Gotta watch what you say.

So we’ve got an opening tonight for our exhibition which I can’t wait for! Everything’s going pretty well so far – all the artworks have been completed, the installation is done, the food is going to come at the right time, the wine’s ready, and the artist is here waiting for some magazines/tv channels to come for interviews…

BUT about an hour ago.. these two people came in with an appointment to see the artist. I thought they were collectors who have followed the artist and hence want to see his works, but instead they were gallerists from up north who have exhibited this artist since 2008. So I guess you guys are friends and all.. but I ain’t friends with YOU! Generally I am a friendly person and was pretty open to them about the works. But I should’ve been more careful. The guy (sporting a white hat, white jacket coat, and a whiter mustache) just picked up a piece of paper from my desk. First of all, I was getting him and his wife water  so I couldn’t see what it was. But it was the PRICE LIST! Or so he assumed. It was the list of artworks with all info, other than the price. He wanted to ‘follow it’ so that he could make it the same for his gallery – or some lame excuse as that. I mean, I get it.. it makes sense to me, but he should know as a gallerist that there are certain MANNERS that are supposed to be followed as a civilized human being. You do not just march in, look at the office desk as if it’s an installation to be studied and deciphered, and then touch my things without asking. There’s already enough drama as it is with this artist, I don’t need more of it. I get my fill of drama from series instead.

Anyway, they are gone and the space seems much more serene now. It’s interesting to see that the artist doesn’t take that much time actually creating the artworks as it takes just drying or thinking about the concept. Sculptures are another story altogether though. The process, concept and execution – everything takes time!

Oh the media is here – time to go take care of them.

Later

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Art Crime for Dummies

I recently read an article on Art Radar Asia on how “criminals” are getting away with duplicating art works, selling them for cheap and totally ruining the art market. [Note: Criminals are marked in quotations because these people aren’t criminals – they haven’t been caught. Yet.]

In the article it’s mentioned that most of these under-handed sales happen mostly in China and Thailand. Is this news? I mean, am I supposed to be shocked hearing that high-value products are being reproduced for cheap and sold in mainly these two countries? I’m just shocked that other countries are NOT mentioned, such as India, Cambodia, or Laos.

FYI in Bangkok itself, there’s this place called (hushed tone) Patpong. It’s where most of these transactions happen and it’s no secret – all the tourists, expats, police, and government officials know about it. In fact, I have been told that most of the lucrative businesses (eg sale of second hand goods, prostitution, drug trafficking, etc) at these venues are owned by government officials. There’s a vicious cycle that is at play here. The government in Thailand promises its citizens that it will get rid of the nasty business that has made its mark on “Bang cock” (see what I did there?). But if they do, where will Thailand earn most of its money from? The tourism industry here is HUGE because of its illegal prostitution rings and trade of fake goods. And if they shut these places down, where will all the children, men, women, trannies (gotta include them) go? There are families who have been in the business of prostitution for generations. It’s a harsh truth that is conveniently ignored and sold in Bangkok. And let’s not get started on China. Censorship and corruption is another story altogether there.

So if it is so easy in a place like Bangkok to sell children and women everyday, how hard would it be to sell expensive artworks that is visible and available to copy from the all-loved internet? It’s a matter of integrity and breaking this sadly wretched system.

Let’s see when that happens. Let’s hopefully do something about it too

3D printing technology was used to sculpt these miniature human heads from photographs. © Creative Commons.

(3D printing technology – used to sculpt these miniature human heads from photographs. copyright Creative Commons)

Andy Warhol, 'Mao #91', 1972, silkscreen.

(Andy Warhol, “Mao #91”, 1972, silkscreen)

Check out the article at: http://artradarjournal.com/2013/02/26/slew-of-fake-sculpture-no-end-in-sight-reuters/?from=feedblitz_403966_4554767

Yes I have fun working so don’t judge me.

When a new exhibition is coming up next in the gallery (well, a good one) I really get excited!

Next week we will be clearing the current exhibition at the gallery and install new works for march. Which, by the way, is LOVELY. The new works’ by Thai artist Khun Attasit have this magnetic quality about them. The portraits are beautiful, captivating and definitely a collector’s item. Which means – it looks good on any walls, the artist has a good rep with a good following of art lovers and buyers, and is ‘sell-able.

I can’t wait for the next exhibition to be up already, aptly titled “Inner Soul”. Still got to make a nice playlist for the opening though and think of which yummy snacks we should get to lure people in with. Wine is a must this time. Thank goodness! I am in dire need of it.

Look out more images during installation – will post em up soon. If I remember.

wine bull

Let me introduce myself and just get on with it! At Bangkok’s 1st hotel art fair

As this is my first proper blog, please excuse my naïve bluntness – I just write what I see, understand and feel. I think that’s how it works. 

Anyway, before I dive into Bangkok’s FIRST ever hotel art fair at the Madzudi Hotel, let me introduce myself. I am an art lover and currently working in an art gallery in Bangkok as well as independently with artists. I started loving art through history, and was always fascinated with the past; how we see it in the present and how art can both archive our present and foreshadow the future. Hence, I’ve dived deep into the arts world as an Arts Manager. What the hell does an Art Manager do, though? Well I try to promote art and artists in various creative ways while managing the business and people side of things. Not as easy as some tend to think.

I also wanted to start an art blog to keep track of what’s going on in the art scene, and what this world looks like from an insider’s point of view. Many people think art spaces, museums and galleries are intimidating, but they’re not (well maybe some are – mostly the snobby ‘too cool for you’ ones) and I’d like to break that label on us.

That being said, the Maduzi Art Fair was quite easy to take in. And by easy, I don’t in any way mean it was boring, thoughtless or easy to forget. Far from it. It was at a newly opened hotel, easy to get to, super close to my place, and lovely to be at. The opening preview party on Feb 15th had a BUZZING crowd. There were artists, art professionals, dealers, buyers, art lovers, some recognizable faces which you know to smile at and run, and of course free booze lovers. Speaking of which, great beer. Love Carlsberg.

There were many similarities and differences in the Thai galleries that were exhibiting. Firstly, many galleries tried to showcase as much works as possible in one small, standard sized hotel bedrooms. Thus, some gallery rooms ended up looking too squished and little tacky. There were paintings all over the bed, walls, TV, bathrooms, even the headboard. I don’t blame them but it took away the main point of showcasing a piece of art. As soon as you walk inside, you can feel everything is for sale. And not even in a good way. Gallery reps were just waiting for you to ask “How much?”  I don’t know how the sales were, but I definitely asked the dreaded question, so to check out the pricing system. Surprisingly, some works which I thought were bound to be sky high, seemed reasonable such as works by popular artists (that I’ve heard of), whereas others which I’ve never heard of (possibly since I’m still new to the Bangkok art scene) were really sky high. Just know that 50,000 BAHT is the mark of reasonable price range (depending on the medium, size and artist name).

Some galleries however, were curated pretty well in spite of the limited space. There were two rooms curated by Thai celebrity curators: Dr Disaphol Chansiri (a renowned private collector) and Mr Atichai-Mrs Wanaporn Poshyanonda (big shot editor of some big shot magazine). Personally, I didn’t see that much of curation going on – just felt a crammed-in vibe. I preferred the room at H Gallery, where there was no overload of works hanging at every corner you stepped, but kept at precise corners for you to understand the works’ value. The works in the gallery reminded of American artist Jasper Johns FLAGS, although the flag colors showcased here were of the Thai flag. Although I didn’t find the works that interesting, kudos for the well-designed curation.

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The most amusing similarity between galleries was that each room which showcased nude or erotic paintings/sculptures, were appropriately exhibited in the bathrooms.  There was a moment I was examining Vasan Sitthiket’s nude drawings of males and females touching themselves very very intimately. There I stood scanning the drawings, with 5 other much much older men around me doing the same (looking at works that is.. not you know, anything else). Where else is it ok for a girl and five older men, all strangers, to stand in a hotel bathroom staring at close-up nude drawings of masturbating figures than in an art environment? (Ok wait, don’t answer that) I considered the situation for another minute then left for the next room. Quickly.

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The most different room I came across was the one at Lunarverb by Thai artist “Mai-T” who apparently was a hot guitarist now turned artist. The room was funky and atmosphere felt tangible. The music was electric and the paintings were glowing in the dark. There was this one awesome painting of glowing mushrooms that make you want to fly to Bali or similar places. Even with other works crowding around me, that one caught my eye.

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Other galleries with commendable works include Serindia Gallery, White Space, and Chiang Mai Young Artists. There were a variety of works from your typical acrylic or oil on canvas to graphic design ink on papers, as well as silk screens and sculptures. Not many photographic works though, pity.

Serindia Gallery apparently also runs pop-up book shops about art, at its venue called “Taschen Art & Collector’s Editions.” I’ve never seen it before but hope to check it out soon.

Overall, the fair’s first attempt at creating a space for Bangkok galleries to exhibit to the mass was not bad, and I hope they continue it further for some more years to help grow the Thai art scene further. Looking forward to more art-filled events such as these in Bangkok!

P.S Apologies for the images, I blame the camera on my iPhone.

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Ramblings, Reflections, Reviews.