Flash News



Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news.

12th Lyon Biennial: the world is a story

The city of Lyon in France is preparing its 12th Contemporary Art Biennial. The title Entre-temps… brusquement, et ensuite (In the meantime… suddenly, and then) suggests a varied exhibition of different forms of Contemporary narrative art. Organised by its artistic director, Thierry Raspail and curated by Gunnar B. Kvaran, the Biennial will be open from 12 September 2013 to 5 January 2014 with more than 70 artists showcased. Among them, some of the most promising young New York artists. Gunnar B. Kvaran has notably selected Dan COLEN (with a set of very original sculptures), Nate LOWMAN (who shares her New York studio with Colan) and the Bruce High Quality Foundation (BHQF) collective, founded in 2004, whose members are deliberately anonymous to escape “the celebrity mechanics of the art market.” However, as Banksy has already proved, the art market is perfectly capable of “celebrifying” anonymous artists – and indeed artworks by THE BRUCE HIGH QUALITY FOUNDATION collective are already attracting strong auction demand. Their latest auction record of £150,000 ($234,300) was hammered by Phillips in London on 14 February 2013. The piece was a re-work of Velasquez’ Las Meninas, a work of narrative fiction focused on the Spanish royal family, about which the art critic Daniel Arasse said “time does not exhaust Las Meninas, its enhances it.” The BHQF super-imposed views of their own workshop onto images of Las Meninas. The reactivation of the past by the present is here achieved via one of Warhol’s favourite techniques, the silkscreen print. The result is an artistic palimpsest whose different layers never completely disappear.

Leon Ferrari

The Argentine conceptual artist Leon FERRARI died this summer in Buenos Aires at the age of 92. Hijacking the codes of established culture and religion, his work repeatedly scandalised religious authorities and the masses that did not all appreciate seeing reproductions of the Virgin Mary in an electric mixer or of Jesus in a toaster. The artworld applauded his independent spirit and inventiveness and he received the Golden Lion for best artist in 2007 at the 52nd Venice Biennial, one of the world’s most prestigious Contemporary art prizes.

At auctions, the success of his most subversive works is mixed.In 2010, Sotheby’s of New York was unable to sell figurines of mangers in a toy that looked like a microwave oven (Infierno (From the Series Para Infiernos), estimated $18,000 – $22,000, Sotheby’s, 17 November 2010). His few works on canvas that exist sell much better: Ferrari made his auction debut on 16 November 2005 with a first untitled mixed-technique work that fetched $50,000 ($60,000 including fees) at Sotheby’s New York. Two years later (20 November 2007), he set his auction record at $55,000 ($67,000 including costs) at Sotheby’s in New York. Although his works have been acquired by numerous prestigious collections including the MoMA in New York, Leon Ferrari remains an ‘affordable’ artist. His drawings are available in Buenos Aires, New York or Paris in an average price range of $5,000 to $10,000.

Adel Abdessemed in Qatar

Nominated for the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2006, Adel ABDESSEMED (b. 1971) has participated in the Biennial art shows of Sao Paulo (2006), Lyon, Istanbul and Venice (2007), and Marrakech and Havana (2009). In 2012 he had a first major exhibition at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, received significant exposure in New York and his work will soon be exhibited in Qatar which is considered the world’s most powerful buyer of Contemporary and Modern art. On the secondary market his high point dates back to 22 September 2011 when his Mappemonde, olive in painted steel fetched $289,500 ($350,000 including costs, Christie’s New York). The work that will travel to Qatar, after being exhibited in Pietrasanta (Tuscany, Italy), is a 5-metre high sculpture representing the famous head butt that Zinedine Zidane gave to Marco Materazzi in the France-Italy World Cup final in 2006. It will be on display at the Mathaf (Arab Museum of Modern Art) in Doha as part of a solo exhibition entitled The Golden Age (opening 5 October 2013). Sold in London, Paris and New York, the young Adel Abdessemed could soon be included in the sales catalogues of Christie’s and Sotheby’s Doha.