BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

The Past is Back

And collectors are buying it up

Nobuo Sekine, "Phases Of Nothingness", 1970
Nobuo Sekine, "Phases Of Nothingness", 1970

It seems that "the next big thing" is an old thing this time: Cristina Ruiz from The Art Newspaper encountered a group of sculptures created in the 1970s by Japanese artist Nobuo Sekine at this year’s Art Basel Unlimited section. In a recent article she writes that more and more works from the 1960s and 1970s, that were forgotten or destroyed, are being recreated and exhibited. A prime example of this would be the recently opened exhibition "When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013". This exhibition is a painstaking restaging of the legendary exhibition "Live in Your Head. When Attitudes Become Form" curated by Harald Szeemann in 1969.

The original show "When Attitudes Become Form" has been said to encapsulate the spirit of an era when artists believed anything was possible. Many of the exhibited works were created from found or organic material and nobody really thought of selling them. The fact that the works are often ephemeral in nature made it especially difficult to sell them to anyone else but museums. Often these institutions are the only ones that have the resources to properly store the works.

But recently, private collectors have also started buying these works from the 1960s and 1970s. Franco Fanelli, contemporary art critic of Il Giornale dell’Arte, sees two main reasons for this new development. First, the market confidence in emerging artists has faltered somewhat. And second, the works are often much more radical in comparison to many things being made today, and generally cheaper as well. According to Michael Govan, director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), these 40-year-old works are now considered "more formative in terms of changing the terms in which art is considered".

Perhaps this is why we find ourselves in the middle of a resurgence of interest for works by for instance the movement Mono-ha of which Nobuo Sekine was an important member. His work can now be found in the private collections of amongst others Howard Rachofsky, Bernardo Paz and François Pinault.

Image by: FaceMePLS, CC Licence Info, via Flickr

More Information on The Art Newspaper

Insiders (48)

Alix Dana

Fair Director at Independent

When Collectors are Able to Commission

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Unique Collector’s Item

by Independent Collectors

Juliet Kothe and Julia Rust

Initiators of Collection Night, Berlin

Art and Architecture – Attractive Allies

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Marie-Anne McQuay

Curator of Wales in Venice, 58th Venice Biennale 2019

Collecting Art with François Pinault

Rudolf Stingel at Palazzo Grassi

Every Art Collection Needs Space

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

A Common Ground

by Silvia Anna Barrilà

Hidden Collections

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

The Role of the Art Fair

by Silvia Anna Barrilà

Daniel Hug

Fair Director at Art Cologne

Nicole Berry

Executive Director of The Armory Show

A Brush Against Nature

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Ilaria Bonacossa

Director of Artissima

Excessiveness, the Latent Danger of Collecting Art

by Independent Collectors

Jo Stella-Sawicka

Artistic Director at Frieze

Florence Bourgeois

Director at Paris Photo

Where Artists Can Work More Playfully

by Christiane Meixner

Heather Hubbs

Director at NADA

Specifically Commissioned

by Silvia Anna Barrilà

Important Museums and Private Collections

by Christiane Meixner

Peter Bläuer

Director at LISTE

Susanna Corchia

Director of the Barcelona Gallery Weekend

Emilia van Lynden

Artistic Director at Unseen, Amsterdam

Carlos Urroz

Director at ARCOmadrid

Shoe Smudges Streaked Across the White Walls

by Christiane Meixner

Douwe Cramer

Director at Singapore Contemporary

Dorothy and Herb Vogel

Two extraordinary art collectors

Manuela Mozo

Executive Director of UNTITLED, ART Miami and San Francisco

Bidders and Buyers

by Christiane Meixner

Amanda Coulson

Director at VOLTA Basel

Jo Baring

Curator of Sculpture Series, Masterpiece London

Anne Vierstraete

Managing Director at Art Brussels

Nanna Hjortenberg

Director at CHART

The Crucial Role of the New

by Independent Collectors

Caroline Vos

Director at Amsterdam Art Weekend

Touria El Glaoui

Founding Director of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair

Makers and Believers

On Art History’s Most Famous Patrons

Are Artists the Better Curators?

On the diminishing boundary between professions in the art world

The Digital Museum

On the importance of the museum’s web presence

The Man in the Middle

On the curator’s private and public engagements

A Private Matter?

On the importance of physical space for the value of art

Off the Wall

How museums contribute to the worth of artworks

Where to Go Next?

The fragmentation of Manhattan’s gallery scene

To Buy or Not to Buy

Collectors on their experiences of letting an artwork slip away

How to Pass On a Passion

On long-term challenges for new private museums