Here and abroad- Sotheby’s exhibitions embrace the global market

by leslierankowfinearts

AUCTION HOUSES ARE AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE ART MARKET- NOT ONLY IN PROVIDING AUCTIONS WITH AN ENORMOUS DIVERSITY OF MATERIAL, CENTURIES, MEDIUMS, AND CATEGORIES BUT ALSO TAKING ON THE CURATORIAL ASPECTS OF THE GALLERY WORLD CURATING SELLING EXHIBITIONS OF MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART TO EDUCATE THE POTENTIAL COLLECTOR AND ENRICH THE ESTABLISHED ONE WITH AN OPPORTUNITY TO VIEW WORKS THAT ARE NEW TO THE SECONDARY  MARKET.

ANNA McKNIGHT, A SPECIALIST IN THE CONTEMPORARY ART DEPARTMENT IN NEW YORK, IS ENGAGED AND COMMITTED TO SOTHEBY’S MOST RECENT VENTURE, THEIR ELEGANT GALLERY SPACE IN NEW YORK, S/2. SOTHEBY’S HAS EXTENDED ITS SELLING EXHIBITION PROGRAM TO INCLUDE HONG KONG, EXHIBITING AN EXUBERANT SHOW OF PAINTINGS AND SCULPTURES BY YASAO KUSAMA, WHO WAS RECENTLY HONORED WITH A RETROSPECTIVE THAT OPENED AT THE TATE, LONDON, AND TRAVELED TO THE WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART THIS SUMMER.

ANNA, THANK YOU FOR SPEAKING WITH US AND DETAILING THE WONDERFUL EXHIBITIONS WE CAN VIEW AT S/2 THIS FALL.

I HAVE NOTICED THAT THE WORKS YOU ARE EXHIBITING ARE QUITE ATTRACTIVELY PRICED IN TERMS OF TODAY’S MARKET. OBVIOUSLY, THIS IS INTENTIONAL. WHAT IS THE THINKING BEHIND THIS?

We try to keep our prices relevant and in line with the current art market. We want to create new and engaging buying and selling opportunities for our clients, who already know us well for the auction experience.

HOW DOES S/2 WORK, IN A PRACTICAL WAY, IN TERMS OF COMMISSIONS? DOES S/2 FUNCTION AS A GALLERY IN TERMS OF PRICING OR DOES IT REFLECT THE AUCTION POLICY THAT REFLECTS ADDITIONAL PREMIUMS?

In terms of pricing we do not charge a buyer’s premium as we do with auctions.  The asking price is the final price and the net price is mutually agreed by the seller and Sotheby’s.

YOU RECENTLY OPENED A SPACE IN HONG KONG AND DURING THE HONG KONG ART FAIR IN LATE MAY, HAD A TERRIFIC EXHIBITION OF KUSAMA’S WORKS THAT INCLUDED PAINTING, SCULPTURE AND CERAMICS. DO YOU PLAN TO BRING THAT EXHIBIT TO NEW YORK IN CONJUNCTION WITH HER SHOW AT THE WHITNEY?

No, we are not going to travel this show. However, have you seen the Kusama show at the Whitney? It is brilliant!

IS THE WORK THAT YOU RECEIVE ON CONSIGNMENT OR DOES S/2 HOLD ANY INVENTORY OUTRIGHT AS IS THE CASE WITH SOME WORK IN SOME GALLERIES?

Everything that we receive is on consignment, whether or it is for sale or on loan.

DO YOU PLAN TO REPRESENT SPECIFIC ARTISTS IN KEEPING WITH TRADITIONAL GALLERY CONVENTIONS OR ORGANIZE EXHIBITIONS THAT ARE EITHER THEMATIC OR DEDICATED TO A SINGLE ARTIST? BASICALLY THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SHORTER TERM GOALS OF SELLING OR LONGER TERM ONES OF DEVELOPING AN ARTIST’S CAREER…

As of now we do not have any intentions to represent artists.

YOU HAVE AN EXCEPTIONAL CURATORIAL TOUR DE FORCE AT SOTHEBY’S, FORMER  CURATOR AT THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM FOR MANY YEARS , LISA DENNISON, NOW INTERNATIONAL CHAIR AT SOTHEBY’S.  THE EXHIBITS SHE \ORGANIZED AT THE GUGGENHEIM NUMBER AMONGST MY ALL-TIME FAVORITES.  I KNOW SHE CURATED A WONDERFUL SOTHEBY’S EXHIBIT “HUNTERS AND GATHERERS: THE ART OF ASSEMBLAGE” IN YOUR 10th FLOOR GALLERIES.  DO YOU HAVE PLANS TO TAP HER CURATORIAL EXPERTISE FOR S2?

She is one of Sotheby’s most creative and superb curators and S/2 is lucky to have her involvement. I am sure she is dreaming up something spectacular for 2013.

I’M SURE SHE IS! AS WE HAVE SEEN, AUCTION HOUSES HAVE AN EQUALLY SIGNIFICANT PRESENCE IN THE PRIVATE SALE SECTOR AS IN THE AUCTION VENUE, OFFERING CLIENTS THE OPPORTUNITY TO POSITION WORKS FOR SALE IN THE BEST POSSIBLE VENUE. EXTENSIVE INVENTORY CAN FIND ITS WAY INTO THE AUCTION HOUSES WITHOUT THE CONSIDERATIONS  OF TIMING AND EXPOSURE IN A SALE.  IN OUR NEXT BLOG, ANNA McKNIGHT, SPECIALIST IN THE CONTEMPORARY DEPARTMENT AT SOTHEBY’S WILL PROVIDE HER PERSPECTIVE ON THIS CRUCIAL FUNCTION OF S/2.