Tech Fails 2015 & Fine Art

One more week

It's almost Christmas and as I write this I am sat on a train to London for two days of meetings. I like London but despite visiting usually a couple of days each week, I rarely get the opportunity to go sightseeing. Occasionally I get lost, I see a landmark that I haven't seen in all my years of commuting and think to myself, wow that's a famous landmark and then quickly move on.

I have however visited many a Starbucks, in fact I can tell you exactly where you can get a flat white at three in the morning. Ask me how to walk somewhere, I still don't have a clue unless it's on route to the four or five locations across the city that I have to frequent. But what I do notice is that art is everywhere you look. There is no escaping it. Be it the amazing architecture, street vendors selling hand painted canvases, or in any of the many, many museums.

What is surprising though is just how small London actually is. The tube is possibly one of the biggest tourist traps. Everyone has a preconceived idea that in order to get from one place to the next you need to take a tube. But really, that's not the case.

To get to my 9:30 meeting from a hotel in Covent Garden would take me nearly 45-minutes on he tube in rush hour. I can actually walk to the meeting in around 10-minutes and be there in plenty of time to grab a flat white.

So next time you're in London take some time to gather your bearings and find out if it's actually quicker to walk. You will at least 50% of the time find that you are only next door to the next place you need to visit.

ART COLOGNE 50th EDITION

The lineup for the 50th edition of Art Cologne in 2016 has now been released. Art Cologne is the World's oldest fair for Modern and Contemporary art. The list of exhibitors reveals a lineup of 219 galleries from 25 countries. The event will take place in Cologne between the 14th and 17th April 2016 at Koelnmesse.

On display there will be a wide range of Modern through to Postwar Contemporary art that will include paintings, sculptures, prints, multiples, installations, photographs, and performance and video art.

This year, "historically progressive art" of the Modern and Postwar periods will be featured in hall 11.1. There will also be a number of first-time exhibitors, Bernheimer Fine Art being just one of them. The largest section for Contemporary art can be found in hall 11.2. It's possibly no coincidence that the two most exciting halls are clearly close together. Moving on to hall 11.3, you will find special sections, New Contemporaries, Collaboration, and Film Cologne will also be in the same hall.

What makes a visit to this hall worthwhile however is that a group of 29 young galleries, all less than 10-years old, will be exhibiting at the event. The galleries were chosen by a committee of their peers from the Art Cologne Advisory Board. This has been organised in partnership with the New Art Dealers Alliance.

BANKSY

Banksy
A Banksy protected by Perspex

 

Yes Banksy is once again in the news after revealing a new artwork that he sprayed on a wall in the Calais refugee camp. The work entitled "the Jungle" was created by the infamous street artist to address negative attitudes towards the thousands of people living there.

What makes the work particularly interesting is that it features the late Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, with a black garbage sack over his shoulder and an original Apple computer in his hand.

The work references the fact that Jobs was the son of a Syrian migrant who went to America after the Second World War. Manley even made a statement to accompany the work saying "We're often led to believe migration is a drain on the countries resources but Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian migrant. Apple is the world's most profitable company, it pays over $7bn (£4.6bn) a year in taxes, and it only exists because they let in a young man from Homs"

The street art is just one of a series of works that Banksy has created as a response to the refugee crisis. Whilst in Calais, Banksy covered several other walls across the French port with related art including a riff on Theodore Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa, featuring a luxury yacht.

In other Banksy news, more than 10-years after "The Drinker" was stolen by the 'arto-politico humourist' group Art Kieda, the work has finally been returned. The artist AK-47 who sparked a decade long feud with Banksy following the theft has however made an adaption to the piece.

The £300,000 artwork has now become 'The Stinker' as the artist attached a toilet seat to the bronze statue and scrawled 'Take the P***' on the statues plinth. The artist AK-47 whose real name is Andy Link is a former porn star. What makes it bizarre is that the gentleman is from Yorkshire, England. Not quite the trade you expect from a Yorkshireman to be honest. Link is leader of an underground global network of activists that set out to upset the status quo of the modern art world.

The group’s most renowned action has undoubtedly been the creation of a 10-year argument with Banksy with the ‘Drinker’ saga. The statue first appeared in 2004 in a small square just off Shaftsbury Avenue in London as part of a street art exhibition by Banksy. The statue was a recreation of Rodin’s statue, ‘The Thinker’, except this version had a traffic cone on its head, and the word Banksy scrawled on the plinth.

In a daring raid on the exhibit, the piece was snatched by AK-47 and his band of artistic merry men in broad daylight in a heist style raid on the square. The group did send out a ransom note to national newspapers, Banksy offered to pay £2, but his bid was unsuccessful.

Banksy never admitted that the work was his. Had he have done so, he would have been admitting to a crime. After three-months, the lost statue officially belonged to AK-47. Three years down the line, the statue was stolen again from AK-47’s garden in Hackney, leaving behind the traffic cone that once sat on the statue’s head. So a film, “The Banksy Job” could be in the works.

THE OLD MASTERS

Renoir
Renoir - one of the old Masters

 

I think there is no denying that the auctions of old Master’s paintings are in decline, and recent auctions have done little to dispel the impression. Christie’s recent sale raised only £5.3m before fees were added, less than half of the pre-sale estimate of £12.7m. Hans Hoffman’s watercolour on vellum, “A Hare among Plants” from 1582 was estimated at a rather optimistic £4m-£6m, but failed to find a buyer.

One of the many variations of Brueghel the Younger’s “Birdtrap”, only just scraped its low estimate of £1.2m, and was amongst the top sellers in an auction that saw only 58% of the offered works actually sell.

Meanwhile at Sotheby’s, only 16 of the 44 lots for sale actually sold. The second version of Constable’s “The Lock” from 1825, was estimated at between £8m and £12m, despite the first version of the same subject sold at Christie’s back in 2012, for £22.4m. Eventually the piece at Sotheby’s sold on a phone bid for £8m, although the fees added to the sale price increased the sale to £9.1m.

CHRISTIE’S RESULTS NEW YORK

DECEMBER WATCHES - THE TWO FINAL WATCH AUCTIONS OF 2015 TOTALED $10,064,25

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER 50:

THE AUCTION, DECEMBER 15, 201

CHRISTIE’S NEW YORK

SALE TOTAL: $1,304,125 (USD)

SELLING 100% BY LOT AND 100% BY VALUE.

WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR AN OMEGA SPEEDMASTER: The top lot for the sale was an exceptional and historically important Apollo 17 privately flown stainless steel chronograph, from the personal collection of Astronaut Ron Evans. Manufactured in 1970 and including a flown Velcro strap and Fisher Space Pen, which realized $245,000. Christie’s is proud to announce that the OMEGA Museum was the winning bidder and it will soon be on public display.

Additional top lots achieved:

LOT 3: STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH MANUFACTURED IN 1957 ($137,000)

LOT 4: STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET MANUFACTURED IN 1958 ($118,750)

LOT 16: UNIQUE 18K GOLD CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET CERTIFICATION LETTER AND BOX, MADE FOR ASTRONAUT RONALD E. EVANS MANUFACTURED IN 1970 ($50,000)

RARE WATCHES & IMPORTANT DISCOVERIES:

THE AUCTION, DECEMBER 16, 2015

CHRISTIE’S NEW YORK

SALE TOTAL: $8,760,125 (USD)

SELLING 92% BY LOT AND BY VALUE.

WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR A VINTAGE AUDEMARS PIGUET CALENDAR WATCH:

The top lot for the sale was an extremely fine, rare and important Audemars Piguet Reference 5516 18K gold perpetual calendar wristwatch with leap year, moon phases and two-tone dial. It was manufactured in 1957 and realized $545,000.

Additional top lots achieved:

LOT 186: PATEK PHILIPPE REFERENCE 130. A VERY FINE, RARE AND ATTRACTIVE 18K GOLD SINGLE BUTTON CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BREGUET NUMERALS MANUFACTURED IN 1937 ($509,000)

LOT 62: PATEK PHILIPPE REFERENCE 2573 “Pearl of Bahrain”. An 18K pink gold wristwatch with natural seed pearl hour markers MANUFACTURED IN 1958 ($437,000) - WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE PATEK PHILIPPE REFERENCE 2573

LOT 161: AUDEMARS PIGUET. AN EXTREMELY RARE STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH CENTRAL SPIRALED TACHYMETER SCALE MANUFACTURED IN 1937 ($341,000)

Christie’s is proud to report a successful finale to the 2015 Watches auction season in New York with both Omega Speedmaster 50 and Rare Watches & Important Discoveries, which both realized a combined total of $10,064,250.

Strong prices were achieved, realizing well over their estimate for both limited edition watches from the exceptionally curated Omega Speedmaster 50: From A Spacewalk To Today evening sale, the first evening sale for Christie’s Watch Department in New York, along with the preeminent manufacturers from the Rare Watches & Important Discoveries auction the following day, including Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Rolex, Vacheron Constantin, Cartier, Universal Genève, Heuer, and more.

There was exceptional participation experienced both online and in the saleroom. The showroom was bustling with eager bidders competing to own the unique timepieces, especially from Patek Philippe which garnered the greatest demand and top bids from the auction.

ALSO IN THE AUCTION HOUSE

Occasionally we see a round of musical chairs in auction houses, and the latest see’s Marc Porter who has been with Christie’s for 25-years, moving across to Sotheby’s taking up a role within business development, although the transition is likely to take around a year due to a non-compete agreement.

INDEPENDENCE DAY

In general media news, finally the trailer for the log-awaited Independence Day sequel, “Independence Day – Resurgence” debuted last weekend during a football game. This time we will not see Will Smith picking up the lead, although Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, and Vivica A. Fox will reprise their roles.

I actually think I am looking forward to this movie just as much as I am at seeing the new Star Wars film. I haven’t seen it yet, I am saving the experience for over the Christmas break.

THE INTERNET OF YESTERYEAR

The Internet
Get ready to go back in time!

 

Retro, nostalgia, school days, dial-up, all conjure images of those wonder years when everyone liked IT. No one really likes IT anymore, except those who don’t have to work on IT problems. But IT now drives the world, hey, it even drives cars.

Digital content from yesteryear is available in lots of places, the Internet Archives Wayback Machine makes it reasonably simple to access pages of days gone by. But there is a new player in town that lets you look back at web pages from the past, allowing surfers of this age, to experience what it was like in the early days of web-browsers. I am talking web-browser that are 20-years old.

For a minute or two, I caught a glimpse of a memory of collecting AOL trial dial up internet CD-ROMS. http://oldweb.today/ really does send you back in time. The browser looks just as it did in whatever year you pick, and you can choose early browser versions.

The tool comes jointly from the brains of Ilya Kreymer and Dragan Espenschied, capturing the web-browsing experience from pre-the-millennium. Design was simple, the pages took forever to load, but you know what? We were kind of happy. We were dreaming of the day when it would speed up, broadband was not even in the vocabulary of many people, and oh my life, Windows was relatively stable. Except when it wasn’t.

The site features a collection of outdated browsers, beautifully emulated, not only allowing the visitor to visit older web content, but to experience it just as it looked in the early days. !4 versions of browsers are available, including Netscape Navigator, and NCSA Mosaic.

The project is open sourced and draws on information and content that has been archived by thirteen institutions around the world. This my friends is when the internet was the World Wide Web. I fired up an early Internet Explorer on a Macintosh, and I was running it from Internet Explorer on a PC, by pressing the I’m Feeling Random button, I was taken to a forum from 2007. My, how everyone was so polite in their responses.

So if you are looking for a little nostalgia over the holidays, I would certainly recommend a visit and to lend your support to this worthy project. Just be warned, you will spend hours of your life on this site!

THIS YEARS TECHNICAL LOW POINTS

So, almost another year done with, I have no idea where it has gone, but I have figured out that my transition to senility will be pretty easy. So much has happened in the last twelve-months, and in just a few short weeks this blog will be twelve-months old. Twelve-months of relentless writing at three in the morning, twelve months of waiting to be discovered by the Huff-Post. Twelve-months of IT issues, but actually things could be a whole heap worse.

And they were for some companies in the tech world, other companies managed to pull off the impossible and introduce new technologies that will be around forever. So this week I thought I would put together some of the lows of technology in 2015.

2015 has been a bad year for data breaches. If your tech company hasn’t had one, you’re one of the lucky ones. Hackers managed to steal 36m passwords, encrypted by the powerful Bcrypt encryption system, from the “let’s have an affair” website Ashley Madison. People were panicked, divorce lawyers made a killing, and a few members decided to try forced celibacy.

Apple released iOS 9 and with it, allowed app developers to create Ad-Blocking software for iPhones and iPads. Publishers and advertisers struggled for breath for a few days, with two apps, Peace and Crystal dominating the App Store charts for a while.

But the developer of “Peace”, Marco Arment abruptly withdrew his app from the store, saying that success did not “feel good” and cost livelihoods.

The Hover board, expected from the film trilogy “Back to the Future” exploded Christmas sales literally. They arrived in 2015, they also crashed and burned in 2015. Online retailer Amazon has now advised customers who bought non-standard hover boards to throw them away after a watchdog called on all retailers to remove them from sale following safety concerns that the futuristic devices explode.

Amazon confirmed that it had emailed buyers of self-balancing boards identified as being sold without a non-compliant plug, informing them that they would be refunded and instructed them to take the boards to recycling centers that deal with electrical waste.

Estimates in the UK have suggested that 50,000 people have made the purchase in readiness to give the boards as Christmas gifts. UK retailers, John Lewis, and Argos have also removed the product from sale.

This could be the first and only chance that the technology has to win the trust of consumers. Although the boards are not actually Hover Boards, they have wheels for a start, it could be difficult to reintroduce the technology later.

Samsung, unusually we are not seeing so many Apple vs. Samsung stories, in fact I believe the two companies are getting quite friendly. But Samsung got it all a little wrong with the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 S-Pen. To say the key selling point was the devices stylus would be a bit of an understatement. Samsung were the only company I can think of that have managed to ship a phone that should the stylus be inserted the wrong way, will deplete its ability to detect the stylus. Samsung responded by pointing out in the user guide that this was clearly an intentional and documented feature by saying that “Inserting the S Pen the wrong way can cause it to become stuck and can damage the phone and the pen”. Genius.

Apple didn’t quite get away with making a bit of a blunder with the iPhone smart battery cover. Yes, I would still like one for its ability to extend the battery life of my six to something that is usable for the daily needs of a smartphone owner, but its aesthetics will have Steve Jobs looking down with a frown. He will certainly get the hump with this one.

Twitter, well they didn’t quite get away with turning the yellow star in to a heart. Twitter changed favorite’s to likes, and despite what their internal statistics said, the twitterverse sharpened their pitch forks and made it known that they didn’t love the new loving red heart.

Google and the self-driving car got pulled over by a confused Policeman when it was caught driving too slowly in a 35 mph zone. The car was speeding along at 24 mph. Clearly the car was not familiar with regulation 22400(a) of the California Vehicle Code related to impeding traffic. Google escaped a ticket after 1.2 million miles of autonomous driving so it’s not all bad.

Servers are wonderful things except when they don’t talk to each other as they should. That is exactly what happened to United Airlines. The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Stock Exchange at various points throughout 2015.

United had to ground flights, the NYSE suspended trading and the Wall Street Journal’s servers were just chilling out. This time it wasn’t hackers who were to blame, it wasn’t a massive cyber-terrorism attack, and it was simply a case that the tech failed, all on its own.

PREVIOUSLY ON TECH FAIL

But alas fear not, technology fails every year, so for comparison, and to unscientifically prove my point, here are some of the biggest losers from the past.

Laser Disc. Now this got everyone kind of excited at the time of its release. Until people stood back and figured out that it really wasn’t that great. At 12 inches in diameter, it looked like a giant DVD or a shiny vinyl LP. In 1978, Jaws was the first movie to play on the system but its life-span wasn’t quite as limited as everyone thought it would be, the format received its last release, Sleepy Hollow in 2000.

For those who remember the 90’s era of computing, the Zip Drive was similar to a USB flash drive. Except it wasn’t a USB flash drive. It was meant to replace the floppy disc, but the sheer bulk and low capacity pretty much meant it was never going to be a contender.

One technology I almost nearly dipped into had it have not been for PlayStation was the HD-DVD. Microsoft went down the HD-DVD route, Sony went with Blu-ray. The first HD-DVD players were released in the U.S. in 2006 but cost around $600. Sony’s Blu-ray was an all-round better technology and introducing it in to the PlayStation was a solid move that caused the HD-DVD format to disappear in 2008.

But Sony didn’t always get it right. The Sony Rolly, a robotic dancing music player that also happened to come in the shape of an egg. Sort of. The public reception was colder than the arctic, and its exclusive software and low storage capacity in 2008 was to never compete with the iPod.

Another technology I very almost got sucked in to buying was a games system called the Gizmondo. The concept was similar to Sony’s PSP. The device contained games, a camera, could play music, had GPS and messaging features, but it was so clunky and overpriced that it officially became the worst selling games console in history. Even when a last ditch attempt to move stock at around £20 in motorway service areas failed, you kind of get a better understanding that this thing was awful. When you consider that torches and foldable deck-chairs for sale in the same motorway service station were racking up more sales, it really tells you all you need to know about the Gizmondo.

The Gizmondo was originally thought to be one of the most powerful handheld consoles ever to be made. In total just 25,000 units were sold. The company’s CEO Carl Freer crashed his Ferrari Enzo and was sent to prison, the company managed to release eight more games before going bankrupt.

The Gizmondo wasn’t alone, the Nokia N-Gage was also called the Taco-phone. Yes it could play some games, but its odd shape meant that you had to talk in to the phone sideways.

The Palm Foleo was announced in 2007 as a sub-notebook that was meant to synch with a smartphone to provide larger screen functionality. Instead, Palm ceased production after just three short months. The device ran on a Linux operating system and featured 256MB of on-board flash memory. The company was eventually purchased by Hewlett Packard in April 2010.

By 1984, IBM had managed to retain a massive 26% of all computer sales and was looking to enter the academic arena by selling its PC’s to schools. Spending $40 million on advertising, IBM thought it was about to change the world of IT in education with the PCjr.

The machine was more expensive than the competition, and had barely any of the software that was available to previous IBM models. By the time IBM had a meeting to realise they had made a mistake, Time had already labelled it “One of the biggest flops in the history of computing”.

I remember 1991 because I spent £499 on a piece of hardware that later sold on eBay for £20. Sony and Philips had teamed up to release the Compact Disc-Interactive (CDi). Very few games were released, and films often came on two CD’s. Four models were released between 1991 and 1998, but believe me, none of them were any good.

Microsoft have had a string of failures, Windows Me, Windows Vista, and Microsoft Zune. Zune was released in 2006 as a 30GB music player. Despite decent reviews it ultimately failed to sell.

PREDICTING THE FUTURE FAILS

Sometimes the futurists, the tech savvy, and those who ought to know get it completely wrong when predicting technology trends. Back in 2007 the world woke up in a frenzy over the iPhone. Combining a browser with an iPod, adding a phone, it was said by some to be five-years ahead of the competition.

However in April 2007, then CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer said on record “there’s no chance the iPhone is going to get any significant market share, no chance”.

In 1977 Ken Olsen who was president of Digital Equipment Corp did say that “there is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home” although he later claimed his statement was taken out of context.

Possibly one of the funniest predictions, or a prediction made out of desperation, Thorsten Heins who was CEO of Blackberry in 2013 said “In five years there’ll be no reason to have a tablet anymore”.

Steve Jobs also predicted back in 2003 that “the subscription model of buying music is bankrupt” and in 2010, Jobs predicted that 7 inch tablets were “dead on arrival”. There you go iPad Mini and Apple Music.

Time magazine predicted in 1966 that remote shopping will fail, stating the reasons as “because women like to get out of the house, like to handle merchandise, like to be able to change their minds”. This was the Mad Men era, and the closes thing to online shopping would be a Sears Christmas Wish List book catalogue.

The man who co-invented Ethernet, predicted the demise of the web in 1995. Robert Metcalfe told World Info that “the internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse”. Three years later he went on stage with a blender and put a copy of his article inside.

Metcalfe didn’t stop there though, in 2011 he also predicted that the social network bubble will burst just like all previous bubbles have.

In 1981, Marty Cooper who is credited as being the father of the cell phone and then director of Motorola Research, told the Christian Science monitor why the portable phone wouldn’t replace the landline anytime close to soon. He also said that “even if you project it beyond our lifetimes, it won’t be cheap enough”.

EXTENDED OFFER

Liverpool
Liverpool by M.A
Eye on Life
Eye on Life by M.A
Deliberation
Deliberation by M.A

My three works that went on limited time offer last week have now been extended until the 22nd December. So if you want to own three of my latest pieces on museum quality stretched canvas’s you still have time to pick up a bargain.

All three works measure 36 x 24 inches and you can see the full details in the post below this one.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS

I thought I would take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy holiday season and best wishes for next year. I am sure 2016 will be a terrific year in the world of art and technology. As I said earlier, this blog is now a few weeks off being one year old, and I will be making a couple of changes during the next twelve-months.

Art offers will soon be featured on their own page, and I will be introducing a page that features some of the best art that has been shared in my Facebook group, The Artists Exchange. If you are not as yet a member you really need to sign up. The Artists Exchange is a public group where artists come together to promote other artists, and share handy tips and advice.

Also next year I will be producing some more new art that will be exclusively available through Fine Art America and its associated sites and services.

Also, just one more piece of exciting news. All of my framed art available on Fine Art America or from http://10-mark-taylor.artistwebsites.com/ can now be despatched from a European fulfillment centre. That means that you will no longer need to pay import tax on European orders, and the postage is much cheaper. Please bear in mind that this is one of the most busy times of year, so head over to http://10-mark-taylor.artistwebsites.com/ and get an order in for early delivery in January. Orders can also be dispatched from distribution centre's in the USA, Canada, Australia and elsewhere.

The Artists Exchange
Join today on Facebook

Don't forget to join "The Artists Exchange" a group of great people who share other artists work. The group is now live and you can join it by logging in to Facebook and going here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/940723089340284/

In my next blog I will be giving some top tips for selling art. It promises to be a great read and will prepare any artist, designer, in fact anyone who needs customers, to deal with the art of selling art. The next post will be published on Wednesday 23rd December, so make sure you bookmark this page or add it to your favourites.

 

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