More on the photos situation soon...I've had several discussions with people at the shows about it.
Your posting about prices is interesting, especially tracing pieces back to Sotheby's and other auctions. It made me think of my favorite interaction that I witnessed while I was at the SF Tribal and Textile show. Prices are not always posted on objects, so you have to engage the dealer if you want to find out the price in most cases.
Antonio Casanovas with Arte Y Ritual (Spain) was exhibiting at the San Francisco show for the first time in nearly 10 years. He had an impressive space with a lot of nice objects. While I was talking to him, someone came up and looked at a small Mumuye that he had on display. It was a very interesting and unusual Mumuye, I wish that I would have been able to take a photo of it.
The person asked Antonio what he was asking for the Mumuye figure
after inspecting it for a bit and Antonio replied "$145,000" (it was somewhere in this range, this may not be the exact number). The person told Antonio, "That's a pretty serious price!" and Antonio replied "Well, it's a pretty serious piece". He had a lot of "serious" pieces on display I guess, including an Oceanic piece for $600,000.
After the person left I was going to ask Antonio about the history of ownership of the piece, but didn't. I can't remember if I saw it in Paris at the Kerchache exhibition that Arte Y Ritual did with Alain Bovis, but I think that it was there, a Kerchache provenance would probably add a few zeros to the price tag. I took limited photos in that gallery and didn't buy the catalog. The whole interaction just made me appreciate the Mumuye figures I have even more. They aren't "serious" pieces, but I seriously like and enjoy them...
Chris S <atst1138@...> wrote:
My impression is that cameras are not allowed to maintain the veil of secrecy that dealers in tribal art exist within. Pieces move frequently between dealers and recording these interactions visually can be problematic I suppose. Another issue might be looted items. In general people do not like to buy shown or known pieces either, so this may be a factor as well.
I attended this show and in general
found the pricing on many objects phenomenally high. Pieces that sold for 9000 dollars 4 years ago at Sothebys were being offered for 70000 dollars (the exact piece). Other times my price estimates were off by about the same ratio, an order of magnitude difference in estimated versus asked cost. I saw many peices that could be tracked to recent auction rooms and could be had for a fraction of the offered price less than a year ago. Sort of makes you think about how and where you spend your money. However, the biggest ripoff was by far the 9 dollar "jamabalaya" served by the food court people. However, it is always nice to see so much material in one place and the venue is spectacular. This year there were also some big name dealers in attendance from Europe. And as Rand said the Crossroads show was filled with some amazing material.
Russ <russelld.miller@ comcast.net>
What is your understanding of why Tribal Art Shows do not like photos taken?
Please include whether or not you feel their point is valid.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2007 12:04 PM
Subject: [African_Arts] San Francisco Tribal Arts and Crossroads show
Several people have asked me if I was going to post a report on the San Francisco Tribal and Textile Arts show that I went to a couple of weeks ago, and I do plan to do a small report as soon as I get some time.
There have been quite a few things that have been posted to the group in the past few weeks that I want to get back to people on as well, and plan to soon. I've been stretched too thin between work and home in the last few weeks, and I'm having a hard time keeping my head above water lately. I seem to only have breif
moments when I come back up for air, and when I do my mind is usually like a computer that's ready to crash and I have a hard time writing anything that makes any sense.
It's problematic to take photos at the San Francisco Tribal and Textile show because the organizers don't allow cameras or video equipment in the shows, and if you do get your camera in like I did, they have security people walking around that will stop you from taking photos if they see you. Michael Auliso exhibits at the show and he said that he was planning on doing a photo review of the show like he has done in the past, so I will post it to the group when he completes it.
I did attend the Crossroads show in San Francisco that I posted a message to the group about. I originally thought it was a group of dealers that didn't make the cut to get into the SF Tribal and Textile Arts show, but after attending the Crossroads show and seeing the
things they had on display and talking to the dealers who put on the show, I discovered it was quite the opposite. I was amazed by some of the things I saw at the Crossroads show, it was excellent, and I did manage to take some photos there that I will share with everyone soon.