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 (67)

Wilhelmina Jewell Strong - Sparks

Founder of BiTHOUSE Projects - BAAR Art Journey


Collector behind the ARNDT Collection

Sandra Guimarães

Director of Museum of Contemporary Art Helga de Alvear

Grazyna Kulczyk

Founder of Muzeum Susch


Interview with Georgie Pope and Eleonora Sutter, Co-founders

Kamiar Maleki

Director at VOLTA

Gallery Weekend Berlin 2022

Tokini Peterside

Founder and Director, ART X Lagos


Founding Director of the Athens Biennale

Boris Ondreička

Artistic Director of viennacontemporary

Maribel Lopez

Director of ARCO

David Gryn

Founder and Director of Daata

Fondation Beyeler Audiovisual Broadcast

Fondation Beyeler and Nordstern Basel present Dixon x Transmoderna

Gary Yeh

Founder of ArtDrunk and Young Collector

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Maike Cruse

2020 Gallery Weekend Berlin

Touria El Glaoui

Founding Director of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair

Johann König

Messe in St. Agnes

PArt - Producers Art Platform

A crisis initiative to help artists directly affected by the pandemic

Barbara Moore

CEO of Biennale of Sydney

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by Independent Collectors

Alix Dana

Fair Director at Independent

When Collectors are Able to Commission

by Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

Juliet Kothe and Julia Rust

Initiators of Collection Night, Berlin

Marie-Anne McQuay

Curator of Wales in Venice, 58th Venice Biennale 2019

Dorothy and Herb Vogel

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Heather Hubbs

Director at NADA

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Caroline Vos

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Nicole Berry

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Daniel Hug

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The Role of the Art Fair

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Peter Bläuer

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A Brush Against Nature

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Ilaria Bonacossa

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Jo Stella-Sawicka

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Florence Bourgeois

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by Christiane Meixner

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Manuela Mozo

Executive Director of UNTITLED, ART Miami and San Francisco

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Susanna Corchia

Director of the Barcelona Gallery Weekend

Emilia van Lynden

Artistic Director at Unseen, Amsterdam

Carlos Urroz

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by Christiane Meixner

Amanda Coulson

Director at VOLTA Basel

Douwe Cramer

Director at Singapore Contemporary

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Jo Baring

Curator of Sculpture Series, Masterpiece London

Bidders and Buyers

by Christiane Meixner

Anne Vierstraete

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Nanna Hjortenberg

Director at CHART

The Crucial Role of the New

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The Digital Museum

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On the importance of physical space for the value of art

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On long-term challenges for new private museums