Manager Update - Q1 2017


Dear friends,

Having reported to you very recently in mid quarter, I shall keep this brief. I have just returned from my planned trips to Kiev, Beijing and Hong Kong, and the feeling is good!

In Kiev, there was an exceptional reception and interest in the Israeli video art exhibition we put up at the Modern Art Research Institute. My 48 hours in Kiev were flawlessly organized by my hosts and event organizers, Natalia Shpitkovskaya and Liliya Tippetts, and included a collector's dinner and talk at the Intercontinental Hotel, press conference, presentation, VIP opening and public opening of the exhibition "Israeli Contemporary Art" at the MARI. These events were attended by many A-listers of the Kiev community; artists, politicians, ambassadors, press and TV. I had more photos taken of me on opening night than at my own wedding day! Read a full report with links to over 30 articles and TV spotlights on the event here

Collector's dinner and talk at the Intercontinental Hotel

In Beijing, I was invited to attend the inaugural Art Gallery Weekend, which included gallery openings across 798 and Caochangdi as well as museum exhibitions and numerous dinners. The massive award gala for the best gallery show honored our colleagues at Gallery Continua. It was good to be back in Beijing and the gallery weekend is a wonderful initiative that has the potential to turn into a mainstay on the international art calendar event. It is especially important to keep it up and improve on it if Beijing wants to remain a viable destination for the international audiences when so much is going on in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul. We include a link to an interview with Thomas Eller the founder of AGW Beijing. 

Art Basel HK put on a very good edition once again with strong booths, many showing prime examples of the artists' work. It was very encouraging to see some of the young Chinese galleries we supported being promoted to full-fledged partipants in the main gallery section, showing several young artists that we've been collecting in recent years. Some of these were also exhibited in collateral events around the city, including the K11 exhibition curated by Klaus Bisenbach. The gallery exhibitions at Pedder building and more broadly in HK, which are usually much anticipated, felt less compelling this time around, perhaps due to logistical limitations in HK. An exciting new development is the South Island gallery district where there are now some 30 galleries and art spaces. I spent a day there and gave a talk at the Art World Forum to a small but highly engaged audience, as part of the newly organized South Island Art Day. 

As for the broader art market, TEFAF released its highly anticipated 2016 Art Market report. This year for the first time, there is new competition for the most authoritative art market report as Art Basel has launched its own version, written by the same economist that had been writing the TEFAF report for the past decade. We provide links to articles comparing the findings and methodoly in the newsletter. Read a first comparison here. The two reports agree on some basic premises, although they disagree on numbers: The market contracted in 2016 and more of the trade is happening privately through art dealers than in the auction market. Discretion and opacity are much preferred over public auctions in this fragile market, particularly at the high end. In China however, auctions are still the preferred avenue for buyers, which explains why China has become the biggest auction market in the world. This was once again validated by very strong auctions at Sotheby's HK in early April, including a new world record they set for a western contemporary work sold in Asia - no surprise, it's was a Mao portrait by Andy Warhol :). 

We realized one work this quarter by Filipino artist, Rodel Tapaya, which produced a very strong result, generating a 270% return and a gross IRR of 65%. For those interested in more insights into the fund’s financial performance since inception, I recommend listening to the 16 minute podcast I recently had with ArtTactic.
We also completed the acquisition of six works during the quarter, which are likely to be some of our last acquisitions. Now that our investment period for the fund has ended, we do not expect many new acquisitions in the future and instead are shifting our focus to exhibitions and sales, with a number planned during Q2. More on this in next quarterly report.

Q2 will be very busy with plans already in place to attend Frieze NY, the Venice Biennale, the inaugural African auction at Sotheby's in London in mid may, and then Documenta and Art Basel in June.

Best wishes to all and I remain at your disposal to answer any questions.

Serge Tiroche

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