Turmoil at First Republic could jeopardise the bank’s art world sponsorships

Turmoil at First Republic could jeopardise the bank’s art world sponsorships

As regional banks in the United States like San Francisco’s First Republic face uncertain futures amid the turbulence following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, their art world partners risk the loss of funding and sponsorships.

When Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapsed earlier this month after a bank run, investors feared San Francisco-based bank First Republic may be vulnerable to similar risks and began pulling funds from their accounts. Between SVB’s collapse on 10 March and 19 March, First Republic customers withdrew a collective $70bn—nearly 40% of the bank’s deposits—according to The Wall Street Journal. Some 68% of all the bank’s deposits were not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) because they were above the $250,000 limit, a high rate for a regional bank.

If First Republic shutters, cultural institutions it sponsors could lose out on crucial corporate support. The bank is listed as a corporate sponsor, partner or member at art museums nationwide, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Frick Collection and Poster House in New York; the Isabella Gardner Stewart Museum in Boston and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. While First Republic is listed as a corporate partner at SFMOMA, the museum clarified that First Republic is not currently a sponsor and declined to comment further.

First Republic also appears to provide banking services to several art world organisations: client testimonials listed on the bank’s website include the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston and Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco. A spokesperson for the Oakland Museum of California—which, according to the First Republic website, has been a client of the bank since 2012—told The Art Newspaper that the institution’s “banking relationship is in active discussion with our board and we haven’t made any definitive decisions”.

First Republic Bank did not respond to requests for comment.

“Our commitment to client service is unchanged, and we remain well-positioned to continue to manage deposit activity,” the bank’s founder and executive chairman James H. Herbert II and chief executive, president and board member Michael J. Roffler said in a joint statement this week.

Another First Republic board member, Pamela J. Joyner, is a major collector of African American art and also serves on the boards of the Art Institute of Chicago, SFMOMA and the J.Paul Getty Trust. Joyner did not respond to a request for comment.

On 17 March, First Republic received a lifeline in the form of an announcement that a consortium of 11 of the largest banks in the US would give First Republic $30bn to help the regional bank meet the demand of customer withdrawals and help restore confidence in the country’s banks amid turmoil. Banks taking part in the rescue include Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, which said they will provide $5bn each.

First Republic’s shares have collapsed since early March and dropped as low as $11.92 per share as of Friday (24 March) afternoon. In early February, shares were trading for around $147. Even news of the $30bn lifeline did not help share prices for long, and on 20 March First Republic’s stock plummeted after the The Wall Street Journal reported JPMorgan Chase executive Jamie Dimon is leading talks for the banks to convert some or all of the money into an equity investment or even a sale. First Republic shareholders would lose money if the bank were to be sold at a discount.

Earlier this month, both SVB and Signature Bank collapsed and were taken over by the FDIC. Signature Bank was previously listed as either a sponsor or corporate partner for cultural institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2021.

After UBS announced a takeover of Credit Suisse on 19 March, all of the European art institutions supported by the embattled Swiss bank except one told The Art Newspaper they would be happy for UBS to become their new sponsor. The National Gallery in London—Credit Suisse’s only partner museum outside of Switzerland—had no comment.

Source link

'A place for us to show our living journey as artists': Gilbert & George opening London art centre

'A place for us to show our living journey as artists': Gilbert & George opening London art centre

Gilbert Prousch and George Passmore, better known as Gilbert & George, moved into their home, just off Brick Lane in the east of London, in 1968.

“It was a shithole, full of damaged people,” George says of the area. “We came here because it was cheap and we couldn’t afford anywhere better. But we stayed because it was romantic.”

Now, 55 years after they moved in, they have opened a permanent exhibition centre that will be dedicated to their art. The Gilbert & George Centre, on Heneage Street, just off Brick Lane and directly adjacent to the Prince of Spitalfields public house, will open on 1 April. It has been converted from a brewery that dates back to around 1820, and sits next to the artists’ home and studio of many years, a restored Georgian house, on neighbouring Fournier Street.

“It came very slowly, but also straight out of the blue,” Gilbert says of the building’s formation. The centre has been almost ten years in the making. In 2015, the trustees of the museum, which include the artists, acquired the building for approximately £5m. The centre is a registered charity, established by the artists in 2017, and is jointly managed by the trustees. Construction work started in June 2020.

The centre has been designed by SIRS Architects to mimic the exterior designs of Gilbert and George’s restored Georgian home. It comprises three exhibition spaces over three levels, spanning a total of 280 sq. m, which will host a revolving programme of new and historical work by the artists. There will be no admission charge for the majority of the programme.

“It’s a place for us to show our living journey as artists,” Gilbert says. That journey continues. Gilbert tells The Art Newspaper that the pair will be holding a major show at the Hayward Gallery, on London’s Southbank, likely in 2025.

“We will just show 21st Century Pictures series. One very specific group of images that’s never been shown here in the UK,” George says of the show.

“Just images made over the last 23 years,” Gilbert adds. “Just from this century, and only this century.”

The Hayward show will surely attract the crowds. Gilbert & George, gay men born during the Second World War and raised in households of humble means, have grown to become two of the most distinctive and recognisable cultural figures in the UK. They have also become synonymous with an area now closely associated with the UK’s most progressive contemporary art.

Gilbert & George, Date Dance, 2019 © The Gilbert & George Centre

“When art dealers came to our studio to look at our work, in 1975, we would take them out for a curry,” Gilbert says. The Clifton curry house on Brick Lane was their chosen venue—they would visit each evening. “We would be the only white people in there,” Gilbert says. “It was an amazing atmosphere.”

At the start of their careers, Gilbert & George adopted the slogan “Art for All”. They were early performance art pioneers, sometimes performing continuously for a day at a time. They also gained a reputation for being willing to exhibit in spaces far beyond London’s established commercial gallery world. But has the art world become less elitist, and more inclusive, in their life time?

“More people know more about art than ever before, in the history of mankind,” George says. “The artist has never been more privileged.”

“Now, there are more artists, more collectors, more galleries,” Gilbert says. “We used to talk about ‘art for all’. It was an innocent statement at the time. We felt commercial galleries are limited, because they are for selling. We tried to reach beyond that.”

The centre will only show work by Gilbert & George. Asked if they might branch out to curate the works of other artists, Gilbert says: “We don’t want to compete with the Hayward or the Whitechapel. It would be too difficult.”

Gilbert will celebrate his 80th birthday in September, while George has just turned 81. The centre, then, has been created as a place to commemorate the artists’ contributions to contemporary British art. It will endure as a tribute to them, even after their deaths.

Until then, Gilbert & George can be spotted, still, on their nightly walk through the streets of Spitalfieds before they eat dinner together at Mangal 1, the Turkish restaurant on Arcola Street, just off Kingsland Road, where they have a permanently reserved table.

“We’ve been going to Mangal for 20 years,” George says. “We used to go to Mangal 2 but they installed a music system, so now we go to Mangal 1. Maybe one day, we will go to Mangal Zero.”

What’s the best thing to order?

“The Ezme Salata then the Patrician Salata and then the Pirzola lamb chops, they’re very good,” Gilbert says. “Trust us, you can’t go wrong.”

Source link

Inaugural New York fair for Ukrainian artists wants to show that the country is ‘a solution, not a problem’

Inaugural New York fair for Ukrainian artists wants to show that the country is ‘a solution, not a problem’

More than 100 artists, brands and companies from Ukraine have set up shop in the Skylight at Essex Crossing on New York City’s Lower East Side for the inaugural I Am U Are Ukrainian Creators Fair (until 26 March). Co-founded by Anna Pagava, the chief executive of the Los Angeles-based public relations agency Gogola, and Kristina Skripka, a hospitality expert, the event aims to show that Ukrainian “culture, technology, art and design have always been progressive and diverse”, the organisers say, while convincing people that the country is “not a problem but a solution”.

The organisers also want to send a message of defiance, claiming that “the war has given even more agility and resilience to Ukrainian creative talent that the world can learn and benefit from”.

Masha Reva and Ivan Grabko, a painter couple based in Kyiv who fled the city following Russia’s invasion, are the fair’s creative directors. They have organised two exhibitions in collaboration with the Ukrainian Museum of New York. Reva planned a show of Ukrainian photographers whose work portrays “a poetic, strong, and collective portrait of young Ukraine”, and Grabko asked several artists to create works in response to the prompt, “How are you?”

A traditional Ukrainian wreath by Olena Mityurina Photo © Andrew Grey

“The artists are also asking the viewer the same question,” Grabko tells The Art Newspaper. “It’s a very simple question asked by people when they meet, a conversation opener started by friends or people who don’t know each other. Often it makes no sense but sometimes it means much more than simply being polite.”

But behind the soft themes, the reality for the fair’s participants is quite grim in most cases; after the event, the majority will return to a war-ravaged country with no end to the fighting in sight. “Unfortunately, the war is the most important thing happening in Ukraine right now, but people are continuing to live their lives and do their work as they did before,” Grabko says. “We want to show that the war is something we will win, our defenders are not fighting for war but for victory and life. People need to see that this battle is not in vain.”

Sculpture by Gorn Ceramics © Gorn Ceramics

Providing opportunities for Ukraine’s creative industries to network and forge ties with US businesspeople is an important aspect of I Am U Are. The fair has partnered with United 24, an official fundraising platform launched by Ukrainian president Oleksandr Zelensky’s administration, and some of the event’s profits will go to humanitarian aid in Ukraine.

“To be honest, we all needed a big project to focus on and combine our powers for a good cause,” Reva says. “All aspects of Ukrainian culture are equally important, from the rave scene and museum artefacts to tech startups and craft techniques inherited from our ancestors. This diversity makes Ukrainians who we are.”

Source link

Galleries continue to bank on Asia as Peres Projects expands in Seoul and Hauser & Wirth relocates to new street-level space in Hong Kong

Galleries continue to bank on Asia as Peres Projects expands in Seoul and Hauser & Wirth relocates to new street-level space in Hong Kong

Peres Projects gallery—a participant at the Art Basel in Hong Kong fair this week—is opening a second space in Seoul next month, further cementing the South Korean capital as a key art market hub in the region.

The new gallery, due to launch 28 April, will be housed across four floors in a building located in the Sagan-dong neighbourhood close to institutions such as the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Three exhibition spaces will be spread over the first and second floors of the new gallery.

“We know the importance of Asia as a region,” says Javier Peres, the gallery founder. “Crucially, we need more space to accommodate our artists. There is also a big collector base in Seoul and a boom in private museums which means there is a lot of room for content.” Peres Projects opened its first gallery, a smaller venue in The Shilla Seoul hotel, last April; it also runs galleries in Berlin and Milan.

The launch of the new space will be marked by two shows including an exhibition of works by the London-based artist Cece Philips. The second show, an extensive group presentation, includes works by artists such as Emily Ludwig Shaffer and Rafa Silvares.

Cece Philips, tbt (2023) Image: Courtesy of Peres Projects

Other Art Basel in Hong Kong participating galleries are also bolstering their presence in Asia. Hauser & Wirth is moving out of its current venue on the 15th and 16th floors of H Queen’s tower in Hong Kong and is relocating to a ground-floor block—refurbished by Selldorf Architects—at the junction of Ice House Street and Duddell Street.

Marc Payot, the gallery’s president, says in a statement that “the move to a new site comes at a time when we look forward to deepening our connections in the region”. The new street-level space is due to open by the end of the year.

Tang Contemporary Art—which runs galleries in Beijing, Hong Kong and Seoul—also plans to add another space to its roster in Singapore, a move confirmed by Charlotte Lin, marketing manager. The new gallery is due to open later this year.

Source link

More than 50 historical guns returned to US museums they were stolen from decades ago

More than 50 historical guns returned to US museums they were stolen from decades ago

A decades-long case involving stolen historical rifles has come to a close at Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution. On 13 March, a ceremony at the institution marked the recovery of more than 50 guns stolen from 16 separate museums over the course of the late 1960s and 70s, including the Daniel Boone Homestead in Pennsylvania, the Museum of Connecticut History, and the Beauvoir Museum in Biloxi Mississippi, USA Today reported.

Beginning in 1968, historic pistols were reportedly pilfered from collections across the US. Museums often didn’t notice for weeks, months or years that their armories had been compromised. The cases all went cold until 2009, when Pennsylvania detectives Andrew Rathfon and Brendan Dougherty received a false tip involving a gun removed from the Valley Forge Historical Society.

The pair then began a 14-year national investigation, which, thanks to what Rathfon described to USA Today as a few “lucky breaks and confidential sources”, led them to the residence of Michael Kintner Corbett in Newark, Delaware. On 24 May 2017, a team led by FBI art crimes agent Jake Archer searched Corbett’s home, uncovering an unparalleled trove of missing historic firearms, the manufacture of which spanned the entire history of the US, although none actually matched the description of the original missing objects that spurred the search.

Corbett, a 73-year-old history buff, struck a plea deal for possession of stolen property in 2022, leading to a single day in prison, 14 months of house arrest and a fine of $65,000. According to his attorney, Barry Gross, Corbett never intended to sell the guns, only “to have them”. While a “great number” of Corbett’s weapons had been acquired through legitimate means from estate sales and flea markets, Corbett’s ability to lead officers to the formerly undisclosed locations of the missing Valley Forge guns told a different story. Authorities could not prove Corbett’s involvement in the initial burglaries, although assistant US attorney general KT Newton quipped that, “I will leave you to your own conclusions” when questioned on the subject.

“We do know that a number of firearms and other items stolen from the same museum at the same time were found in his home,” Newton told USA Today. “We also do know that in the distant past, Michael Corbett himself had been arrested and charged with a burglary … at the General Mansfield house, the headquarters for the Middlesex County Historical Society in Connecticut.”

The 13 March ceremony at the Museum of the American Revolution was attended by cultural heritage workers from all over the US, from the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts to the Delaware County Historical Society. “It gives you hope,” ZeeAnn Mason, chief operating officer for the Museum of the American Revolution, said. “When 50 years later we are able to recover these objects, it means there’s always hope.”

Source link

Credit Suisse’s art partnerships up in the air after emergency UBS takeover

Credit Suisse’s art partnerships up in the air after emergency UBS takeover

The future of Credit Suisse’s art partnerships hangs in the balance after UBS announced an emergency takeover of the fellow Swiss private bank on Sunday.

Credit Suisse’s stocks plummeted earlier this month following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and two other US lenders due to the Federal Reserve’s recent interest hikes.

The Swiss government subsequently strong-armed UBS to buy its defunct rival for $3.25bn and assume $5bn of its debt. Full details of the rushed deal—termed a “shotgun marriage” by some financial analysts—are yet to be revealed. Thousands of jobs at Credit Suisse are reportedly at risk.

Like many large banks, Credit Suisse has close ties with the art world. José Olympio da Veiga Pereira, Credit Suisse’s former chief executive officer in Brazil, is a major art collector and president of the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo. The bank also holds a large collection of Modern and contemporary Swiss art, and financially supports seven art institutions in Europe—six in Switzerland and the National Gallery in London.

In recent years, these institutions have been scrutinised for their relationship with the bank following revelations by the Guardian that linked many Credit Suisse clients to serious crimes, including human trafficking and torture.

UBS says it is too soon to discuss the full ramifications of the takeover on the art world. A spokesperson for the bank says: “We recognise the important support Credit Suisse has been giving to arts organisations in Switzerland and abroad. It is too early to say what the additional program of partnerships and support for the arts will look like as we are still operating as two separate entities.” Credit Suisse has declined to comment.

However, six out of the seven Credit Suisse’s partner institutions contacted by The Art Newspaper said they would welcome UBS stepping in as a sponsor. The Kunsthaus Zurich, which Credit Suisse has sponsored for more than 30 years, “assumes that the new owner [UBS] will take over and fulfil the contractual obligations that Credit Suisse has entered into in sponsoring the Kunsthaus,” says a spokesperson for the museum.

Corporate sponsorships account for “less than 10%” of the Kunsthaus Zurich’s total income, of which Credit Suisse makes up around one-third—so less than 3% of its revenue, according to the spokesperson. This means that the Kunsthaus is “able to bridge a possible shortfall in the short term”. Nonetheless, he adds, “in the medium term, it will need a replacement if UBS does not continue Credit Suisse’s commitment”.

The Kunstmuseum Basel is also open to the prospect of UBS stepping in as a sponsor: “We have worked very well with Credit Suisse in the past and are also financially supported by other banks. For this reason, we see no reason to question the cooperation with banks, which is important for us. This also applies to UBS,” a spokesperson says. Credit Suisse has provided support for one exhibition per year at the Kunstmuseum Basel since 2012. This contract is due to run out next year.

London’s National Gallery—the only museum outside of Switzerland to maintain an official partnership with Credit Suisse—remains tight-lipped: “We are speaking to our colleagues at Credit Suisse about the current situation and have nothing else to add at this time”. However, like Kunstmuseum Basel, the gallery’s partnership is up for renewal next year.

Indeed, Credit Suisse’s collapse might offer these museums a much-needed pretext to cut ties with a controversial partner.

Kunsthaus Zurich’s contract with Credit Suisse is also up for renewal. “We have been in talks about the future of the collaboration for several months,” the museum’s spokesperson says, adding: “As a member of ICOM [International Council of Museums], the Kunsthaus Zurich respects the ethical principles stated by the professional organisation.”

Source link