July 23rd, 2015

(Based on an article by Julia Halperin in the Art Newspaper, 20 July 2015. Excerpts below.)

By Victoria Kennedy, Fine Art Consultant

Anyone who is watching the world of modern art will know that street and wall art have become a movement, and a coveted novelty, in the past decade. Along with the over-publicized Banksy, who became collected by celebrities and auction houses worldwide, has grown a new rank of artists challenging the public perception of art as belonging solely on a canvas. Wall art, to say, has become the new thing.

“Collectors have long dismissed wall drawings as intimidating and esoteric, but the technique is gaining visibility—and market traction. Popularized by the conceptual artists Sol LeWitt and Lawrence Weiner in the 1960s, the method is also being embraced by a younger generation, including Wangechi Mutu, Ugo Rondinone and Jeff Elrod.

“Wall drawings could be considered the oldest form of art: the Lascaux Cave paintings in France were created 17,300 years ago. The technique “re-emerges to suit the needs of each cultural moment”, says Claire Gilman, the senior curator of the Drawing Center in New York, which is currently showing a wall drawing by the French artist Abdelkader Benchamma.”

(Part of the Hello Walls installation at Gladstone Gallery, New York. Courtesy of Gladstone Gallery.)

So how does one acquire a wall painting? Where some wall artists have transferred to canvas for the ease of portability and showings, others charge for a certificate of ownership.

“The popularity and market clout of artists like Banksy (whose site-specific works can be sold with a certificate from his studio) and Kara Walker (whose installations of cut paper sell for as much as $500,000) have made collectors more comfortable with works applied directly to the wall. “It’s a bit more of a commitment, but we are seeing more and more people do get there,” Flaum says.

“Installation costs, for example, vary; a text work by Michael Craig-Martin can cost less than $100 (collectors simply order the press type online) whereas a major LeWitt can cost more than $10,000 if the collector has to fly in an estate-approved draftsperson to execute the work. When purchasing a conceptual wall drawing, “we pay for the manifestation of the concept,” says the art advisor Liz Parks. The good news: it is far less pricey to insure a wall drawing certificate than a painting, while storage and shipping fees are non-existent.”

Will wall art last? Or is this simply a re-emergence of a human instinct?  Judge for yourself and read more below.



Posted in Gallery News