Many galleries, artists and related businesses have been leaving Chelsea and moving up to the Tribeca area.Though this has been slowly occurring over the past few years, the pace has recently picked up as prices continue to climb. This is something we have seen this before, watching it happen currently and will most likely see it repeat many times over in the future, which makes it unfortunate.
Many in the arts community help pioneer the neighborhood, bringing with them the vibe, coolness and attention to perhaps a previously overlook area. What can be done? The answer isn’t easy and will be a difficult process that artists and creatives will face.
Outside of Chelsea, we have seen similarities in Wicker Park in Chicago. Many of the galleries and artists moving away from River North to a developing area which in just several years gave rise to multi-million dollar homes, upscale boutique shopping and fine dining.
There are perhaps some artists, professionals and galleries that will be able to stay in these areas even after the prices soar. But for many, that may be unlikely. Many are now forming collectives to help pool resources together. Others move further away from the city center, and although rental prices may be more affordable, they are faced with challenges of distance and time.
Gentrification however, is not something unique to artists alone, but happening to many others as gentrification, debt, cost of living increase. As more people move into urban areas, this will inevitably increase housing and commercial costs, which in turn further financial burden. Most balance the cost of living by sacrificing other “luxury” items; public transportation in lieu of a car, biking or walking to more nearby location, shared work spaces are just some of the practices many use. For artists and other creative professionals, it will be about prioritizing what’s more vital and what could be beneficial to cost savings. A private studio or office or shared studio? Perhaps expensive materials?
Larger studio rental buildings on the fringes of key city areas seem to be one of the potential answers right now. Like an office or apartment building, these locations house sometimes hundred of studio spaces that are rented out. As the majority of residents are related to the arts, these buildings become a community and arts center. Though we have seen these locations in many major different cities – Chicago, New York, London, Miami, etc., there is real potential to pull back amenities or offerings as market value and property taxes continue to increase.
Perhaps what we need is more action from local governments and funding for art initiatives to help protect some of the early pioneers who help transform a neighborhood.
It all started in 1970, when Ernst Beyeler, Trudi Bruckner, and Balz Hilt – Swiss art dealers from Basel, Switzerland, organized an art fair showcasing contemporary art. Striving to sell contemporary art, to potential buyers from across Europe, they invited national galleries to help market their platform. Balz Hilt, and Ernst Beyeler were both Swiss dealers which went on to become top dealers in Europe, and under inspiration from Art Cologne, decided to venture into new markets, hopefully to attract new buyers from around the world and further their platform.
The event was a first for the Swiss city, situated close to where Switzerland borders on Germany and France, and better known for its biological, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. A convergence of factors – a modern brand of consumer with more leisure time and buying power, coupled with greater gallery activity and extensive mass media reach, fueled interest in modern art and made Basel a cradle of the art industry.
From the beginning, the fair aimed to attract not just leading art collectors, but also newcomers (“In 1972, New York Times critic Hilton Kramer called the event a ‘mammoth indoor flea market of 20th-century art.’”)1. The early years saw the entry of US dealers targeting overseas buyers, the American economic downturn, the entry of more and more countries and very big collectors, and the bubble in the art market in the 1980s. In the 1990s, with Lorenzo Rudolf at the helm, Art Basel witnessed new initiatives like the Art Video Forum, the participation of top New York galleries, sponsorship by UBS, and the Art Basel website (the earliest official Internet address for an art fair).
By the early 2000s, led by Sam Keller, Art Basel forged on, with its entry into overseas markets, opening in 2002 Miami Beach Art Basel, thus penetrating this confluence of Latin and North American currents,as well as focusing on young artists, and hosting panels on art.
In 2013, under the leadership of Marc Spiegler and Annette Schönholzer, Art Basel launched its first fair in Hong Kong. Half of the galleries which participated came from the Asia-Pacific.
Art Basel is involved in several initiatives to advance the arts. These include BMW Art Journey Award, a travel grant for artists, a Crowdfunding Initiative to marshal support for non-commercial projects in art around the world, and The Art Market, a yearly analysis of the worldwide market for art.
Today, Art Basel has become the central event in contemporary art. It has been described as “Facebook of the Art World” and “the world’s most important family of art shows.”
Art Basel Director Marc Spiegler Group goes beyond this, calling Art Basel “the world’s most important art show.”
Its Miami and Hong Kong shows have become equally important in their respective areas. With Miami attracting a global audience in the December months, and Art Basel Hong Kong, which is a new addition, breaking ground on opening day this year by the sale of Untitled XII (1975) by Willen de Kooning just an hour into the fair.
Having attending Art Basel Miami several years, it should be noted the impact and influence the fair encompasses. In Miami, other top fairs and exhibits showcase popular artwork from the world as well, during Art Week – the several days in December which these fairs run. Scope, Contemporary, Untitled, Aqua and many others all run during art week, attracting tens of thousands of visitors.
Additionally, sites such as Wynwood Walls, has been a popular destination for both visitors and street artists who have depicted their work on the famous walls for many years. The Wynwood area itself is home to many galleries dotted among its numerous street art and murals.
Art Week has many fairs opening Wed, Dec 5th, and goes on until Sunday Dec 9th, though some fairs may start earlier with previews or opening night galas. Check our list of Miami Art Week fairs.
5 Pointz has been a landmark for graffiti mecca and has been largely discussed for the past few years. Starting several yrs ago on Aug 21, 2013 the New York City Planning Commission unanimously voted to approve plans to build condos on the property. Because art onsite was less than 30 years old, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected a landmark status nomination by the artists.
Two months later, on the night of November 19th, the exterior of 5 Pointz was whitewashed suddenly overnight. The next day, a ruling by a federal judge stated that the whitewashing could result in the Wolkoff family having to pay damages to 5 Pointz artists.
Fast forward to this past week when a Brooklyn federal jury ruled favorably this on Tuesday, for several artists in the dispute over 5 Pointz, an art mecca for many graffiti artists which was recently “whitewashed” to make way for a graffiti inspire rental building.
Developer and owner of the site, Jerry Wolkoff, was sued by 21 of the artists who state that their work, which included 49 pieces that were legally protected works. The attorney for the artists, state that every artist was awarded damages, though it may not potentially be per each piece on site.
Eric Baum, the attorney representing the artists states that “This is a clear message from the people that the whitewash of the building by its owner Gerald Wolkoff was a cruel and willful act.”
Though the jury ruled favorably, Judge Frederic Block will make the final ruling to the case to what could turn out be a landmark case for future disputes between artists and property owners.
The artists sued under the Visual Artists Rights Act, a 1990 law that protects art work of “recognized stature.” The act has not been tested with a jury previously, and until final ruling from the judge comes in, everyone is unsure how this can all end. The trial, which began about a month ago, will be seen as a vital and landmark case since it would decide the fate of graffiti and whether it could attain federally protected art status.
The artists have argued that the art put in place is highly known and essentially put 5 Pointz on the map, changing the dynamic of the neighborhood. After the neighborhood improved, along with higher property values, Wolkoff “senseless[ly] and malicious[ly]” whitewashed the site to take advantage of the site to turn it into a graffiti inspired upscale condo and office building.
However, Wolkoff has argued that the site was temporarily and that the artists knew that their art would not be permanent and that they took no action to preserve their works of art.
Paris. The Pompidou Centre has planned a new artistic installation, originally planned for Paris’ famous Louvre, that has caused a lot of controversy in social media. The Centre has planned for a 12 meter tall, sexually explicit sculpture, by artist Joep van Lieshout, which many are calling too risqué.
The sculpture, titled “Domestikator,” is planned to be placed in the Tuileries Gardens, a 13th century garden that is next to the the famous Louvre Museum as part of The International Contemporary Art Fair, occurring this month.
The geometric shaped sculpture shows a human-esque figure that appears to be penetrating a four-legged “animal”.
The artist, never intended to be sexually interpreted but was ultimately disappointed when told that the work couldn’t be shown.
“I couldn’t explain my ideas to (the) larger public,” van Lieshout said of the museum’s decision to pull out.
After a flood of negative comments and feedback on social media, the Louvre made its decision to not show the work. The Domestikator is now showing outside the architectural building at the esplanade at the Pompidou.
Previously displayed in Germany for three years, the sculpture has not had any negative publicity before now.
Van Lieshout insisted that Domestikator tells the story of animal domestication by humans and ethical concerns, for agricultural and industrial profit.
The International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC) has previously was under fire when in vandals damaged a giant green inflatable sculpture back in 2014. The sculpture shared a close resemblance to a sex toy, and was in the city’s most famous squares.
The outrage brings to the forefront matters of artistic freedom and censorship.
Tate Modern’s new wing, the Blavatnik Building has created a new public space for visitors amidst London’s gentrification. In doing so, they engaged visitors to look at art as an experience, and not as an object.
As part of the development, Tate Modern included spaces for the performing arts, as well as the entire 5th floor for artists “to collaborate, test ideas and discover new perspectives on life.”
With London being gentrified for the past several years, much of the city is now luxury homes and high end properties. Tate Modern relocation into an abandoned power station transformed how the city grew and where its residents traveled.
The area around Tate has now redeveloped, creating with it a new space for residents of the city to explore and enjoy. It has also become a model of how to re-envision abandoned spaces, something that many cities can model after.
Read the story on the New York Times.