Friday, March 09, 2007

Global Dialog

There was a time, not too long ago, when talking about the "art world" would raise eyebrows and provoke the questioning of "which 'art world'"? But as easier travel, the Internets, the continuing blurring of "insider" and "outsider," and simply the increased international interactions brought about by globalization have truly begun to blend the previously separate worlds into one, there's an emerging need to discuss the "art world" from a more global perspective. If you read the glossy art magazines, you'll have noticed an increase in the number of reviews from places outside New York over the past few years (that doesn't necessarily thrill me, mind you, but alas...), but where can you turn for up-to-the-minute, indepth, international insights into the nitty, gritty workings of this consolidating blob of worlds?

One place is the new multi-authored blog, Artworld Salon. Founded by Marc Spiegler, a Franco-American journalist based in Zurich; Ian Charles Stewart, a media entrepreneur and investor based in Beijing; and András Szántó, a Budapest-born sociologist and journalist based in New York, it offers a truly global perspective by three very well-informed writers.

I was flattered to be invited to be among the commenters on the blog, and don't mind saying the dialog there is so smart I feel a bit intimidated, but I can't recommend it highly enough for those wanting to get a sense of the new worldwide "art world's" new worldwide issues. Recent topics have included, The Dubai Art Fair's "no-nudes" policy, The Zwirner vs. Huber controversy, Why countries that spend so much supporting their artists have such lousy art, and reports from places you probably didn't even know had art scenes.

The comments are currently limited to folks invited to participate, but with the founders' commitment to avoiding the sort of starf*cking and gossipy commentary that defines other that a slam at yours truly?? ;-) --- and a commitment to keeping the dialog truly international, it promises to be a trustworthy source of solid insight and analysis...a guidebook, if you will, to the rapidly growing global scene. And none too soon.

Labels: art criticism, global


Blogger George said...

Great post.

Artworld Salon in the type of multi-author blog I think can be viable as a destination read.

3/09/2007 10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous ml said...

Thanks for sharing a new site to read regularly.

3/09/2007 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous bambino said...

Thats a nice site, thanks

3/09/2007 11:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...


If I can't post on Artworld Salon, I hope it's ok to give you a reference that's relevant to a recent post over there, Zwirner vs Huber.

There is a recent book which was republished from a PhD thesis, called Talking Prices (2005), by Olav Velthuis (then at Erasums University, Rotterdam). It's not exactly a mystery novel, but it's highly fascinating. Velthuis gathered a lot of nice data and great anecdotes on the practices of art dealers in NYC, and also his native Holland.

His book's Chapter 3 descries the ways dealers try to control artists' prices, and protect them from auction houses. Here are some quotes from the Conclusion to that chapter. (They are direct quotes, to the best of my ability to transcribe them manually).

[...] art dealers have an interest in promoting careers of artists, rather than selling individual works of art; also, they seek to suppress the commodity character of a work of art.

[...] Art dealers interpret their own gallery prices differently, and attach moral connotations to them which emerge from the gallery's caring, protective role towards the artist. By contrast, auction prices are prices of the parasites, who are eager to make a quick profit.

[...] They [art dealers] do not use the price mechanism to sell the work to the highest bidder in case of excess demand, but ration the work by means of waiting lists instead. These waiting lists enable the dealer to decide who gets the works, and puts her in charge of the long-term price development of an artist's oeuvre. [...]

3/09/2007 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

Hi henry. I'm a big fan of Olav's book (Ed, didn't I mention it in a comment here a few months back?). I fact, Olav and I did back-to-back lectures on the theme "Art + Money" in Amsterdam about a year ago.

Thanks for pointing this out. If you send me an okay (marc(AT), I'll post it on our site, too.

3/09/2007 03:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Ok, let's not exaggerate,

this is not October magazine,
just another website about global market news that thinks of itself as being of higher quality or something to reserve its comments. But somewhere I learn more reading the "rubbish commentaries" on this blog.

One example:

It not not true that the art in countries with government-subsidized art programs is lousy. It is merely not ambitious on a commercial scale and not too trying to get "out there", but it's not like artists are doing decorative painting either.

Wasn;t it a norwegian artist that painted that iceberg in red a few years ago? That's the type of art they do in government-subsidized countries.

Call it weird, or improper for a presentation at Moma, but it's hardly lousy.


Cedric Caspesyan

3/09/2007 04:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Ok well, wrong example, maybe that was decorative painting..LOL

Cedric Caspesyan

3/09/2007 04:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many of my posts are informed by Olav's book and others.


3/09/2007 04:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Marc - If a pseudonym can even grant access to republish its writing in the first place, then I'll email soon. I hope I didn't hear about the book from you in the first place, then subsequently forget where I heard about it. Sorry if I did. Don't send a special prosecutor after me! ... I confess! ... I mean, I deny! ... I mean, I forget! ... Aaah!

3/09/2007 06:22:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Henry, thanks for the book recommendation. It looks really interesting. I added it to my Amazon list.

3/09/2007 07:18:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...


3/10/2007 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger rb said...

it's a wordy yucky spam, I just deleted the exact same one from another blog I admin that has nothing at all in common with this one so i don't think it's targeting E_ W

3/11/2007 01:51:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I've deleted it, but it kinds of seems to be a test of the 1000 monkeys with 1000 typewriters theory, no?

3/11/2007 04:12:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I'm not too worried about them writing the great American novel, but give those chimps paint brushes and we might be in for trouble.

3/12/2007 02:29:00 AM  
Blogger rb said...


3/12/2007 04:54:00 AM  
Anonymous <a href="">drShop</a> said...

WooW =)

8/02/2007 07:08:00 AM  

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