Quick Takes - What's Happening Now

1. Recently, the New York Times offered a piece on the mood of the market saying:"Despite reports from the auction world that a recovery is under way, Manhattan’s gallery scene feels all pins and needles as it heads into fall. Things aren’t as bad as many expected them to be, but they could get worse." If that wasn't enough Art Forum Magazine was quoted as saying; "“Fragile and hoping for business.” Ad pages in Artforum’s September issue are down to 206 from 363 a year ago, a decline of more than 40 percent." West Village dealer Ms. Maccarone is quoted as seeing “'an O.K. September until the auctions', which she predicts will once more confirm a downward trend. To be followed, she says, 'by a dry winter and a lousy spring', with things approaching normal by fall 2010."

2. On a happier note a 4000 year old skull has been found in Rajasthan, India showing the first recorded case of leprosy. The find is considered to be an important step in tracing the origins of the disease.

3. Just when you thought that the Moche site at Sipan in Northern coastal Peru had yielded all its secrets, we find that the discovery of tomb 14 in 2007 is giving scientists and archaeologists plenty to consider. . Museo de Sitio Huaca Rajada, which houses the relics from this site opened in January 2009. In 2008 160,000 visited the museum housing the artifacts from the dig that began in 1987. 80% of the visitors were Peruvian so if you are a world traveler this is obviously a great place to escape American tourists.

4. The world's oldest known mammoth ivory Venus has been discovered buried 3 meters below the floor of a cave in southwestern Germany. The Venus figures typically date between 25,000 and 30,000 years. The latest find at this point dates at least 35,000 years ago and may go back further. Previously scientists have believed "that therianthropic figures (part man, part beast) came before representations of the human figure in sculpture and cave paintings." (Archaeology Magazine September 2009).

5. Parcouts des Monde in Paris - Reports from a few of the dealers have been positive saying that the exhibition was well attended and people were buying. As we head into another fall tribal art auction season, we will get important indicators of the health of the market for 2010.

6. Tom Campbell relieved Philippe de Montebello as director of the Metropolitan Museum and was faced a burgeoning annual budget of 220 million. The Met's workforce stands now at 2200 employees after cutting 350 jobs. Planned exhibits will be cut by up to 25% in the future. The bottom line is that the Mets 2.8 billion dollar annuity took over a 25% percent hit with the recent economic downturn. Look for some creative ways where the Met will charge more for their services and shows in the future.

7. The Cleveland Museum of Art has opened part of its 335 million dollar expansion plan which will be fully complete in 2013. Losses in the endowment fund and prospects for higher operation costs for the larger building have give director Timothy Rub plenty to consider in the coming months.