Viewing entries tagged
Ann Arbor art consultant

Comment

Exhibiting, jurying and moderating at Pop•X

Our friend Omari Rush has been really busy over the last year. He's the Curator of Public Programs at the Ann Arbor Art Center and has been producing Pop•X, an arts festival of ten pop-up pavilions in Liberty Plaza. The public square is located at the corner of Division and Liberty Streets in downtown Ann Arbor and will be transformed starting next week, into a ephemeral playground of installations and happenings. 

We were lucky enough to take part on a few different levels. During the planning stages of the festival, I got to sit in on some preliminary meetings and then jury the exhibitors. And as it turns out, Nick is one of them. I won't give too much away, but his work will speak directly to the usual inhabitants of Liberty Plaza, a group of citizens that are often marginalized for various reasons, who will be displaced during the festival. You can see his pavilion and work on opening day, October 15th through October 24th. 

I'll moderate a talk, Workspace Design, on Monday, October 19th at the Ann Arbor District Library. I'm excited to sit down and talk to a group of innovative business owners in the area including Sava Lelcaj Farah: CEO, Savco Hospitality; Shane Pliska: CEO, Planterra; and Dug Song: CEO, Duo Security. It's a free event and fascinating topic so I'm certain this will draw a crowd. 

We hope to see you there! 

Comment

1 Comment

Stan Malinowski: Icons of Fashion opening

Update: These photos (courtesy Jacob Wieringa) and an article about First Fridays Ypsi can be found here

Last night was our first First Fridays Ypsilanti participation and we're thrilled with the attendance and energy of the evening. Our show, Stan Malinowski: Icons of Fashion highlighted the supermodels of the late '70s and '80s and introduced everyone to an era of glamorous images pre-Photoshop.

Yen talking to a patron about the local art scene.

Yen talking to a patron about the local art scene.

First Fridays Ypsi organizer, Kayj Michelle with a friend, checking out Janice Dicksinson.

First Fridays Ypsi organizer, Kayj Michelle with a friend, checking out Janice Dicksinson.

Best dressed couple of the night. 

Best dressed couple of the night. 

Yen with community advocate and activist, D'Real Graham. 

Yen with community advocate and activist, D'Real Graham. 

The main question of the evening was, "How did you get Stan to do a show here?" There's a lineage of Chicago photographers that have worked in the commercial realm and Stan is one of them. Nick (being fresh and naive to the city), approached him for advice. Stan graciously told him stories, shared his expertise and ultimately the two of them had an exhibit in 2008 named From Fantasy to Fashion. We're so proud and appreciative of Stan's collaboration, a piece of fashion history in our studio.

Artist Ilana Houten, regal in designer threads.

Artist Ilana Houten, regal in designer threads.

Nick speaks with artist and photographer, NIKI.

Nick speaks with artist and photographer, NIKI.

Graphic designer Anne-Marie Kim of Genui Forma checks out Iman. 

Graphic designer Anne-Marie Kim of Genui Forma checks out Iman. 

9 S. Washington St.

9 S. Washington St.

Artist Jermaine Dickerson converses with a patron. 

Artist Jermaine Dickerson converses with a patron. 

Thanks to everyone that joined us! the exhibit is up through the end of April and available to view by appointment. If you're interested in price list or details on photographs available to add to your collection, give us a call at 734-929-2498 or email us. 

1 Comment

Comment

Dear Artist...

Over the last two months we've received a mound of submissions to exhibit in our humble space. Being the competitive process that it is, I've had to send more "no"s than "yes"es. And yet everyone has been gracious with the feedback regardless of outcome. What I've learned is that artists are itching not only for a place to show, but a place to be seen and possibly sell. I don't claim to be an "expert" at anything, I simply have a platform in which to sell the work. But I'll delve into that later.

I was compelled to write this post because of an email I received over the weekend. After teetering on a photographer whose work I thought was captivating and technically sound, I passed on the opportunity to show her work because she was enjoying editorial success. In her enthusiastic response, she shared that she was recovering from a recent stroke. She had lost some of the peripheral vision in her left eye but was still continuing to "get out there everyday with my little camera!" That truly touched me and made me remember my own anticipation when I was on the other side of the vetting process, how nerve wracking it was, the hope you hold to find out if your work will be seen.

Every one of you has a circumstance that I know nothing about and all I get is a small snippet of your life experience in a digital folder. For that, I am incredibly grateful. "Thank you" to each and every one of you that submitted.

I'm really humbled by this experience and feel I can lend some advice and hopefully help some of you to gain some understanding on how to continue the path. I'd also like to shed some light on how I make the decisions I do and what you should look for in a gallery and dealer. 

Dain Mergenthaler

Dain Mergenthaler

Traditionally, galleries sustained artists with a stipend so they could live and create art until the opening of a show and beyond. There are still a handful of high-caliber galleries that practice this model but most simply don't have the capability to function at this level. We certainly don't. I do not represent artists in an ongoing manner, but I do publicize, market, advocate for, live, breathe, sleep that artist's work during the months leading up to the event and the entirety of the exhibit. (And we do have contracts which allow for us to keep and sell work past the exhibit but relinquish upon the artist's request).  

From my understanding, the few galleries serving this immediate area have shuttered their exhibition programming or moved on. And there are even fewer chances to be highlighted as a solo artist. We are a small operation but we've had big experiences in the past. I've worked with contemporary artists like Julian Stanczak and Jerome Witkin and curated traveling museum exhibitions. I understand the practices to get work seen and I'd like to apply that to this market.

I look for thematic confidence. Meaning, how well do the pieces look together? After all, hanging a retail exhibit is very much about merchandising. For our Virtuous show, Jermaine Dickerson produced new graphite drawings, mixed media paintings and charcoal sketches, but all on the same topic - modern day media coverage and the state of sexism, racism and injustice - based around the comic book genre.

I'm a stickler for presentation so even if your work is on extravagant paper or your sculptures stand seven feet high, I have to consider how that translates in our space — a storefront with a track hanging system and approximately 11 foot ceilings. It is unlikely, but not impossible, for me to hang works on paper with metal clips and nailed to the wall. I don't think this looks professional nor inspires confidence in a buyer, no matter how exceptional a work is. You may think this is snobbery, but I'm trying to strike a balance between the museum guidelines I once adhered to, the gallery presentation of American works I'm used to and the early 20th century architecture of our building with a combination of cement, plaster and drywall surfaces.

We only show solo exhibits right now and that's what I intend indefinitely. Could you imagine an album that only had one or two songs from each artist? This type of compilation dilutes the aesthetic vision of the artist and understanding the intent and curating a good show takes time and exposure to a theme. My father, who is also an artist, once told me that a good painting means you can imagine the whole world in the style of the work, like you opened the front door one day and everything was saturated Gaughin. Since we're familiar with big names like Van Gogh and Picasso, we know what to expect. But with an unknown or contemporary artist, we need time to cleanse the palette, recalibrate and adjust to their vision. I believe solo shows are the only way to do this.

We enter into a contract where I have responsibilities to publicize and market you in the best light, in a way that's honest to your product. There are certain costs I will cover including print materials and signage supporting the opening, food and drink costs and occasionally supplies and/or framing depending on the deal. A dealer should always be able to disclose what pieces have sold and for what amount during the duration of a contract. They should also be able to relinquish your pieces when you request them, if, this was part of your contract as well. 

As the artist you also have responsibilities to deliver the caliber and number of works discussed, on time. They can't be owned by anyone else, unless they're on loan for a show with explicit understanding by all parties. Requests (whether it be for supplies, framing, extensions, what ever it may be) should be asked for in advance when possible. 

In terms of the submission process itself, following directions is of utmost importance. We (curators, dealers, gallerists) sift through dozens of submissions weekly and standardizing the process makes us able to consume images and keep track more easily. I recommend hiring or swapping with a photographer to take the best lit photographs possible against blank, unfussy backgrounds. I've received CVs and resumes in Word, text and jpeg formats but PDF ensures things don't get scrambled and look how you intended them to when you sent them off. 

And as you may have guessed, salability is keyBecause our exhibiting venture is still in its budding stages (our first show and panel discussion was only two weeks ago, selling five out of nine works), we're testing the waters to see what people will buy and whether sales will come via online and phone. But we're hopeful our expertise will drive people to buy in-person over what the internet has offered the last couple decades, much like the craft beer movement is sweeping big grocery store staples. There's nothing like seeing a piece in person (which is why I schedule studio visits when I can), so I'm hoping to capture the group that would normally purchase on Etsy or a reproduction from a site. 

Dennis Jones

Dennis Jones

I'm also keeping in mind what's easily consumable for a first time art buyer, a corporate collection, a longtime collector. Each show will test out a different price point as I'd like most people that enjoy art to be able to add something to their collection while seasoned buyers will be challenged with contemporary art that's not just "decorative" but authentic and well-executed

Finally, it's true. It does come down to what I like — what I find interesting, engaging, challenging. When I look at a submission, I have to believe there is a journey of longevity and collaboration. I'm a proponent for the arts and therefore, a fighter for the artist. 

Even though the submission season has ended, please don't hesitate to ask if you ever have a question.  The images in this post are a few of the artist submissions I've accumulated over the last two months. Enjoy. 

 

Comment

Comment

Partnering with Ann Arbor Art Center

Back in 1999, I transferred to the University of Michigan School of Art & Design, after conceding to the fact that I wasn't "cutthroat" enough to handle fashion at SAIC. I was feeling a little glum about the whole thing. But Ann Arbor Art Center paved the way for my art career in many ways that Fall. 

I started working as an intern in the Office of Education with an incredible group of people, many of which I still consider dear friends today. First, I learned how to manage a supply closet and move easels and tables and chairs around. Then I was given the responsibility of calling models for life drawing class and brainstorming for fun, new classes for kids. From there my administrative responsibilities sprouted into running quick workshops, then birthday parties and ultimately, classes in painting, drawing and ceramics (clay on the wheel). Over five years, not only did my understanding of art education and administration grow, but I also learned an invaluable lesson about myself. I was meant to do this! 

Now, 15 years later I'm back and equipped with knowledge and excitement in being able to help with this priceless organization. 

As the third oldest arts organization in Michigan (it even precedes UM's academic arts program), it serves thousands of children and adults annually with classes, events, outreach, exhibition opportunities and more. Recently, our friend Omari Rush mentioned partnering on a consulting basis. As Director of Public Programs, his role is to find and place resources advantageous not only for the Center but for the arts community as a whole. 

The Center receives requests regularly for art consulting and buying. And now I'll be the person to execute those requests! I'll handle private and corporate consulting issues including acquisition, assessments (and some appraisals in my field of specialty, American impressionism and modernism), selling, framing, maintenance and studio visits. Our foremost priority is to endorse and draw from the wealth of local artists. 

I have a lot of familiarizing to do and I can't wait to do it. Beyond that, clients can request research on art outside of the area, but we're going to strive to sell local first.

And now comes the best part — I'm asking that if you have an art consulting request, you call the Center for a referral. Why? Because every one originating from them will result in a portion of proceeds going straight to them. I love being back in the area and I see this as a wonderful way to return the generosity of knowledge the Center equipped me with years ago. 

If you're looking to finally choose a piece for the foyer, start a collection or build upon an existing one, I urge you to call the Ann Arbor Art Center at 734-994-8004 and they'll send you my way. 

Thank you!

 

Comment

Comment

Big {Art} Announcement



Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a safe and memorable celebration to ring in 2015. 

We are excited to announce that we'll be exhibiting artists starting this March! While showing work in the new space seemed like a natural progression for us, we didn't prioritize it when we found the studio, simply because we weren't sure of how we would formalize what kind of gallery we would be and what type of art we would show. And then we realized, there are so few venues for consuming retail art in the area, we couldn't shy away from something we love doing and are good at. 

Here's the roster of artists for 2015.

We met Jermaine Dickerson as the resident graphic designer for a campus office at Eastern Michigan University. His style is steeped in realism, anatomical accuracy and suspension of reality as he delves into worlds of superhero status. I was immediately drawn to his meticulous linework and it didn't take us long to ask Jermaine to be the first artist to exhibit. As an emerging artist with an infectious laugh, we see unmistakable promise in Jermaine's work ethic and talent. You can see some of his digital design skills on his website and follow more of his projects (and the occasional still life) here on Facebook

Stan Malinowski has been a friend and mentor to Nick ever since we lived in Chicago. They had a collaborative show in 2008 and he's shared a wealth of his experiences in the fashion photography world. Starting in the '50s at Playboy, Stan moved on to fashion magazines in world markets, working with the likes of Anna Wintour, Christie Brinkley, Gia Carangi, Iman and many more. Stan is the preeminent perfectionist (and superb dinner mate), overseeing every process of his prints and negatives. We plan to show a carefully chosen group of photographs from a 20 year span, 1970-1990. This is a show of works exclusive to us and we're very proud of this.

Woon Sein Chin is my dad. He studied fine art in Taiwan during the '70s right before he emigrated to the States. While he and my mother worked odd jobs to make a living, he has never stopped painting. In 2011, he started working at the Museum of Contemporary Art in security and is surrounded by the artists that have inspired him over the years, Bacon, Matisse, Picasso. Last year, he was invited to show his works in the 3rd floor gallery of the MCA. His style is steeped in expressionism, with broad, electric strokes of oil and we'll be showing works on paper and canvas.

I met Megan Williamson when she visited Madron Gallery (where I served as director) on the recommendation of friend. It turns out the artists we had hanging on the wall (American greats such as Reginald Marsh, William Glackens, Frederick Frieseke), were the influences to her influence, Nic Coronas. I had never met anyone that knew so many of the styles and artists so intimately. We've been friends and collaborators since. Megan's canvases are constructed of elements that play upon each other and rely on how our eyes interpret those intersections of color and shape. During our weekly conversations, we talk about possibilities, ideas, dreams (a few shared on her Facebook page). It is our pleasure to show a series of Megan's still lifes and landscapes.

While perusing the various holiday fairs last month, I stumbled across an intriguing piece by Jessica Tenbusch (image above). Made of bone, copper and a method of hand hammering metal called repousse, I was immediately drawn to the perfect execution of her precious, organic pieces. Using only animals and parts found deceased, her pieces are are multi-step processes in experimentation. When I met her during the bustling DIYpsi fair, she was gracious and humble and I had to collaborate with her. We will show a new series of her fine art objects next Fall but you can admire and shop from her Etsy shop, Equilibria in the meanwhile. 

I'll have more information about each exhibition each month before. We can't wait to share our vision of fine art, design and photography with you. Happiness and health to you in 2015. 


Artist Submission Process (accepted January through March 2015)   

Chin-Azzaro is committed to a high standard of marketing, publicity and exhibition practices. With our years of experience in the fine art retail world, we strive to offer a breadth of high quality works to our audience. If you are interested in submitting your work for consideration, please send the following in a zipped folder titled with your name. 

1. CV and/or resume

11. 6-10 images of your work 

111. Artist statement (previous statement acceptable)

1111. Optional: website address, social networking links, references

Please send to: info@chin-azzaro.com and allow 2-3 weeks for a formal response. 

Incomplete submissions will not be considered. Thank you!



Comment

Comment

November 2014

In the interest of saving time and filling everyone in on the things we have coming up, I'm loading our last e-blast content here. Enjoy! 


Hello! This is the first e-mail we've sent to this lovely list of people since opening our studio. As many of you know, we had the fortune of stumbling upon a perfect little storefront in downtown Ypsilanti about seven weeks ago. Yes, just seven weeks ago! 

It has an open storefront space (for photographing), an office (for art and design consulting) and dressing room/dining nook. We snatched it up and never looked back. 

And since then, some incredible things have happened. 

  1. We attended our first First Fridays Ypsilanti just earlier this month, a circuit of venues with music, art, food, happenings on the first Friday of each tolerable un-wintery month. (There's a short break after the upcoming December 5th event). You grab a map and check out all the cool places that are hosting exhibits and offering specials. It's unique, surprising and wonderful fun for the family.
  2. Our studio opened on 11/11! Even though we're not a retail space selling wares, it was a bit of a hectic day - little sleep and lots of anxiety - about all good things! It seems the years of accumulating furniture were for this space. We just didn't know it. 9 S. Washington is a pretty sweet little spot on a corridor of downtown Ypsi that seems to literally be activating (as someone called it) day by day right before our very eyes. 
  3. On 11/20, three days after we photographed this set up, it was featured in the digital version of the New York Times. In the print version there are both styled photos we took for Skandicrush, this wonderful subscription service that sends monthly boxes filled with beautiful home wares. We're so lucky to be partnered with talented entrepreneurs with such vision. 
  4. That same night we celebrated our opening with friends and locals. It was a riot. Some of the photos can be found on our Facebook page.
  5. Nick has been really involved with Ypsilanti families and students over the last year. He worked on a photography assignment that allowed him to capture almost every family in a housing community and it moved everyone involved. That's how we came up with the idea to offer $10 Holiday Family Portraits on 11/29 Small Business Saturday. There's no reason a family shouldn't have a professional photo. We want to make these important things accessible and fun for everyone. Spread the word and the cheer! Come in with friends, family, students, colleagues...or just by yourself. All the details are here. (Pompom backdrop included)
  6. Once again, we are so excited to support Art Around Town, the business enterprise benefitting participating Ypsilanti Public School art programming. We'll be selling art through preview sales on:
  • First Fridays, Dec. 5th from 5-9 pm **We'll also be offering $20 holiday portraits that evening!**
  • Auction preview and art sale on Friday, Dec. 12th from 5-9 pm
  • Winter Auction on Saturday, Dec. 13th from 6-9 pm. Prints, paintings and sculpture will be sale and we play auctioneer! Bring the family and battle over works of art!

We didn't know what we were missing until we had the studio. Now that we do, we're thrilled to share our ideas, aesthetics and fun times with all of you. You're always welcome here. 

Be well and have a very Happy Thanksgiving! 
Best,
Yen and Nick Azzaro

Comment

Comment

Moved In, Jumping In, Upcoming Events

Wow. We just ended the second day in the studio and we are just dumbfounded by the support and love we've felt from the community and our friends. It's incredible. 

Some of the highlights so far include:

  • Watching people look in the window and turn away, running away quickly when we offer to show them around. 
  • Our awesome landlord, Hedger stopped by and told us he really likes our style. We like your style too, Hedger.
  • Friends popped in and had their portraits taken. 
  • We finally got a tablecloth for the dressing room/kitchen area and cleaned off all the doodads that were hanging out there. And Nick installed a wavy mirror.

And over the last couple days we also agreed to the following events.

We brainstormed last night to participate in our first Small Business Saturday but more specifically #ShopYpsi on Saturday, Nov. 29th to offer $10 portraits to families. We'll blame this on sleep deprivation, yes.

Nick believes that every family deserves a professional holiday portrait and he loves working with kids. 

First Fridays Ypsi is a fun-filled evening with sales and special events and exhibits all around town. We'll participate at our first one on Friday, Dec. 5th with prints from Art Around Town.

We're partnering with Art Around Town again for the Winter Auction, which I'll be auctioneering on Saturday, Dec. 13th from 6-9 pm. (It's the same day at Tiny Expo but we're happy to miss it  to support Ypsi public school arts). 

It's a lot of dates and logistics but this is truly what we've been working toward all these years. The furniture in the waiting area (which we had been hoarding and keeping in the storage unit) proves it. 

We hope that you'll stop in and visit us any time. We're so excited to be a part of the growing Ypsi community and taking the world by storm. 

Comment

Comment

Press Releases and Publicity: How You Can Get Some

One of the most valuable lessons I learned (or rather, taught myself) during my years at the gallery, was how to garner press and publicity. Since the internet has vastly changed how media is consumed, an article is golden because it lingers, ready to be shared with your audience at the push of a button.

Here are just a few samples of articles printed as a result of press releases I wrote and distributed as well as a published article I wrote for Antiques & Fine Art Magazine. Because publicity builds the idea of "good faith" in a consumer's mind versus ads that are bought, they generally bring more traffic and more sales to our clients, making them a valuable asset to any company. 

A review of an art exhibition in New City Chicago

A review of an art exhibition in New City Chicago

Green family salon zoey + joey in Ann Arbor News

Green family salon zoey + joey in Ann Arbor News

Social enterprise Art Around Town in Ypsilanti Courier

Social enterprise Art Around Town in Ypsilanti Courier

Bronston's Bitchin' Bronzer in Natural Awakenings Magazine

Published feature article on Chicago modernist William Scwhartz, written by Yen Azzaro

Published feature article on Chicago modernist William Scwhartz, written by Yen Azzaro

We've helped various types of small businesses including retail, service, galleries and products get great coverage. If you've been wondering how to get some press, give us a call at 734-929-2498 or email us here

Comment

Comment

Sold! | Playing Auctioneer at Art Around Town

I just found out that I get to be the auctioneer during the Art Around Town Art Auction on May 3rd! (I've worked the phone lines, calling bidders and intaking their bids, previewed shows and bid on pieces for work). I love auction culture. The competition and buzz of excitement as bids fly back and forth is unnerving, especially when you know a dealer is bidding for someone else. You never know how high something can go for when you present an item. 

For Art Around Town, we want everyone to have a fair chance to buy student pieces. The success of the event not only rests on the dollars raised, but the awareness we bring to the community about this invaluable program. 

Anyone that's ever been interested in attending an auction should definitely not be afraid to. This will be a fun and casual (but hopefully competitive) event. I'll name a starting bid and price increments will go up by $2 to $20 and up depending on the interest in each piece. I'll follow the rhythm of bids and close pieces as soon as we hit a lull of a few seconds. 

For the next two weeks I'll be sharing tips on how to bid and everything auction related. Here's a cheat sheet I created to help you get started. Good luck and I hope to see you on the 3rd!



Comment

Comment

Food Cart Deliciousness at XDelica Dumplings

We had the pleasure of meeting Sean and Leeann a few weeks ago to talk about food photos and drawings of one of my favorite things to eat in the whole entire world — dumplings. With fillings like beef with potato curry and even cheese, things at Mark's Carts food courtyard just got even more enticing. 

My dumpling illustration will be used for their logo and branding.

My dumpling illustration will be used for their logo and branding.

XDelica Dumplings is all about quick, handmade and top quality ingredients coupled with delicious sides like pickled salads, sweet sausage and seasonal soups.

Tomorrow's opening day and we can't wait to try their daily combo or any of the rotating dumpling specials. Hope you're hungry because this is the first dumpling joint in the area and we're certain it's going to knock your socks off!

Comment

Comment

Bright Lights, Big City: Tips for the Artist Making the Move

Moving to the City has been a popular topic around here lately. I just met with a student a couple days ago pondering whether to move to NYC, Chicago or stay put. And our friend and artist Bernadette Witzak* just moved to Chicago last week. We're really excited for our friends in this position because after finishing a degree, moving to the City seems like the next logical step for any creative person. Nick and I did it ten years ago.

We landed in Chicago with no jobs, a couple personal connections and separate studio apartments in the same building overlooking the Lake. Fast forward seven years and we both had successful careers in the fields we went to school for, we were married, and living in a mid-rise apartment in Wicker Park. It wasn't always a direct route, but our path to finding the jobs we did were ultimately a lot of luck and even more elbow grease. Here are a few basic things to keep in mind as an artist/designer/photographer/curator/creative hopeful when you're making the jump from school and/or smaller town to career and/or big city.

BigCity.png

*Bernadette, being the catch that she is, started in Exhibitions at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Congrats! 

Comment

1 Comment

Why the Selling of Pieces From the DIA's Collection Might Not Be the Worst Thing After All

The threat of pieces from the Detroit Institute of Arts being sold off popped up in the news again today. I've been stewing over my professional response for a few months. (I used to curate exhibitions and deal American works of art — artists like Alexander Calder, William Merritt Chase, Mary Cassatt with "mid level" price points, $30,000-500,000. One of my previous clients is a well-known collector and avid supporter and lender to the DIA).

When asked, I gave my personal response. Personally, I was adamantly against it. It seemed like a cop out to commodify our regional treasures. Like many in the art community, and particularly those of us that have visited the DIA and relish memories and works from the collection, I was vehemently against this ghastly idea. At first. 

Now don't get me wrong. I still think it's terribly sad and agree with the Museum that it may have a detrimental effect on Detroit's daily and longterm economy but there are a few silver linings, at least from an art world standpoint. Here are a few reasons why.

WE DON'T GET TO SEE MOST OF IT ANYWAY. Museums are fancy storage facilities with exact humidity and temperature control. Some things they show, the majority they do not. They simply can't. During conversations with colleagues in the industry, I've heard estimates that the Art Institute of Chicago shows less than a quarter of its collection. The DIA has 66,000 of which 35,000 are said to be owned by the city and being evaluated for condition and appraised by Christie's. I don't know exactly how much of their collection but we are indeed missing the bulk of it when we visit. 

THESE ART WORKS WILL GET THEIR DUE SPOTLIGHT. Auctions are the barometer of the art industry accounting for about 25% of the market. Even though only a minute percentage will ever dabble in multi-million dollar bidding wars, when auctions do well, the trickle down effect for the art industry is a good one. It's estimated that in 2012, the art industry did $64 billion

If and when the DIA's paintings, sculptures, drawings and objects go to auction they're going to be waltzed across a global stage. Every collector that will potentially ever want that piece is going to be watching and that's just what those pieces deserve.

AND, WAR PUMPS UP SALES FOR ARTISTS. EVEN FOR US LITTLE GUYS DOWN HERE. Let's look at an example. Maybe twenty people in the world that collect art want this triptych:

Francis Bacon,  Three Studies of Lucian Freud 1969 (Christie's.com)

Francis Bacon, Three Studies of Lucian Freud 1969 (Christie's.com)

But only seven* of them can afford it. Five of them have capped themselves. That leaves two bidders (on the phone, have a dealer bidding for them on the phone, are sitting on the internet or waving their paddle wildly in the crowd) to fight over it. That's how much a painting is ever worth - how ever high two people with an agenda are willing to go. 

When people start to read about art being used as a commodity, our ears can't help but perk up and we start to take more interest. People start to notice their blank walls, think about acquiring art at the next fair, see themselves joining the exclusive club. Being a "collector" is a status symbol and we all want to be a part of it. With the sale of DIA works, we're going to think twice about taking our public collections for granted. Or so the recent media attention says.

*There were indeed seven battling bidders that pushed the Francis Bacon to break the record for any piece ever sold, ending at $142.4 million at Christie's earlier this month (this includes the 12% buyer's fee).

YOU (OR YOUR GRANDKIDS) WILL SEE THE WORKS AGAIN. AT ANOTHER MUSEUM. Museum-goers (aka common folk like me) sometimes complain that when things are bought privately, we never get to see prized works ever again. Recently, certain tax laws have made it less savory to donors to bequeath their paintings, but there are and will always be collectors that want to leave a legacy. And because art is cyclical in nature (i.e. genres come in and out of vogue, estates unearth works of art to be auctioned off or bequeathed to museums, children sell their parents' collections, curators thrust exhibits into the limelight requiring loans of works from private collections) it's likely your favorite DIA piece will one day see the light of day, at a museum, again.

GOING BACK TO START. I don't like the idea of pieces being sold because they have to be either. I love the feeling of going to the DIA. I don't even have to look at any one work for a long amount of time, I just like to breathe in the atmosphere of the American wing and odors of oil. I just have to remember and keep telling myself, the DIA won't go away and the sale of many pieces would be a PR boon (albeit another sad one) for Detroit. I've decided to look at this like everything else that involves the impending bankruptcy, brazen upstarts and savvy entrepreneurs — this could be an opportunity for the Museum to garner new art, new donors, a fresh start.

1 Comment