The Art World in Review


by Peter Dobey



"falling, falling" Rafael Rozendaal.

“falling, falling” Rafael Rozendaal.


+ On Thursday, October 10th Phillips auction house on Park Avenue hosted Paddles On!, the first art auction of it’s caliber to concentrate on exclusively digitally made and digitally presented art. It is the latest project from curator Lindsay Howard and was co-organized by Tumblr’s Annie Werner and Phillips’ Megan Newcome who is  director of digital strategy their auction house. The hopes are that by bringing digitally realized art work to the attention of collectors that they will be as interested in these new mediums as many artists have been themselves. Additionally, it was an attempt to bridge the worlds of digital art with the tech worlds that make much of the technology that allows such art to be created.


A question arises, especially for the Bay Area, that if there is to be a whole new breed of digital art collectors, will those collectors be from the same tech world that the technology comes from, most of which is in the Bay Area? High tech moguls and venture capitalists have been notoriously slow to collect art, but this kind of art is literally begging for their attention. Will they take? For a culture and industry that is obsessed with “linking up” ideas and new technology, the tech world has been relatively slow to pay attention to art. Perhaps it is the lack of in person connections itself that keeps digital art from being on the minds of would-be collectors in Silicon Valley, and why the auction happened in New York where it is much more about being seen in person. Perhaps another reason why the tech world has been slow to collect art has to do with how digital art is presented, most noticeably as installations, often interactive. It could be argued that the inventors of the technology would rather experience the art work on the same gadgets that they make, rather than have it installed in their homes.


None the less, the event was precedent setting and a real success, the works of 18 artists fetched over $90,000 in total, near the highest estimate Phillips had hoped for. Addie Wagenknecht’s work “Asymmetric Love #2” received the highest sale of $16,000 and for the first time ever, an entire artists’ website, that of Rafael Rozendaal’s, was purchased at auction.



Salon 94: Rafael Rozendaal, 2013 from Salon 94 on Vimeo.



+ On Wednesday evening, the 9th, the 30,000 square foot Brooklyn arts space 3rd Ward, which housed numerous artists studios, workshops and events, abruptly announced its closure. Its founder Jason Goodman told the New York Times that his rapid expansion, including a second version in Philadelphia, put too much financial strains on the company. The worst part however is that its members were not given any warning, and in an email the company told future tenants who had put down money that they will not be getting refunds. Perhaps Goodman doesn’t really care about such worries though, since he has two really nice properties in Montauk that he can escape too.


+ On Monday the 7th Boris Groys, one of the top billed speakers at ““Art After the End of the World,”, part of the second Kyiv Biennale pulled out, stating that he was uncomfortable with the internal politics of a scandal that has plagued the Ukrainian art scene after a number of works were censored earlier in the year by Natalia Zabolotna, director of the Mystetskyi Arsenal museum, where the Biennale was to be held.  Groys, the influential art theorist and curator, was raised in the USSR, and his letter can be seen in Russian here.


+ And as for this weeks disgraces,


On Monday Damien Hirst unveiled 14 incredibly ugly sculptures of Fetuses in Doha, Qatar – just in case it hadn’t been made clear enough that he was the crybaby of the art world. Oh and in a really unfortunate case of art world terms being used egregiously, Madonna went “Live Art Curating” on Twitter Tuesday. But that’s not news worthy.


Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst