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“Skin Fruit” is an upcoming exhibition at the New Museum in New York, it features works taken from the collection of billionaire art collector Dakis Jannou, curated by art superstar Jeff Koons.  The exhibition, which includes 100 works from some of the biggest names in the contemporary art scene including Richard Prince, Nate Lowman, Tauba Auerbach and Koons himself, has been gaining a controversial reputation, although not as you would expect for the contents of the show, but for the fact that Jannou is actually a trustee of the New Museum.  Many are objecting to the fact that by displaying these works there he is abusing his position to increase the value of his personal collection, however, others including Jeffery Deitch are publicly supporting it stating that it has  “one of the most interesting, radical artists of our time do an artistic curation of the best contemporary art collection of our time.”   Deitch himself is no stranger to this type of controversy, his announcement as the new director of MOCA raised a few eyebrows last year, as it was a position usually reserved for someone from a non-profit background.

The ethics of commercial art dealers, and their place in publicly funded museums is an interesting discussion, and one that has been raging globally over recent years, but it has really gained momentum in the last 18 months since the economic climate has caused a downturn in the contemporary art market.  You could argue that commercial art dealers are braver and take more risks than the stuffy, academic types running municipal galleries, giving visitors greater choice and access to works that wouldn’t normally get a chance to be seen there.   However, when you consider the motives behind multi-millionaire dealers such as Larry Gagosian and Jay Joplin (White Cube) lending works they have for sale to public galleries, and when the Tate in London buys work like “The Upper Room” by Chris Ofili, whilst he was a trustee of the Tate you can see why regular tax payers are unhappy about this.  Its obviously not a black and white situation, but as the value of modern art plunges and art collectors seek to retain the value of works they invested so heavily in, it is a subject that will only gain more public attention.

“Skin Fruit” is at the New Museum in New York from March 3rd, its the first edition in a planned series called “The Imaginary Museum”, which will show work from leading private collections from around the world.  Despite the criticism the quality of artists on show ensure that  it will be a show worth checking out!

Source: Art Info