I know no other country that holds so many contradictions as Cuba does. Virtually nothing on this Caribbean archipelago seems to exist that is not intrinsically contradictory. Dealing with Cuba can therefore be quite a feat…
→ “Cuba: real-life surrealism”
Give me a little break – it is time to relax for a moment!
I wish you a very good new year 2019! Yours, Hans
It is the dream of every true researcher to discover something radically new, something that dwarfs everything known up to date. The researcher seeks immortality through the definition of a new chemical formula or the discovery of a species to name after oneself. In much the same way, the art collector—who is also a hunter—passionately searches for the unrecognized genius to help bring out her or his light from under the bushel…
→ “Indiana Jones, or Hunting for the Hidden Treasures”
It was always a pleasure to meet the grand old Latin American artists. Some of those that I was very interested in had already died. You might think everything was easier if the artist was no longer alive? Well, that’s far from true. Because then you have to deal with the executors, who — out of greed or ignorance — are fully capable of blocking or botching entire oeuvres! And this applies not only to Latin America…
→ “Those deceased”
On seeking out the “old” artists of the 20th century at the turn of the millennium, I remember how my question: “Do you happen to know where the well-known artist such-and-such lives nowadays?” would pretty much worldwide produce the standard reply: “Oh, is he/she still alive?”
The rediscovery boom of the “old ones” had not yet set in, so my research on these largely forgotten artists seemed a rather lonely affair around 2000…
→ “Early rediscovery: the “old ones””
Dear loyal readers, the days of couch potatoing are over. This blog has been around since Easter, and now is the time for stocktaking. I thank you all for bearing with me and—those who did—for sharing your comments.
BUT NOW I WANT MORE!
→ “SPECIAL NOTICE: I WANT YOUR FEEDBACK!”
I invariably aimed at buying only first-rate art for the collection. I would rather refrain from a purchase than have second best works of an artist. Lame compromises were not my style, and I never bought on impulse, either. I always knew in advance what I wanted to have. Whenever I happened to stumble upon something that deeply interested and fascinated me, I slept on it for at least a night before making up my mind and arriving at an unbiased judgment. Once, however, I made an exception…
The better you get to know an artist—a human being like all others, after all—, the more obvious become the weaknesses and strengths of his or her oeuvre. I always had to take care not to become presumptuous and raise beyond measure the quality standards I applied. It’s similar in sports, perhaps, to being spurred on from one world record to the next, continuously topping your own self!
→ “Mutual confidence”
Exactly how is it possible to recognize art and to realize whether it is outstanding or only mediocre? Assuming you have no access to Wikipedia—how do you distinguish excellent art from average art? What makes the difference between “normal” art expertise and an infallible instinct for art?
→ “The automatic early detection system for art”
Overwhelming and deeply impressing were the generosity, the communication skills and the education of the artists and other exponents of Latin America’s art world. My itinerary was far from being a tedious chore—it was pure enjoyment! I rediscovered art’s capability of providing pleasure. In Europe and North America, discussions with artists had in the previous years far too often drifted into sheer triviality, focusing merely on the supposedly most interesting marketing strategy.
→ “Meeting the artists”
During my extensive travels in Latin America over the years—in North America and Europe as well—I have established a functioning network that includes nearly everyone involved in the Latin American art community: artists, curators, critics, art historians, collectors, gallerists and art dealers.
→ “Here we go!”
I believe in the power of art! I believe in the effective force and the potent impact that excellent art can make on aesthetic, social, and political issues.
→ “Priceless: On the Power of Art”
Wherein lies the famous, frequently invoked quality of an artwork? Are there objective criteria for judging art, and, if yes, which are they?
→ “On the intrinsic quality of art”
I certainly would have welcomed a clever book, something along the lines of “A Guide to Latin American Art”, sorted according to countries and of course recently updated, in order to prepare myself adequately for the tasks that lay ahead of me. But that was plain wishful thinking and ultimately nonsense.
→ “Critique of pure unreason”
This German tongue twister meaning roughly “In Ulm, around Ulm, and all around Ulm” not only inspired Wolf Vostell to one of his happenings; it also features the city of my birth. But why on earth was someone from Ulm employed for the job as curator, rather than someone from Latin America who already spoke both languages?
→ “In Ulm und um Ulm und um Ulm herum”
None of my trips to Latin America went by without people asking me: “Do you speak Spanish?” or “Do you speak Portuguese?” Do I take my job seriously? What a silly question, I thought secretly, and felt insulted.
→ ““Do you speak Spanish?””
So let’s take our course for a daring—and hopefully eventful—trip. Please bear with me when my narrative appears slightly chaotic or somewhat roundabout: those qualities precisely keep it true to life.
→ “Gray, dear friend, is all theory…”
What made us choose Rio of all places? We deliberately wanted to establish Casa Daros in a city with a thriving art scene that yet left ample space for new venues. And we were also looking for a location that would in itself be attractive to our future visitors.
→ “Scanning the continent”
A unique selling proposition (USP): “During the introduction and growth stage of a product’s life cycle, the marketing concept based on unique benefits works exceedingly well if it is the first product of its kind to enter an unsaturated market.” (Wikipedia, translated from the German version). The Casa Daros was such a unique art offering made in unsaturated Rio de Janeiro.
→ ““Made in Latin America””
“Nobody is a prophet in his own land.” According to the Evangelists, these are the words pronounced by Jesus of Nazareth to condemn the lack of hospitality he received from the people of his hometown Nazareth. Often enough, the same holds true in the art world, too …
→ “Nemo propheta acceptus est in patria sua”
Time to get down to business, dear honored readers, and go into the details. This will require some down-to-earth attention from you, and I am appealing to your sobriety now. We’re not here just for fun—or are we? So let’s start at the beginning and look into the Daros Latinamerica Collection …
→ “Putting Latin America on the map”
My intention is to save the world, or, more precisely, the world of arts. No less will do as justification for writing these lines, with a plethora of ideas, experiences, and memories for more already up my sleeve. To save the world of arts—from what? From downfall by decadence, from ruin by rot, and above all, from the errors of economics. Even good old Duchamp would be turning over in his grave in view of some of the things happening ostensibly in his name …
→ “What does Madame de Staël have to do with Latin America?”