POST BY PADDY JOHNSON
Urs Fischer, Marguerite de Ponty, 4th floor installation shot (IX, David the Proprietor, 4:15 pm, Marguerite de Ponty, Miss Satin, ZiZI) Photograph by Benoit Pailley. Courtesy of the New Museum.
The Awl’s Choire Sicha wants to know if New Museum contract worker Massimiliano Gioni is a genius or a fraud. The curator’s latest project is negotiating the installation of artist Urs Fischer, scheduled to open at the New Museum October 28th, and it’s costing a lot of money. Fake ceilings are being made, materials are being shipped in by plane due to last minute changes — how is this genius? asks the blogger.
Um, who cares? It costs a lot of money to install art — Damien Hirst literally has to vacuum seal entire rooms and depending on the gallery re-enforce floors so they support the weight of his animals in formaldehyde — it’s so routine the press rarely thinks to discuss it. The art world is accustomed to making structural building changes to support contemporary art, and last minute changes are part of the deal (unless you’re Christoph Büchel).
The real issues regarding Massimiliano Gioni — also noted by Sicha — is that he is both employed by New Museum and part of the curatorial management team for the collector and museum trustee member Dakis Joannou (I’m told this position is unpaid). And guess who’s collection The New Museum just announced would be showcased soon? That’s right, The Dakis Joannou Collection.
Now, of course, nobody knows if there’s any wrong doing here — quite possibly there’s none — but why should we have to chance the matter? The value of the entire collection and other works by those artists will increase as a result of the show; just look at the increase in Richard Prince auction prices during his retrospective at The Guggenheim. I don’t know a lot about the buying and selling of art, but it seems unlikely that Joannou wouldn’t see enormous financial benefits from this show. The whole exhibition has an icky market manipulation feel to it.
Meanwhile, New Museum Director Lisa Phillips told blogger Tyler Green three weeks ago that the Museum’s support went back to the work itself, and the importance of making it seen. “He’s incredibly generous.” she wrote. That may be the case, but in the interest of generosity and making the work seen, one might chose a more permanent venue than a temporary exhibition. Collectors such as The Rubells and Ydessa Hendeles have done just this by building and maintaining their own public galleries. Joannou has similar real estate in Athens, but it’s a bit of a commute for most art enthusiasts.
Any how, given the array of options exhibition options available to the collector that better serve the ends the New Museum claims, it’s easy to think motivations behind the exhibition are not entirely philanthropic.