Alexander Forbes
Alexander Forbes' take on Berlin beyond the hype

Alexander Forbes' Berlin Art Brief

70 Exhibitors Celebrate Holiday Greed in Zurich

It’s safe to say quite a few early Christmas gifts were nabbed at last week’s Miami fairs. But, does reclassifying artworks as consumable items of holiday cheer, home ornamentations, or pieces of personal pride downgrade their cultural clout? Such is the question of co-curators Carson Chan and Marie Egger in their current show “Come All Ye Faithful” at Florian Christopher in Zurich. Continue Reading

Ketterer Kunst Tops €18 Million in Fall Auctions

In yet another impressive result from the Fall 2013 auction season, Munich’s Ketterer Kunst totaled €18.6 million in their trio of sales — Classical Modern and German Avant-Garde, Post-War, and Contemporary Art — last week. Occupying the top two spots on their list of results was Max Pechstein whose “Schrei am Meer,” brought €1.5 million and “Lotte mit Kopftuch” sold for €1.14 million. With both works selling at nearly double their respective €800,000 and €580,000 presale estimates, the results cement a overwhelmingly buoyant market this fall for the Brücke artist, who’s piece “Der Mühlengraben” (1921) fetched €854,000 at Lempertz, earlier in the season. Eight other works by the artist saw similarly positive results during Ketterer’s sales. Continue Reading

Lempertz Launches New App Set to Lighten the Loads of Collector’s Book Shelves

Ahead of last week’s launch of independent online collecting platform, Arthusiast, Cologne-based auction house marked a further shift in Lempertz’s growth strategy. It is looking decisively towards digital solutions to bring in new bidders and consignments. Earlier this fall, the house quietly launched a flagship app for iOS devices, which seeks to supplant the need for the glut of auction catalogs collectors receive each spring and fall season. Continue Reading

Dorotheum Fall Modern and Contemporary Art Auctions Top €11 Million

Just one week after another bustling edition of the Vienna Art Week, the Dorotheum recorded their best ever result in the Post War and Contemporary Art market segment, with a total €7,353,553 at auction’s end, representing a 60% of lots on offer. The fast-paced evening was led by Lucio Fontana’s “Concetto spaziale” (1968) which topped the seven figure mark to find a taker in a French collector at €1,071,389 (all prices include VAT and buyer’s premium). The yellow work, which features a single, vertical cut in its center had been estimated, presale, to go for only half that amount, on the range of €400,000 – €600,000. Continue Reading

Lempertz Modern and Contemporary Art Sale Cruises to €9.5 Million

Modern and Contemporary art once again proved its ever accelerating market last Tuesday and Wednesday (November 26/27th, 2013) at Lempertz headquarters in Cologne, with works by Lyonel Feininger and Hermann Max Pechstein leading a charge to €9.5 million. Overall modern art sold at 100% by value, with the contemporary sector bounding yet further to 120% of its estimated total. Continue Reading

Schmidt-Rottluff Leads Villa Grisebach’s Fall 2013 Evening Sale

At Berlin’s Villa Grisebach last Thursday (November 28th), buyers were aplenty for the premium works pulled from various categories across their fall auction calendar for a special, “Selected Works” sale. Already by lot 10 the room broke into the seven figure range crowning Karl Schmidt-Rottluff’s oil “Watt Bei Ebbe” (1912) as the evening’s top lot with a price, including 25% buyer’s premium, of €2,720,000. The Brücke master’s work, which was consigned by a west German private collection and had previously been shown at the Museum Folkwang and the Tate, nearly doubled it’s presale high estimate of €1.5 million. Continue Reading

Top 5 Berlin Shows of the Week

A Ciria biopic, Leo Gabin’s new film premiere at Peres Projects, Nathan Carter’s Esther Schipper solo, Anthony McCall at Spruth Magers and Ingrid Furre at Dan Gunn top our list of Berlin openings for the weekend of November 21st-24th. Continue Reading

Director Cornelia Zinken on Cologne Fine Art’s Cross-Disciplinary Focus

Almost two thousand years of fine art, design, antiques, and objects come together this week at the Koelnmesse for Cologne Fine Art’s annual run. Having emerged out of the 70s Westdeutsche Kunstmesse, the fair consistently attracts around 100 exhibitors and a hoard of loyal visitors and collectors with its cross disciplinary focus. Rather than presenting their wares in separate, discipline and time period segregated sections, dealers are encourage to mix and match available pieces at their booths, all of which are vetted by a committee of experts. They are actively organized without accord to genre such that the entire 13,500 square meters melds into what might be an eclectic collector’s store rooms.

Here, Cologne Fine Art Director Cornelia Zinken speaks with Alexander Forbes about her fair’s 2013 edition, maintaining its cross-disciplinary focus, and staying true to its local collector base. Continue Reading

Portrait: Entering Maki Na Kamura’s Landscape of Pictures

In September of 2005 an unannounced painting exhibition went up in the ground floor of Fasanenstraße 69. Rumors circulated. A newspaper ad was placed, which read, “Ist das eine Ausstellung? Gehört Maki Na Kamura derweil zur Kunstwelt?” (Is this an exhibition? Does Maki Na Kamura belong in the art world?) — More whispers and articles. But, by the time Art Forum rolled around at the end of the month and the art scene took off its sleeping mask, ready to see the show, the works had already been taken down in a purposeful wink at the art spectacle.

Honored this month for her win of the seventh annual Falkenrot Preis 2013 with an exhibition of nearly 50 of her works at Berlin’s Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Maki Na Kamura might have more appropriately posed herself the question, “Does she care if she belongs to the art world?” Really, it probably depends which art world is meant. The trend-bound world of art stars, YouTube remixers, and flash in the pan conceptualism she’d likely let float on by. “That’s not how it is with me; it’s not that simple,” she says of peers’ practices, which take their root in current events or ephemeral moments in contemporary culture. But that art world’s rather more patient, historically driven cousin, that might well be of interest. “Up to this point, what I have truly dealt with are pictures from the 18th and 19th centuries, really perfectly modern pictures,” she explains. Continue Reading

Max Hetzler on His Gallery’s 40 Years and Opening a Paris Outpost

Following headquarters in Stuttgart, Cologne, three different Berlin spaces, and an early 90s jaunt to Santa Monica for Luhring Augustin Hetzler, Galerie Max Hetzler closes its over 17,000 square foot space in a former light bulb factory in Berlin-Wedding on December 21 in favor of two new spaces in the city’s west. The survey of its current roster of 21 artists such as Mona Hatoum, Jeff Koons, Beatriz Milhazes, Richard Philips, Bridget Riley, and Christopher Wool celebrates the gallery’s 40th anniversary, but has its eyes set squarely towards the future. Nearly all the works are new, some created specifically for the show.

For Hetzler, it’s a chance to take stock of his status quo before the gallery’s next big move: Paris. Set to open in May at an undisclosed location in the city’s gallery-rich Marais district, the Paris location debuts with Hetzler stand-by Albert Oehlen but is aimed at forging into new, younger artistic territory for the dealer as well. Alexander Forbes spoke with Hetzler in Berlin about his gallery’s anniversary, its Paris plans, and the art world’s ever-changing changing requirements. Continue Reading