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Archive for the ‘events’ Category

Beatrice Wood & Pacific Standard Time

In antiques online, Art and the American Way, Cool Exhibitions, events on August 24, 2011 at 5:19 am

Career Women by Beatrice Wood

I just filed a cover story for Antiques and the Arts Weeklyon Beatrice Wood, the studio potter – the Mama of Dada – whose  career spanned the better part of the 20th Century.  The show, entitled “Beatrice Wood: Career Woman” opens at the Santa Monica Museum of Art on September 10 and runs through March.  It is part of a 60 museum coalition surveying the influential  post war art movements in and around Los Angeles that lasted until about 1980.

60 museums. Working together. A  Getty Research Institute initiative.  Pacific Standard Time.

PST offers a new generation an opportunity to understand how the rush of European refugees to the land of the laid back drove changes in architecture, abstraction, film, performance art and more.

It makes me remember Johnny Carson’s late night lament that there was no culture in L.A.  Clearly, there was a roiling pot of creativity that simply did not get the press that the East Coast artists got.

The Getty is to be commended, as are the participating museums.  At last, the West Coast’s contribution to art is being recognized as a whole.

Beatrice Wood in her Studio

As for Beatrice Wood– how you not be smitten by her unrelenting drive to create? She came to art through hubris – that old I can do it myself push – and soon discovered that she was not a born crafts  person. There followed more classes in ceramics, more courses in how to fix a glaze, more trial and error at the kiln. She invented…throwing moth balls and mustard into the kiln// and she was rewarded with unpredictable results.

And do you know what she said of greeting the unexpected every time she opened a kiln?

Beatrice Wood said opening the door of the kiln was the most exciting part of the process.

Copper Luster Teapot

In a way, the Getty is allowing the museums to open the door to a kiln of another sort. By surveying the post war movements in Southern California, it is encouraging unexpected results from the many visitors influenced by what they see and learn. Kudos all around.

Shop Antiques Online with New Social Sites

In Drive Website Traffic, events, selling antiques, Young Collectors on July 28, 2011 at 10:03 pm

I’m thrilled to see that new shopping sites for antiques online are cropping up all over the place. And each one has its own spin, which gives buyers of period antiques and vintage furniture more options.

The ones that impress me now are Sean Blanchette’s new Antiques Near Me, Meg Wendy’s New Focus On and Eric Miller’s Urban Art & Antiques and Calendar of Art and Antiques. They’re social because they invite feedback.

These sites offer shoppers with alternatives to 1st Dibs, the grandaddy of the “online antiques show” and arguably a leading factor in the decline of attendance at live shows. the thing that made 1st Dib was its photography and exclusivity. Not only is 1st Dibs a pricey bet for the dealers, it locks them in to an exclusive contract that prevents them participating in other antiques online sites.

The new sites tend more in touch with the buying public. Here’s a quick rundown of their features:

New Focus On homepage

A traditional approach to selling antiques

  • New Focus  On.com would like to re-direct the eye for appreciation by offering a pretty site and content with a lifestyle bent.  It offers dealer gallery of tried and tested sellers. The advantage Meg Wendy brings is  having spent a lifetime in the business of producing shows, which means she knows the dealers coming on board.
Urban Art & Antiques.com

A blog approach to selling art and antiques

  • Urban Art & Antiques.com bills itself as a blog about art and antiques, with visits to antique shows and  flea markets. Although it does have a sales section for art and art prints, the site is more about enjoyment than selling. Eric Miller’s strength is that he is a show promoter / producer and brings a  genuine love of collecting to his work.
Calendar of Art & Antiques.com

Simple but effective

  • Calendar of Antiques.com is much needed event site with map views..  Participants post their  own events which are the moderated by the site administrator.  The News Section is helpful but primarily press releases.

The functional approach with back end videos

  • Antiques Near Me.com was recently shortlisted to be one of Boston’s hottest new start ups. Here, you plug in your zip code and up comes a list of galleries in that zip along with a map. If you prefer, you can find businesses by type, i.e. antique malls, antiques shows, auctions, flea markets.  Dealers are listed by the site administrator but can enhance their listing by “claiming” their business. So far the News is mostly press releases. The Video  section seeks to be relevent. Sean Blanchette is a young but knowledgeable dealer with vision, drive and no fear of the Internet or its capability.

All of these sites are trying to reach new audiences. Whether one has found the formula yet, is still to be determined. Together, they are educating people about the benefits of shopping for the old and combining it with the new.

The New Collectors are Alive & Well in Miami

In Art and the American Way, Art business, business, Cool Exhibitions, events, Young Collectors on December 3, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Found: The Young Collectors

SOUTH BEACH, FL.  I’m feeling a bit like Archimedes this morning, having made a discovery that answers the question antiques and decorative arts dealers have been asking, mantra-like: “Where are all the young collectors?”

The only reason I’m not shouting “Eureka” is because the news is not particularly good. The young collectors have been leeched away from the decorative arts and antiques market by something more meaningful to them.  That something is contemporary art and artists.

Everything you have ever read or heard about the art market and the commercial fairs in Miami is true. There are thousands of young shoppers here and they are doing what antique collectors used to do. They are buying.

Yesterday, I spent about 11 hours at Red Dot, Art Asia and Scope, three big shows of contemporary art that complement Art Basel Miami.

I have interviewed dealers and artists. I have heard collectors make strategic decisions about how they will cover the shows and make their purchasing decisions.

I have been given the same “take-home” material the buyers get – everything from traditional catalogs to flash drives. I have been greeted and sold by entrepreneurs in their 30s, who reel off auction records and big name collectors as proof of the investment value of the art they selling.

And I have been jostled by dozens of tee shirt / cargo short clad buyers who look like they can’t afford bus fare.  I’ve met couples that work the shows in teams, splitting up to cover the vast number of offerings at the fairs.

By the time they arrive, they already know what sort of things they’re looking for. If they are budget conscious, they’re looking for buys under $10,000. (Cheapest pieces I’ve seen run around $8,500 for a work of art by a mid-career artist.)

Parisian Dealer with International Artist Roster

It's All About Investments

As one young and highly successful dealer told me, “It’s all about investments.”

When decorative arts and antiques dealers can figure out a way to compete with the energy level that the contemporary art market generates, the market may begin to look up for them as well. Until then, you’ll find your audience in Miami, in Switzerland, in Singapore, in Mexico City – following the contemporary art circuit.