NEWS

Art market trends, insights and tips on buying, selling & collecting art...

CAN WE START APPRECIATING INDIGENOUS ART ON ITS OWN TERMS?

by Jason Farago
The New York Times

…How to move forward, and build a common artistic future on stolen land? As American curators and artists get serious about unwinding the colonial legacies embedded in our views of modern art, another country can offer a primer: Australia, where debates on the “contemporaneity” of Indigenous art predate ours by decades.

Two shows in New York offer profoundly different views of art from Indigenous Australia, and establish the stakes for exhibiting work made very far from our white cubes…

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COMIC STEVE MARTIN GETS SERIOUS OVER INDIGENOUS ART

by Matthew Westwood
The Australian

Steve Martin’s first encounter with Australian indigenous art was less than four years ago and he has become a zealous convert, declaring the masterworks of the Western Desert to be “art that rivals any contemporary art that’s being made”.

The star of Roxanne and Three Amigos has long been a collector, and after he discovered the work of Australia’s Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri at a New York show in 2015, he has acquired about 40 paintings by indigenous artists…

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STEVE MARTIN LOANS INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIAN ART COLLECTION TO GAGOSIAN FOR NYC EXHIBITION

by Michaela Boland
ABC News

Ten acclaimed Indigenous Australian desert painters are about to be exhibited in a major gallery in New York City and all but one of the artworks come from the personal collection of Hollywood actor Steve Martin.

The world's most influential art dealer, Larry Gagosian, will show the paintings in his Madison Avenue gallery and it could be a game-changer for the fragile Indigenous art sector…

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#42 BILL WHISKEY - HEALER, LEADER, LEGEND

At our private exhibition in New York earlier this year one of the art world’s most influential people stood spellbound in front of this incredible painting by Bill Whiskey and described it as “powerful and majestic…”. Their reaction to Bill Whiskey’s work made clear to me why his pictures are so highly sought-after (and in my view under-valued) in the marketplace today…

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#41 NEW YORK, NEW AUDIENCE & A NEW DIRECTION

When you get your own solo show at New York’s chic downtown gallery, Salon 94 Bowery, you know you’ve reached a new level of acclaim.  And when your work is collected by some of the biggest music and movie stars on the planet - the world will know it too.

The artist is Yukultji Napangati and her exhibition – which will run until March – is stunning New York collectors who have never seen anything like it before…

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#40 EXPORTING AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS ART: LONG-AWAITED CHANGES TO THE PMCH ACT

A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from the Department of Communications and the Arts announcing an important change in legislation that will be an absolute game-changer for the Australian Indigenous art industry. 

The highly contentious Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 – which for many years restricted exports and thwarted the international trade for Indigenous art - was finally amended to more adequately reflect the current times…

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#39 ART MARKET INSIDER GUIDE / JULY-DECEMBER 2018

When news broke at Sydney Contemporary that Bill Nuttall at Niagara Galleries had just sold Rover Thomas’ Kukatja, Wangkatjanka/ Woolanguwa, reputedly for $300,000, there was a collective industry cheer. Not only is the stalwart dealer highly regarded and well-liked, but the important work was crisp, rewarding and thoroughly deserving of the result.

It also perfectly sums up the mood of the market over the last 6 months…

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#37 FIVE MASTERWORKS FROM MY SYDNEY CONTEMPORARY LINE UP


JOHN MAWURNDJUL , born 1952  Ngalyod , 1999, 163 x 88 cm

JOHN MAWURNDJUL, born 1952
Ngalyod, 1999, 163 x 88 cm

With only 2 weeks till the Sydney Contemporary art fair, we're getting very excited about the incredible collection we're offering and the people we'll meet.

The collection, Reverence: Sydney Contemporary 2018, has just launched online and includes artworks by several leading Australian artists - all wrapped and ready to transport north. We can’t wait.

In the meantime I’m using this month’s blog to share 5 masterworks that we’ll be exhibiting at the fair...

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#36 A WALK THROUGH THIS YEAR'S NATSIAAS…


Pepai Carrol’s  Yumari,  2018 - my pick of the exhibition

Pepai Carrol’s Yumari, 2018 - my pick of the exhibition

In the 35th year of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards it is clear to me, and many others besides, that the level of quality overall had taken a serious step up compared with previous years.

Not to take anything away from the excellent group of previous finalists and winners, it’s just that there appears to be a much stronger confidence and connection to self shone through for me, evident by all of the finalist artists this year.

In this post I will walk you through my highlights, starting with one of the absolute stand outs – Pepai Carroll.

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#35 ART MARKET INSIDER GUIDE / JANUARY-JUNE 2018

LIN ONUS , 1948-1996,  Fish, Ferns and Rocks , 1995, sold at Sotheby’s Australia for  $793,000 (IBP)

LIN ONUS, 1948-1996, Fish, Ferns and Rocks, 1995, sold at Sotheby’s Australia for $793,000 (IBP)

I understand that the art market can be a difficult place to navigate. 

The Australian Indigenous art market is no exception and that’s why I publish a new installment of the Art Market Insider Guide twice each year – to distill the results and key market activity into a concise report that will keep you informed.

There’s been quite a bit of action in the last 6 months so let’s get into it…

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#34 TOP 10 MOST COLLECTABLE AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS ARTISTS


WARLIMPIRRNGA TJAPALTJARRI , born circa 1958,  Mamultjunkunya , 183 x 244 cm,  SOLD BY SOTHEBY’S LONDON FOR $166,153 AUD

WARLIMPIRRNGA TJAPALTJARRI, born circa 1958, Mamultjunkunya, 183 x 244 cm, SOLD BY SOTHEBY’S LONDON FOR $166,153 AUD

With my annual exhibition now underway, it's time to reflect - as I do each June - on which artists to look out for in the current market setting.

These are the practitioners who transcend the trends and stand the test of time.  They are the masters whose works define a movement, setting a benchmark for all those that come after them.

In updating my previous 'Top 10' I looked at market activity and all major exhibitions held over the past 2 years.  The result has lead to some interesting movement and perhaps a number of surprises...

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#33 SIGNIFICANT:ANNUAL CATALOGUE 2018 - PREVIEW


BROOK ANDREW , born 1970,  Ignoratia from 'Kalar Midday' series , 2004, 103 x 160cm

BROOK ANDREW, born 1970, Ignoratia from 'Kalar Midday' series, 2004, 103 x 160cm

With my third major exhibition of Important Australian Indigenous Art due to open at the end of the month, and my team putting the finishing touches on what’s shaping up to be a very exciting catalogue, I wanted to share a few of the highlights with you.

Now titled Significant, my annual catalogue is a selection of the most exceptional works of art available on the market, exhibited in June each year at William Mora Galleries.

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#32 SHOULD INDIGENOUS ARTEFACTS BE EXHIBITED ALONGSIDE CONTEMPORARY WORKS OF ART?


Installation shot from my 2017 Annual Exhibition at William Mora Galleries

Installation shot from my 2017 Annual Exhibition at William Mora Galleries

Over the last 12 months I’ve seen a clear curatorial push at several of our major institutions and museums to avoid exhibiting early artefacts and historical objects, with a stronger focus on contemporary works.

While this exposure is great for contemporary artists and their respective communities, I fear it misses the bigger picture. Let me explain.

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#31 TOP 10 URBAN AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS ARTISTS


Brook Andrew,  Sexy and Dangerous,  1996, highest price achieved at auction was $84,000 IBP with Bonhams & Goodman, August 2007.

Brook Andrew, Sexy and Dangerous, 1996, highest price achieved at auction was $84,000 IBP with Bonhams & Goodman, August 2007.

Continuing with my popular ‘Top 10’ series, I’m going to review a segment of artists that aren’t all yet prominent on the secondary market but who are making huge waves on the primary market and should be watched closely in the future.

Urban Indigenous artists can be loosely defined as those based in the urban centres, descended from communities who bore the brunt of colonisation and dislocation, generally featuring less traditional mediums and styles and more political overtones.

The best works of these artists are always challenging and with a strong narrative, but often not easily accessible on the secondary market – taking the form of installation or site specific pieces.  Those that do make it into private collections are, to date, tightly held.

With so many important urban Indigenous artists currently producing this was a really hard list to define – but from the collectors that I deal with, these are the names that are making the most waves in the market at present.

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#30 MY OUTLOOK FOR 2018...


EMILY KAME KNGWARREYE, 1910-1996,  Untitled , 1991, 228 x 129 cm, available by private sale at D’Lan Davidson

EMILY KAME KNGWARREYE, 1910-1996, Untitled, 1991, 228 x 129 cm, available by private sale at D’Lan Davidson

When the demand for great works outstrips supply, you know you’re in a strong position. And with such a strong surge in the Australian Indigenous art market, particularly in the latter half of 2017, I’ve been encouraged to make some bold steps in 2018 and beyond. 

Here is my outlook and some inside scoops for the year ahead...

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#29 TOP TEN SALES FOR 2017


EMILY KAME KNGWARREYE, 1910-1996,  Kame Colour 111 , 1995, synthetic polymer paint on linen, 151 x 90 cm

EMILY KAME KNGWARREYE, 1910-1996, Kame Colour 111, 1995, synthetic polymer paint on linen, 151 x 90 cm

If you caught my recent instalment of the Art Market Insider Guide you’ll know my sentiment on the current state of the Australian Indigenous art market: it’s been a strong year. 

And the momentum is building - particularly in the Contemporary sphere.

But as most of the action has been happening behind the scenes, I want to share with you some of my best results for the year.

And so here are TEN OF MY TOP SALES FOR 2017 - there may be a few surprises…

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#28 ART MARKET INSIDER GUIDE / JUNE-DECEMBER 2017


The Art Market Insider Guide is where I look at recent market activity and provide analysis so that collectors like yourself have an informed gauge on the Australian Indigenous Art sector.

As predicted, this has been a very strong year. 

Until very recently however, the year has been without the headlines and the fanfare that goes along with a major annual stand-alone Indigenous auction.

That’s because, with the exception of the Laverty auction at Deutscher and Hackett in May (and even that included both Indigenous and non-Indigenous works), there have been none.  

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#27 FIVE ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE BUYING INDIGENOUS ART


Over the past 6 months I have noticed an uplift in international interest for the top-end segment of Australian Indigenous art. Serious collectors are once again taking notice.

As this international interest slowly starts to gather more and more momentum, it is important to realise that Australian buyers have significant opportunity now – after all, we have the home-ground advantage.

I’ve harped on this before but it remains true that the best examples of Australian Indigenous art hold their own against the best of any other art form or movement in the world.

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