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This Week in the Art Market – Friday 10 May 2024

Art Investment, Art Market News, Editorial

Cassi Young Joins Art Works Group Singapore from Bonhams, London

Cassi Young has joined Art Works Group as the Global Fine Art Director, transitioning from her role as Director of Post-War & Contemporary Art at Bonhams, London. Tasked with enhancing collector access to premier art in the APAC region, Young leverages her extensive experience to address the growing demand in these markets. Her appointment underscores Art Works Group's commitment to leadership in Asia's evolving art scene, reflecting the youthful dynamism of today's collectors. The company continues to innovate, providing new ways for clients to engage with the art market.

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Minimalist Icon Frank Stella Dies Aged 87

Frank Stella was a key member of the American Minimalist movement in the 50s and 60s, creating monochromatic and simple abstract paintings that challenged preconceived notions of what art was meant to evoke in audiences. His most groundbreaking work was his “Black Paintings” series in the 1950s, where the artist used a deeply black canvas with geometric white lines -- in contrast to the concurrent Abstract Expressionist movement with bright colours and vivid brushstrokes. Later, the artist developed similar geometric canvases but swapped out his gloomy backgrounds for bright, cheery hues of red, blue and yellow; he also created dramatic sculptural works made of fibreglass, steel and other industrial materials. An art historian by training, Stella was consistently invested in pushing the fundamental forms of art, seeking to create work that spoke for itself instead of being a mere representation of other subject matter.

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Abstraction, Neo-Pop and Minimalism: “Safer bets in turbulent times”

This May, New York will play host to a new wave of some of the world’s biggest art fairs and auctions. However, growing political instability in the US, as well as rising interest rates, has led to buyers migrating toward safer options in the art market. Abstraction, neo-Pop and contemporary Minimalism are some of the most sought after options at Frieze New York, such as works by abstract painter Sterling Ruby and sculptor Arlene Shechet. Purchasing trends in New York are particularly telling as they reflect real-time decisions by influential art buyers, whereas collectors typically send advisers to other international art fairs to conduct purchases by proxy. Art market observers are also highly invested in the upcoming auctions at Sotheby’s and Christies’, which will serve as a reliable indicator of the overall health of the global art market. 

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Taiwanese Art Market Driven By New Generation of Collectors

Historically, Taiwan has been a place of interest for both Asian and Western art collectors keen on breaking into the regional market. Though the art world has since gravitated gradually toward other Asian cities like Shanghai and Hong Kong, there remains a strong base of Chinese collectors who have been investing in modern art and historical antiquities. Recently, however, a new generation of collectors have asserted their presence in Taipei, patronising contemporary art fairs such as the ongoing Taipei Dangdai, which has been ongoing since 2019. The fair features some of the world’s biggest galleries: David Zwirner, Perrotin, Tang Contemporary Art, and Ota Fine Arts, and features some of Taiwan’s greatest masters alongside international artists from London, South Africa and France. The fair is an indicator of the growing Asian market, no longer sufficiently serviced by traditional strongholds like Hong Kong. Indeed, there is growing evidence that the market has become much more fragmented and complex than before, where major cities across Asia have their own dedicated collector base and internal conversations. 

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Esther: New York’s Hottest Alternative Art Fair

Today’s art fairs are stressful affairs: high entrance fees, intense competition and expensive blue-chip art. Enter Esther -- one of the latest instances of a growing movement of alternative art fairs in major art hubs such as New York, Hong Kong and London. This unusual art fair was the brainchild of Margot Samel and Olga Temnikova, two gallerists seeking a solution to the logistical and financial issues of mainstream New York art fairs. Featuring 26 galleries from 4 continents, the fair distinguishes itself by its DIY spirit and collaborative nature, while offering booths to galleries at a fraction of the price of most conventional fairs. Works on display were highly experimental, an eclectic mix of multi-media paintings, video art and avant-garde ceramics that cannot be found anywhere else in the city. Its success reflects the widespread desire for art fairs organised by and for gallerists. 

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Rare Exhibition Features Paul McCartney’s Photography

Accumulated using his Pentax 35mm film camera in the early 1960s, band member Paul Cartney will finally be able to show his photographs to the public. The exhibition was conceptualised when McCartney and curator Sarah Brown uncovered his old photo sheets in the archives, selecting roughly 280 works that visualised the Beatles’ historic ascent to fame between 1963 and 1964. The exhibition, which has travelled from London to New York’s Brooklyn Museum, provides a uniquely intimate look at the lives of the four young men before and after they achieve global fame. 

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The Met Signs Memorandum With Thai Government

The famed Metropolitan Museum of Art has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Fine Arts Department of Thailand, in which they committed to ongoing efforts to study and exhibit Thai art, as well as opening up the possibility of future collaborations with the Thai government. The director-general of the Fine Arts Department Phnombootra Chandrajoti attended the formal ceremony alongside the Met’s CEO Max Hollein. Cementing this bilateral cultural agreement is the repatriation of two 11th Century Thai sculptures, which were associated with known art looter Douglas Latchford. 

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Published on May 10, 2024
Yu Ke Dong

Ke Dong is a seasoned art writer and current double major in English Literature and Art History at NTU. Having worked with esteemed art institutions in Singapore, Ke Dong now regularly contributes his keen research skills, adept writing abilities and passion for art to the Art Works discourse.


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