Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sam Gilliam, David Kordansky and the gem...

The WaPo's Geoff Edgers checked in over the weekend with a really good (and exceptionally rare) WaPo article on a DMV artist, although as the most causal observer of the planet's visual arts scene would note, Sam Gilliam in not a "local" artist in the pejorative way that some (not me) like to apply that label.

People in the arts love labels!

Sam Gilliam never did, and will never do... and that's a major reason why I admire the DMV's most famous artist.

Sam previous descent into "oblivion" may have been grossly exaggerated, and he certainly never traded art for detergent -- as once claimed in this article (On the other hand, I once traded art for clams when I used to sell my art school assignments at the Pike Place Market in Seattle), but Sam did, apparently trade artwork for dental work.

I currently trade artwork for my laundry services and my laundry guy (who happens to be one of the biggest DMV art collectors, if not the biggest, in the region), has a lot of my work.

But Sam Gilliam's work certainly never rose to the commodity price level that an artist of his stature should command.

If you doubt that, then check what his work goes for in the secondary market, where as late as 2016 you can pick up a signed and numbered litho for $350 (this one went for $140! and this "photoprint" sold for $20 bucks six years ago!), or a bit earlier an original double sided painting for $1,400!

Check out recent past secondary market sales here.

But enough about these small things... there's another gem in this article about Gilliam.

That gem of information is something that I have been hollering about for years... here it is:
Then David Kordansky called. The Los Angeles gallerist was one more person who felt that Gilliam needed more attention. 
When they met in 2012, Kordansky found Gilliam’s work being shown in the District, New Mexico and what he calls “decentralized markets outside the art market essentially.” 
“It needed to be brought to the curators. It needed to be seen at the international art fairs..." Kordansky says.
The bolded words are the gem... bolding is mine, and Kordansky hit the nail right on the head.

Read the whole article here, and pay homage to this great master.

PS - My own secondary market record at the same auction house makes Sam's look great... cough, cough... and they misspelled my name!