Art Basel (and Art Week) has come and gone and I thought I’d share a few of my favorite things. This list is composed of items I’d purchase (if (a) I had the money, (b) I felt that private ownership of art treasures was morally unproblematic). In a world where philosopher-teachers made enough to purchase fancy art, here are a few works I wouldn’t mind hanging on my mantel:
- First up is this small Alberto Burri. I saw a Burri retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum and was blown away. His work is so visceral. This piece uses paint, plastic, and I believe vinavil and combustion cellotex. For scale reference, it was slightly larger than a sheet of paper and I think $140,000 (a steal compared to the other artworks on this list). If only.
- Second is this really beautiful Marc Chagall. I was staring at it when they put the “red dot” on the tag (the red dot means the painting sold). While I don’t know the exact price it sold for, it was estimated to sell for over $2 million dollars. Chagall’s work is so beautiful and important that it worries me that so many of his paintings are in the hands of private collectors. We will just have to trust the largess of the rich and assume they will continue to exhibit his work. There is, obviously, an incentive for private collectors to exhibit their artworks: the more they exhibit and loan their art, the more the art appears in exhibition catalogs, and the more the art appears in the catalogs and the press, the more it appreciates in value. So, with that in mind, I hope you get a chance to see this beautiful Chagall in person!
- For my third pick, I choose this Gabriele Münter. A German painter, this canvas was huge (which was unusual for her). It’s titled “The Letter (The Invalid)” and was painted in 1917. I can’t quite describe why I find it so striking, but I do. This one was too (alas) outside my financial reach at $3 million (I don’t think it sold). While she was one of the founding members of the Blaue Reiter group (1911) her work has been overshadowed by her relationship with Vassily Kandinsky – a common story for women in art history.
And now you know my mundane (but expensive) taste in art!