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This Week in the Art Market – Friday 16th February 2024

Art Market News, Editorial

$25 Million Painting Headlines Christie’s Evening Sale

Produced by famed Irish-British painter Francis Bacon, the painting Landscape near Malabata, Tangier (1963) is slated to headline Christie’s 20th/21st Century Evening Sale in London on March 7. It has a fascinating history: previously residing in the collection of eminent children’s author Roald Dahl and actress Patricia Neal, the painting was auctioned at New York for $517,000, before vanishing form the public eye for nearly 40 years. It has now resurfaced, going for more than 35 times its original sale price. 

The painting mourns the tragic death of Bacon’s soulmate Peter Lacy, who had perished in an alcohol-related accident in Tangier. This dark, warped and violent abstract painting carries much of the hallmarks of Bacon’s earlier works, but with a frightening new edge, one that can only be brought forth by earth shattering loss. Many of Bacon’s most celebrated works were created in the year following Lacy’s death. 

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IFDPA Print Fair Opens In Armory, New York

Opening at the historic Manhattan’s Park Avenue Armory, the International Fine Print Dealer Association’s (IFPDA) Print Fair showcases intricate, skillfully crafted prints from the most highly skilled printmakers in the world. Some notable instances include the works of Los Angeles-based print studio Mixografia, which has over time developed a three-dimensional printing technique that produces unorthodox sculptural wall hangings. Other artists have used a range of unique materials in their work that deviates from the standard paper-and-ink setup; some of these include ceramic tiles, glittery resin and even mushroom spores. Besides these up-and-coming artists, the fair also exhibits prints by blue-chip artists, in particular numbered and signed editions of Keith haring’s Apocalypse series — one of his final works before his untimely passing from AIDs-related complications. 

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Butterflies and Boats at Art Fair Philippines 2024

Set at the Link, Manila, the 12th edition of the Art Fair Philippines brings us some of the most anticipated, experimental and evocative works from the diverse and culturally-rich nation. Some notable examples: up-and-coming sculptor Arce utilises oil and canvas to create warped, massively sculptural canvases that twist, melt, and collapse into themselves, while artist Renz Baluyot draws from his immersion in the sugarcane plantations, creating a striking installation composed of makeshift wooden stairs outfitted with the characteristic scythes of the sugarcane farmers. Encompassing 5 floors of this iconic mall, the fair promises an eclectic and extensive selection of rare works for the discerning collector. 

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“Art With Heart”: Healing Through Art Therapy

Once a homemaker with a childhood dream of becoming a painter, Ms Ho Seok Kee became a two-time winner of the UOB Painting of the Year award through her singular usage of “rice dotting” technique. However, Ms. Ho did not turn to a career as an artist, but was rather inspired to combine her passion for art with her NTU master’s degree in applied gerontology, implementing programs with seniors that utilised art therapy to provide mental health support. She also works with children at the Rainbow Center, using art classes to instill valuable life skills such as patience and creativity. Besides earning additional income, Ms Ho has shared that her work has allowed her to feel “fortunate in that [she] can apply [her] art to heal lives.” 

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A Guide to ‘Getting’ Art

In my experience, gallery visitors often feel the pressure of trying to “get” art. Yet, there isn’t any one secret to ‘getting’ it, nor is there a fixed answer to every piece. Instead, we should all try to connect the artwork’s appearance to our own lived experiences; looking at a Monet, for example, may trigger the memory of lilies at the Botanical Gardens, or a garden walk with one’s parents as a kid. Art should not be purely about what the artist had intended (which we probably don’t know much about) but should be about the interaction of artist and viewer. As Susanne K. Langer writes, “teaching art is an education in feeling”, not in history.

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Cape Town’s Rising Art Scene

Cape Town has always been located at the intersection of the African community and the wider world; in the art world, this has been translated into an ongoing conversation between African and international artists. Galleries such as Everard Read, Goodman Gallery and Gallery MoMo have helped catapult South African artists into international renown, while newer galleries like 99 Loop Gallery, The Fourth and THK Gallery have brought international artists to mix with and inspire South African creatives. Other larger institutions, such as the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zetitz MOCAA) provides the critical function of providing public access to African art. On the other hand, art fairs such as the Investec Cape Town Art Fair build international attention by showcasing cutting-edge talent and artistic potential, attracting collectors and critics from all over the world. Though still relatively young, Cape Town’s art scene is poised to become one of the most noteworthy destinations for enthusiasts of diverse and unique art.

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Published on February 23, 2024
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