Kenny Schachter

Kenny Schachter Goes Running With the Bull-Headed Bulls at FIAC

10/24/2016 - 12:21

Yusaku Maezawa bought a $45 million work by Mark Grotjahn

Head Banging at FIAC
I was asked why I bothered to incessantly visit art fairs, which according to my social media inquisitor were “so over” and whether I was paid for the pleasure (how did we come to experience before Facebook and Instagram?). Well, actually not such a bad question, but alas I have to make a living art dealing and in so doing, I need to get out and about as much as possible or it simply won’t happen—I work alone in my garage in London. Scribing doesn’t cover more than a night or two of artificially inflated hotel rates, the global norm during big events. Sorry for the potty talk (and toilet humor to follow), but no matter the country why do flushers always stick and require a jiggle?

Read more
Kenny Schachter

Kenny Schachter Comes Out to Play at Frieze London

10/17/2016 - 17:14

Kenny returns with tales from the obscure side of the art world

Art Oktoberfest in London
It’s art Oktoberfest in London and being that I’m so lazy, I relish the opportunity to see as much in as little time as possible, especially in this town where everything is spread so far and wide. Frieze fair turned 14, the magazine 25, accompanied by a Phaidon book (surprise) as the German edition folded (when is last time you’ve read a copy, c’mon?).

Other changes afoot include a major investment, possibly up to 100 percent, by the Hollywood talent agency headed by Ari Emanuel of WME-IMG. In an elucidating article on the topic by Arnet.com’s Laura van Straaten, she quotes Emanuel on what the talent and event purveyor saw in a contemporary art outfit: “Art, media, food and compelling conversations that are leading the industry forward…a force multiplier.” A what? Leading a what? UTA, another talent agency, opened a space in LA with a Larry Clark exhibit. The show must go on, I guess.

Read more
Kenny Schachter

Kenny Schachter's Dealer Diary: Of Art & Cars

09/22/2016 - 15:58

Dealer’s Diary
The UK’s divorce from Europe has yet to make much impact other than creating cheaper Brexit pounds. By getting payment terms on a sculpture I purchased in London before summer, I benefitted from an additional 10 percent discount without having to ask for a change.

But I wasn’t going to wait around for the fallout, so I got on a plane to New York last week to look for brighter opportunities (though with a view of nothing but buildings from my hotel room, my NY was always night). I wheezed so much in the taxi from the airport, the driver asked me if I’d like a Marlboro—it was good to be back. I wondered if the coughing comedian, Dennis Leary, is still alive.

Read more
Kenny Schachter

Summer Holidays

Getting Kicked Off Facebook and Looking for Good News in Ibiza

08/03/2016 - 11:37

The Elections, Art Market and President Zuckerberg: Getting Stoned in Ibiza
I don’t holiday well. I get occasional anxiety attacks and elevated blood pressure when the sun shines too brightly and the inbox slows to a crawl. You’d be remiss not to feel at least some level of apprehension for the general state of things with institutionalized guerrilla terrorism on the rise and the spectacle of The Donald vs. Billary in what is unequivocally the most bizarre election—perchance ever—a mere ninety-eight days from the time of this posting. Oh, lest we not forget the doom and gloom blanketing the global economy, negative interest rates and a 30 percent hit for auction houses’ year-on-year earnings. So I ate a box of fortune cookies searching for good news.

Read more
Kenny Schachter

Kenny Schachter on the London Auctions, Brexit, and the New Nihilists

The art world has never been so topsy-turvy

07/11/2016 - 14:01

The New Nihilists
Covering the art market today is not unlike being a war reporter working from the trenches—fair and auction aisles—dodging grenades launched by frustrated consultants, dealers and auction personnel (for me anyway). There have been easier periods in which to make a living in art. Perhaps we participants should don designer military fatigues; I guess we already do, by Prada.

As the world frays to the point of coming loose altogether, from the UK’s decoupling from the European Union to the US confronting Trump and what he represents (and elections looming for both) the art world has never been so topsy-turvy. I can’t remember in the past 25 years politics trickling down into the discourse to the extent it has during the June sales of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art in London the past two weeks.

Read more
Kenny Schachter

Kenny Schachter's Fact & Fiction

I Declare Basel the New Art Hajj

06/21/2016 - 11:56

Kenny Schachter

Kenny Schachter's Fact & Fiction

Zaha Hadid in Venice: A Barefaced Short Hagiography of a Friend

06/01/2016 - 12:01

The 15th Biennial of Architecture in Venice opened last week with an impromptu retrospective of architect Zaha Hadid, hastily organized since Hadid's untimely death a few short months ago on March 31. What was meant to be an exploration of the research methodologies of the four-hundred strong bustling firm morphed into a mini-survey of a career reflecting the apotheosis of Zaha.

To be clear, this is not a review of the exhibition, which runs through November 27, 2016, but rather an appreciation of a relationship, a barefaced short hagiography of a friend and mentor—to me and many, many more. As an architect, designer, and artist, it was her democratic, boundary-crushing expression of form, no matter the manifestation, that so wowed. In the process, Zaha became an unintended lightening rod unsettling preconceptions of power (and success) with respect to women till the day she passed, and which won't stop anytime soon.

Read more
Kenny Schachter

Part II

Kenny Schachter Deals in Difficult Times at New York Auction Week

05/17/2016 - 14:10

Captain Cappellazzo, the Auctions and the Onward March of May
Markets like psyches have their natural, cyclical biorhythms; no one is happy 100 percent of the time and nothing goes up forever (except taxes); they also have a propensity to go down, even great ones—that's why the term business cycle is employed. But a business art is, rock-hard and on healthy footing. Like the Dow Jones, major auction tallies are an art-abacus for keeping score, a financial report card on the state of the markets and I'd grade the overall outcome of the auctions in New York in May 2016 a solid B (especially in light of how the art press forecast it would fare).

Read more
Kenny Schachter

Part I

Kenny Schachter Deals in Difficult Times at Frieze New York and the Auctions

05/17/2016 - 13:58

Dealing in Difficult Times
All eyes are on the auction spectacle in New York, a market barometer maybe never as scrutinized in such transitional, tumultuous economic times. The month of May is when the art world resets its clock, a Greenwich Mean Time centered neither in the United Kingdom nor China, but rather in the unforgiving aisles of Christie's and Sotheby's.

Covering the enormity of the week and implications of the fallout is daunting but you just have to scruff the cat and get on with it. The jittery climate is further fueled by press like Bloomberg and the New York Times projecting (ever mounting) dark clouds of doom and gloom days before the sales; but casting a pall over the proceedings prior to when they unfold makes news and satisfies a human instinct to relish slips and falls (of others).

Read more
Kenny Schachter

Kenny Schachter's Fact & Fiction

Getting Naked at Art Cologne

04/16/2016 - 11:50

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium was a rollicking 1969 comedy (with Suzanne Pleshette), featuring a busload of Americans touring Europe. The art world equivalent is an ever expanding, never-ending roster of art fair ports of call, but far less humorous (though I obviously have a penchant for them). Speaking of Belgium, Art Brussels opens April 21 (and to the public on April 22) in a location NEW! IMPROVED! Fear not, I'll take a pass.

At 50, Art Cologne is the oldest contemporary art fair (the oldest of those that also feature a modern component) but long ago left behind by tectonic art market shifts well beyond its control. A repeated refrain I encountered wending my way down the aisles this iteration was: "Why are you here?" Maybe because it's a fucking art fair and I've been attending and writing about them for 25 years; how's that for starters?

Read more
Kenny Schachter

Kenny Schachter's Fact & Fiction

Branded Chaos at Art Basel in Hong Kong

03/29/2016 - 15:18

Welcome to Hong Kong, where the bills are stamped with HSBC—one of three commercial banks authorized by the government to issue currency (how annoying is that?)—which is hosting the latest Basel iteration. Soon there will only be Basel fairs, along with Art Central, an Asian-focused event that remains independent, for now. The city feels removed and different, and at eleven to twelve hours from London and sixteen from New York, it's definitely that. There's Healthy Street and Happy Valley and signs not to bring animals, birds, and poultry into the subway, which is always good to know. I also participated in a debate hosted by Intelligence Squared around the idea that money has irreparably soiled art. What will surprise some, I chose to argue against the notion.

Read more