Friday, 19 February 2010

Auction in Kuwait

On the 17th of Feb 10, JAMM offered sculptures and paintings  from artists from the region and the Gulf for sale at an auction in Kuwait.
"La creme de la creme" was all dressed up and ready for the event, from the preview with latest cocktail dresses to the little black dresses on the auction night. Collectors, wannabe collectors, new generation collectors, special theme collectors, and collectors who have Warhol on their walls since the seventies were side by side with art specialists of the region, art consultants, art gallerists, art journalists and art "enthusiasts".
They all had small paddles, hands with numbers, to signify their desire to pay the price.
But the auction started, led by Ms Aileen Agopian, Director of Contemporary Art, New York with minor technical sound interferences. And when it started, each on his own experienced the thrill, that buzz of silence. Few questions had to be answered: do I really want that piece, how far can I go, is it worth the price? etc...
The highest sale was the painting/video "the Rabbits" by Farideh Lashai: at 37 000 usd. Very pleasant to own, the video projection on the paintings of rabbits roaming is a new twist of Lashai's work. 
The next best sale was also by an Iranian artist, Rokni Haerizadeh at 31 000 usd. Then comes the lucky Kuwaiti, Shurooq Amin who's work sold at 28 000 usd. 

Many of the 50 art work were of very good quality even if their prices have not translated into the top rated. It is the matter of fact in auctions, works don't necessarily relate to the best quality but to that desire to buy, pumped up by fierce competition.
There has been a few auctions in the past in Kuwait of smaller scales and lesser marketing tools. JAMM could be the next in line to promote art in a glamorous manner. Auctions have to become more institutionalized and formal to really influence the art market in Kuwait. Let's wait then for the next one!

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