Biennials & TriennialsArtists 08-11-2016

November 8 | Zimbabwe returns for the 2017 Venice Biennale

The National Gallery of Zimbabwe has announced that it will exhibit in a pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale, marking the country’s fourth appearance at the event.

Zimbabwe showed most recently in 2015 with work by Chikonzero Chazunguza, Masimba Hwati and Gareth Nyandor. Raphael Chikuwka, chief curator of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, emphasized the importance of Zimbabwe’s participation in the biennial for encouraging other African countries to stage pavilions in Venice. Participating artists are yet to be announced. More via ARTnews.


Sotheby’s has experienced its worst third quarter in a number of years. In its quarterly earnings call to investors yesterday morning, the auction house has announced a net loss of $54.5 million for the three months ending on September 30, 2016, compared to losses of $17.9m for the same period in 2015 and $27.7m in 2014. The slump is part of a broader downward trend that has seen the company’s sales levels fall by 26% in the last nine months. The forecast for the fourth quarter by chief financial officer Mike Goss is, accordingly, pessimistic. The Art Newspaper has the full story.


In a bid to combat the negative financial outlook, Sotheby’s has appointed Hong Kong Telecom executive Linus Cheung to its board, who, in the words of president and chief executive officer Tad Smith, “hails from a crucial part of our world, Greater China, that will be the foundation of a bright future for Sotheby’s.” In connection with Cheung’s appointment, Sotheby’s has entered into an agreement with its largest shareholder, Talking Insurance Group, whereby Taking will not increase its ownership stake beyond 15% for a period of three years, subject to certain conditions. More info via Art Market Monitor.


In more positive news for Sotheby’s, its quarterly 10-Q report indicates the company is continuing to make substantial guarantees that are then covered with so-called “irrevocable bids” — a system where one buyer submits a bid of an undisclosed sum. If no one bids higher, then the buyer acquires the work and pays the buyer’s premium, and if the work sells for a higher price, the “irrevocable bidder” gets a cut of the difference between the final price and the secret price they agreed to bid. As of November 4, 2016, Sotheby’s has auction guarantees totaling $258.8 million and has reduced its financial exposure by irrevocable bids totaling $144.2 million. More details through Art Market Monitor.


Yesterday, art dealer Guy Wildenstein and digital technology entrepreneur Hasso Plattner publically launched the The Wildenstein Plattner Institute, a new foundation which, in its words, is “dedicated to advancing art historical scholarship by fostering the accessibility, cataloguing, and digitization of primary sources.” Elizabeth Gorayeb  — former senior vice president and director of research at Sotheby’s — has been appointed as the WPI’s executive director. Gorayeb will be based in the WPI’s headquarters in New York, and is currently assembling a team of researchers, technology experts and administrators who will work to digitize catalogued resources. The institute’s first publication will be a catalogue raisonné of paintings and sculptures by Jasper Johns. The WPI will build upon the Wildenstein family’s longstanding contribution to art-historical research, as developed by its Wildenstein Institute, founded in 1918. Read the full story on artdaily.


The Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco has announced it will open its new space, located in a historic building opposite the newly renovated San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, on January 13, 2017. The space comprises three floors, two of which will be dedicated exhibition space and one where projects and events will take place. It will be inaugurated with an exhibition exploring the representation of the body from the early 20th century to today entitled “The Human Form,” which will feature works by Henri Matisse, Edward Hopper, Gerhard Richter and George Condo. Artforum has further details.

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