I’ve been inspired by Yanis Varoufakis’s recent article ‘How I Became an Erratic Marxist’, a magnificent rambling account of late global capitalism by Greece’s new finance minister that you can’t really see any other finance minister in the world writing. Suitably uplifted I’m determined to uplift one of Europe’s battered economies and so to ARCO! The Madrid art fair has had its ups and downs in recent years but now looks like it’s bouncing back. I’ll be staying at the Hotel Wellington which was opened in 1952 by a famous bull breeder I believe was called Nicolo Logsdailo (although don’t quote me on that), and wearing vintage Pertegaz in homage to the great man who died last year (Petergaz, not Logsdailo). And at the fair I shall be looking at the works of Veronika Jakatics-Szabó at my favourite Hungarian gallery, Ani Molnár Gallery, with prices around €1000 to €2000 for her delicately washed-out paintings.
In my down-time I’ll be frantically checking my Asus Padfone X trying to make the damn thing work so I can bid on the Stanley Whitney gouache on paper in the Paddle 8 auction for the benefit of the Bronx Museum. African-American painter Whitney was one of capitalism’s drop-outs, missing the colour-field scene boom, not quite clicking with the pop scene and then usefully taking a hiatus in Egypt. Although he’s represented by Team, he’s still under-valued and the gouache is estimated to go for $8,500. Boom, I’m there. Unless you get there first.
When I get back to Blighty I’m looking forward to continuing the erratic Marxist line at the unveiling of Hans Haacke’s Fourth Plinth Commission which seems to be a bronze skeleton of a horse with a LED screen giving live information from London’s Stock Exchange. Even though the work might be misread by City workers as another finance terminal that they can use to make on-the-spot share dumps, I know that Mr Haacke wants to bring down the edifice of late global capital. But before that happens I recommend getting your hands on his small work C/Arte Expresionista, 24, which remarkably looks like it is still available for €1,800 in an edition of 8, from the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein unless they’ve forgotten to update their website which is entirely possible.
Given the serious vibe of this week’s theme it seems entirely logical that the next item on my wishlist should be Benjamin Buchloh’s collection of essays, Formalism and Historicity released by October Books this month, as I entirely missed all the essays first time around. Benny Buchloh might still be largely unreadable but this is definitely the book any decent collector should buy in order to plonk on top of all those vacuous auction house catalogues. Although perhaps I’m being hard on the eminent art historian – after all two of the essays in the book are on Marcel Broodthaers so it can’t all be that bad. Richard Saltoun, London’s sexiest art dealer of a certain age, has a few Broodthaers oddities stuffed in his back cupboard in North Fitzrovia. Gedicht/Poem/Poeme/Change/Exchange/Wechsel (1973) looks particularly fine and Richard seems to have his hands on edition 22 out of 100. Make him an offer. He’ll refuse. He’s that sort of dealer and that’s why Yanis and I love him!
25 February 2015