip here and there), and names, newly scribbled bids and the amount of eager telephone bidders that want each lot. If you’re still lost let me put it in simpler terms: it’s physically a book whose pages the auctioneer skims and doodles on as the auction progresses. Get it? Today after years of waiting, asking around, plotting and scheming …

Art and Lust in the Tropics

Legend tells that Captain Morgan’s treasure from the late 17th century is still hidden somewhere – possibly underwater – in San Andres, a small Colombian island off the coast of Nicaragua and Honduras where I was happily conceived 25 years ago. Yes, there is definitely something in the air, the fish or the coconut water as my father proudly boasts that three out of his fours kids were conceived here under the same roof, in the same bedroom in our house that is coincidentally called Wildlife. Islanders speak Spanish and English with a Jamaican accent, everyone knows everyone and people seem to age wrinkle-free and a just little nuts as they get older. Dread locks get longer and grey, and the local god is Bob Marley. Yes, I was conceived here, on an island that unfortunately lacks identity as it has passed from Spanish to Dutch to English and at last to Colombian hands over the last 400 years. Local artists don’t paint beyond the typical turquoise beach with palm trees, dolphins frolicking in the water and …