Looking Back, Looking Forward: A Reflection on 2012

Amy Lin of Saffronart looks back on some of the highlights for Saffronart and the art world in 2012


New York: As 2012 winds down, we reflect upon the good, the bad and the peculiarities of the year. 2012 has been an exciting year for all of us here at Saffronart. We pursued uncharted territories and ventured in many new and different directions, Marco Polo style.

In February, we held our first Impressionist and Modern Art Auction, which also happened to be the first Western art auction in India. At the previews and talks in Mumbai and Delhi, collectors and enthusiasts got a chance to see and learn about original artworks by Van Gogh, Pissaro, Matisse, Picasso, Dufy, Cezanne, Dali, Miro and Warhol. Later, we shone a spotlight on India’s tribal communities and curated the world’s first Indian Folk and Tribal Auction. In November, we shared Pakistan’s rich artistic heritage with some beautifully detailed pieces dealing with gender and political issues among others. In jewelry and collectibles, our first Art Deco Sale was a big hit in Mumbai, and helped rediscover the city’s forgotten Art Deco past.

Our most recent project is The Story, a new website offering curated collections of unique objects for sale every day. These would make fine holiday presents for your girlfriend, grandmother and practically anyone else. Also, this very blog was launched in April, and what an incredible journey it has been. Thank you all for your support and appreciation! Last but not least, our new gallery in New York is finally open to the public after months of hard work and dedication. We welcome all of you to visit us here!

Our friends in the art world had a busy year as well. Here are some of my favorite stories, events and oddities from this year:

The Ecce Homo IncidentDoc1-page-001

This one needs no introduction. We all heard of the sweet but misguided little old Spanish lady who took it upon her herself to “restore” the Ecce Homo fresco at her church this August. Instead of being saluted as a fine work of art, Cecelia Gilmenz was accused of vandalism and creating a “Beast Jesus”, and sparked off an internet sensation across the world. Today, she is selling her art on Ebay!

Ai Weiwei and Anish Kapoor’s Gangnam Style

Our favorite contemporary artists come together to promote free speech. After Weiwei posted his parody of Psy’s Gangnam Style, Kapoor and other artists responded with a video of their own to advocate for freedom of expression around the world.

Kochi Biennale

Kochi is home to India’s first international biennale, which was kicked off this month with contributions from big names such as Ai Weiwei, Atul Dodiya, Subodh Gupta and others. Internationally renowned singer M.I.A. rocked the opening when she performed in the country for the very first time.

Vandalism for Art’s Sake

Vladimir Umanets vandalized Mark Rotho’s 1959 Black on Maroon painting at the Tate Modern in London in the name of Yellowism, a movement that deems all artistic expressions to be equal. He scribbled, “Vladimir Umanets ’12 / A Potential Piece of Yellowism” on the painting, worth several millions of dollars, and calmly walked out of the museum. Days later, he was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison. Apparently, the judges did not see his act of vandalism as part of an art movement.

New York, New York

Finally, I have to tip my hat to this amazing city. Despite Hurricane Sandy, where close to half of the galleries in Chelsea sustained serious damaged, the city pulled together and remained strong and uncompromising as the art capital of the world. Artists and creative minds are still flocking to New York to discover all it has to offer. We wish them and all of you the best of luck in 2013 for the challenges ahead!