Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Gearing up and Guessing Games asked a well-rounded group of art world insiders (including Helen Allen, Melissa Chiu, Leigh Conner, Katelijne de Backer, Renato Danese, Zach Feuer, RoseLee Goldberg, Alexis Hubshman, Olga Korper, Marilyn Minter, Sundaram Tagore, and Ray Waterhouse) for their forecasts about the upcoming art season. I learned something from each of their answers and so, insatiable as my appetite for information is, I thought why stop with them? I want to know what you think as well.

Read their responses on and then let me know how you'd answer the following:
  1. What are you looking forward to in the coming season?
  2. What do you predict will be the year’s big trend?
  3. Who will be the new directors of the Guggenheim and the Met?
Without the benefit of too much reflection, I'd say

1. Realizing the three ambitious installations and wondrous hallway projects we're starting the season with: Yevgeniy Fiks, The Chadwicks, and (can't wait to see them again...they live so far away) Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev all have very large-scale and logistically challenging installations. In the project space, the astonishingly smart Shane Hope starts us off. And, because I'm far from the brightest bulb in the chandelier, there's a suicial amount of installation time between shows for the swap overs. So I'm also looking forward to the invention of a machine that can slow down time, at least every six weeks or so.

2. People slowing down enough to reflect and rediscover what attracted them to art in the first place. I'm already seeing it among collectors; longer conversations, much more interesting conversations. Loving to talk, as I do, this is another answer to question #1 for me.

3. I think there's something to the statement Glenn Lowry was quoted as saying in the Times today in discussing MoMA's choice of Ann Temkin to succeed John Elderfield as their chief curator of painting and sculpture: "Sometimes you have to look way outside to realize what you have within." Indeed, hand-in-hand with my answer to question #2, I think the habit of flying candidates from all over the globe just to realize their visions are not that in sync with your mission (which is, for at least one of those institutions, just fine as it is) in order to surprise everyone with some attention-grabbing, but ultimately disappointing Sarah-Palin-like choice will reveal itself as less attractive than considering that if it ain't broke, that's possibly because the folks already helping to run it are good at their jobs. Having said that, though, I won't speculate any further.

Over to you...

Labels: art season


Blogger George said...

The Party's Over things are about to get interesting.

9/03/2008 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger Donna Dodson said...

1. I would have said Jim Nutt at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago but that's been moved to Winter 2011. So I'll say Donna Dodson and Charlanne Kallay at Providence Art Windows this fall- for more info, visit

2. Collaborations and ephemeral works of art.

3. I think the Met needs someone like Alfred Barnes to shake up their collections a bit and get people excited about looking at art within the context of the history of art- Whoever leads the Guggenheim needs to present shows of artists we havent seen again and again- like Jared French, Remedios Varo or John Wilde.

9/03/2008 09:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. I'm looking forward to a correction in the market to be quite honest. Money has ruined everything.

2. This year's big trend will be an embrace of the mid-career artist. Witness Mary Heilman, Joyce Pensato and Troy Brauntach's might returns.

3. The Goog needs James Elaine. The Met could use Malcom Rogers.

9/03/2008 05:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:30,

I like your thinking--i.e. that this year's big trend will be an embrace of the mid-career artist. Given that mid-career artists are baby boomers, and baby boomers are the biggest bump in the demographic log, it makes sense that we should be embraced not for just the next year but for the next decade. And let's see to it that women at midcareer are embraced more fully than previously.

Love Mary Heilman! Looking forward to that show. How about a career retrospective for Petah Coyne, too?

That said, I'm also looking forward to the Giorgio Morandi exhibition at the Met.

As for Ann Temkin getting the top spot at MoMA, I sure hope she does better in the future than she did with the Color Chart show, in which 80% of the artists exhibited were of the penile persuasion.

9/03/2008 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Balhatain said...

1. Me
2. Me
3. Me

:P Seriously, I'll have to think about these questions.

9/04/2008 12:16:00 AM  
Blogger kalm james said...

I’m personally looking forward to a more compassionate and loving art world. An art world where people realize they’re part of a much wider community, a delicate and vulnerable enclave of likeminded individuals who will put their own ambitions on the back burners, transcend their petty squabbles and backstabbing and band together to promote and support the very best in current art production for the benefit of pure aesthetics and humanity as a whole.

Trends? I agree with above annons who select “midcareer” artists as the next hot market. For the last seven, eight years, we’ve been treated to a non-stop parade of grad school prodigies and baby geniuses who have one, maybe two shows worth seeing, then slip into self parody and a petrified “style” that immediately goes out of fashion, burn-outs at 28.

But lets be honest, the above mentioned artists are a bit beyond “midcareer” they’re proud “geezers”

From recent safaris to the edge I’d also nominate “performance art” as a potential practice that seems to be gaining some prominence at the margins.

Speculation on museum staffing is beyond my pay-grade, but the decision to promote Ann Temkin (not that she isn’t qualified) from within, smacks of “cronyism” and seems to me to exemplify the notion of “institutional self perpetuation”, with little thought to widening the audience. Is this change we can believe in? Are they using the Museum to promote their careers, or using their careers to promote the Museum? Are they embracing the new millennium by becoming more entrenched in the “old boy network”, sticking with “safe” choices rather than looking for someone who will truly change the paradigm?

Enough about me, lets talk about you. What do you think about me?

9/04/2008 09:44:00 AM  
OpenID deborahfisher said...

I'll play...

The relationship between collecting art and the stock market will become less of an issue.

This will create market shrinkage, but it will also change the nature of buying art for many collectors.

I think many collectors will stop looking to quantitative data (ie, youth) and stop thinking in terms of following trends and speculation about the secondary market.

(or, more likely, the collectors who think like this are going to take a total bath on Wall Street, and simply won't have a budget for new art purchases...)

Value investors come out of the woodwork when the stock market dips, and value investors have a much deeper relationship to their picks than other investors do. They often work within a sector that they really know well and are passionate about, and make decisions based on exhaustive research of the entire company rather than following trends.

I think we'll start to see more value collectors who have a more specific focus, a more intense interest, and a desire to look at an artist's entire career arc and find and express intrinsic meaning, or value.

Value investing is a fairly rich intellectual exercise that entails a good amount of knowledge, patience with research, common sense and a willingness to go against conventional wisdom. Because collecting art is a more social practice than buying stock, value collectors will probably put higher intellectual standards on gallerists, curators and museums. This could mean some cool intellectual growth, riskier artists and riskier work, and will probably signal the end of the poorly-written artist's statement and press release.

(or I could just be wishing here...)

Art criticism could become much, much more important, as value collectors reach out for tools that assess qualitative worth.

I think that the curators, gallerists and arts administrators who survive this shift will be intellectually curious; willing make value judgments about art; able to understand the curious relationship between a work of art's monetary value and its intrinsic value; and willing to expand their interest to include collectors and patrons as intellectuals in their own right.

I think a lot of administrators/gallerists/curators will adapt to the value collector paradigm. It takes a lot of smart people to create a qualitative consensus about a market full of art. And each one of those opinions is going to have to be really well fleshed-out. But they will make a lot less money.

I think that many, many fewer artists are going to survive, and that it's going to take a lot more effort to break in to the game. It's not just going to be Who You Know anymore, because gatekeepers are going to have much more riding on their reputations as Arbiters of Value.

Mid-career artists have an edge in this system: they have a career arc that can be researched, thought about, and folded into one's own pesonal philosophy or whatever.

9/05/2008 02:21:00 PM  

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