In a few days timeÂ an exhibition will launchÂ in New York that will reshape the future for the Indigenous Australian art market. That’s an incredibly bold statement by Melbourne (and New York) dealer D’Lan Davidson. But then he’s linked in to the showing of ten desert artists by the Gallery that’s probably the biggest and certainly one of the most prestigious in the world. Needless to say, Larry Gagosian’s eponymous chain of galleries haven’t shown or sold Australian Aboriginal art before in any of its 17 venues around the globe – from London to Beverley Hills, Hong Kong to Paris.
If you look at Gagosian’s social media, Emily Kngwarreye is now sharing space with Richard Prince, Roy Lichtenstein, Helen Frankenthaler, Yves Klein, Cindy Sherman, Picasso and Rembrandt!
This fabled event comes down to a nexus between the Australian-born curator, Louise Neri at Gagosian, comedian and long-time art collector “ of such names as Andy Warhol, Edward Hopper and David Hockney “ Steve Martin, and D’Lan Davidson, his agent in Oz. Coincidentally, Martin will be touring Australia as a stand-up in November “ and maybe adding to his collection. According to the ABC which interviewed him, Four years ago, he read a New York Times article about an exhibition of Western Desert painter Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri’s artworks on display in New York and by the end of that day he’d acquired one for his home.
Now, all but one of the works “ a red Yam painting by Kngwarreye dating from the last year of her life, 1996 “ come from Martin. The Yam comes from the Kluge-Ruhe Collection at the University of Virginia.
The other artists who Martin (and his partner Anne Stringfield) has bought are Makinti Napanangka, Yukultji Napangati, Naata Nungurrayi, Ronnie Tjampitjinpa, Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri, Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, Tjumpo Tjapanangka, George Tjungurrayi and Willy Tjungurrayi. So it’s not surprising that the very witty man who wrote the 1993 play ‘Picasso at the Lapin Agile’ about a possible encounter between Picasso and Einstein, should have some clear thoughts on the art: These abstract paintings are not so abstract, they’re actually narrative and they tell tales. That separates them from normal abstract painting, which is visual and intellectual. These are visual, intellectual, but also emotional”.
A pack of Australian dealers in the Indigenous have made their way to New York to savour the occasion, and Christopher Hodges, who’s had a 30 year association with most of the artists involved via direct access to Emily and the Sydney agency for Papunya Tula Artists, has told the world: Utopia Art Sydney is proud to acknowledge the artists we have represented for so long are part of a landmark exhibition opening tonight at Gagosian Gallery in New York. ‘Australia’s First International Art Movement’ was the title of a small catalogue we made in 1988. It’s taken a while but this year we have again seen major works by these artists entering prestigious public and private collections across the globe.
And then he reminded us: Currently at Utopia we have Emily Kame Kngwarreye, George Tjungurrayi and Yukulji Napangati showing in ‘Celebrating Australian Abstraction‘, opening tomorrow.
It’s also worth reminding Sydneysiders that it’s only a week until the Wynne Prize opens at the Art Gallery of NSW with George Tjungurrayi, Mantua Nangala, Matjangka Nyukana Norris, Wawiriya Burton, Nellie Coulthard, Sylvia and Tjungkara Ken all showing magnificent desert paintings
And the New York exhibition has now moved to Gagosian, Beverley Hills until September 6th.
Artist: Emily Kngwarreye, Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, Makinti Napanangka, Yukultji Napangati, Naata Nungurrayi, Ronnie Tjampitjinpa, Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri, Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, Tjumpo Tjapanangka, George Tjungurrayi and Willy Tjungurrayi, Mantua Nangala, Matjangka Nyukana Norris, Wawiriya Burton, Nellie Coulthard, Sylvia Ken, Tjungkara Ken,