Art Market in Tulip Territory …10 reasons why you should have a high-security storage facility for your art works

We are now in tulip territory.  Hedge funds  I know how hard you tried to track the rise of artists with some index charts but now can you come up with a put against the contemporary art Market Index. IT`S DONE. you’ve heard it here.

Well I know artists are not tulips but…prices are now in fantasy land. I don’t mind high prices for masterpieces but when the contemporary art market stars are Koons, and Hirst…Who do not even do the works themselves well. you get what you pay for when the tide goes out.This Basel was as busy as ever, lots of sales..but lets say the fun and games fair set outside the convention centre was a warning. the Unlimited space was inhabited with vapid, soul destroying  huge works … listen, bigger is not always better. A building out of pots and pans, cement walk ways, insipid woman sitting on a big sculptured ear, a room dedicated to a steel pillar from one wall to another..never mind you get the picture..
Here`s the story. Right now its only about money. When was the last time your read a review from an art critic having the courage to say anything negative about an expensive artist. I think the art market has tapped out. Thats what is in the air. Minimalism and conceptualism two movements about emptiness and absence are over. The shocking and the new is pretty much exhausted. There were so many childish and badly executed works done by the global young artists it was embarrassing .Everyone seems stuck. No visionary artists  artists were showing this time..
The NZZ a serious Swiss newspaper got real and  their editor-in-chief Philipp Meier,  who covers the many areas of the art world wrote his opinion of the market. He is also responsible for the special supplement “Art Basel”. Philipp ,who has studied philosophy,art history and the history of art of East Asia brings to the table some very insightful observations. You can read his” Who you should NOT buy and why”online  The list included,Fernando Botero, George Condo, Richard Prince, Robert Longo,Francis Picabia, Adrian Ghenie, Magnus Plessen, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, George Baselitz, Carl Andre, Paul McCarthy, Andreas Gursky and Tracy Emin…If you want to know the reason for all of them or one of them you can also email me….you should know why.
      Artist Ben – “All that goes up will come down”


They are popping up all over the world..I read somewhere there are estimates that 80% or more of all the worlds art is in storage at any one time. Well here are the reasons.
  1. Security
  2. You have too much at home. No walls left to hang them or show them.
  3. You have just bought them for investment. stored away doesn’t attract tax problems and the works can be bought and sold over and over.
  4. The storage facilities are a convienent place to show your works. There are viewing rooms and restaurants to have a nice meal while discussing the transaction. Clients arrive at airport and usually the facilities are close to airport. They do not have to drive into the city or enter the Country.
  5. If you have a Gallery you need somewhere to keep your inventory between shows and art fairs.
  6. Banks use these facilities who have taken out  art as collateral against loans.
  7. From these facilities art can be sent on a tax suspension basis to an art gallery elsewhere, as long as it returns to storage no duty is payable, even if it has changed hands, making it ideal for investment.
  8. If you are a US citizen one can use “like kind” also called 1031 exchange. This means that as long as a comparable piece is bought within 180 days of one being sold no tax is immediately due.
  9. The down side to all of this is that all this art work sleeps in these vaults. Not enjoyed  by the public or in your home. Art use to give pleasure to the owners. I recently had a dinner party and around it was a child of 8 years old and my adult friends. At the head of my dinner table I have a painting so knock out when you look at it you are shocked with pleasure. Cows coming down the mountain with a palette of colours that would make the Impressionists proud. and it started with the eight year old saying she saw angels in it. three hours later we had drunk and laughed and enjoyed the painting so much we forgot what we had eaten…time moved along. See that happens with good art…
  10. Enjoy the summer and the next art object you buy bring it home and enjoy it.

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The Contemporary Chinese Masters

I invite all of you to come by and enjoy our opening if you are in Zurich at this time.
More info at galerie thalberg:


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“Life is short, art is long” – Hippocrates

Alexander the Great

I have just come back from Ancient Greece, well modern Greece too.  Athens looked sparkling and lively,  people filling the cafes till late into the night. Greece will be all right. their young population will come back and start to move the economy, I met with a young Greek girl now running her fathers restaurant, another starting a bookshop, another
20160920_103416working to change the old guard in government. The love of living  and enjoying will win they will just have to dream big and throw off the 400 years Turkish thinking still pulling at them. So with a group of people obsessed with Alexander. It was with a special tour we followed in the steps of Alexander the Great  we flew and drove all over the Macedonian part, the north of Greece. My question has been tallow and i am not the only one.  how did this small group of Greeks come up with everything we still think and believe in. But that’s another conversation. We visited  many sites, we even went under the subway being built to see the problem they have keeping the old civilisation from being dug up. But I specifically mention his fathers tomb, Phillip II which we saw that  is encased in a modern Museum I mean it is under the ground with these amazing tombs in perfect condition one sees the most delicate beautiful drawings that takes your breath away and the jewelry and textiles ahhh. I show some pictures go to The Multicenter Museum of Aigai. Pull it up. the tombs were found in the 1970s by a Greek, wholly intact, a miracle by Manolis Andronikos.One must build for the Gods, or in modern terms not your own neurotic silly dream. Sorry, the architects, the starchitects, you don’t come close, glass and concrete and Italian furniture well maybe yahn we will move on from them. Just stand in a Byzantine  Church and the breath of it is inspiring. Why did the religions have to go guilt. The Greeks had their gods, knew they were mortal not Gods , did the best they could and enjoyed life, yes drinking and laughing and sex and fighting and prepared for the next world where they would continue to party. The tombs had furniture layed out to continue their drinking parties.
And they fought to be remembered in the stories that would come down through the centuries. Our poor soldiers hardly  given any honor by our population. shame on everyone.And their Gods included women, well the Jews got rid of the pagans but left us with one god a man of course.We are not balanced in our lives so I propose a new religion…..talked of on our long bus rides into the Macedonion countryside…it will be THE CHURCH OF REFORMED PAGANISM (living the good life, helping the poor) its early days but if you want to join let me know…….
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We are Greeks all of us. in our thoughts.

20160918_11294720160919_174325 Greek proverbs: “Children should be seen and not heard”, “The middle course is always the safest” – Menander. “Life is short, art is long”, Hippocrates. “Never tell your wife all you know” – Homer. “A rolling stone gathers no moss “, “Nature creates nothing without a purpose”, Aristotle.


Venice Film Festival

Enjoyed the Venice film Festival and saw the best film I have seen in years it is” On the Milky Road” by Emir Kusturica. Even though he said it was the biggest mistake he ever made to act in his movie, produce it, finance it, organize it, direct it and compose the music with I am guessing  another member of his family he pulled it off.Darkly comic,surreal love story that held everyone who saw it spellbound I do not know what has happened to the film world but there seems no way to see adult interesting films unless you go to a film festival. Please America watch films with subtitles it will be good for you…Another film Jackie  played by bNatalie Portman was directed by Pablo Larrain,and bravo for him. Shot from another point of view, he had the courage to take on the three or four days after the murder of JFK and pulled it off without using cliche shots we have all seen before. Just to add Pablo Larrain the Director is Chilean, born 1976 and won the best film at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival..Belmondo was awarded at the film festival, he still looks good. Saw his film Le Voleur wonderful. A grown up film…..


Biennale Architettura 2016

Reporting From The Front – 28.5-27.11 Venice
As usual the show is scattered around but the show at the Arsenale was amazing. We walked in and came out blinking in the sunlight after a whole day looking at what was new approaches to live from temporary living to redoing communities using new material, at the end of the show I was so inspired I was snapping all the companies that have new building materials to use on new construction. a new way to deal with how we live. These were not the star architects we are always seeing but cutting edge thinker architects also trying with very little money to make huge differences in quality of living.

Also do not miss the Zaha Hadid show on May 27th –  Nov 27th at the Palazzo Franchetti, an explosion of creativity. The show covers all her projects she made and ones not made till now… furniture, paintings.


Julio Larraz

And while I was in Venice I popped into the Contini Gallery where they were showing a Cuban artist Julio Larraz and he is good. and I mean seriously good..My friend who was with me, being one of the  few dealing in old masters in the world and having a true eye for quality said if he would be buying in the Contemporary Art world he would buy work from him.

A walk with homer - Julio Larraz

A walk with homer    Julio Larraz

The Long Road to Cape LaPlace - Julio Larraz

The Long Road to Cape LaPlace – Julio Larraz

His prices are still affordable, look him up. And it is a good time to buy. The market is soft. Watch how the sales go this coming month in London and New York.

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Must see

TEFAF is coming

Comes to New York on Oct 21. Go to this fair. You will see a vast area of beautiful art and furniture which you have only seen in museums  and a few galleries and thought you could never afford these ancient works. But you can and they are offered here with price points that are not available in 20-century art for less money. Egyptian reliefs, 15th century sculptures, jewelry, books, manuscripts, American paintings decorative arts and art rarely seen from Africa, Oceanic, Islamic and Asian art and much more, drawings, furniture.. It will be a feast for your eyes and pocket.


Zurich Film Festival

It is running now. It has gotten better!


The Odyssey

The long awaited bio film of Jacques Yves Cousteau was shown to a packed audience, young and old. An what a film. Underwater scenes lush and blue shows the adventure of this mans life. I dare to compare him to Alexander well why not. Both men were drop dead handsome, charismatic and unflappably curious. Men followed them knowing they were with greatness. one conquering the world on land, the other going to an unknown world never explored ,the seas of our world. The film shows that once Cousteau saw the water of the North he also saw the destruction of the sea creatures and started an organisation with his son to try to awaken the world to what we are doing.I hope it is picked up for the English speaking audience, yes there are subtitles. It is in French Directed by Jerome Salle who, with the stars last night told us about filming this extraordinary film.



Well to end with great disappointment, I have received before the show an overview of the booths with what they will show put out by a magazine I get, talk about taking away the excitement of going to a fair. Having an equal footing. Well you can buy them online don’t even have to go to the fair. It use to be exciting what will we find? I wonder if gallery x is bringing new work by.. what will be the new trends shown So why go now… I can order at home mail order and if I do go the fairs most of the works have been pre-sold. Not good…… but go anyway.

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Why is the whole world running to walk on water with Christo?

What has captivated everyone to overwhelm these sleepy chic towns of Sulvano, on the mainland, and Peschiera nestled along Lake Iseo to brave buses and trains. Forget about a place to stay, hotels were booked out months ago.

Well I will keep it simple: Christo is the only artist working today who is in the style of the grand artists of Italy past where, when a painting was finished the leading citizens would walk it through the streets often on religious holidays for all to see and the ordinary people would make their comments be proud of a special artist and be uplifted by it. In this grand tradition Christo follows. He makes everyone part of the work. The workers fixing it, the police, the children, the people coming from the whole world, smiling, laughing, taking their shoes off if they want to, enjoying the weather, lying on it, sun bathing… I must say the gods of the weather were kind to him for the opening day was sunny and not to warm, the water was glistening. One felt a slightly rocking, like one would on a boat, as soon as you stepped on this soft orange pathway and the reality that you could walk to either side and dive in … Well I don’t know how deep the water is and god bless the Italians for not putting railings on either side and giving the visitors a chance of not being treated like children but it was simply wonderful. Everyone around the restaurants clapped as he passed in his boat. A man I would say in full form, forget how old he is. What was just as wonderful and not shown  is he covered the streets of the towns with the fabric and everywhere we walked this wonderful sea of orange enveloped us. The walk was demanding, a two mile walk but it did not stop people with wheelchairs, or children or basically anyone. One simply had to live it. Be exhilarated and then have a wonderful meal after. The restaurants spotted around were perfect and I am sure this tiny lake area will become a very good choice for holiday.I must say that the explosion of creative energy to make this miracle of 220,000 high density polyethylene cubes that form its 16 meter wide spine to stay up using engineers, construction companies, deep sea divers, even a team of Bulgarian athletes was used. It must have been the most exciting project to come along for these teams in years. All to come down after a few weeks.  It was realized in 22 months normally it takes decades to achieve. The dream of floating piers was a project thought of 46 years ago and was rejected through the years…finally in 2016 it has been realized…. an American- Italian miracle.

Take a look at some of the photos and video and try to get to Italy in order to experience this yourself..



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What happens when the media stops covering your artist

What happens when the media stops covering your beloved artist you bought and thought was a safe bet?
Or as the famous art critic Souren Melikian once said “who can guarantee that a sponge dipped in blue paint will forever be recognized as a work of art?”.

Well to start I think you must first think: Do I really like what I am buying?
It sounds simplistic but there is the real possibility it will go down. Just to say that in the 80’s there were wonderful artists that have fallen down and have not come back. You all know which ones. They have been replaced by the new new who will in turn be replaced by the newer new etc…. Few will last.

What I advise is:
There are still some serious art critics left. See if they have covered your artist. It makes no difference to them if you buy these artists or not. Gallery owners of course will fight to sell their artists who they believe in there are a few really serious art Galleries owners who are passionate about their artists and look for talent who will last and last.…Talk to the independent dealers that are still around they still have the “true eyes” for quality. Talk to Museum Curators, executives like Thomas Hoving, one of the great eyes of our century and art expert who has written a wonderful book called “Art for Dummies”. In that book he tells you what you should look for in an artist, he also recommends some artists of our time that he feels will make it. He also has written other books about art, the last one being “Master Pieces”. Sadly he has passed away, but his books have a lot of information in it about the world of art and perhaps his passion will rub off on you. For in the end it is the passion for art that will take you along the road, mistakes you will make but not really because you will change and your art will also change… I mean the man revolutionized the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Do you want to walk on water with Christo?

I will be at Lake Iseo at the opening of this event. Ah finally to walk on water…….Ciao will tell all its this month!

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Max Ernst Johannes Theodor Baargeld, Kurt Schwitters, George Grosz, Otto Dix, Hannah Höch, Raoul Hausmann John Heartfield, Man Ray Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, Beatrice Wood and Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven.
Major and minor branches were created in Barcelona, Berlin, Cologne, New York, Paris, Latin America, Japan, Croatia and the Tyrol. These were the important centers and the artists who made up the DADA movement.

The Berlin group was much more political and used Dada to fight the government.
Hannah Höch, a gifted political collagist took over Dada to use in texts and invents the photo montage.
Raoul Hausmann – John Heartfield – Otto Dix – George Grosz

Max Ernst – Johannes Theodor Baargeld
Both Rejected the tradition of painting and experimented with assemblages of found objects and montage.
Ernst constructed a dreamlike world of juxtapositions that prefigured surrealist practice.

Man Ray wrote a letter to Tristan Tzara June 1921—” Dada cannot live in New York. All New York is Dada and will not tolerate a rival-will not notice Dada. He also wanted a new way of showing things. He wrapped up his mothers sewing machine. Even though it was wrapped you could still identify what it was or it was left to the imagination. He also abandoned the camera and only using light on photographic paper showed a new method for photos it was called Rayographs.

Everything begins with the first International Exhibition of Modern Art at the Armory Feb 1919
Francis Picabia  shows his machines are human beings drawings

Marcel Duchamp shows his canvas Nude. Descending A staircase heralding the European avant- garde then in  April 1917 Duchamp showed a ready made Object that became the 20th century’s most influential work – The Fountain an inverted urinal.

Beatrice Wood gave manifestations of Dada and defended Marcel Duchamp. She worked with found objects. Often called the Mama of Dada – she was an inspiration for the 101 year Rose DeWitt Bukater in the film Titanic.

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven
Her bizarre costumes, and her radical performances with which she appeared on public streets established the field of performance art.  Her early ready mades – on the way to getting married she discovered an iron ring on the street – a found object that she declared an artwork, entitled “Enduring Ornament” and here we must mention that latest research suggests that the idea behind the upturned urinal, signed R.Mutt did not come from Marcel Duchamp, but from her. Her visual poems, her tendency to play with gender roles truly made her a figurehead of the avant-garde.  She took one of the most provocative positions of her time.She left America in 1923 and returned to Germany.

Kurt Schwitters
Was not accepted by the Dada group in Zurich group  and went back to Hannover and launched his one man movement “MERZ”.

May 27th – 1920
Dada is dead. It ends in Paris with a fight between Breton and a poor poet Pierre de Massot who has his arm broken by Breton who hits him with a walking stick. That event ended Dada in Paris and at the same time the hour of Surrealism’s birth. New York Dada ended in 1921 when Duchamp and Man Ray left for Paris.

And after
Surrealism 1924, Constructivism, Lettrism, Situationism, Fluxus, Pop and Op Art, Conceptual Art, Minimalism and most twentieth century art movements have traced their roots to Dada.
Once you think Dada, most of the artists you know and love, all derived that Dada vision and expanded on it till today.
The thought that anyone could be an artist and that anything could be art along with the desire to tear down the media propaganda of our consumer society and politics is as strong as ever.

And along side came  . . .

  • The Beat Generation
  • Saint Germain des Pres
  • The Viennese activists movement
  • Punk sub-culture and you might as well throw in Tattoos!
  • Performance art stronger than ever
  • All critically subversive strategies that live on in current counter cultural practices.



1916 – till 1920 . . . till now

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In other news

Anthonis van Dyck
Van Dyck, a drawing by him at 14.
It speaks for itself!



Image (2)Marc Spiegler, Global Director Art Basel

Marc says the art market is not in a bubble, lots of new young collectors coming in.

We were at his presentation ‘1986-2016’ at the Museum Haus Konstruktiv.
From quiet village to a chaotic cosmopolis.


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It all started a 100 years ago in Zurich and Zurich is celebrating. The Kunsthaus, the Landesmuseum, the Museum Haus Konstruktiv, the Cafe Voltaire,  Galerie, Hotel Limmatblick with its DADA Bar and lots of other events during the year.

So why is this movement one of the most revolutionary movements of the twentieth century which still influences more than ever the contemporary art world.


The place it started – Zurich Switzerland
Neutral Switzerland was a haven for intellectuals, scientists, poets and artists that were repelled by the slaughterhouses of the world war around them from all the belligerent nations. World War 1 was a devastating war that left everyone looking for a way to rebalance their lives. A very small group of artists got together and in a very subversive and irreverent matter thought that anyone could be an artist and that anything could be art they wanted to start over like children, wipe out the old way of thinking of art.
Where…. the Cafe Voltaire Feb 5 1916 closed only 4 months later.

The Cafe, named in honour of the eighteenth century French writer, philosopher and radical critic was held there for only four months.
It was here at the Spiegelgasse 1 that the birthplace of Dada started. No one is quite sure where the name came from. Here every night the 7 Dada Founders pushed themselves to the edge of madness they acted childlike, silly, they sang, painted, made collages composed poetry, danced mock rituals that happened on the stage and looked for a new order to heal human beings. They were not opposed to art or religion, they wanted to penetrate them and be inspired by them and at the same time were very subversive.

Hans Arp remembered these evenings as total pandemonium. “The people around us are shouting, laughing gesticulating. Our replies are sighs of love, volleys of hiccups, poems, moos and meowing of medieval Bruitists. This audience was composed of dissidents, refugees , artists and dissidents all who came every night.

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The  7 DADA founders who started the most  revolutionary movements of the twentieth century

Hans Arp – an Alsatian painter, sculptor and poet who co-founded the movement. He created biomorphic shapes in ink, woodcuts and painted layered wood reliefs. He married Sophie Tauber. They collaborated on abstract images and established the Cabaret Voltaire. Rejected for Swiss citizenship Arp moved to Paris in 1925 and exhibited with the Surrealists.

Hugo Ball – German, Presented short plays such as the Nativity Play, he famously appeared in a cubist costume reciting one of his sound poems (poem without words) .  Ball read his “Dada Manifesto aloud at the first dada evening performance outside the Cabaret Voltaire. He is thought to have used the word Dada first. In his sound poems, such as “Karawane”, Ball wanted to find a language that emerges from the “primeval strata untouched and not reached by logic and by the social apparatus.”

Emmy Hennings – German, The bon vivant and professional Cabaret singer and  poet presented songs  and had audience participation.Co-founder of the Cafe Voltaire.

Richard Huelsinbeck – German, He recited pseudo-African poems he played  the drums on stage introducing a stronger rhythm. Underlining the groups search for “primitive art” Had a nervous breakdown because his Swiss girlfriend demanded that he choose between her and DADA. readings of expressionist and futurist poems simultaneous poems in three different languages to cubist dances. Everything was possible.

Marcel Janco – Romanian, Along with Dada performances he produced abstract costumes and masks for the Cabarets soirees, printed posters and invitations for other Dada Events. He returned to Bucharest in 1920 and cardboard communicated characters and passions that are larger than life.

Sophie Taeuber-Arp – Swiss,  A key representative of the Zurich dadaists and simultaneously a pioneer of constructivist-concert art.She is seen as one of the most versatile and adventurous female Swiss Artists of the 20th century.Painting, drawing,sculpture, architecture, design, dance and scenography, she introduced to Arp non-traditional materials and geometric constructions.Her first show was at the opening of Galerie Dada where she danced to verses by Hugo Ball wearing a mask by Marcel Janco. In 1918 with Hans Arp and other artists she signed the “Dada Manifesto”.

Tristan Tzara  – Romanian,  Tzara edited an anthology of works performed at the cabaret The PR Genius organised a conference at the Kunsthaus Zurich He constantly promoted the trade mark Dada. He also was responsible for sending out to over 40  artists that they submit their art work to him and it would be published for his 1921 book project “Dadaglobe”. Due to inflation the German publisher could not finish the project. It was unpublished till now. So to mark the 100 years of the foundation of Dada the widely dispersed original artworks are reunited for the first time  in“Dadaglobe Reconstructed” It is a milestone in Dada Research and can be bought online or at the bookstore of the Kunsthaus. Some of the artists included are Hans Arp, Andre Breton, Max Ernst, Hannah Hoch, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, and around 30 other artists.The exhibition will travel to the Museum of Modern Art, New York from June 2016.

Dadaglobe_PlakatThe first Dada show was at the  Corray . With Arp, Janco, giorgio de Chirico, Otto and Adya van Rees, Hans Richter, Swiss artists and african sculptures. The name was changed after to Gallery Dada. This was in January 1917. In their new performance space they charged steep entrance fees and  had to agree to admit spectators by invitation only which assured a predominantly upper class audience. Dada works were exhibited only in the last month of the gallery. They gave lectures, dance and music performances, Ball recited his sound poems. Unfortunately due to financial difficulties the gallery closed in May 1917.


The last Dada Soiree in Zurich was held in the Saal zur Kaufleuten on April 9, 1919. The event created a riotous scene among the 1,500 people reported to have been there.

And that was just the beginning …


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