JOSH BAER, IN HIS ROLE AS CURATOR FOR SOTHEBY’S S/2
JOSH BAER IS BEST KNOWN FOR HIS PUBLICATION OF THE BAER FAXT, A NEWSLETTER THAT PROVIDES A BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF THE WORKINGS OF THE ART WORLD, THE MOMENTUM OF THE CONTEMPORARY AUCTION SALES WORLDWIDE AND A KNOWLEDGEABLE PERSPECTIVE ON THE GALLERY SCENE AND THE BURST OF ART FAIRS THAT DOMINATE THE GLOBAL ART MARKET. THE BAER FAXT HAS AN INTERNATIONAL ROSTER OF SUBSCRIBERS AND FANS AND HAS GARNERED MANY KUDOS FROM DEALERS, COLLECTORS, AND AUCTION SPECIALISTS, SUCH AS:
What are people saying: “Josh Baer hears the inside scoop.” – NEW YORK TIMES
“I don’t want to wait months for the news, this really helps.” – LINDA MACKLOWE, COLLECTOR
“The Baer Faxt is an invaluable source for breaking news and information.” – MICHAEL MCGINNIS, DIRECTOR OF CONTEMPORARY ART, PHILLIPS DE PURY & LUXEMBOURG
“I can’t wait to read it.” – PAULA COOPER, DEALER
IT WAS AN INNOVATIVE IDEA AND JOSH IS CONSTANTLY ON THE GO PROVIDING US WITH CONSTANT UPDATES. http://www.baerfaxt.com/
I AM MOST IMPRESSED BY JOSH’S ROLE AS CURATOR SINCE, FOR ME, THE CURATORIAL ROLE IS SUCH AN INFLUENTIAL ONE AND THE SCOPE OF WORK TO REALIZE AN EXHIBITION OF QUALITY A MONUMENTAL ENDEAVOR. I AM VERY PLEASED THAT JOSH WILL ENRICH OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THIS PROCESS AND OF HIS MOST RECENT EXHIBITION, “NOT CALIFORNIAN” .
JOSH, I WAS VERY IMPRESSED BY THE EXHIBIT YOU CURATED AT SOTHEBY’S BEAUTIFUL GALLERY SPACE, S/2. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PROPOSE THIS EXHIBITION TO SOTHEBY’S?
WHAT WAS THE PREMISE OF THE EXHIBIT AND HOW DID YOU SELECT THE ARTISTS IN THE SHOW?
The S2 show was an opportunity to work with an auction house in a new way – they have a great group of people as specialists and it was a pleasure. The show Not Californian was a reaction to the Getty’s Pacific Standard show which for me made the work of Californians kind of provincial.
IN HIS CATALOGUE ESSAY FOR THE EXHIBITION, JOSH NOTES:
Last fall, The Getty organized the monumental and thorough exhibition “Pacific Standard Time” which, while excellent, gave the impression that much of the work coming out of Los Angeles in the 1970s and 1980s was provincial. It illustrated that while influenced by (and maybe a bit onto) the Western art world, it was still very much a local moment….I argue that the art which emerged afer the Pacific Standard moment in California was in fact deeply in tune with international movements and consistent with the history of the avant-garde. You could make your own list of who is or isn’t “Californian” but these now “seminal” artists tell a great narrative together to our global art viewing today.
THE ARTISTS IN THIS EXHIBIT MAKE JOSH’S CONCEPTUAL ARGUMENT CONCRETE. THE SHOW INCLUDED WORKS BY ED RUSCHA, BRUCE NAUMAN, PAUL McCARTHY, JOHN BALDESSARI AND MIKE d – ALL ARTISTS OF INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION.
IN A TERRIFIC INTERVIEW WITH ANTHONY BARZILAY FREUND IN SOTHEBY’S MAGAZINE, SOTHEBY’S AT AUCTION, JOSH ELABORATED ON THE EXHIBITION “NOT CALIFORNIAN” THAT HE CURATED FOR SOTHEBY’S S/@ GALLERY.
For the latest S|2 selling exhibition, Misty Heiden, Senior International Specialist and Head of Contemporary Art Private Sales at Sotheby’s has turned to Baer. “I’d seen some wonderful shows Josh curated at Gagosian and Lehman Maupin,” says Heiden, who adds that Not Californian came about because, “quite simply, he brought us the idea and we really liked it.”
Speaking of the show, what was the impetus for wanting to do it now?
This winter I went out to Los Angeles to visit Pacific Standard Time (PST) [the Getty initiative in venues across the city that spotlighted the art being made in southern California from the post-war years to 1980]. It occurred to me that while they did a first-rate job of showing what was going on locally during that period, a lot of the art on display made it feel like a provincial movement. I would argue that the art coming out of California after the period covered by PST was in fact deeply in tune with international movements and consistent with the history of the avant-garde.
The Getty initiative and your show share one salient point: that the work being produced in California was as vital and informed as anything coming out of New York.
I came of age professionally in New York in the late 1970s and ’80s and it’s certainly true that these artists were marginalized as West Coast artists. Even Nauman, who was showing with Castelli, was thought of as a California artist and hardly sold a thing.
JOSH, YOU ARE SO BUSY, I HESITATE TO ASK BUT I WILL. WHAT ELSE DO YOU HAVE IN THE WORKS AND WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH I N THE ART WORLD THAT YOU HAVE YET TO DO?]
As to what I have yet to do – I guess it’s just more of what I do do – each day is different and I have the freedom to do as I wish artistically.
I AM ALWAYS IMPRESSED BY THE COMMITMENT ON THE PART OF MY CLIENTS TO SUPPORT THE ARTS, EITHER IN THE FORM OF PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS, SPONSORSHIP OF ART EVENTS, OR THE ENORMOUS TIME AND WORK THAT THEY CONTRIBUTE TO THE MUSEUM WORLD. AUNDREA AND JIM AMINE OF GREENWICH, CONNECTICUT, HAD HAPPILY BEEN LIVING IN LONDON WITH THEIR SONS FOR TWELVE YEARS WHEN JIM WAS ASKED TO RETURN TO NEW YORK. AUNDREA NOT ONLY ESTABLISHED A BEAUTIFUL HOME BASE FOR THEIR FAMILY BUT BECAME AN EXTREMELY VALUABLE AND ACTIVE MEMBER OF THE BRUCE MUSEUM.
IN THE NEXT LRFA BLOG, THANKS TO AUNDREA’S GENEROSITY, WE WILL LEARN ABOUT THE THE BRUCE MUSEUM’S UNIQUE HISTORY AND EXCEPTIONAL EXHIBITION AND EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS.
I WELCOME ALL SUGGESTIONS, QUESTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE BLOGS…PLEASE CONTRIBUTE!