Monday, January 24, 2005
Today's Book Report
Looking for an arts fix? Here are a few interesting things I found around the web today, presented with commentary:
- Erik's Super-Easy Guide to Buying Art. The PDF file linked from this post gives a color-coded, symbol-laden, multi-dimensional matrix that any management consultant would be proud to have built. With three easy questions, the chart lets users predict whether that piece of art they are considering buying will be resalable and whether it will increase in value.
Who needs Fernwood and their fancy-pants economic models to make money in the art market? Here's the only tool a DIY speculator needs to strike it rich trading art. Maybe this is what Fernwood is using too?
- An interesting piece by Deyan Sudjic about last week's board shakeup at the Guggenheim. I said my bit on the situation last week, but Sudjic's piece helped me see the situation from a slightly more strategic perspective.
Krens's approach to leveraging the Guggenheim brand was an interesting idea that should have been tested, but when it became clear that the success at Bilbao was an exception rather than the rule, the plug should have been pulled on the idea. His growth strategy's long-term success depends on having a relevant and highly desirable brand to leverage. But in pouring so much energy and so many resources into expansion, Krens has allowed the core brand to atrophy and become less than relevant.
Brazilian art? Aztec art? Motorcycles? Armani? What do any of these mega-shows from the last few years have to do with the Guggenheim's collection, mission, history, or institutional legacy (i.e., its brand strength)? By currying favor with governments of potential partner sites and pandering to corporate sponsors and the American Chopper set, Krens has strongly diluted the core Guggenheim brand at just the time when he most needs its strength.
Peter Lewis, chairman of the successful Progressive Insurance brand, knew enough to call a timeout on Krens after it became clear that his expansion strategy is not working and that the failure is putting the Guggenheim's stability as an institution at risk. It's unfortunate that the majority of board members aren't as insightful as Lewis is.
- Speaking of the relationship between museum directors and their board members, director of The Homeless Museum Filip Noterdaeme let me know that he has found a homeless, panhandling robot to serve as treasurer for his organization. Have I mentioned that I love robots?
- I take more than my share of potshots at Artforum, but unlike many of my arts blogging colleagues I haven't gone off on the relatively new on-line Diary. Well, it's time.
This comes from an item by Linda Yablonsky that went up last week:
Now I was faced with an admittedly privileged but awkward and recurring art world dilemma: Choosing between dinner parties. Should I run uptown to Steve McQueen's opening at Marian Goodman or just walk down the street to "Post Modern," Carol Greene's MoMA-nose-thumbing painting show?Who the f--- cares? My advice: put Scene & Herd, this poor suffering beast of a thing, out of its misery. As it stands now, the column is an embarrassment to the contributing writers; to the artists, gallerists, and curators who get mentioned; and most importantly (see the item about the Guggenheim and brand dilution above) to the publication itself.
- Finally, I love it when those crazy kids at Gawker cover public art. Peecasso. Get it? Hah! That's so funny. I can hear eighth-grade boys all over the city snickering amongst themselves about this one.