Art market Magazine October 2013

 
ART MARKET / GAZETTE DROUOT INTERNATIONAL 
 
they…
ART MARKET / GAZETTE DROUOT INTERNATIONAL

they come from the contemporary art milieu you generally find older people looking for specific pieces and safe investments." Frank Le Feuvre
also deals with "monomaniac collectors, and non-specialists interested in a wide range, from Flemish art to the great modern masters. They are very keen on urban art because they know it's an extremely wide-ranging movement, which can turn up the odd diamond." Meanwhile, Magda Danysz reveals that "a number of international market-makers collect street art, but don't let it be known".

Relative recognition
Urban art does not only draw large numbers to the sale rooms and galleries. The highly popular exhibi-

€30,980 Speedy Graphito (1961), "Fascination". Acrylic paint on canvas, signed and dated 2009 on the back, 150 x 120 cm. Marseille, 22 May 2010. Leclere auction house.

tion "Né dans la rue" ("born in the street") presented in 2009 at the Cartier Foundation led to historic attendances for the venue, as did the recent "Au-delà du street art" ("beyond street art") show at L'Adresse - Musée de La Poste: high profile successes that further highlight how reticent most French major institutions are towards urban art. The only one with a consistent collection is Marseille's MuCEM, thanks to the long-haul work of sociologist Claire Calogirou, who began with the former Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires (its collections are now in MuCEM). According to Valériane Mondot, "she acquired some marvellous pieces, because she was the only one interested at the time." For their part, the Jourdains praise the open-mindedness of the Mayor of the 13th arrondissement in Paris, who makes walls legally available to artists: "This gives them considerable visibility, increased still further by the use they make of the Internet. They are very used to spreading images of the work they do on non-legal supports, which is likely to be cleaned off very smartly." The origins of urban art partly explain its huge range of expression and the numerous "cliques" involved. "Repression in the Nineties speeded up explorations in this field, and led to the emergence of sticker art and collage", says Magda Danysz. It takes longer to paint a wall – and is thus riskier – than to stick up a work created in the studio... and the fines incurred are not in the same category! It is not an absolute requirement for artists to have experience in the street, but it significantly contributes to their legitimacy. "Some young artists start by working on canvas in the studio, and then move onto walls later, to be 'rubber-stamped' by the milieu", explains Valériane. "The previous generations often worked only in the street and on walls. They were often fined, and in some cases even went to prison." Urban art is already 45 years old, and is now international. But despite a firm following, it is still only relatively recognised, leaving the field wide open for a host of discoveries – both historical and contemporary. This is because some artists distrust the market, and prefer to go on working in the shadows. That should sharpen the curiosity of art lovers... Sylvain Alliod

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© Furger - Photo Zoé Forget

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Valériane Mondot

Graffiti historian and expert
At the end of the Nineties I began focusing on graffiti, where the stylistic basis
lies in working with letters, and which emerged in New York in the late seventies. I created Taxie Gallery in 2001. It is really interesting to see how the market has developed since then. I started by learning a lot from the artists themselves, and training my eye as regards wastelands, which are hotbeds of graffiti. Exhibitions only came afterwards. At the time, we had to explain to artists that canvas was a parallel medium, even if some of them had used it from the outset; that entering a gallery didn't mean they were betraying themselves, and that they didn't have to belong to a collective to be able express themselves. Canvas requires a different mastery of a technique and a tool initially geared to huge walls. They had to get used to working alone in a studio, and to expressing on canvas something other than a simple transfer from a wall. I am really glad to have been involved in opening up this movement at a time when few people believed in it. In Paris, Willem Speerstra and I were the only two specialising in the promotion of graffiti. There's still a long way to go to get the movement and its history recognised. Today the market is well on the way, and there are quite a few galleries. I've now put exhibitions on the back burner to focus on writing, exhibition curatorship and consultancy, and I only concentrate on a few artists, like the American photographer Martha Cooper.

Art Market Magazine October 2013
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