The Easel

20th December 2022

Best of 2022: The biggest art stories mattered more than soup thrown on a Van Gogh

A bare bones summary of art world trends in 2022, as seen from Los Angeles. First and foremost is the effort to mount more solo shows of female artists and lift their representation in institutional collections. Museums face pressures to conduct scholarly research, be prodigious fund raisers and resist commercial pressure. Oh, and also protect their art from climate change protesters, even while signaling sympathy for such views. Who would be a museum director?

Christie’s Racks Up $8.4. B. in 2022, An All-Time High for An Auction House

Company results make for dull reading, but let’s pause for a moment. Christie’s has just announced that it generated $8.4 billion in sales over 2022.  Taking out $1bn for luxury goods, that means $7.4bn was spent on art. Wow! The big ticket items were all 20th and 21st century works, many of which came from the sale of large private collections. Said Christie’s CEO “We are sometimes in the art market dancing on the volcano”. Notable sales are detailed here.

13th December 2022

Adam Pendleton and the issue of originality in the digital age

Pendleton, a New York visual artist, has accused a fashion house of copying his work. Initial coverage seemed sympathetic. Designers want to reflect the current visual language in their work – hence the popularity of Instagram. Pendleton acknowledges, though, that his art, which he posts online, also is part of a “tradition of montage and appropriation”. AI image technologies plunder online imagery, as do artists themselves. As Picasso himself observed, “good artists copy; great artists steal”.