ML, New York City. November 14, 2011
Q:Did “Recitative,” the plate painting by Jennifer Bartlett shown at Pace earlier this year, find a buyer?
A:

Wow, I have no clue, I haven’t looked at Jennifer Bartlett in years. Here’s a question for you: is Jennifer making a comeback? or did she never go away?

Vera Pilpoul, Tel Aviv. November 4, 2011
Q:Adam, good evening from Tel Aviv, Israel. Looking forward of reading your articles, and the first-glimpse views on some of the most interesting living artists. Still, wanted to ask you what is your attitude towards Israeli art in general and the young generation of Israeli artists such as Maya Bloch (who has had two solo exhibitions at the Thierry Goldberg Gallery in NY), Elad Lassry and so on, not to mention artists like Yehudit Sasportas, Tzibi Geva, Sigalit Landau. If you are familiar with the Israeli market and artists, I would love to hear why it is hard for Israeli artists to “make it big” in London, NY, etc. on the same scale of success occidental artists have.
A:

Dear Vera,

I really don’t know why Israeli artists haven’t done better in the Contemporary Art market , but I think I can find the answer in your question. By this I mean to say that those Israeli artists have remained for the most part “Israeli”, they have never become simply “artists”. Their nationality is always part of their work, and today , among the top artists in the world, nationality is irrelevant. I think Sasportas and others are interesting, but there is a perception that they never shed their roots and join the global art dialogue. Same is true for “Latin American” art , or “Chinese Contemporary”, these artist are placed in their own categories and even separate catalogues at auction.

Rodney, NYC. November 1, 2011
Q:Where’s the g#(@&damn photo???!!!
A:

Well sir,

You are right to wonder. However, they were up for about 15 minutes this past Monday of Halloween. Unfortunately, I received a threatening email from the Chief Curator of the Guggenheim Museum, which wasn’t pleasant, and I felt was unjustified. The Chief Curator had already leaked images to the NYT and then NY Magazine and Art in America, and as a patron of the show, I had pictures I could release to create buzz and excitement, so…  However, though a museum lover, I decided to call the artist, Cattelan, and he asked me to remove them, so I did. Perhaps he really wanted it up, but didn’t want to cross the “powers that be”, we’ll never know. It was a great trick for Halloween, and consistent with the artist’s practice of pulling complicated pranks, but it must remain a footnote and not a part of the story. I don’t believe the show is better off, but it’s not my show, so I demurred.

Claude Reich, Paris, France and Florianopolis, Brazil. October 30, 2011
Q:Dear Mr. Lindemann, In the forthcoming November sales of contemporary art there is a high number of Richter abstract paintings. In your opinion, does such an apparent flooding have the potential to harm the market of an already very high-priced artist or do you think that because of the quality of what is on offer, it will have no negative influence?
A:

Merci Claude,

In the question is the the answer, I agree, logic would dictate that one or two of them will have to underperform, same is true of the Clyfford Stills at Sotheby’s, they can’t all make the money. Whenever multiple examples of a body of work by an artist are lumped in a single auction, there is the chance for opportunity. That being said, I think the Richter market is extra strong now, and I don’t see it softening much, so they’ll probably get them all off for good money, especially off the strong show at the Tate.

Melet Mercantile, SOHO. October 30, 2011
Q:Dear Adam, We noticed the you took a picture of a piece of art with your phone last night. We were wondering how you feel about people in general photographing work at art shows. And we also wonder what you intend to do with your photograph. XO
A:

Dear Melet Mercantile friends,

I often take pictures of what I’m looking at to jog my memory the next day, and rethink the work I was looking at. But you are perceptive! And indeed I have another purpose, I plan to launch a photo blog on my website…and you are doubly right, technically you can’t take a picture of someone’s art and post it, publish it, use it etc…but people do it all the time, check out Artnet, the auction results  website, they don’t clear the rights on ANYTHING, the whole thing is technically illegal, they have no right to any of the images !

Charlie. October 21, 2011
Q:Quick question: On a contemporary painting does the medium of “oil on canvas” have any difference from “acrylic on canvas” in terms of value, quality or longevity? Trust all well…. Appreciate all, Charlie
A:

Good to hear from you Mr. Ayres,

This is indeed a tricky point. The classic rule is that paint on canvas (acrylic, oil, oil stick etc.) is more valuable than any work on paper, including those with paint, watercolor, pencil or pen. That’s why often you’ll find works on paper that have been “laid on canvas”, which, in theory, makes it more valuable, because if it’s “on canvas” it’s a painting…though it’s not really. In these instances I ask the question: was it glued on canvas by the artist? or by a dealer who wanted to up the price? That’s a question you’ll need to answer for yourself before you buy . As far as the “new rules” of today, now we have artists making “paintings” screened on metal, or on fiberglass etc… so the classic “on canvas” rule doesn’t always apply. So to sum it up, almost anything hung on a wall can be loosely termed a “painting”, as long as its not on paper. A “painting” is always worth more, regardless of what it’s painted on… though works on paper have a traditional place in artistic practice, some are great, and are loved by many collectors.

Some artists, like Jean-Michel Basquiat, are often at their best on paper – so still it’s a case-specific decision, meaning that a great work on paper is better than a mediocre painting. Personally, I always try to buy a painting, unless I just can’t get one, in which case I’ll occasionally settle for a work on paper. Last summer I bought a great work on paper by Salvador Dali, it’s fantastic, he’s got an amazing touch on paper.

 

Claude Reich, Paris, France and Florianopolis, Brazil. October 21, 2011
Q:Dear Mr. Lindemann, Apparently, the Warhol Authentication Board has decided to dissolve itself in view of the mounting legal fees it has had to support following various actions against it. In what way if any, according to you, should this impact the Warhol market?
A:

Merci Claude,

This is huge news, and you are right to point this out, no one has. Back in 1984, as a 21 year old kid, I once sat in an after-hours bar with Fred Hughes in Alphabet City around 3 or 4 am. He was a terrible anti-semite and an evil man. When Andy died, I suspect he sold several “rejects”, screens the artist rejected but that Fred saved, then he got the estate to stamp them as legit. Then there’s the question of the huge amount of stuff left in the estate that was liquidated, with the creme skimmed off by “friends” of Andy. Today with Warhol prices so high, I put a big premium on the works signed by Andy , sold in his lifetime, and with a gallery invoice or a Leo Castelli inventory number, everything else needs to be examined with a looking glass. There’s two classes of Warhol, the signed ones and the estate ones, and they should be priced accordingly. There are exceptions, like some rare things that were left in the estate , but for the big series I’m sure the rule applies. So, given all this possible controversy and liability, the authentication board drops out… this is seriously a mess indeed.

Maria Doulton, London. October 14, 2011
Q:Is there any jewelry that you would consider as art?
A:

Dear Maria,

Artist jewelry for me is mostly overrated with some flashes of brilliance. Remember that artists have done jewelry for the past 100 years, and it’s never become very popular, perhaps for good reason. On the other hand, I love Calder jewelry, and this market has boomed for good reason, his pieces are real mini-sculptures. I’m a big fan of Cesar’s “compression” gold jewelry, where he crushed old gold pieces into blocks, not fashionable right now, but super-cool stuff. Tim Noble and Sue Webster made some nice work too, but if it’s a simple image stamped in gold, or a miniature version of an artist’s signature piece it borders on kitsch. That being said, I’m into kitsch, but still, there’s good kitsch and bad, for you to choose which is which!

Katie Jean, Bushwick. October 9, 2011
Q:Regarding the Richard Prince “Canal Zone” piece you purchased, what is the “whole chapter in this story yet to been told”? Also, has the value been affected post copyright infringement?
A:

Well Katie Jean,

This is how I see it: Richard Prince makes a lot of work, and it sells for a lot – BUT, name a body of work he made full-on, that he dedicated a huge 24th Street Gagosian show to (his first there), that got stuck in a market crash (Fall ‘08) and for which he got sued and lost! Only “Canal Zone” fits that bill, and only 8 of 26 paintings got sold in or after the show.

Though Gagosian “holds” 10 more in inventory, and though the remaining 8 are currently designated by the judge to be destroyed, the ruling states that the whole series is “illegal” and can’t be shown or sold at all, anywhere – great stuff for Richard Prince fans!!

Fact is, the photographer Patrick Cariou is holding out for his share of the millions these are worth, and RP doesn’t want to set a bad precedent by settling with him and paying him off, so… this is real art history in the making (for a change!), not just one more picture, one more show, one more dollar kinda stuff…

Of course the judge’s ruling was wrong, and RP’s use of the rasta image changes its meaning, and in my view should be allowed. So, fact is, this decision will probably overturned because it’s plain dumb, but come what may, this stuff is RP history. So YES, they will be highly collectible and interesting to own and discuss: the best RP story in years. It’s really the most controversial work he’s made since “Spiritual America” (which also ended up in a lawsuit). This stuff is “appropriation-art” history!!! Go test my theory on amazon.com, you can’t even buy a Canal Zone catalog anymore without paying hundreds of dollars….

Arty, New York. September 29, 2011
Q:Help, please. My wife says that my taste in art is too passé, and that hanging works from artists who are dead is just not cool or interesting. I am looking to spend around $1.5m for 3-5 works, but refuse to buy works at any Madison Ave. Gallery. Which artists would you suggest looking at and why? BTW, I love video art, but displaying it is a bitch, and photography scares me re: its appreciation potential due to multiples. Justifying valuations, I find challenging, even with artnet… I’m always skeptical that auction pricing is manipulated by collectors and dealers. So, please, let’s focus, if possible, on painting and/or sculpture.Thanks for the help!
A:

Wow… that’s a tall order- you are saying you want a different art world than the one you’re in. Fear not! There are plenty of galleries who specialize in artists with little or no auction traction, and little or no secondary market. Take David Zwirner’s roster, or Brent Sikkema’s, or you can try the programs of Gavin Brown and Michelle Maccarone. Focus more on the art and less on the personalities is my advice- you have the money, so you are in the driver’s seat, no one else, and there’s plenty in your price range. I’d try Rob Pruitt, Piotr Ulklanski and Urs Fischer-buy with your eyes and your nose, and forget about your ears, there’s too much noise out there.

Ahmet Kacabiyik, Istanbul. September 28, 2011
Q:I understand your reasoning on the de Kooning retrospective, but look at it this way… What MoMA does is more relevant to the thousands visiting from abroad than to the art professionals living in New York. I had a similar feeling when I visited the Istanbul Biennial. It looked like a well-curated academic exercise for curators, museum directors, art professionals visiting Istanbul, but what about the public living in Istanbul?
A:

Thank you Mr. Kocabiyik, and your point is well taken. Indeed a complete de Kooning blockbuster will bring in lots of people from abroad, and sell lots of tickets, but for those who know the work, albeit imperfectly, it doesn’t provide an experience that enhances the viewer’s understanding of this artist in history, it merely delivers him as gospel.

In visiting the Istanbul Biennial, thanks to your generosity, I also wished there had been an effort to create more Turkish context and more content that was specific to the region. The curators chose to emphasize the “International” and academic style of today’s biennial culture. It was a shame, I agree, to be in such a beautiful and exotic city but to see art that was disconnected from the locale.

Maynard Monrow, New York. September 28, 2011
Q:Too Big, Too Late, Too Bad.
A:

Thank you Mr. Monrow, Indeed the De Kooning show is big and not particularly timely, I assume “too bad” refers to the regret that those resources may have been put to better use, in which case we are in agreement. There’s a silent museum crisis happening in NY, one that people don’t want to talk about- but you’re a big guy, and you stay out late, all good in this case.

Laurey Barnett, City of Angels. September 27, 2011
Q:Mr. Lindemann, Last week I attended the kick-off dinner in Bel Air for Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945-1980 (the collaboration of 60 museums from San Diego to Santa Barbara, for those on your site who are unfamiliar). Could you generally opine on this art scene and, more specifically, let me know which ONE LA artist you would add to your collection, if given the opportunity and, more importantly, why? As an aside, I enjoyed your “art meets hotel” repartee with Mr. Perry, but would suggest that not all Aman hotels grow tired. Next summer, instead of Il Pelicano, give the Amanjiwa a spin.
A:

Thank you Laurey,

I’m really happy Pacific Standard Time looks like a hit. LA artists, there are so many great ones. I guess you mean young-ish… The top painters in LA right now (excluding the old dudes) are Mark Bradford and Mark Grotjahn – those are the ones to covet at this point- if you want painting. Look them up, get what you can.There are a lot of artists coming up-I don’t know who they are-ask David Kordansky, he’s in LA and he seems to know.

Al Perry, Los Angeles. September 23, 2011
Q:There are contemporary art hotels and there are contemporary design hotels… you are an expert on contemporary art and contemporary design, so when are you going to open a contemporary art + design hotel? Maybe, you don’t like art hotels and design hotels. What is your favorite hotel?
A:

Dear Mr.Perry,

Art+Design hotels are usually done on thin budgets. I can’t think of any done particularly well, though I liked the bar Julian Schnabel did for the Gramercy Park Hotel in NY. I love the Hotel Splendido in Portofino, and I’m a fan of the Ritz in Paris, but I’m totally over the Costes. I guess I like old hotels like the Pellicano in Porto Ercole. I don’t like the Aman style, it’s aged badly. Though I’ve never stayed in the Swiss spa done by Peter Zumthor, the Hotel Therme Vals, perhaps that would change my mind.

Claude Reich. September 21, 2011
Q:I appreciate your writings on the art market which are always full of invaluable insight. My question is the following: if you had an opportunity to buy a work you love and have been chasing for some years, the owner being willing to sell after saying no for a long time, but demanding a price that is about 40% above market price, would you go ahead or walk away, even if the artist’s dealer had advised you to walk away because of the price?
A:

Dear Claude,

If you always wanted it, and you have the money, buy it! If you are thinking in terms of investment, it all depends if this artist’s market is on the way up, or down, or nowhere. Often an artist’s best (most famous) works are never available on the market, and that market may be on the up and up, then, 40% could be a good deal. Typically the top works sell at a premium to everything else, so, for example, if the market doubles, the best work can go up three times, comfortably. I hope this helps- and so my advice is: Go forth unafraid!

Brian Treiger, Los Angeles. September 19, 2011
Q:What influence has your wife’s keen eye and gallery experience had on your collecting experience and purview of the art mise en scene?
A:

What can I say? Yes and no – your eye is a function of what you see and what you know – or what another can teach you. Information is key to collecting, you can’t ever have enough. And if you marry an art dealer, think how much you save on commissions!

Chuck R. (commercial lobster fisherman). September 14, 2011
Q:I’ve noticed the giant bear standing on the rock in front of what i was told was your house, beyond the useful landmark it provides me to find my lobster pots at night and a new tattoo idea for my forearm, I would like to know; Is Urs Fisher a genius or simply a constructed fallback from a selected few who find that good art is today as rare as a 14-pounder lobster? On a side note, Jeff Koons’ Lobster is a fantastic tribute to this beautiful marine invertebrate.
A:

Dear Lobsterman,

I too love lobster, though sadly it is high in cholesterol. Is Urs’ Bear a great work of art? What makes any work great I often wonder…the image and its effect on the viewer. Though the bear+lamp combo is a simple one, the image and its huge scale create a powerful effect on the viewer, whether they be an art aficionado like myself, or the fishermen and surfers who pass by this rough oceanfront landscape. Since I installed it over 3 years ago it has been welcomed by those who know and those who don’t know art- a sign to me that this object and image are a big success.
As far as Koons and lobster, that’s another matter altogether, a reference to the great Salvador Dali (and his mustache). Dali is a big influence on Koons in my view, though few know it.
See you on the high seas!

Joyce Dade, New York. September 14, 2011
Q:I wonder what your crystal ball would reveal for African American artists and their art in the coming years. As the art world turns, do you see African American artists gaining in terms of their place in our increasingly open global art market as well as here at home in the United States? What do you see going forward? Thank you for your commentary.
A:

Well, that one has no good answer. but here goes… Women and minorities are grossly underrepresented in the Art World, historically it’s been a white, male world. If we look at the famous African-American artists of the second half of the 20th century we get few… Jean-Michel Basquiat, Martin Puryear, Kerry James Marshall and, of course, David Hammons. Today we have Wangechi Mutu, Kara Walker and Julie Mehretu, but we also have Mark Bradford, Glenn Ligon and why not Paul Pfeiffer. So, I think that these barriers are eroding, not because racial or gender lines have changed, but because the art market cares about the work, and not who made it. There are so many artists from so many different countries that appear in NY or London galleries, I think gender and race as well as nationality matter less and less, and in fact can work for an artist. I certainly believe that Chris Ofili’s position as the only YBA of color was to his benefit, but he had to make great work to earn his reknown. Sorry if this one even I can’t make black-and-white…

Josh Baer, New York. September 13, 2011
Q:What’s going to happen this fall in the art market? Time to sell or time to buy?
A:

It hasn’t been a time to buy for a while now. Prices are strong for the good stuff, if you happen to have what someone else wants. Josh, you’ve been around this quite a while (bearing a strong resemblance to Willem de Kooning, even), and I read your BaerFaxt.com to keep myself informed all the time. Everything in life is cyclical, and the art market is no different. There are always buying opportunities, and today, there are a few selling opportunities, but overall, I’m staying very picky, and cautiously optimistic.

Loic Gouzer, Anchorage. September 12, 2011
Q:How Much for the Basquiat?
A:

Dear Christie’s Senior Vice President, Anchorage:
I have owned about 10 Basquiats in my life, and I had the pleasure of seeing a Michael Jackson concert with him in 1984, and watching him smoke a huge spliff. I don’t want to pull my Basquiat off the wall, however, I’ll never say never. Perhaps if you have a great one to trade we can talk turkey, until then, keep your speargun sharp and get the dynamite out of your ski boots.

Rrose Selavy, Paris France. September 5, 2011
Q:It is very unusual for a respected collector such as yourself to write a column in which you candidly describe your likes and dislikes. But is it, as I suspect, just a forum for you to blatantly promote your own purchases and raise the value of what you own?
A:

I’m sorry you feel that way, but I think you’ve missed the point. I often write about what I’m interested in and what I believe in, and if I have a good opportunity to buy what I’m writing about, well, that’s proof that I put my money where my mouth is. It’s simply not true that I write only about my own inventory, read my review of “L’Amour Fou” or the analysis of other collectors like Saatchi or Dakis Joannou as well as dealers, auction houses and artists.

Joseph Duveen, NYC. September 5, 2011
Q:Art is easy to buy, but how do I know when to sell?
A:

Several people ask this simple question, but the answer is complex. I can’t help you because you haven’t defined your collecting goals. Do you want to preserve art, use art for power, a show of wealth, do you LOVE art or is it just a “game”? If you are solely interested in making money, buy a financial instrument, not a painting.

Betty Draper, Rye, NY. September 5, 2011
Q:I want to collect art but I just don’t know where to begin, and I’m afraid it’s too expensive, what to do?
A:

Art is available at every price point, and don’t forget even the top artists in the World started selling for almost nothing. Research is your first key, buy my book, read every art magazine, see the shows, and buy the books on artists you respond to. Then find someone you can trust, a dealer or an art advisor and find your way. You’ll have to start somewhere, so jump in, fear is your enemy, great collectors take great chances, you can start by taking small ones.