Manager Update - 2016 Q2


 Art Market Update

This quarter the contemporary art market displayed once again its incredible resilience to external macro factors. The much awaited Art Basel in Basel, the crème de la crème of art fairs, which was widely expected to be slower than normal, turned out to be one of the best ever, according to media and gallery reports. Galleries seemed somewhat more conservative in their choices of what to bring, relying on recognized brand names with deeper and more liquid markets to generate sales. The larger than normal Unlimited section also had an overweight to established contemporary artists such Ai Weiwei (image below), El Anatsui and William Kentridge that are well represented in the Tiroche DeLeon Collection.

                                                      Ai Weiwei, White House (2015), at Art Basel 2016

Later in June, the London contemporary auctions were also surprisingly robust. Following a tumultuous week that included mediocre Impressionist auctions and the Brit’s referendum decision to exit the EU, a matter that immediately sent shock-waves through financial markets resulting in stock markets and currencies such as Sterling and Euro taking a beating, the major Contemporary auctions yielded strong sell through rates of circa 85%, with numerous auction records and overall turnover figures that beat estimates. That said, volumes have decresed by a hefty 35% verses previous year turnovers, primarily due to sellers being more cautious about placing the best works at a time of increased unceratinty.

Fund Update

My first trip this quarter was to NY for Frieze and 1-54 and for the installation and opening ceremonies of our exhibition of highlights of our Latin American collection. Curated by world-class patron, collector and art historian Catherine Petitgas, “Everything you are I am not” opened on April 30th to wide acclaim at the huge Mana Contemporary Glass Gallery. This 4000 square meter space, designed by renowned architect Richard Meyer, offers an unparalleled viewing experience. Events included a special preview for Instagram, a private gala dinner, a Mana open day where thousands of visitors are shuttled in from Manhattan throughout the day, a special brunch presentation for Frieze VIPs and a panel discussion with Catherine, myself and the one and only uber-curator Hans Ulrich Obrist. Watch panel talk here and exhibition PDF here.

The second trip this quarter was to Art Basel, followed by a visit to Bern to see the exhibition of works from the Uli Sigg / M+ Museum, and then a short visit to Zurich to see the Manifesta.

New Acquisitions, Loans and Sales

Interestingly, in Basel I ended up acquiring works by Chinese contemporary artists Li Ming, and a second work for the collection by Liu Shiyuan (see artist spotlight). In NY, I also agreed to acquire an important work by Brazilian artist Luiz Zerbini and made a studio visit to Firelei Baez whose works we recently acquired (see artist spotlight). On the African front, where we continue to focus, we completed acquisitions of a Goncalo Mabunda (see artist spotlight) throne sculpture, which I have been on the lookout for in the past year, as well as another beautiful work by Abdoulaye Konate. We also completed a significant loan of works from our African collection to Le Manoir, a Museum in Martigny in the Swiss Alps. Finally, this quarter we realized 4 works by artists by whom we own multiple works: 2 from Africa and 2 from Russia. We achieved a world auction record for Aboudia at a new African category auction in leading French auction house PIASA. We also sold a Pieter Hugo photograph and two works on paper by Pavel Pepperstein.


Tiroche DeLeon Collection Advisory Board members Sylvain Levy and Catherine Petitgas with Serge Tiroche, viewing the solo exhibiton of Luiz Zerbini at Sikemma Jenkins Gallery - posing in front of the work selected for acquisition by the TD Collection. May 2016, NY. 


Residency Program

In early June we welcomed artists Winner Jumalon from the Philippines and Moris (Israel Meza Morena) from Mexico for a first joint residency. The vibe is awesome and creativity soaring. We hosted a white night drinks reception for them on June 30th, some 3 weeks since their arrival, to show some work in progress. Anticipation for their final exhibition in Tel-Aviv in August/September is rapidly rising. We also conducted an interview with Moris and had a presentation of both artist's works to the Israel Museum Chief curator Mira Lapidot and International Contemporary curator Rita Kersting.


Team Update

During the quarter we also had a team reshuffle, with both our collection manager Yoad Bar-Noy and our research analyst Laura Di Castro moving on to greener pastures. We thank them for their outstanding work and wish them well in their new roles. We welcome Roxanne Sluszny as our new collection manager and Melanie Stern as our research analyst, who proudly fill the roles in their stead and are already making a great contribution.