Incase you didn’t know, today is the last day of Art Basel in Miami—a time for the art world to have one final hurrah and vomit in a few swimming pools just before Christmas. This year’s iteration has seen inevitable big bucks changing hands (follow the hashtag #TANsalestally on Twitter for key sales information) and a fairly positive press response. One work that has been circulated a lot on social media seems to sum up the vibe of the place: Daniel Knorr’s witty Navel of the World (2017), comprising an enormous navel-piercing-like sculpture protruding from the pavement outside the recently renovated Bass Museum. (You can read our highlights from Basel, Untitled and more.)
More splashy news came from the reappearance of the much discussed (and oft dissed) Salvator Mundi, which is now set for the Louvre in Dubai. The museum announced this week on Twitter that the painting was acquired by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi for the Louvre, while the New York Times reported that Prince Badar bin Abdullah—a Saudi prince without previous collecting history—was the final bidder on the work. They later added that it was, in fact, the crown prince, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed Bin Salman who bought the piece. It’s all very confusing, and begs the ultimate question: Who cares?
Another question raised this week: Are collectors totally mad? A new survey reported that 41% of collectors in the States have never had their work valued as they believe it to be “priceless”. And here we were thinking it was all about the money. Another 57% have not prepared their heirs for the collection they will one day inherit, and a surprising 88% work without advisors, buying directly from galleries based on their own taste and judgment.
Following a major show on Chinese art that has proved both popular and controversial (three offending works were removed from the final selection of Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World after protests about animal welfare), the Guggenheim is commissioning five brand new works by Chinese artists. The site-specific pieces will be housed in the third show in a series that has been supported by the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative. The show will open in May 2018, with the works of Cao Fei, Duan Jianyu, Lin Yilin, Wong Ping and Samson Young.
The art world is nothing if not changeable, and so we have seen the Turner Prize finally widen its scope to include artists over the age of fifty, highlighting a wider evolution in the way that mid-career artists are currently being surfaced and celebrated. This year’s prize went to the excellent Lubaina Himid, who you can read more about in her interview with Elizabeth Fullerton in our recently released issue 33.