Flash News: Sarkis in Venice – Gold in Miami – Franck Gerhy

[21 Aug 2014]


Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news: Sarkis in Venice – Gold in Miami – Franck Gerhy

Sarkis in Venice

At 78, SARKIS (whose real name is Zabunyan) will be representing Turkey at the 56th Venice Biennial of contemporary art in 2015. Sarkis has received considerable exposure over the past few years. In 2011, MAMCO (Geneva’s modern and contemporary art museum) devoted a major retrospective to him entitled Hôtel Sarkis, with 200 pieces from between 1971 and 2011. In 2013, he took part in the 55th Venice Biennial in the Prada Foundation exhibition When attitudes become form, Bern 1969/Venice 2013. In 2014, he appeared at the Huis Marseille Photography Museum in Amsterdam, at three venues (CIAC, MNAC and the Peasant Museum) in Bucharest, Romania, and in a solo exhibition at the Musée du Château des Ducs de Wurtemberg in Montbéliard in the spring.
This sculptor of space was born in Istanbul in 1938 and has lived in Paris since 1964. He is represented by French gallery owner Nathalie Obadia, and his work is found in numerous European museums. However, it only rarely turns up in the sale room, as the concept of his large-scale works – which make play with space and light – is little suited to the auction market. A few paintings and drawings come up sporadically, and have the advantage of reasonable prices: his record is the equivalent of $11,000 for the drawing Red & Green (sold at Macka Mezat in Istanbul in February 2013). His market, now spread between France, Germany, Italy and Turkey, but absent from the London and New York scenes, could perhaps find a new impetus with the approach of the next Biennial…

Gold in Miami

Gold, an exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of Miami’s Bass Museum of Art, recently opened late in the summer for five months (8 August 2014 –– 11 January 2015). Curated by Jose Carlos Diaz, it features contemporary art heavyweights such as Chris BURDEN, James Lee BYARS, Michael & Ingar ELMGREEN & DRAGSET, Sylvie FLEURY, Sherrie LEVINE, Rudolf STINGEL and Jim HODGES. Gold and art are currently a winning combination, and some artists in the selection are among the most bankable today, like Rudolf Stingel (spotlighted by François Pinault in the Palazzo Grazzi at the 55th Venice Biennial), who once again achieved $1.8 million in May 2014 (Untitled, Christie’s New York), and Elmgreen & Dragset, who may command lower prices but are decidedly on the up. The duo, who exhibited at the Perrotin Gallery in Miami in 2006, and recently at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (1 October 2013-2 January 2014), have enjoyed a high profile in the sale room since their first result of over $100,000.

With Gold, Jose Carlos Diaz has adopted an across-the-board approach without succumbing to the merely illustrative. In this exhibition, you will not see one of the most publicised solid gold sculptures of the past few years: Marc QUINN‘s version of Kate Moss as a contortionist. Quinn’s little 34 cm-high gem made a splash when it landed the equivalent of $752,000 in 2011 (Microcosmos (SIREN), 2008, Sotheby’s London, 13 October 2011). Two years later, the artist’s self-portrait in the same precious metal achieved over $937,000 (Frozen head, 2009, Phillips London, 14 February 2013). However, Gold does feature one of Sylvie Fleury’s 25 gold-plated dustbins. At auction, the value of said dustbin lies between $10,000 and $13,000.

Frank Gehry: from the Vuitton Foundation to the Centre Pompidou

The Louis Vuitton Foundation will officially open to the public on Monday 27 October 2014. Created on the initiative of businessman Bernard Arnault, who is also a major French collector, the building is an immense glass cloud dreamed up by American architect Frank Owen GEHRY, who won the Pritzker Prize in 1989 and has designed several major museums, including the Guggenheim in Bilbao. The opening of this new iconic contemporary art venue in France (at the Jardin d’Acclimatation in Paris, north of the Bois de Boulogne) coincides with the first European retrospective devoted to Gehry at the Centre Pompidou in Paris (8 October 2014 – 5 January 2015). Celebrated throughout the world, Gehry is popular with collectors for his lively architectural sketches, and above all for his furniture, which has crossed the $100,000 threshold four times at auction.
Other pieces that have made their mark on the history of design through the use of recycled “poor” materials are considerably more affordable, like his cardboard furniture. A chair starts at around $1,000, while more complex organic constructions fetch over $5,000, and his Bubbles chaise longue can go up to $15,000.