Flash News: Melik Ohanian – Centre Pompidou Paris – Georgia O’Keefe – Tate Modern – Tunga



Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news: Melik Ohanian at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Georgia O’Keefe at the Tate. Tunga…

Melik Ohanian at the Centre Pompidou in Paris
Marcel Duchamp Prize laureate in 2015, Melik OHANIAN is being shown at the Pompidou Centre (with the support of the Adiaf) in an exhibition entitled Under Shadows (until 15 August 2016). The Armenian artist says he grew up in a culture without territorial boundaries and his openness is clearly visible in his work. Nevertheless, whatever their format (installations, videos, photographs, objects, etc.), the notion of boundaries seems to be omnipresent in his works in relation to time. Ohanian explores time through science, poetry and philosophy and, for this exhibition, he has created a work called Modelling Poetry inspired by NASA’s speculative calculation that the Milky Way will collide with the Andromeda galaxy in four billion years.
Although Ohanian already enjoys an international reputation, having exhibited in France, the UK, Armenia and the United States (among other countries), his primary market is still much stronger than his auction market: since 2009 in Europe, only four of his works have sold at auction (between €800 to €6,000). This could change if demand ignited in the United States where he spends much of his time.
The organisers of the 2016 edition of the Marcel Duchamp Prize have announced a major change in the exposure given to their shortlist artists in the framework of a stronger partnership between the Adiaf and the Centre Pompidou. Unlike the five previous editions of the prize, a group exhibition will be organized for the four shortlisted artists and not just the winner. This year’s shortlist has Kader ATTIA (represented by the galleries Continua, Nagel Draxler, Krinzinger and Lehmann Maupin), Yto BARRADA (galleries Polaris, Sfeir-Semler, Galerieofmarseille and Pace), Ulla VON BRANDENBURG (Art Concept, Pilar Corrias, Produzentengalerie) and Barthélémy TOGUO (Galerie Lelong, Paris). The four artists will be exhibited together for three months at the Centre Pompidou.

Georgia O’Keefe at the Tate
Georgia O’KEEFFE has received plenty of exposure in Europe since the start of 2016: in February the Musée de Grenoble closed a solo exhibition of the American artist that explored her close relationship with photography. That was a first in France, and her upcoming retrospective at the Tate Modern will be her first in the UK as well (as of July 6). The show will also celebrate the Tate’s reorganisation of its galleries after the June inauguration of its extension along the banks of the Thames, and it represents an excellent opportunity for visitors to admire her major works that have been completely absent from British public collections. Her famous minutely-detailed flowers will of course be present, but Tanya Barson, the exhibition’s curator also showcases her research into abstraction, synesthesia and landscapes, whether focused on New York’s skyscrapers or the arid deserts of the American Far West.
The show will present more than a hundred works, including her emblematic Jimson weed/White Flower No. 1 which set the all-time auction record for a female artist when it fetched nearly $45 million at Sotheby’s New York in 2014. This astonishing new record, hammered when her auction best hadn’t exceeded $6 million, was largely due to the exceptional pedigree of Jimson weed / White Flower No.1: the work spent a number of years in the private apartments of the Bush family at the White House! On the secondary market Georgia O’Keefe’s works are rare, partly because the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe (New Mexico) holds more than half of her works. O’Keefe has a mythic status in the United States and her work is collected almost exclusively in America. This year’s exhibitions could well have a positive impact on the development of her European market.

TUNGA, one of Brazil’s best known sculptors, died of cancer on Monday 6 June 2016.
Born in 1952 in Palmarès, Brazil, Antonio José de Barros Carvalho e Mello Mourao, known as Tunga, lived and worked between Rio de Janeiro and Paris where he was represented by the Daniel Templon gallery. Trained as an architect and a passionate alchemist, his sculptures often employed iron, glass and crystals, but not only… His work bore witness to a proliferation of materials and meanings… a transformation of vital forces, peppered with poetic, literary, philosophical, psychoanalytical and scientific references; a universe of a singular density, recognised by the world’s major institutions. His works have been acquired by major international public collections including the New York MoMA, Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museo Nacional Centro de Arte, and Stockholm’s Moderna Museet. Exhibited worldwide since the 1970s, notably at the Sao Paulo Biennial (1981,1987,1994 and 1998), the Documenta X in Kassel (1997), the Venice Biennale (1982, 1995 and 2001 ) and the Moscow Biennial (2009), his work has remained discreet on the secondary market with just thirty sculptures auctioned worldwide over the last 20 years. His prices started at around $25,000 in the late 1990s and reached nearly $150,000 for his sculpture Palíndromo incesto at Christie’s New York in 2014.