ART HISTORY: The Official Art, Graphic Art, Design, and etc Thread

SirReginald

The African Diaspora Will Be "ONE" (#PanAfricana)
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Returning looted African art is as urgent as giving back works stolen by the Nazis
Congolese-born art collector Sindika Dokolo says this "long-neglected historical wrong" is finally being addressed—but more can be done
SINDIKA DOKOLO

2nd July 2018 09:48 GMT
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Sindika Dokolo Miguel Nogueira
The plunder of Africa during European colonialism has been a long-neglected historical wrong that is finally being addressed by the West. Only recently has a dialogue been initiated to understand the extent of the cultural heritage that has disappeared from our continent; it is vital that our lost cultural treasures now return home.

In Angola, I can help to play a part in finding and returning our lost works of art—works that are part of our common culture and knowledge and which enhance our country’s heritage. This is why, in 2015, my foundation, the Fundação Sindika Dokolo, launched a pioneering project to recover classical works of African art. The aim was to advance a local and global discussion of the epic story of lost African civilisations. Aided by the diligent research of the Brussels-based gallerist Didier Claes and the Parisian dealer Tao Kerefoff, both specialists in classical African art, we have so far repatriated ten works, looted during the civil war of 1975 to 2002, to the Dundo Museum in Angola. We were lucky that many of the works we recovered had a clear provenance, as they had been documented in the books Art Décoratif Tshokwe: Museu do Dundo (1961) and La Sculpture Tshokwe (1982) by the Belgian art historian Marie Louise Bastin (1918-2000).

To further the repatriation of looted works as the only acceptable course of action, we Africans have to stand up for our values. In 2016, I declined a loan request from the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in Paris, which wanted to borrow classical pieces from my collection to include in an exhibition. I turned down the museum because of its refusal to enter into any discussions with Patrice Talon, the president of Benin, about the repatriation of works that were looted from his country and are now in the museum’s collection.

I hope that similar struggles for the repatriation of our plundered art will be initiated across the continent. My mission was largely inspired by Edgar Bronfman and Ronald Lauder, whose work with the World Jewish Congress should encourage business and entrepreneurial leaders across Africa to adopt a similar approach. There is even a growing discussion around the question of whether Africa should aim to establish its own Washington Principles, a list of guidelines for resolving issues relating to Nazi-confiscated art.

The return of our looted works is not just an African problem but a global one. Germany and France have now, finally, started to look at decolonising their ethnographic museums, with President Emmanuel Macron of France declaring that “African heritage can’t just be in European private collections and museums”. We need other countries and institutions to embark on a similar process of historical self-reflection. After all, institutions in Austria have returned around 50,000 works of art and objects from public collections to the heirs of collectors whose works were looted by the Nazis; righting the plunder of Africa’s heritage should be no less urgent.

This work is often difficult. As auction houses have adopted more stringent rules regarding the provenance of classical African works, this art is now sold mainly through private dealers. As objects move from one private collection to the next, it is often challenging, if not impossible, to know if a work has been looted at some point. We also have to contend with statute-of-limitation arguments, which are often used as a way to deter repatriation. But these have not stopped various countries from claiming their lost riches and they should not deter us, either.

Some African countries have been successful. Ethiopia persuaded Italy to return its Lion of Judah monument and the Obelisk of Axum, which were looted by Italian soldiers after the Italian conquest of the country in 1935. I was also impressed with the decision taken by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to return eight important artefacts, including two terracotta heads produced in the Kingdom of Benin, to Nigeria. These are important gestures, but there is still much more to do.

• Sindika Dokolo is a Congolese-born businessman and art collector. In 2006, he launched the Fundação Sindika Dokolo to support the development of African culture and to display contemporary art from Africa in Angola and around the world. It has been exhibited in Italy, Spain, Brazil, Portugal and Angola

Returning looted African art is as urgent as giving back works stolen by the Nazis
 

SirReginald

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CHRISTIE'S
Fondation Louis Vuitton Will Spotlight 120 Jean-Michel Basquiat Works
As part of an upcoming retrospective in Paris.
By Keith Estiler/Jul 24, 2018/Arts
4,931 Hypes5 Comments
Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris is preparing for a monumental exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat to launch this fall. The retrospective will bring together 120 works that chronicle the legacy of the late iconic artist spanning from 1980 to 1988. The artworks will be installed across all four floors of the institution’s Frank Gehry building. “Setting aside everything extraneous, from biographical myths to considerations of market value, this exhibition will be an opportunity to see Basquiat clearly: as a great artist and a genius of draughtsmanship,” said the museum.

Highlights of the forthcoming show include Basquiat’s Heads painting (1981-82), collaborative pieces between the artist and Andy Warhol such as their Dos Cabezas painting (1982), and many works that have yet to exhibit in Europe. Stay tuned for more details on the extensive presentation that is slated to launch to the public on October 3 up until January 14, 2019.

In related news, take a look at this week’s best art drops.





Fondation Louis Vuitton Will Spotlight 120 Jean-Michel Basquiat Works
 

SirReginald

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Artists Stage a Contemporary Art “Black Market” in Tokyo


The event was organized to address an existential question that haunts Japanese artists: Is art possible when there’s only a limited domestic market to support it?

Jeremy Woolsey2 days ago
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eBay for Charity and Brazilian Artist Ernesto Neto Partner to Support Fondation Beyeler’s Public Art ProjectChaos Lounge held the first Contemporary Art Black Market at the “art factory” BUCKLE KÔBÔ in Tokyo. The event was organized to address an existential question that haunts Japanese artists: Is art possible when there’s only a limited domestic market to support it? Indeed, Japan’s art market is severely underdeveloped in comparison to that of China, Britain, or the United States, representing about one percent of the global market. Some say this stems from the failure of the government and powerful businesses to foster Japanese artists during the country’s economic “bubble” (1985–1992); instead, they preferred to purchase astronomically priced French Impressionist and Postimpressionist paintings. Now, young Japanese artists are looking for new ways to generate a market that don’t simply replicate the institutions of the global art world in a local context. This, according to Yohei Kurose, who spearheaded Chaos Lounge, proves the underlying motive for the inaugural art black market:

A market won’t be born from people without magic, no matter how many of them gather together. Nor will it come from imitating already-established international exhibitions or art fairs.

First, there’s material that’s almost trash. Contemporary art starts here. Artists work magic on this trash, gathered from all over the place. Some of this magic fails, and some of it succeeds. What succeeds becomes treasure and what fails remains trash … a place where you can witness this [process] with your own eyes should be called a “market.”

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Stall by SAIAKU (NAZE/takuya watanabe takuya/Yusho Morimoto) X MES (all photos taken by the author for Hyperallergic unless otherwise noted)
Chaos Lounge’s black market — essentially a bazaar with various artists peddling their work as pure commodities — holds particular significance in 2018 in light of the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs’ proposed plan to create a division inside public museums — called the “Reading Museum” — to stimulate the domestic art market by holding art auctions. This plan has been disparaged by prominent contemporary artists such as Koki Tanaka and Yoshytomo Nara, among others; in their view, the plan seems to indicate the government’s failure to recognize the decline of public museums in a global art world increasingly dominated by galleries, art fairs, biennials, and private museums. In contrast to the heavy-handed “Reading Museum,” Chaos Lounge’s black market represents the possibility of developing a domestic market through a decentralized, artist-run initiative.

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The Chuo-Line Gallery’s outdoor stall
Walking up to KÔBÔ, located on the manmade industrial island of Keihinjima, the first thing I noticed was a black van parked outside, decorated by the artist Tomotoshi with a megaphone (symbolic of right-wing demagogues) and a 7-Eleven logo. It parodied the political landscape in Japan where neo-nationalists and neoliberals increasingly resemble one another through their agreement on controversial issues, including amending Japan’s pacifist constitution and the imposition of further austerity measures. Inside the van were a variety of found objects that had been made into unlikely canvases for paintings, ranging from broken laptops to a large chunk of concrete with an anime-style eye painted on it. The artist behind the eye painting, Kensuke Sugimoto, told me that he was interested in portraying the way characters are increasingly consumed as fragmented pieces by repeating this process on rocks and other debris that he finds throughout the city (part of his Fragments of Scenery series). Subcultural interest in manga, anime, and gaming ran through much of the art in the black market.

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Different works for sale by artists associated with the Chuo-Line Gallery
Upon ascending to the second floor, the center of the market, things turned frenetic. I was met with a sprawling array of original, readymade, and salvaged goods that I imagined, in a parallel universe, to be buried somewhere in Tokyo’s landfills. Here, individual artists as well as several art collectives, including the above-mentioned Chaos Lounge, Parplume, and SideCore, displayed their art, which included self-published books of art criticism, sketches of manga and anime characters, video games, certificates of achievement usually given to doctors, lawyers, and dentists, musical instruments, clothes, ancient books, a large Kurt Cobain painting, and more. The work heaped around me was an attempt at art, though as the site’s description warned, not all of it had been sublimed from waste to treasure. So, I was looking at a lot of trash and some art, but more importantly, a site of value-creation in real-time. The harsh bottom line for contemporary art — that what sells is art — was laid bare for all to see (though no one seemed to mind).

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Second floor of the Black Market (photo courtesy Yohei Kurose)
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The Artist KOURYOU at work
Perhaps the best example of this concept in action was a lottery-drawing contraption that resembles those found at summer festivals (matsuri) throughout Japan. This stand, run by the Chuo-Line Gallery, was made of at least 100 plastic strands, threaded through a wooden frame, and connected to various artworks all sealed in bags. For 1,000 yen (roughly nine US dollars), you could pull one and receive your artwork by chance (as well as a QR code that, when scanned, displayed the location of the curious neoliberal/right-wing 7-Eleven car mentioned above as it drove around the area). At a deeper level, the lottery also referenced the origin of fine art in Japan — the misemono(spectacle, show) and corresponding carnival-like atmosphere that characterized many viewers’ first interactions with oil paintings in the Meiji Period (1868–1912), before the austere, enlightenment-oriented institutions of the museum and trade exposition had fully taken root.

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Chuo-Line Gallery’s “Art Lottery”
While artists can always leave Japan for more vital markets, there will inevitably be those who want to stay in the country and build something for themselves. Kurose, the leader of Chaos Lounge, was once a protégée of the superstar artist Takashi Murakami. He parted ways with Murakami, however, over a fundamental difference in opinion over the best way to grow Japanese art. Murakami’s approach, best documented in his book The Art Entrepreneurship Theory, is for Japanese artists to go abroad, learn the “rules” to the “game” of contemporary art in the West, compete, and win. While he created the art festival GEISAI in 2002, it seems more a platform for artists to gain access to the global market than a sustainable model for a local market. Kurose’s contemporary art black market represents his vision of an alternative to Murakami’s emphasis on expanding outwards. It is both a parody of a global art market dominated by price-manipulating fashion conglomerate magnates as well as a serious attempt to create a community of artists and buyers.

In an interview with Kurose, he shared that he plans to continue to hold the market periodically, and perhaps link up with other groups doing similar work internationally. This seems more attractive than the creation of more biennials or art fairs in Japan to court foreign capital. You can see value created here with your own eyes — it’s hanging in little bags in front of you. The trick will be figuring out how to maintain and grow it.

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Chuo-Line Gallery’s “Art Lottery”
Artists Stage a Contemporary Art “Black Market” in Tokyo
 
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