links

Morning Links: Chinese Censorship Edition

Ai Weiwei in Bejing last year, after a court rejected his appeal on a tax fine. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

“[Aby] Rosen is something of a Shiva-like figure in the arts world — hailed and pilloried as both preserver and destroyer.”  His latest art controversy concerns the 33-foot-tall “beyond-naked pregnant woman with an exposed fetus” by Damien Hirst that he has plunked down on his lawn in Old Westbury, N.Y. [NYT] Read More

The West Coast

Hello, Babylon! The Art World Is Cheating on New York With Los Angeles

WEB_LA_artist_final_snook

When my plane broke through the Los Angeles smog on an afternoon in early spring, I imagined I had willed the town into existence by nothing more than my arrival. It’s the city’s foundational myth—perpetually born yesterday. I was there to cover an art fair called Paris Photo, which was being held at that most mythic of L.A. landmarks—Paramount Studios—and to report on the city’s art world. If New York had a say in the matter, it was something of an accident of history that there were ever artists in Los Angeles at all. The dealers and collectors were always in New York. And who could force the entertainment industry to care? For decades, the most noteworthy thing about successful Los Angeles artists—aside from a core group—was that they left for the East Coast.

The reality is more complicated. New York changed. Downtown ceased being a squatter’s free-for-all and became an outdoor shopping center. The S&M clubs and taxi garages of Chelsea gave way to galleries stacked on top of one another. Increasingly, the creatively minded transplants who migrated each day to New York from all over the country came with expiration dates. Ten years would go by, if you were lucky, before the inevitable fatigue set in. So many migrants have gone to California as a solution to some problem that it’s become an American trope. But in a town where the front page of the largest daily newspaper reports the unsubstantiated rumor that industry blogger Nikki Finke would be fired from Deadline Hollywood, the arts have quietly carved out a home. New York just got more and more expensive. Read More

Los Angeles

‘Homeless Billionaire’ Nicolas Berggruen Is Collecting 12 Artists for LACMA

Art collectors Nicolas Berggruen and Eli Broad. (Courtesy Patrick McMullan Company)

This weekend, the Los Angeles Times published a profile of art collector Nicolas Berggruen, who is known to some by the epithet “the homeless billionaire” because, the paper explains, “he prefers living out of five-star hotels to owning any homes.” Mr. Berggruen is also a voracious art buyer and has gone about collecting in a very specific way. Here’s the Times‘ Jori Finkel:

“For Berggruen has over the last year quietly spent tens of millions of dollars buying museum-quality works by 12 leading contemporary artists, which he says he intends to donate to [the Los Angeles County Museum of Art]—if some general conditions are met.” Read More