Sir Don McCullin was the marquee name at the 2016 edition of PhotoLondon. (He wasn’t knighted, as a matter of fact until the New Year Honours list of that same year, a few months later.) I was asked to write various texts in that connection, including the words to go on wall panels for a very fine one-man exhibition that Hamilton’s – his gallery for many years – put on in his honour. I wrote two more general pieces at that time, which I reproduce here in advance of his retrospective show opening at Tate Britain in 2019, which will once again put his name in the headlines. That will run 5 February – 6 May 2019. Continue reading
It is often quite casually stated that the art market is the last unregulated financial market. The implication is of skullduggery and villainous malpractice, with the suggestion of lamb-like collectors fleeced by unscrupulous wielders of huge shears. There are indeed egregious practices all around the art markets, some of which are complex in relation to ethics, industry practice, or the law. These include such arcana as dealers refusing to sell particular works to individual clients who have the money and want to buy — on the grounds that they don’t represent a ‘good enough home’ for the art. There could be a wide discussion aimed at reform of the whole range of these in the interests of clarity and fairness, but with care taken to preserve the flexibility and fleetness of foot which is one of the strengths of the market.
Here, immediately after PhotoLondon 2017 and in advance of any such broader discussion, are two simple practices which could and should be written out of the lexicon of trading practices in art. Continue reading