Box Score Greatest Hits / El Tefo no tiene mercado

nota: No es un comeback del Box, solo una reafirmación.


Y la seguimos pegando...(para los que decian que el Box era un blog de chismes)....jeje!

Tefo no vende en subasta y el Box, una vez más, lo predijo y advirtió. Será que ya ni los truqueros de la isla tienen chavos para hacer trucos en subastas? mmmmmmmm? Dónde estará Tío ahora? oooops..pregunatle a la AICA-PR. Mira que sencillo es:

1. resulevan los chismes internos con el state de Tefo; 2. escondan la obra por 10 años; 3. Traten de encontrar un curador Latinoamericano reconocido que se enamore de la obra, recontextualize el Tefo y le haga una expo retro; 4. Traten de borrar toda esa historia de cuentos y ensayos del artista bohemio escritos por la Cultureta y hagan una película de la vida y obra de Tefo;5. Dejen de bregar con amateurs y dealers fatulos.
*************************************************************************************

No se vende el “Fefo” de Tufiño
La pieza no alcanzó el límite de $18 mil estipulado por su dueño para iniciar la puja en Sotheby’s.


Por Tatiana Pérez Rivera / tperez@elnuevodia.com

“Fefo”, obra de Rafael Tufiño pautada para subasta en la segunda sesión de la Subasta de Arte Latinoamericano que tuvo lugar ayer en la sede neoyorquina de la casa Sotheby’s, no logró venderse.

La puja estaba estimada para iniciar en $18 mil.
La casa subastadora informó que la pieza no alcanzó la cantidad mínima para entrar a subasta y por consiguiente no se vendió. La identidad del dueño de “Fefo” no fue revelada por Sotheby’s. Este tipo de dato suele mantenerse en el anonimato.

Ejecutada sobre canvas y firmada por su autor en 1967, la pieza es protagonizada por un gato. Una fuente anónima que tuvo acceso a la obra en Sotheby’s semanas previas a la subasta que inició el jueves informó que la misma estaba en buenas condiciones y que era “un buen Tufiño”.
“El valor de la obra de papi está por encima de todo eso”, dijo ayer Pablo Tufiño, hijo del pintor fallecido a principios de este año. “Yo no lo veo así en términos de dinero, porque papi era un artista nacional. Si no se vendió es porque alguien no dio el dinero que se pedía o por otras cosas del mercado. El hecho de que esté ahí en Sotheby’s es porque se lo merece”, añadió.
Cabe señalar que en el 1997 en Sotheby’s se subastó la pieza “Rosa con gato”, realizada por Tufiño en 1963, por la cantidad de $20,700.



--------------------------------------------------------------------

Aquí el post original del Box:

El Día me esta sorprendiendo en estas semanas con su interés por Tefo. Será que alguno de los Ferré quiere salir de su colección de Tefos o que quiere invertir en Tefos? Ya están los vendedores de arte secundario de la isla salivando. Lamentablemente el Día se les adelantó. No van a poder vender Tefos a sobreprecio. Porqué? Tal y como aclara el artículo, (buenísimo by the way de Cynthia López), Tefo no tiene mercado fuera de la isla. El valor estético de su obra no sube con el aprecio que le teniamos ni con su muerte. El ser un artista bohemio y buena gente con 'to el mundo en la calle no lo convierte en un genio. Mucho menos ayuda a la causa que la Teresa Tió este promulgando tanto disparate sobre su arte-en realidad el arte en general.

Finalmente se destapa la olla de grillos: Fama regional no es sinónimo de relevancia artística en el mercado del arte internacional.

Cómo es posible que la obra de Tefo se venda igual que la de un artista jóven reconocido como José Lerma ?... a $30,000...mientras el Museo de Bayamón paga más de $50,000 por el trabajo de Augusto Marín? Nada de esto hace sentido. Porqué? Por años amateurs les tomaron el pelo, no fueron solo los especuladores sino galeristas, museos de mentira y pseudo curadores. Y la prensa querida nuestra, que ahora trata de curarse en salud, publicando cuanta información les parecia bonita y grandielocuente, (aceptando regalos or debajo de la mesa como ofrendas), para llenar páginas de especulaciones y mentiras piadosas exageredas... sin investigar, sin cuestionar.

Y como es posible que hasta el día de hoy no se tenga un inventario de la obra del Tefo? Inepetitud o ignorancia? Por favor, ya empezamos otra vez con más mentiras?

Poco a poco los especuladores del arte serán destapados. Cuidado con los qye traten de vender algún Tefo por debajo de la mesa porque no sabemos de donde salió
************************************************************************************
y el artículo en el Día:


Incierto el valor de la obra de Rafael Tufiño
El patrimonio pictórico del “Tefo” comienza a ser objeto de especulaciones.
Por Cynthia López Cabán / cynthia.lopez@elnuevodia.com

¿Aumenta de valor una obra de arte cuando su autor muere? Sí, pero ese incremento no sigue un método o una fórmula automática.

La galerista Judith Nieves Lacomba y Marisol Nieves, subdirectora del departamento de arte latinoamericano de Sotheby's explicaron a El Nuevo Día Domingo que la subida obedece a la paralización en la producción de los trabajos que supone el deceso del artista. También se toma en cuenta la calidad de la obra y su exposición. Precisamente éstos son los elementos que se comenzarán a sopesar ahora respecto de la obra del maestro puertorriqueño Rafael Tufiño, muerto la semana pasada a los 86 años.

Judith Nieves, dueña de la Galería Prinaldi y representante de Tufiño, anticipó que el precio en el mercado isleño subirá antes que a nivel internacional. Esto sucede por varias razones. El trabajo del Tefo -como se le conocía al pintor- se conoce mejor en su tierra.
“Pese a que tuvo presencia en Nueva York, fue mayormente en la comunidad puertorriqueña. No se desplazó más allá de esa comunidad y su obra está muy temáticamente vinculada a la cultura de la Isla. Eso limita el potencial de crossover”, apuntó la ejecutiva de Sotheby's en entrevista desde su oficina en Nueva York.

Además su participación en subastas fuera de la Isla fue escasa. No aparece en el registro de Christie's y en Sotheby's, sólo logró vender cuatro cuadros entre 1997 y el 2006. Los óleos subastados son Mujer con gato, Los alegres de Hato Tejas, Retrato de Carlos Raquel Rivera y Rosa con gato. Los precios oscilaron entre $20,700 y $36,800.

El último cuadro, Tefo, pintado en 1967, se presentó hace dos años y no se vendió. Pertenece a un coleccionista privado. Sotheby's lo volverá a presentar en su subasta de mayo, fecha que se escogió antes de la muerte del pintor.
El pintor del pueblo

Marisol Nieves también enfatizó que no se puede confundir el precio que el mercado adjudica a una obra y su valor artístico y estético.

“Tufiño es un artista muy querido y muy importante dentro de la historia del arte de Puerto Rico”, afirmó.
La curadora de la exposición retrospectiva “Rafael Tufiño: Pintor del Pueblo”, Teresa Tió subrayó que su obra se distingue por su búsqueda de lo puertorriqueño.
“Él toca la raíz de lo que la gente siente que es”, apuntó la ex directora del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (ICP).

“Esa exploración no se queda ahí, es tan genuina y profunda que trasciende lo inmediato, lo emocionalista. Es un verdadero artista cuyo lenguaje puede tocar a cualquier persona”, agregó.
Tió no pudo precisar la cantidad de piezas que Tufiño creó a lo largo de su vida porque no existe un inventario o catálogo razonado de su patrimonio. Estimó que pueden existir entre 200 a 300 pinturas y unos 300 carteles. La cantidad de dibujos es “ilimitada” porque Tufiño cargó su libreta y sus lápices a todas partes.

A falta de un inventario, tampoco se puede estimar el valor total de la obra de Tufiño. El ICP tasó hace varios años su colección, que incluye 13 pinturas, pero se negó a ofrecer la información amparándose en una política interna. Esta colección contiene algunos de los trabajos más importantes de Tufiño como los óleos: Goyita, un homenaje a su madre, Nitza, en honor a su hija; Ramón Emeterio Betances y el mural Las plenas, que se encuentra en el Centro de Bellas Artes. La Goyita, una pintura del 1953, es una pieza clave en la obra Tufiño. Este retrato de su madre representa la típica mujer caribeña acostumbrada a trabajar duro y a enfrentar con entereza las dificultades económicas de su época.

Otras piezas se encuentran en colecciones privadas, en el Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, en el Museo de Arte de Ponce y el Museo Metropolitano de Nueva York, entre otros.
Pero una idea del valor actual de algunas de sus piezas se obtiene mirando la obra de Tufiño en la Galería Prinaldi. La colección, cuyo 80% pertenecía a Tufiño, tiene piezas que oscilan entre $2,000 a $30,000.
Congelada la venta

Por ahora, las obras del pintor no se pueden vender hasta que se aclare la nueva titularidad de las piezas. La galerista desconoce si existe un testamento y aguarda por una reunión con los cinco hijos para discutir este asunto y los nuevos precios. El otro 20% de la colección, que le pertenece a ella y otros coleccionistas, sí puede ser vendida.

También queda pendiente en el Tribunal Federal un pleito que Tufiño radicó contra su hija Nitza para que ésta le devolviera 136 piezas que integraban la exhibición retrospectiva “Rafael Tufiño: Pintor del Pueblo”.
La pregunta que queda rondando en el aire es por qué Tufiño vivió de forma modesta y necesitó la ayuda de amigos para cubrir sus gastos médicos si contaba con un gran patrimonio pictórico. Tal vez el mercado entregue más pistas al respecto en los próximos meses.

Premios de la AICA-PR (preguntas sin respuestas)


Premios AICA-PR 2008: Un Fiasco




Petra Barreras trata de defender la ausencia de la AICA-PR 
en el foro: Existe la Crítica de Arte en Puerto Rico?: Sí Existe!
en el Sagrado Corazón '07


Mario Alegre se defiende acusaciones de amiguismos, 
agendas y payola en El Nuevo Día.


************************************************************************************

Listado de premios AICA-PR 2008

Categoría Nominados

Dedicatoria Allora y Calzadilla, a cargo de Haydee
In Memoriam John Balossi, a cargo de
Rafael Tufiño, a cargo de T. Tió
Omar Quiñones, a cargo
Rosita Hauessler, a cargo de Myrna Rodríguez

Reconocimiento Especial
Retrospectivas de Noemí Ruiz y Domingo García
EL caballo

1. Opera prima 
Patrick McGrath ** Premio
Nominados: Nora Maité Nieves Michael Linares, Javier Olmeda

2. Mejor Exposición Individual
Martorell DF *** Premio
Nominados Elizam Escobar, Víctor Vázquez

3. Mejor Exposición de medios
Ada Bobonis*** Premio
Nominados Ralph Montañez Ortiz, Rigoberto Quintana

4. Mejor Exposición Del extranjero
David Schnell ***Premio
Nominadas: De Sur a Sur, Caricaturas españolas

5. Mejor Exposición de Puerto Rico en el exterior: Individual
Enoch Pérez*** Premio
Nominado: Melvin Martínez

6. Mejor Exposición de Puerto Rico en el exterior
Colectiva Estigma*** Premio
Nominada: Galería Comercial

7. Histórica Eduardo Vera *** Premio
Nominadas: Mi Puerto Rico, Frade

9. Libro de arte 
El caballo*** Premio
Nominado; Martorell, de Antonio Díaz Royo

10. Cartel 
Elizam Escobar *** Premio ¿¿Teatro Victoria Espinosa???
Nominados: Sambolín, Luis Alonso

11. Exposición colectiva
Trelles-Ordoñez *** Premio
Nominadas: Pulpo, Colección Chocolate Cortés, Colección Turismo,
Abstracto, Galería Cueto, La Colección, Galería Obra, Omix Factum

12. Catálogo Colección 
Chocolate Cortés *** Premio
Nominadas: Domingo García, Noemí Ruiz, Cooperativa Seguros
Múltiples, El Caballo

13. Fotografía 
Pablo Cambo*** Premio
Nominadas: Colores del olvido, Guillermo Real, , MAP, Rafael
Claudio Galería Primer Piso

14. Institución Pública Programa de Desarrollo Cultural
Municipio de Caguas Por “La Tierra vista desde el cielo” y
La Bienal de cemento

16. Cerámica 
Cristina Córdoba*** Premio, Galería Pamil
Nominadas: Margarita Marini, Agustín de Andino, Franklin
Graulau, Galería Petrus, REedo del Olmo

16. Escultura 
Jaime Suárez*** Bienal de Cemento y UPR Cayey
Nominados: José Campos, Adelino GHonzález, Carlos Vega
Guzmán

*************************************************************************************

Las dudas que tenemos todos...

¿Cómo se atreven a entregarse premios entre ellos mismos? ¿Cómo es que Teresa Tío encaja en la AICA-PR?  

¿Entregan premios sin laudo? ¿Sin justificación alguna? 

La expo de Michael Linares fue su segunda, no "opera prima." La de Patrick McGrath tampoco es la primera.

¿Qué es eso de "medios" y porque no puede competir Bobonis en la categoria de mejor exposición de año? 


¿El premio a mejor expo colectiva se lo dan a una de 2 personas, pero si "colectivo" implica a más de dos personas, es un grupo!? 


¿Mención especial a Noemi Ruiz? por una retrospectiva en la casa deMiyuca, su compañera de vida? 


¿Mejor exposición del extranjero a David Schnell en el MAP ? que politically incorrect...pero si la expo fué curada por Cheryl Hartup en el MAP... en Ponce! 

¿Mejor expo en el exterior a Estigma, que la curo Marimar Benítez, miembro de la AICA-PR? 

para copar, un premio al libro de la expo del caballo de Adlín Rios...pero si ella es la directora de  AICA-PR!


Vemos el futuro:Aanálisis de premios AICA-PR, los dilemas de Otto Reyes, Adlín Rios y Manuel Alvarez Lezama.


El show de la Colección de Otto Reyes-Veray curado por Adlín Ríos para el MAC, con ensayos de miembros de la AICA-PR,  ganará el premo a mejor expo del año que serán otorgado por la AICA-PR en el 2009. No se asusten, ha pasado antes, se entregan premios entre ellos mismos.

Aunque el MAC cierre por la incompetencia de sus directores y a pesar de las mentiras al gobierno y al pueblo, cuando la exposición termine, el valor de la colección de Reyes-Veray subirá.



Mientras, lean estos artículos reveladores para los que se hacen que no saben 'na en The Art Newspaper:




Copyright, conflicts of interest, and how to deal with Uncle Sam
US museum lawyers met last month to discuss the most pressing issues they are currently facing

Martha Lufkin | 22.5.08 | Issue 191



A visitor to Van Gogh’s bedroom in Second Life. Versions of the original painting are in the Art Institute of Chicago, the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, and the Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Over 200 museum employees, lawyers and interested parties convened in Scottsdale, Arizona, for the 36th annual conference on Legal Issues in Museum Administration in April.
Advert


The course, which brings legal know-how to museums without lawyers on staff, is offered by the American Law Institute-American Bar Association, and is co-sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution with the cooperation of the American Association of Museums (AAM).

In an address on the state of museums, AAM president Ford W. Bell told the group that museums are facing challenges including tight government budgets, a perception that charities serve the rich and negative press about perceived abuses at certain museums. The conference discussed new ways of dealing with intellectual property in the digital age, museum policies on corporate governance and conflicts of interest under increasingly probing government scrutiny.

The Second Life syndrome

Sharon Farb, associate university librarian at UCLA Library in Los Angeles, said that as museums put more images and content online, more users will ask to use it; she advises that museums not require licences for everything. Instead, they should make clear on their websites which content can be reproduced without permission, and should post all licence forms for those objects which require them. Virginia Rutledge, Vice President and General Counsel of the non-profit Creative Commons, San Francisco (CC), described the CC licence which piggybacks on existing copyright law to let copyright holders “signal when it is just fine” for a user to copy, or even alter, a work. The New Museum in New York, for example, uses CC licences to permit copying. The CC website posts six different licence forms to choose from, and tells you how to mark your content so users will know what copyright rules apply (http://creativecommons.org).

As web users find new applications for museum images, including those possibly obtained without permission, how should museums respond? Phoenix lawyer Connie J. Mabelson described websites which regularly violate copyright laws, although the usual copyright enforcement steps still apply. At Second Life or similar sites, virtual art—the hard copies of which may be owned by real museums—is being bought and sold by paying participants for virtual money, which can be exchanged for real dollars.

Visitors create an avatar which can enter a virtual, 3-D rendition of a famous bedroom scene painted by Van Gogh or buy furniture inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs. If the original work is protected by copyright, Ms Mabelson asks, should a museum take steps to enforce it, or do the virtual reworkings fall within a “fair use” exception to copyright infringement? (Perhaps the issue will be debated at Second Life’s virtual bar association, which does exist.) Ms Mabelson advises that a museum’s fair use policy should address what the museum should do if a museum image appears on a wiki, an online site where any user can add content.

The museum comes first

Recent scandals over alleged misconduct by top US museum officials have caused museums to review their conflicts of interest policies regulating board members and employees. Conflicts arise when a trustee’s duty of loyalty to the museum is compromised, says Lori Fox, acting vice president, general counsel and secretary at the J. Paul Getty Trust; she advises that museums have a well-written conflicts of interest policy that defines the trustees’ duties, prohibits potential conflicts, and provides a way to resolve them.


For example, conflicts can arise if a trustee collects art that the museum might collect; trustees should be forbidden to buy deaccessioned art, or to use inside information for their own benefit, such as to buy an artist’s work before the museum announces its purchase of art by the same artist, which could drive up prices. Museums should also require annual disclosure forms from trustees and some employees to identify possible conflicts, including asking about the trustee’s art acquisitions and whether the trustee has received gifts from museum staff or anyone the museum does business with. For example, trustees may seek favours from museum staff, such as asking a conservator to restore a privately owned manuscript, which would take the conservator away from his duties. While this may be a way to cultivate donors, the Smithsonian Institution prohibits using staff time and services for private uses.

When a conflict with a board member arises, the trustee’s interest in a possible transaction should be disclosed and the trustee must be excluded from the decision, which the board’s audit committee or even the state attorney general can be asked to review. The board must still ask whether the proposed transaction is in the museum’s best interests, which it might be, says Frederic Goldstein, general counsel to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Each situation should be reviewed on its facts: while an exhibition of a trustee’s collection of local maps by a small museum may increase the collection’s value, the benefits to the museum and its community may be so great that the display is still in the institution’s best interests.


Government scrutiny

Congress is seeking to stop perceived abuses in the non-profit world, and is using the tax law to do so. The new revision to the annual tax return for non-profit organisations, Form 990, seeks significantly more information about how museums are run. Organisations will first file the return for tax years beginning this year. The form “shows the government’s increased role in governance and conflicts of interest”, says Marsha Shaines, deputy general counsel to the Smithsonian Institution. The information that charities provide on the forms will be publicly available. The museum must summarise its missions and activities, changes in its programmes and its achievements of its exempt purpose.

New questions about governance and management mean that the museum should have policies in place before the form is filed, Ms Shaines advises. For example, the form asks whether the board and committees contemporaneously documented their meetings during the year, whether the organisation has a written conflicts of interest policy, and whether officers, trustees and key employees are required to disclose annually any interests that could give rise to a conflict. The form asks whether the charity enforces its conflicts policy, and whether it has whistleblower protection and document retention and destruction policies. Museums must further disclose whether they determined director compensation using an independent review and comparability data, and contemporaneously substantiated their decision-making process. The form also requests the dollar details on first class travel, travel for companions, and housing allowances for directors and trustees.

While it is not clear whether the Internal Revenue Service will be able to process all this information, the public and press will now be able to review it.

Don’t get political

US charities are prohibited from participating in political campaigns, and cannot attempt to influence legislation. The rules are complex, and stiff penalties can apply. For example, museums cannot tell people to urge their congressmen to vote in favour of art funding.

A conference participant asked anonymously if a museum can host an exhibition on the anti-war movement within the Democratic Party? Under the law, a “facts and circumstances” test applies. The test is used to determine whether a non-profit is participating in a political campaign, and one factor could be how close in time the activity is to the campaign. The anti-war exhibition could raise an issue if it includes present-day events and differentiates between political parties. Both political parties should be covered, or the subject should be restricted to the past, says Marcus Owens, a lawyer at Caplin & Drysdale in Washington, DC. “If you think a political statement is going to pop out of a visiting artist’s mouth at a lecture, you might want to start the programme with a disclaimer.”

The 2008 course book “Legal Issues in Museum Administration,” containing licence forms, conflicts of interest policies, employee standards of conduct and other materials, can be obtained from ALI-ABA at www.ali-aba.org or tel: +1 800 253-6397





Museums should beware of being used as marketing tools
Adrian Ellis | 8.4.08 | Issue 190



Show and sell: Sotheby’s announces auction of Chinese art just two days after museum display
Decisions made by art museums about what objects to acquire and what to exhibit affect the prices that those works of art and others related to them can command in the market. In the case of “related” works of art, the mechanics are very straightforward: if the Museum of Modern Art, New York, (MoMA) buys a Lawrence Weiner painting, then that’s good news if you happen to own one. And the more closely related your painting is to the MoMA’s, then the better news it is—most obviously, if it is painted during the same period; of the same quality; in the same medium; and the same size or bigger—the greater the impact of MoMA’s decision to acquire it will be on the price of your work. All other things being equal—which, of course, they rarely are—the greater the standing of the museum, then the greater the impact of its actions on the value of affected works. So MoMA moves markets, so to speak.
Advert


This is one obvious reason why museums need, axiomatically, to be able to make decisions about acquisitions, whether bought or donated, and about the choice of works to borrow and display, free from pressure from third parties who may stand to gain from any increase in their value or the value of related works.

Obviously, there may be difficulties when those third parties are also responsible for the governance of the museum itself: that is, when they are also first parties. Museum boards are unsurprisingly filled with collectors who should, and usually do, formally recuse themselves from decisions that are likely to have an impact on the value of works that they own; most obviously, the decision to

seek to borrow and display a work for a specific show, or the decision to acquire or de-accession works that have a relationship to their own holdings.

Professional codes of ethics of most national self-regulatory bodies in the art museum sector and of the International Council for Museums codify this elementary economic logic. And it is the responsibility of museum boards and museum directors to ensure that these codes are respected, which they generally are. When disrespected, they turn a museum into a pump for parlaying public standing into private gain and they systematically reduce the standing of the museum in the process.

This is all pretty much black and white: the integrity of the art museum sector, as is always the case with self-regulated systems, depends on the clear articulation of the ground rules; on the probity of the players; and on the transparency of decision making—in this case by curators, directors and board members.

There are however some grey areas, and two are dark grey. First, should museum staff be free to advise board members (or other collectors) on what they should be acquiring themselves, and should those board members who are also active collectors be free to acquire works informed, in effect, by the insider knowledge that they are making the same bets or judgments as the museum on whose board they serve?

There is no such thing as a one-handed economist. On the one hand, it’s the excitement of the studio tour, of meeting the artist or, if deceased, at least their biographer or widow(er), and of participating in the carefully staged debate of the acquisition committee, that makes the tedium and the cost of serving on a museum board worthwhile. Why on earth can’t you show your conviction by supporting the artist directly as well as through contributions to the museum? Indeed, it’s often the board members’ enthusiasms as collectors that draw them close to the museum emotionally and financially. Collectors make passionate, informed and often generous trustees. And that is better than the alternative.

On the other hand, insider trading is not a victimless crime, even if the art heist perpetrator is, in this case, barely conscious of the crime committed and would be wildly dismissive of its seriousness if confronted. In the highly subjective world of contemporary art, in particular, reputations are made by a relatively small group of movers and shakers—critics, dealers, collectors, and curators—and the collector may be as influential, or more, as the curator in the mix. But in so far as the museum authenticates and ratifies the collectors’ judgement, and the collector is ahead of the market in their acquisitions as a result of their board service, there is an outstanding and knotty issue in museum ethics.

Second, art museums tend to object when a work on loan is “sold off their walls”. And when the whole exhibition is sold off they are seriously upset. Collectors benefit from a loan to a museum when the work’s value is enhanced and the loaned work is subsequently sold at a higher price than would have been possible without the provenance and public relations boost that the exhibition loan furnishes. This was one of several transgressions of which Charles Saatchi stood accused in the “Sensation” brouhaha—he sold many of the iconic works in that exhibition in the years following at prices significantly increased by the publicity they received when exhibited at the Royal Academy in London and the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York.

This is also the fate of Alan and Simone Hartman’s collection of Chinese Jades displayed at the Boston Museum of Art in 2003-04 and subsequently sold at auction and, most recently, of the contemporary Chinese collection acquired for auction by the dealer Bill Acquavella after exhibitions at the Louisiana Museum in Denmark and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. And I predict that there will be a continuing series of disposals of prominent and recently built collections over the next few years as unstable economic fortunes founder and weakly-grounded tastes change.

In these cases, museums serve as accomplices, albeit unwilling, to a sequence of events in which their standing is appropriated for private gain. The lenders who subsequently dispose of their loans may have had this intention all along or their circumstances may simply have altered—force majeure. But museums, in protecting the public interest and their long term reputations, have a responsibility to seek and secure firmer assurances about intentions than they currently do—and not to be (or appear to be) suckered by lenders. This is particularly so in cases where one is not talking about a single work but an entire exhibition or display of related objects, shown and catalogued as an entity, then broken up and sold off following its display. A nuanced code of ethics is unnecessary and no substitute for a measured and objective judgement of probabilities. To quote Nancy Reagan: “Just say no.”

The writer is a director of AEA Consulting and a regular contributor to The Art Newspaper

Alive and Kicking in Chicago part 1

Rex Grossman fumbles again by Davis Langlois

ALIVE AND KICKING
by Pedro Vélez
part 1: The Studios

In late 2007 I was invited by a colleague to give a lecture at Columbia College in Chicago. I was to focus not only in the art I made in my long stay in the city but the experience of writing about the new art scene developing during the fall of the alternative galleries known as the Uncomfortable Spaces, the local magazine New Art Examiner and Art Chicago. Back then I was part of a group of artist, writers and curators looking for our place in what seemed like an art scene in flux. Although we found our niche, in the end most of us left city.

During my stay, which was brief, I managed to visit some artist studios, many of them old friends. I also visited new galleries like Roots and Culture, and even made the trip to INOVA and the Green Gallery in Milwaukee. This two-part article is a record of those visits.

The Studios

When I left Chicago in '03
David Robbins was king, with a permanent address at The Suburban, the space run by artist, writer and educator Michelle Grabner. Once a tiny closet in a garage, the Suburban is now a comfortable addition next to her home, tree swing and grill included, in the suburban neighborhood of Oak Park. When it comes to alternative spaces, The Suburban is still one of the most visible, cutting-edge and vibrant in a city where exhibition spaces, like sleeping grass, open and close continuously throughout the seasons.

It is said that Grabner outdoes many of the local museums by bringing world-class artists to Chicago for special projects and lectures open to anyone who shows up at her doorstep. During autumn students and artist would hang out in the kitchen, and on the lawn during summer. The assembled company included the founders of the collective BANK, and Dave Muller, drinking Old Style, eating peanuts and arguing with David Robbins about his love-hate relationship with the Midwest and the art world. The Suburban was and still is about community, a place for artists in an intimate setting.

The cure to what some might argue is Suburban’s infatuation with the art-world elite is
Temporary Services, a collective run by Brett Bloom, Salem Collo-Julin and Marc Fischer who produce events and publications as a way to facilitate artistic dialogue. For Temporary Services group work rather than arty farty individual celebrity is the focus, and that’s why they blur the distinction between art practice and other human endeavors, providing services and information free of charge around the globe.

A project that represents their approach at its best is
Dave’s Stories, a downloadable CD of stories by Dave Whitman, an educated but homeless man who the Temporary Services crew met when they were putting on exhibitions in an office space in downtown Chicago. They gave him a tape recorder and over the years he recorded over eight hours of what might be called his memoirs. He told about how difficult it was to find a place to sit where the police wouldn’t bother him, and he told about entertaining pan-handling scams. He also gave intimate details of his taste for women, acknowledging that in his circumstances sex was often less important than being able to take a bath.

Dave disappeared in 2003 but the stories remain. On the CD, his voice is educated and polite, and reminds me a little of the cozy familiarity of radio jazz host Marian McPartland. For me, his stories are like salt on open wounds, revealing my ugly judgmental self-I tend to dismiss homeless people by thinking they all are zombies, junkies and drunks.

Temporary Services and The Suburban are perfect examples of the way that avant-garde artists make spaces for themselves in a Blue Chip art system, giving substance and relevance to cultural cast-offs. It’s clear that no one can complain of a lack of opportunity in Chicago, because artists do get to make anything, show their work and begin to build a career -- often with a sense of down-to-earth honesty that results from a limited budget in a city that cares more about sports than the arts.

David Robbins in front of the Suburban '04. Picture from a review I never finished. I promise I will soon. It was an amazing show.

The Suburban

Dave's Stories CD by Temporary Services

Temporary Services booklet for Prisoner Inventions


Jno Cook

If David Robbins is the sleek intellectual who turns his back on the art world, then Jno Cook is the generous teacher who inspires character. In his web site, jnocook.net , which is comprehensive in an old-school internet way, Cook describes himself as someone who investigates aesthetics, makes machines that pass as sculptures, builds optical equipment and conjures predictions of the universe.

Born in the Netherlands in 1940, Cook worked for the government in transit planning before turning to art relatively late, getting his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in ‘83. He has exhibited at MIT LIST Visual Arts Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and Randolph Street Gallery. One of his greatest contributions to the city is Spaces.org, a virtual listing of openings and events in the Chicago art world, an operation he runs free of charge since 1997.

Walking through Cook’s home studio felt like a treasure hunt. Seeing his machines in disuse, all covered with dust, is heartbreaking as well as thrilling. Guarded by one of his cats in the living room was his assemblage Ptolemy’s Universe, titled after the ancient astronomer who first placed earth as the center of the cosmos. A Duchampian hypnotic machine, the sculpture customizes two bicycle wheels with mini lamps and a toy earth to represent the equatorial and the ecliptic. When the machine is on the wheels revolve and the lamps blink just as they do in the night sky.

On one wall was a series of family portraits, his wife and son together, the scenes captured in what seems like a fish eye view. They look historically poetic and bring to mind the work of Emmet Gowin, the Pennsylvania photographer known for making images of his wife and family. Cook often uses pinhole-style cameras he has designed and constructed from common household objects such as cookie tins. His works transgress the boundaries of low and high art with such ease, he is a highly conceptual artist with a layman’s attitude.

When I was Two is a baby book of his son Cornelius Cook, featuring not only of photographs but a study of childhood speech. It’s scientific, optimistic and funny. Cook records the toddler’s linguistic experiments and shortcuts, such as coining the word “zats” for “pacifier,” a shortening of the phrase, “where is it at?” Unlike many of us who turn sappy when it comes to children, Cook’s images are full of emotion and temperament. You can see the full documentation on his website, which just like the rest of his production is an extension of his work.

There was a lot of stuff to see but Jno didn't let me. He insisted on talking about the state of the Chicago scene over coffee. On our way out I saw a large model of a Black Widow spider perched up on the wall, dozens of altered cameras and toasters with wings, plus Cook’s What the Fuck clock, in which all the numbers seem to have collapsed at the bottom of the dial, a sarcastic take on Perfect Lovers, Felix González-Torres’ pair of identical, synchronized wall clocks. It was hard to tell what’s meant as art from what’s art by default. This is the kind of studio curators dream of when preparing a retrospective. I wonder who is going to be smart and brave enough in Chicago to jump to the challenge.

Jno Cook's sketch book

WTF Clock

Jno Cook in front of one of his Sign Paintings

Vintage poster for Jno Cook exhibition at Beret International

photograph of Cornelius Cook by Jno Cook, from the When I was Two series

the legendary Ptolemy's Universe in a corner

a view from Jno's studio. Top left; altered cameras. Top Right; mechanical spider

Kristen Van Deventer

Kristen Van Deventer is the love child of Rita Rudner and Stephen Wright, at least that's what I thought the first time I met her because she is an expert in comedic timing and off beat humor. She is also a painter, works at a gallery since ‘98 and curates video programs. Her studio is small and white, which contrasts with the powerful ooze from the high value pastel like colors of her paintings. During my visit the Van Deventer was struggling with a weird painting of a woman with a lamp for head and an empty book on her lap. Another odd work is a delicate drawing of Bigfoot masturbating on top of a wave breaker; the studio experience feels like walking from one punch line to the next. An untitled piece looks like a shampoo commercial in which a woman with big 70’s yellow hair is surrounded by green candles. My favorite area is the great pink swashes that highlight her features. Van Deventer is good with layers; she usually starts with washed thin grays over imposed with heavy colorful brushwork.

Contrary to the ideas of infancy in her work some years ago, (dead kid actor Heather O’ Rourke from Poltergeist was the subject), these new portraits of women are unknown characters. Woman with a Broken Nose is a great painting that shows a bandaged girl, who is either staring or posing for a photograph, painted in vivid spots of colors all over her face, which is framed by thin stripes of textured hair. Unlike Japanese Kegadoru porn Van Deventer’s broken nose girl is not sexy or provoking any sense of protective feelings on the viewer, instead the girl seems surprised to be injured.

When asked about how she manages to create art when she is surrounded by it all day at work Van Deventer comments: “when I was younger it was struggle to contextualize other peoples work and fit it in a box then go home and work on my ideas…this year my approach is not to not over think, to be pushed more by feelings than the conceptual illustration of an idea.”

Kristen Van Deventer at her studio


untitled painting by Van Deventer

Woman with a Broken Nose

detail of a drawing

painting by Van Deventer

a sketch on the studio floor

Deb Sokolow

To hear Sokolow explain her work is almost as good as seeing it, one feels intrigued and drawn to her theories and assumptions. In 2005 Sokolow gained recognition in the media with a large work that exploited Mayor Richard Daley sense of impunity and power, titled Someone Tell Mayor Daley, the Pirates Are Coming, the drawing was exhibited as part of the 12 x 12 series at the MCA, (now is part of the collection). Intrigued by a real scandal she decided to map out her own suspicions in a fantastical narrative that had pirates invading the city in search of a treasure, but whose treasure? In ’03 Mayor Richard Daley ordered crews to destroy the runway of Megs Field, a private single strip airport on the lakefront, by bulldozing large X-shaped gouges into the runway surface in the dead of night. Required notice was never given to the Federal Aviation Administration or the owners of a dozen airplanes down at the field. The Mayor defended his actions by claiming safety concerns due to the post- 911 risks of terrorist-controlled aircraft attacking the downtown waterfront. Obsessed by the X marks on the runway and Daley seemingly erratic behavior Sokolow drew connections between pirates, terrorist groups and the CIA infiltrating the mayor’s office, giving the story an accusatory feel.

To move the viewer thru her intricate narratives the artist uses simple looking images, charts, diagrams and arrows that resemble the works of the late Mark Lombardi. Social anxiety, politics, popular culture and conspiracy theories are also in the mix in which the viewer becomes, or is made feel like a paranoid narrator. Some of the stories begin with leads from gossip heard around the neighborhood, one of them points to a storefront across her building that is allegedly used a limb-chopping factory for mafia victims. Others, like in Don’t Worry Everything Will be Fine, recurrent idle characters show up, like Ted Koppel as the investigative reporter or Nancy Drew as the amateur detective. They are also in charge of the cautionary tales before we follow a maze of underground tunnels located below a residential building that somehow lead to the Vietcong’s Cu Chi Tunnel complex. What I find interesting is the fact that we don’t feel empathy for the narrator but end up believing his/hers maquiavelian fantasies like in the limited edition book The Drug Lord Mansion Estates Volume 1: Armando Carrillo Fuentes in which the artist assures us that the powerful drug lord didn’t die form complications in plastic surgery but that he is still alive and somehow related to actor Gary Busey.

It’s easy to think of storyboards and movie scripts with Sokolows work and the artist isn’t afraid to list Sly Stallone’s Rocky a source of inspiration. She comments that after an extended mind block in grad school she decided to watch movies all day instead of making art, becoming so engrossed with the characters that she developed alternate versions of scenes in the movie. She also mentions the city as inspiration because of its mythical figures and dense history, her grandfather, who was a bookie, and her dad who is a Political Scientist.

To me Sokolows astute diagrams reflect the ideals of urban social groups, she understands the value in history as well as myths and is interested in discovering the identity of a city by delineating specific characters that the viewer is supposed to identify with, and care for after finishing the puzzle. Even though Sokolows work is intricate and time consuming her studio is packed with large works and book editions, a sign of a mature artist at work.

* Deb Sokolow web site

Deb Sokolow

the studio

detail

large work in progress
Terence Hannum

I’ve always been a fan of Terence Hannum, another veteran of the MCA’s 12 x 12 program, an accomplished musician, (plays with Unlucky Atlas and Locrian), writer and collaborator on Hardcore Histories, a series of events dedicated to delivering the history of Hardcore Punk to the masses. His studio, located in the bowels of what was known as The Butcher Shop, one of the most famous exhibition spaces in the city, is covered with tons of paintings, Xerox book editions, tapes, sound equipment and a drum boom used as projection surface for his installations. No posters or magazine pages are visible because he uses videos of live shows, played in slow motion, as source material. One his videos, Flash/Flash, along with his painted record sleeves and zines were exhibited recently in Candela Gallery in Puerto Rico with great success, I was lucky to be at the opening and see the reaction of the crowd. Flash/Flash is an quick and erratic video of a live rock show seen thru the flash of cameras, the sort of thing one sees when pressing fast forward on a DVD player.

Hannum focuses on the flash of the camera to deal with music and the youth sub cultures that follow it; not so much from a sociological than from a archeological stance because he is interested in the object. His perspective comes from someone who a practitioner and not a witness. From a musicians standpoint he understands the stage, instruments, sound and the physical reaction of the crowd to the music, which is close to spiritual. As a plastic artist he attacks the object with respect, as if it were a relic from a ritual. Hannum explains that our collective experience with music starts with the pleasure of the object, the record, the packaging, the artwork, all by products of the main work.

One finds few colors or facial features in his paintings where big areas are covered in white or the flash of the camera onstage. It is impossible to distinguish who the musician is, some even look like abstract beings or the aura, a quality that sets them works apart from simple cool illustrations of rock stars. There’s not much paint applied either giving way to analysis of formal issues about space and economy. Just like his sculptures and altered records sleeves, that consist of grids and busy patterns with constant rhythm that look like washed out engravings.

My favorite piece in the studio was Into a Mirror, mostly in blue where the main character is a disproportionate headed boy with sad face playing guitar. There’s something adult about this work that I can’t pin.

*click the link for images of his recent show at Light and Sie Gallery in Dallas

Hannum's Studio

Terence Hannum

Into a Mirror



Installation circa '01

Vince Dermody

A good friend and collaborator in the past Vince Dermody was one of the minds behind famous collective Law Office. Well spoken, intense and loudly honest Dermody doesn’t apologize because he always has answer for everything, the kind of behavior so necessary in the art world today. That’s why it was a great surprise to visit him in grad school, at UIC, one of the snobbiest conceptualist program ever.

Has he been tamed?

After Law Office dissolved Vince got a real job with real money, he also developed an addiction for traveling and getting lost on purpose as part of the process to take photographs, many of which have been published in Vice magazine and at Tinyvices. Over Indian beer he compared the experience of staying in Chicago this long as to “fighting for breadcrumbs tooth and nail.” I sense Vince thinks he has something to prove as he did in 2003 when he declared his own death and changed his last name. To celebrate the wake he parked a ’78 Ford LTD inside Suitable Gallery, besides it was a tombstone, professionally carved, that read: R.I.P. / VINCE DARMODY / 1973-2000 / AGED 27 YEARS / D.D.D. Vince was trying to confront himself with his Irish roots and a family history of alcoholism. The tombstone still hangs with him to this day and is going thru transformations in his studio. I just can’t believe this major piece was never sold but am not surprised, this is the same guy that with Law Office served as stepping-stone for many people that are now art stars-sometimes the art world loves to beat down their cult figures.

In his studio I saw hundreds of photographs he takes with an array of cameras, all have a Dermody sheen, sort of dirty punk aesthetic applied to personal experience. Nothing has been staged and the images vary from whorehouses in Thailand to a street fight with Santa Claus.
Performance is always at the core of his practice. In Dinner for a Hundred, he turned a critique session at school into a prank and celebration of him learning one dish. Dermody comments that by serving students and faculty food he tried to avoid criticism by raising questions about generosity. The performance was a great example of how any material or approach serves him to accomplish his mission, is not all art but a reflection of who he is, a brand name.

It could be that graduate school is just another piece and Vince is giving the city what it needs-a safety net.

Vince was kind enough to take me around graduate studios where I got a chance to meet two talented artists Philip Matesic and Maria Gaspar. Matesic designs clothing, tents and other variations as survival gear as political art and Gaspar is collaborating with Ernesto Pujols in Memorial of Gestures, a 12-hour performance for the Cultural Center. She makes drawings of fighting young women, sometimes naked, as a metaphor for personal relationships and humiliation.



Vince Dermody and his sculpture

Dinner for a Hundred (painted dinner plate from a performance by Vince Dermody)

Fuck Off painting

Altered Chicago flag and Gravestonein his studio at UIC

Poster for Law Office event

Maria Gaspar



East-West Walk jacket by Philip Matesic

Matesic with a map of the tip of Denmark and documentation of
Adventures of the Seas







Amy M. Denes

I first saw Amy Denes work on the blogsphere, she’s an independent artist who works outside the loop and whose comments drive some bloggers crazy. When I asked around for references of the artist, not the “blogger,” I received plenty of un-called for recommendations that I should visit big art star Tony Tasset instead. Because I usually bet on the underdog the doubt of my peers was the excuse I needed to venture into Denes studio. Besides, who needs more information on Tasset?

Just like her work Amy Denes had many things to say, both interesting and confusing at the same time. She has lived in Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, and her studio apartment reflects that Eastern styling, in the sense that every corner has a min-altar layered with colorful fabrics. Items of pop culture references are nowhere to be found.

In her studio, Denes had big dark paintings of transparent beings exuding some sort of aural force. The thick and gritty way in which she represents the body reminded me of Leon Golub and her painting style has a strong naïve quality to it. Denes told me her work deals with rationalist logic and neurology. She is also working on a book of poems titled Telegrams from Space, it’s pages, hundreds of them, I see spread over a couch.

On top of the couch was a small gem titled The Dangers of Being Acolyte, a painting that shows a blue-eyed boy with black hair and a desperate expression. There’s something forceful about the dude in a preppy sweater that reminded me of a date raper. Another good painting is Hamas, a quick depiction of three militants wearing hoods and green headbands, their anonymous eyes peering out at the viewer. Denes says that the painting is meant to call attention to conflict in general. I think the work gives humanity to the collective behind the mask.



Amy M. Denes

Dangers of Being Acolyte by Amy Denes

Hamas by Amy Denes

Melina Ausikaitis

Sometimes people get to live of their art, others like Melina Ausikaitis, get to do it for a year. The artist was lucky enough to have had a supporter pay her years income, (Melina is a bartender), so that she could stay at the studio and complete a huge 1,000 sq feet drawing. And she did work laboriously taping each moment for a DVD that accompanies the exhibition and the outcome is pretty cool. A pattern in plain graphite and large sheets of paper that looks easily repetitive from a distance. Once close to the massive drawing the viewer notices broken patterns, lines, small circles that have a geometrical structure but as a whole the drawing is organic and unified like a knitted beehive.

It was a fun opening, packed with friends and familiar faces in a non-descript space in Wicker Park, the once affordable art district that now boasts trendy restaurants and boutiques. Walking distance from the now gone Chicago Project Room, Beret International, Ten In One, 1/ Quarterly, Bona Fide, Joymore, and Standard Gallery, Melina’s exhibition seemed like a subversive action of resistance in the middle of growing gentrification. And a great representative of the underground nature of Chicago based artist who struggle in adversity.

Melina Ausikaitis and painter Mike Langlois

the opening

detail

Melina at work

At the opening: Chris Hamsher lead singer of Palliard