MoMA’s Big Ticket Fail: #Kraftwerk

On February 22nd, at noon, tickets to the MoMA’s Kraftwerk – Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 went on sale. By 4:00 PM desperate aficionados were posting sweaty pleas on Craigslist offering to pay as much as $200 per.

The MoMA ticket portal on ShowClix, currently says “Sorry— Kraftwerk events have sold out! We appreciate your patience and understanding. Thank you!” But fans, drowning the Twitterspshere in bile were not feeling very patient or understanding, and now Craigslist abounds in ticket offers for as much as $2,000 per!

One seller, offering tickets to the best offer, writes, “Best offer gets it. No weirdness please, just cash.”

So what happened?

MoMA had apparently entrusted the online ticket sales to ShowClix, a small start-up ticketing company in Pittsburgh, which failed to anticipate the overwhelming demand they’d face when tickets to the MoMA’s tiny 1,000 seat atrium went on sale.

The band has not played in the U.S. for 17 years and has a rabid following. What’s more eight evening concerts meant only 8,000 tickets would be sold: so, with a virtual avalanche of buyers from around the word logging on at once, the ShowClix servers experienced what CEO Joshua Dziabiak called  “frequent timeouts.”  The tickets were sold out right away but successful buyers were unaware since very few of them were shown a final “thank you” screen.

Joshua Dziabiak, ShowClix CEO, offered an apology to those who “spent hours in front of your computer watching a spinning wheel—or watching the page go blank.”

Just for Fun: Hitler Meme

OPINION: Conflicts of Interest Add Color & Texture

K Haring's Andy Mouse:

On Faso’s Brushbuzz, a kind of Reddit for the art market, I discovered a seedling of bothersome art theory: one bsherwrin contemplates whether or not “ad sales play a role in shaping art history in the sense that art publications– both online and in print — tend to end up reviewing exhibits at galleries that also happen to pay for ads in the publication?” Leaping from the question to an assumed ethical issue, the  post asks us to discuss the question:  “Should art magazines– and art blogs that feature an art-focused ad network for that matter– avoid a conflict of interest by not reviewing exhibits at galleries that also purchase ad space in the publication?”

Now people, we LIVE in a well-documented network of “conflicts of interest.” Conflicts of interest are de rigeur in every field. And conflicts of interest have been a part of the playing field in the arts for decades now, and are more and more the norm.

We have artists who are curators, advisors, arts writers and bloggers (just check out the bios on Facebook!). We have museums who have collectors who are artists who are guest curators who place their own works in the show. We have curators and art consultants who collect art themselves (a quickie browse through Linked In should show many of these). We have museum directors who are ex-gallery owners who have a vested art historical interest in the artists they supported in their earlier career. Hell, we’ve even had large corporations put up a pop-up gallery on public property in order to display artists who’s work echoed and celebrated the company’s designs — artwork that the company then had contracted to hold first rights to purchase.

Reading an article about a show at a museum? Well, I suggest grain of salt, my friends. No one’s even trying to be “objective” any more and, honestly, it’s time to move on.

MoMA’s Got a Brand New App

Today MoMA announced the release of its new app for Apple’s iPhone, and iPod Touch, now available on the App Store. It’s a free download that provides views of 32,000 works from the Museum’s collection, plus lots of very useful extras, including a dictionary of art terms, a database of artist bios, a calendar of exhibitions, film screenings, and events, and a variety of audio tours for youngsters, as well as for the visually impaired.

Continue reading “MoMA’s Got a Brand New App”

Reducing Collection, Chagall, “Paris Red Sun”

Chagall Red Sun Over Paris
Marc Chagall, Red Sun Over Paris

The ad, at the back of this Summer 2010 Art News, was placed with two others under the heading ART FOR SALE.

But it stood out. It was not for Limited Edition serial artwork, nor was it placed by an artist selling their own landscapes.

It was an ad for several paintings, some of them by brand name artists: and all listed with very specific, oddly low, prices, like something you’d see on Craig’s List or EBay, only this Ed Sanders guy was selling Chagall and Miro. He was asking directly for “best offer over $50,000,” and flat out naming prices like $4,500 for Norman Rockwell’s “Football Hero”.

So I called him.

Continue reading “Reducing Collection, Chagall, “Paris Red Sun””

Purchasing Intangibles: MoMA


MoMA is pioneering the latest art establishment encroahment on anti-establishment art: the purchasing of intangibles.

Spearheading their efforts in the field of performance art is Chief curator at large, Klaus Biesenback, a colorful character whose famously spare apartment was recently featured in W magazine.

In June 2008, under Biesenback’s guidance, MoMA purchased Tino Sehgal’s “Kiss” , a performance piece of subtle intricacy that was, until this purchase, only passed on by word of mouth and hands on (as it were) demonstration: from dancer to dancer.

Question: So how did they “buy” it?
Answer: by spoken contract.

Tino Sehgal described the piece to a MoMA curator; the MoMA curator passed it on. Along with the purchase of the spoken legacy, the MoMA also purchased reproduction rights. Save for the contracts, MoMA has succeded in purchasing something utterly intangible.

So far two other museums have purchased “The Kiss,” and The Tate, in London, and the Walker Art Center, in Minneapolis, are also grappling with new ways to save and sustain ephemeral and intangible arts.



“Online comments at MoMA’s site were fast and curious, ranging from “neat” and “cool” to “intellectual garbage,” “I’m mystified,” “pretentious nonsense,” and suspicions that the announcement was an early April Fools’ joke. Some of those in the “neat” and “cool” camp even proposed acquiring “e” and “ñ,” while the art blog Hyperallergic reported that the Chinese government had taken possession of the rest of the keyboard.”

Art Moves: Tate Modern Loses Todolí; Art+Auction Names NYT’s Genocchio As Editor

Two new notable personnel moves in the art world today:

Tate Modern: After seven years as the director of Britain’s national museum of international modern art, reknowned art historian Vicente Todoli has decided to step down and leave the 10-year-old Tate. No word on what Todoli’s next plans are. In a statement, he said he had planned to take a “pause” years ago. In a statement to London Se-1, Sir Nicholas Serota, director of Tate, praised Todoli’s “distinctive vision,” for shaping the young institution. He cited a series of exhibitions, including Kandinsky (2005), Albers and Moholy-Nagy: From the Bauhaus to the New World (2006), Dali and Film (2007), Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia (2008), Rodchenko & Popova (2009) and the current Van Doesburg and the International Avant-Garde: Constructing a New World, as having shaped and defined the Tate.

Art+Auction: The Louise Blouin Media has made a high-profile hire to expand the coverage of its arts news magazine and website. Ben Genocchio, formerly of The New York Times, has just been appointed Vice President of Editorial and Editor in Chief of Art+ Auction. In a press release, the publisher noted that Genocchio most recently served as an art and culture critic for the NYT for eight years. The hiring is intended to bring a greater international editorial direction to the Louise Blouin Media print and online pubs. Before joining the NYT, Genocchio was the chief art critic and the national arts correspondent for The Australian. (Image of Genocchio, courtesy of the Sidney Morning Herald)

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