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Art Moscow: Results
Журнал Umělec
Год 2005, 3
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Art Moscow: Results

Umělec 2005/3

01.03.2005

Alena Boika | info | en cs de es

From May 24 to 29, the ninth ART MOSCOW International Art Fair took place in Moscow. During this period, over 35,000 people visited the fair. The total amount of sale exceeded $ 2,138,000. One work was destroyed.

This year, the number of participants considerably increased – there were over fifty of them; the exposition occupied four stories of the Central House of Artists on Krymski Val. For the first time, more than half of represented galleries came from abroad. Among new participants were B&D studio (Milan), Galerie Albert Benamou (Paris), i-20 gallery (New York), ibid projects (London), the gallery of Karin Sachs (Munich), Schuebbe – Projektroom gallery (Dusseldorf), and others.
After the success of the First Moscow Biennale, contemporary art is getting more and more popular and demanded by buyers in Russia. Two western galleries (Rudolf Budja from Vienna and Wetterling from Stockholm) and one Russian (Stella Art) displayed Andy Warhol for sale, which means that Moscow entered the list of cities with civilized contemporary art business. There was one more remarkable peculiarity – the galleries, which sell Russian contemporary art abroad, came to the exhibition. Paris gallery Oreal Art exhibited successful Komar and Melamid, Vladimir Dubosarsky, and Valery Koshlyakov who now lives in Paris.
Following the events related to criminal persecution of organizers and participants of the Watch Out, It's Religion! exhibition and also a suit brought against Vasily Bychkov, director of the Central House of Artists, as a result of Marat Gelman's Russia-2 project, the fair was named Art Territory. Censorship-free in an effort to prevent possible troubles. Every stand was decorated with a tablet saying, "Not Recommended for People of Heightened Sensibility." This warning however failed to protect the work by Alexander Kosolapov entitled My Body that pictured Christ behind McDonald's board saying "This is my body." A man who later introduced himself at a police station as God's slave Leonid broke glass and tore the work. The damage that Marat Gelman - who exposited it among other serigraphy works (average price is about $1,000) - suffered as a result of this vandalism cannot be compared with the publicity that was the result of such activities of "militant obscurants." This is what Gelman said about ART Moscow, "…in general, it is even more effective than the latest FIAC - International Fair for Contemporary Art. I will even do without enumeration as all was so much successful. We sold a lot. Even Kulik's station (object), which is expensive and not commercial, was bought. Evidently Biennale and Russia-2 worked."
This is not only the case of Gelman's gallery. The majority of ART Moscow participants were extremely satisfied with their participation in the fair. In accordance with the official information, the total amount of sale was $2,138,000 plus reserved sales to the sum of $677,000. Considering the information received from gallerists, indirect sales resulted from the contacts made at the fair continue during three months and thus, exceed the price for reserved works. So, considering the fair's experience of many years the organizers believe that the price of reserved works may be added to the amount of direct sales and thus, the final amount will be $2,815,000. These figures substantially exceed "the results of the last year that seemed a sensation with $1,727,000 received from direct sales and $840,000 paid for reserved works (before that, ART Moscow sales amounted to $300,000-500,000.
Last year, the amount of sales was due to a phenomenal success of a newly opened contemporary art gallery Stella Art that sold two pictures by a classical conceptualist Ilya Kabakov to the sum of $800,000. No similar heavy sales were noted at present. This year, about 15 galleries sold production to the amount of more than $70,000 each one. At the same time, 12 did not sell a single work. Among foreign galleries that all together sold works to the sum of $50,000 there were two that did not sell anything. In 2005, 53 galleries took part in the exhibition. An average sum of sales of each participant of the fair amounts to $53,113. Dividing the figures among the countries it should be noted that the sum is formed by an average amount of Russians' sales (about $62,000) and sales of foreign galleries (about $34,000).
"During previous exhibitions, sales of pop art classical works were especially profitable. This year, the first place apparently belongs to Russian art. Exclusively home galleries entered the top ten," Kommersant newspaper commented the results of the fair. XL-gallery, which successfully sold a new painting from Vladimir Dubosarsky and Alexander Vinogradov's "underwater" series that decorated ART Moscow posters, is on the first place this year. The second place belongs to Gelman's gallery. The third is taken by Pan-Dan gallery whose stand represented the works by nonconformists of 60s from Anatoly Zverev to Ilya Kabakov.
"The only foreign gallery in the top ten was Shuebbe Project from Dusseldorf, which successfully sold young and non-promoted in Russia Chinese artists and was surprised to find collectors in Moscow who were ready to immediately buy them."
Solid glamour and hedonistic painting represented both on Russian and foreign stands turned to be the most demanded and popular goods. Here is the ART Moscow price range: works by native contemporary art masters such as Kabakov, Zakharov, Bulatov cost from $200 to 400,000. Works by young artists who already proved themselves were sold at the price from $3 to 10,000.
Though the organizers assure that sales were not the main target and refer to a number of non-profit projects shown as part of the fair, the presence of many foreign participants and commercial success of this year speaks for itself. It was announced that this was the last time when a square meter of exposition space cost 105 euros. Next year, the price at the minimum will double. Probably, it remains only to be happy of the fact that contemporary art becomes more and more demanded in Russia and Moscow has proved to be a center, where contemporary art can be represented. However it is somehow sad to hear a statement by exhibition director Vasily Bychkov saying that, "today, art market may be the last refuge of the creative freedom."




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