Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Apple devices drive majority of non-PC traffic on web

Almost seven percent of the total digital traffic in the US is driven by smartphones and tablets, most of which can be attributed to devices running Apple's iOS

"The popularization of smartphones and the introduction of tablets and other web-enabled devices – collectively termed 'connected devices' – have contributed to an explosion in digital media consumption," said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile in an October 10 report titled "Digital Omnivores: How Tablets, Smartphones and Connected Devices are Changing U.S. Digital Media Consumption Habits."

Apple iOS device owners are voracious digital media consumers, accounting for 43.1 percent of the connected device traffic during the three months ending in August 2011.

Google's Android platform is biting at Apple's heels with 34.1 percent of the connected device traffic share -- a figure that looks likely to increase in a few months when the impact of Amazon's soon-to-be-released low-cost Kindle Fire Android tablet can be measured.

Research In Motion’s (RIM) smartphone market share may be slipping in the US but the Canadian BlackBerry maker still accounts for 15.4 percent of the total audience among mobile and connected devices said comScore.

One of the reasons non-PC traffic is increasing so quickly is because tablets and smartphones make it easy for people to consume media on-the-go. Smartphones still account for approximately two-thirds of traffic from connected devices, but tablets are gaining steam.

Apple’s iPad has eclipsed the iPhone in terms of internet traffic (46.8 percent vs. 42.6 percent of all iOS device traffic) and accounts for a colossal 97.2 percent of the entire tablet traffic in the US.

"As these devices gain adoption, we have also seen the rise of the 'digital omnivores' – consumers who access content through several touchpoints during the course of their daily digital lives," revealed Donovan.

Services such as Amazon's WhisperSync and Apple's soon-to-be released iCloud are making it even easier for people to start consuming on one device and pick up where they left off on a second.

According to comScore half of the total US mobile population consumes mobile media and nearly three out of five tablet owners use their device to consume news.

Los Angeles Claims Its Place on Art World Map

Frederick Eversley's untitled work, left, and "Red Concave Circle" by De Wain Valentine, right, at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, part of the massive Pacific Standard Time art festival.  

LOS ANGELES — For the next six months, Southern California will be awash in celebrations of Southern California art: close to 170 separate exhibitions at 130 museums and galleries stretching from San Diego to Los Angeles to Santa Barbara. Pacific Standard Time, as this festival is known, is an exhaustive accounting of the birth of the Los Angeles-area art scene, but it is also a statement of self-affirmation by a region that, at times, appears to feel underappreciated as a serious culture center.
This multi-museum event, in all of its Los Angeles-like sprawl, suggests a bit of overcompensation from a city that has long been overshadowed by the New York art establishment, a place that — arguably unfairly — still suffers from a reputation of being more about tinsel than about serious art, and where interest in culture starts and ends with movie grosses and who is on the cover of Vanity Fair.
“It’s corny,” said Dave Hickey, an art critic and a professor in the art and art history department at the University of New Mexico. “It’s the sort of thing that Denver would do. They would do Mountain Standard Time. It is ’50s boosterish, and I would argue largely unnecessary.”
Still, for many Los Angeles artists and critics, this exhibition is a long-needed accounting of the emergence of the region as an art capital in the same league as New York, Berlin and London. Indeed, Los Angeles these days has more than its share of ambitious museums, adventurous art galleries, wealthy collectors, top-notch art schools and — perhaps most important — young artists drawn here by relatively cheap rents, abundant light and an atmosphere that encourages experimentation.
“Since 1980 the art world has become global — New York is not the epicenter,” said Peter Plagens, a painter and essayist who has worked extensively in Southern California and who was here for some of the openings. “So L.A. is kind of doing this joust: ‘We want our art history to be in the books.’ ”

Art Collectors Beginning to Hone in On 19th Century Oriental Rugs

Looking for Specific Types; Demand Exceeds Availability For "Best of the Best" 

OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Jan David Winitz, president/founder of Claremont Rug Company, today said that certain types of antique Oriental rugs are experiencing a significant upsurge in attention among collectors and investors. Globally-recognized as the world's leading dealer of art level 19th century carpets from the "Second Golden Age of Persian Weaving," Winitz says that inquiries for the "best of the best" pieces have become a staple of his interaction with clients. "The rug world has evolved dramatically since we opened Claremont in 1980," he said. "Collectible antique rugs which were available then were often treated almost as commodities by some dealers. From the beginning, we have been telling our clients that not only were the best of these rugs severely undervalued, but that there was also a much smaller supply than people thought." He also noted that the recent trend of acquiring antique Persian rugs for use as wall art and to place under glass had influenced the market. Fully 60% of Claremont multi-rug transactions now include carpets being bought for display and private collections. The rugs are primarily from the 1800s. Winitz said, "This was the period when the masterful use of vegetal dyes yielded an extraordinarily wide range of exotic hues and when the carpet-centric village life supported the levels of skill and dedication required to produce the finest, most original rugs.
"Throughout the years, our counseling about which weaving groups and styles would become the most collectible has proven extremely accurate," he said. "For instance, during the 1980s, when 19th century Caucasian rugs were little more than an afterthought to the vast majority of dealers, I was stressing that the best of these rugs were among the most art-worthy and fascinating of all rugs. While others were hesitant because of their looser weaves and geometric lines. I was fascinated by their astonishing use of color and their asymmetric, archetypal designs, which were a precursor to much of modern Western abstract art.
"In the last several years, we have put significant energy and resources into seeking out art-level examples of rugs from the Caucasus Mountains through the network of long-time collectors and art aficionados that we buy from. Now, the situation has shifted to the point the demand far exceeds the supply for the finest pieces."
Among classical Persian rugs, Winitz cites the finest antique Persian Laver Kirmans, Hadji Jallili Tabriz and Ferahan Sarouks as the styles he predicted would take on the central position they are reaching today.
Claremont began establishing "waiting lists" for the rarest rugs three years ago and has continued the practice. When especially rare new acquisitions arrive, Winitz first offers them to clients on the wait lists. "When we release highly collectible pieces," said Winitz, the author of The Guide to Purchasing an Oriental Rug, "we immediately receive inquiries from potential buyers who view them electronically over the Internet or in emails. Significantly more than 50% of sales are now conducted without our client ever visiting the Gallery."
Winitz also cited ten collectors (seven domestic and three international) who have acquired more than 100 art level carpets each from Claremont, who have never been to the Gallery. "These men and women are serious, seasoned connoisseurs who understand the dynamic nature of the antique rug market," he said. "They know great rugs and they recognize that the availability of the best pieces is diminishing rapidly."
Rugs at Claremont are valued in the range of $15,000 to more than $500,000 per piece.
With an inventory of more than 4000 19th century antique Oriental rugs, Claremont stands alone among galleries because of the depth and breadth of its collection as well as the provenance of its carpets. Nearly 900 of the rugs are available for viewing on the Gallery's website.
Winitz also expects that the opening of the new galleries devoted to Islamic art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York would spark interest in Oriental carpets. The section is scheduled to open on November 1, the culmination of eight years of planning and it has already been featured in an extensive article in the New York Times.
"For the past three decades, we have told our clients that premier 19th century Oriental rugs continued to be significantly undervalued," he said. "In the last several years, an increasingly number of art collectors have literally caught on and we would expect that the attention given to the new Met permanent gallery will serve to further the appreciation of this truly remarkable art form."
The art-level rug market has also benefited from the global economic conditions. Recently, Reuters reported that wealthy families who had "hedged" against the recession with gold were now turning to the art market.
Reuters wrote, "While many of these families have been holding gold for a decade or more, building positions of up to 15 percent of their investment portfolio, they are now taking profits and putting the money to work in the art market," said Andrew Nolan, a director of wealth management and advisory firm Stonehage, that manages $2 billion and advises around 100 families with total wealth of around $30 billion.
"Families were well ahead of the market on gold. A lot of them were sitting on large amounts of gold for quite a while," said Nolan. "They are putting more into the art market, which held up far better through the crisis than a lot of other assets...".
Winitz says it is not coincidental that this occurring. "Aficionados who are also savvy investors understand the principle of precious tangible assets, which the best 19th century Oriental rugs most assuredly are. The fact these pieces also bring an incomparable level of balance and harmony to their homes is an additional attraction, which a bar of gold simply can't accomplish."

David Hockney, Philip Pullman, Kirsty Wark: my favourite masterpiece

A detail from Still Life, by Francisco Zurbaran, as chosen by Amanda Levete Photograph: Norton Simon Collection/Bridgeman Art Library/The Bridgeman Art Library
A detail from Still Life, by Francisco ZurbaranWhat makes a great artwork? We asked some of the great and the good in the art world to pick something they considered to be truly special. Here, our art critic introduces their responses by asking what a masterpiece really is 

What is a great work of art? The question asks itself when you leaf through The Art Museum, a colossal new book that gathers together an ideal collection of superlative sculptures, paintings, vases, embroideries and installations. Amanda Renshaw, who conceived this mammoth project, spent 10 years working with other editors to build the book for art publishers Phaidon.
What does it mean to call a work of art "great"? It's a lot stronger than saying you like or even love it, or naming your favourite. Those judgments are subjective. If I say my favourite work of art is the gold funeral mask of Tutankhamun in the Egyptian Museum on Cairo's Tahrir Square, that is just a personal enthusiasm. If I call it the greatest work of art in the world, I am making an objective statement. I am saying it does not matter if you or I like it that much; I am saying it is a work of profundity, power and originality.
As it happens, the mask of that boy king exhibits another quality: beauty. The proportions of his face, the perfection of the gold skin, the clarity of his eyes – all have the harmony and grace we call beautiful. So why not simply say this is one of the world's most beautiful works of art? Because to modern ears this does not sound as serious or impressive as a "great" work.
Five hundred years ago, the highest praise would have been to call something beautiful; that changed in the Romantic age, with the birth of the modern world. The idea that art existed to delight and entertain was shunned by the composer Beethoven, the poet Coleridge, and the artist Goya, to name just a few Romantic radicals. And, essentially, we still see art as they did: as an arduously serious and dangerous imaginative adventure, driven by emotional forces that lead the artist to the very limits of representation and beyond.

Philip Pullman, Author
Claude Monet's The Four Trees (1891)

For a work to be great, I think it must signify influence as well as have a self-contained perfection of form. I can only talk about western art because, while I can see beauty in, say, a Benin bronze, I have no idea whether it was influential in its own culture, or typical, or what.
So I've chosen a painting by Monet, who changed the way painters in the west saw and depicted light, and light is the subject of every representational painting: light falling on flesh, on stone, on cloth, on water. The Four Trees, one of a series of paintings of this stretch of the river Epte, is great because it conveys the sense of a bright morning with freshness and brilliance (the delicious golden light on the curve of trees in the distance); and because it's formally thrilling (I pity anyone who didn't feel a shock of delight at seeing that grid of dark lavenders over pale blue and gold); and because it's part of impressionism's great project of teaching the 20th century a new way of seeing.

Amanda Levete, Architect
Francisco de Zurbarán's Still Life

The depth of understanding and observation in this work is extraordinary. The artist creates a kind of hyper-reality: when I see a bumpy, thick-skinned lemon at a stall, I feel I am looking at an image from this painting. Great art stops us in our tracks, gives us an insight into reality, makes us think, helps us understand the structure of things. That a painting can do this with the humble lemon, some oranges, a rose and a cup of water is testament to its power and greatness. How I would love to be able to look at such a work every day, to discover another nuance, to be reminded that there is sublime beauty in the ordinary.

David Hockney, Artist
Picasso's Mother and Child (First Steps) (1943)

There's not much art I don't like, although I am indifferent to some (indeed, quite a lot) today. I could say the Fra Angelicos in San Marco in Florence are my favourite works, or Rembrandt's great drawing, in the British Museum, of a family teaching a child to walk. But why not Picasso's treatment of that same subject, which is only dealt with by the greatest artists?
It is a totally universal subject that everybody has experienced and witnessed. Today, thousands of depictions will be made of this all over the world, most with a camera: uncle Charlie teaching little Edna to walk, photographed by mum. But most will not be able to show us what Picasso does: the child, both thrilled and frightened; the anxious mother, whose supple hands clasp the child's still awkward fingers. Cubism allows him to give us that detail. In great works of art, form and content are one. It is a wonderful, touching work. Great stuff. There are not many great paintings on this subject.

Tim Marlow, Art historian, director of exhibitions at White Cube
Hans Holbein's Dead Christ (1521)

This stark, life-sized image of Christ in the tomb is one of the great depictions of death and decay in western art. It's as if you are peering into a sarcophagus set into the wall. The vicious and visceral wounds are surrounded by gangrenous flesh, and the body is beginning to decompose towards the point of putrefaction.
It's a painting that seems to assault the nose as much as the eyes, a pathological vision that famously caused the great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky to remark that it "could rob a man of his faith". Aside from Christ's extended, goitrous jaw, the other astonishing feature is that Holbein was not yet 25 years old when he painted it.

Charles Saumarez Smith, Secretary and Chief Executive, Royal Academy
Paintings of the Italian Renaissance

When I received Phaidon's huge, new, tombstone venture which commemorates all the greatest works of art from all round the world, I lugged it to the table in order to examine its coverage of the Italian Renaissance. There are whole page spreads devoted to Piero della Francesca, Botticelli and Mantegna, including some of the greatest works of art in the world. What makes them great? I haven't lost the ideas explored by 19th-century art historian Jacob Burckhardt in the – that great works have the capacity to encapsulate ideas about the world. They will have a quality of ethereal and spiritual poetry (as in the works of Botticelli); or a quality of intelligent, mathematical authority (Piero); or a sense of the passing of time and of the culture of the past (Mantegna). Great works must be transcendent: that is, the artists are striving to communicate to their own age, but in a language understandable visually to other ages that do not share the same values.

Cornelia Parker, Sculptor
Bernd and Hilla Becher's Water Towers (1988)

Great artists make you look at the world differently. Think of Monet with his haystacks, or Turner with his sunsets: once you've seen their paintings, you can never look at those things in the same way. That's exactly what Bernd and Hilla Becher have done for industrial architecture. The German artists spent decades travelling around, obsessively cataloguing those grim, ubiquitous structures – gas cooling towers, pitheads, pylons – that most of us think of as ugly. In the Bechers' work, they become like people, each with their own character.
I can't look at any such structures in real life without thinking of their photographs. I have several pinned to the walls of my studio. As a sculptor, I'm fascinated by their patterns and rhythms, their shape and form. The best works of art allows space for the viewer to bring their own interpretation. I remember once being at the Venice Biennale, when the Bechers were representing Germany. I was struck by the simplicity and beautiful framing of their work. It made me laugh and it made me cry.

Isaac Julien, Artist
Cindy Sherman's Untitled 153 (1985)

This untitled photograph by Cindy Sherman is a disturbing, arresting work. It looks like a crime scene or something from a film by David Lynch. Is it a picture of a dead woman, or is it a film still? She is not just simply there. And, by always using herself as a subject, Sherman complicates things further. Photographed over the decades, in "pictures" that are never titled and so never able to take on a fixed meaning, her ever-changing self has become an artwork in itself. She's a celebrity, yet her work is a critique on the construct of celebrity.
In fact, her pictures pose so many questions, they end up questioning the entire medium. It is astonishing to be able to do that, to be able to unfix meaning; to go beyond your moment. That's what marks out great art: it should transcend its time and genre.

Julia Peyton-Jones, Co-director, Serpentine gallery
Gerhard Richter's Abstract Painting (1995)

My question is: what makes a great artist? An artist's reputation rests beyond a single work, and a great artist's reputation never rests on a single work. In the current Gerhard Richter show at the Tate, you know you're in the presence of greatness in the first room.
I chose this painting, but I could have chosen almost any work in the show. The sheer range shows not only an astonishing level of enquiry, but also a relentless exploring: Richter is always pushing his own boundaries.
In his abstract paintings, he builds up the surface with a visceral sensuality, in the abstract expressionist tradition. The surfaces are ever varying and complex: a densely layered experience of colour, form, texture. You're drawn into the paintings and you can see for ever: there are islands there, your eye is brought in and out of focus. You feel this depth as much as you see it. In life, it's very rare to stand somewhere and accept absolutely, the mind not clouding with questions.
Time and time again, I've found myself looking at the show with a sense of wonder. It contains only works I already knew, yet I'm seeing them with a new emphasis, a new appreciation. I knew he was good, great even. But this is something of a different order.

Kristin Scott Thomas, Actor
Gustav Caillebotte's Paris Street: Rainy Day (1877)

The brilliant thing about this picture is its composition. The sharp division created by the lamppost makes it like a scene from a film. It throws you into Haussmann's Paris with its wide boulevards and grand buildings.
On the right, a couple walk towards us at a clip. His coat flaps open as if he'd just enjoyed a good lunch. Her arm is linked through his as they watch something beyond the lamppost that surprises him and amuses her but that we cannot see. On the other side of the black post, life is slower, lonelier and wet.
The slippery shining cobbles give me cold toes, and I can smell the damp wool from all those coats. It's isn't a cold day, but a miserable, rainy late autumn afternoon. I feel a twinge of envy as I think about this comfortable, affectionate couple going home to tea and a warm fire. Don't we all feel like that sometimes?

Edmund de Waal, Ceramicist and author
Hans Memling's The Donne Triptych (1478)

This beautiful and clever work was commissioned by a Welshman living in Calais from an artist in Bruges: an example of the internationalism of 15th-century art. I love its formality. The figures [in the detail shown] seem suspended in these almost abstracted spaces. There are landscapes beyond, a winding river and a mill, a stray peacock, a slightly mordant servant hidden behind a pillar. And the group of Madonna and very cheerful Christ child, angels and saints, with Sir John Donne of Kidwelly, his wife and daughter, all held below a red canopy as rich as a Barnett Newman stripe.

Ed Vaizey, Culture minister
Jan van Eyck's The Arnolfini Portrait (1434)

I've been fascinated by this painting ever since I came across it as a child in a book. The thing I love is the mirror. You're right there with the couple having their portrait painted, and you can see the workings of the scene reflected in it. The painting has a lifelike quality: the pattern on the carpet, the brickwork, the way her dress is constructed, the chandelier, the fruit, the window.
I often go to the National Gallery to see this work. To a contemporary eye, it is undramatic. The faces are almost alien, but this mystery allows you to bring your own interpretation to the work. Of course, art historians have gone into enormous detail about who the couple are. To me, they're just a man and a woman in a snapshot of their time.

Kirsty Wark, Broadcaster
Diego Velázquez's An Old Woman Cooking Eggs (1618)

Lots of things make a work of art great but sometimes it's just sheer genius. That's the case with this work by Velázquez. And he wasn't even 20 when he painted it. We don't know the full story, but I would assume Velázquez knew the woman well because he has captured her so beautifully. What is she thinking?
I love the way Velázquez plays with with light, having it pick out kitchen utensils: the shadow of the knife on the white dish, the way the shape of the egg in her hand echoes the shape of the wooden spoon. And you can almost feel that melon. Notice, too, the way the woman has put the eggs in one after the other: the egg on the left is more formed than the one on the right.
When I look at the painting, which hangs in the Scottish National Gallery, I see the joy of cooking and the joy of the kitchen. It gives you so many clues about the way people lived and how little has changed.
Interviews by Dale Berning, Andrew Gilchrist, Theresa Malone and Laura Barnett

Art and money: the sharks behind the showpieces

By transforming filthy lucre into art, rich American financiers such as Steven Cohen earn more prestige than any yacht could buy
Damien Hirst's The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991)
Something fishy ... Damien Hirst's The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991). Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian
Following on from yesterday's ruminations on art and money, it might be fun to look at the career of Steven Cohen, owner of Damien Hirst's shark, in more detail.
Cohen leapt up the ranks of contemporary art collectors not just because he bought this iconic work of the late 20th century, but because he arranged to lend it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I was amazed to accidentally come across The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living in this august museum. The timeworn leathery body of the tiger shark hung in its blue liquid near a window overlooking leafy Central Park.
In having his catch displayed in America's greatest art museum, Cohen achieved something even Charles Saatchi never has. So what makes Cohen so good at swimming in the waters of high culture? The answer may tell us something about how the art world works.
Cohen put some works from his art collection, then valued at £320m, on view at Sotheby's in New York in 2009. They were not for sale, and they exuded an aura of immense cultural – as well as economic – capital: no pickled sharks here, but paintings by Van Gogh, De Kooning and Picasso. As with his loan to the Met, he once again displayed a command of the heights of art.
In 2010 he gave an interview to Vanity Fair. In it, we learn that he lives in a mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut, and is America's 36th richest man. At the time, reported Vanity Fair, there were
persistent rumors that Cohen's fund, SAC Capital – one of the biggest movers of the stock market in the world; responsible, in better days, for as much as 3% of all trading on the New York Stock Exchange – is engaged in illegal information-gathering, rumors which have been stoked anew by a federal crackdown on another hedge fund, the Galleon Group, which employed several former SAC traders before collapsing.
The rumours persist. This May, the Wall Street Journal reported that "prosecutors are examining trades made in an account overseen by hedge fund titan Steven Cohen that were suggested by two of his former fund managers who have pleaded guilty to insider trading".
These reports caught my eye when I was following up Cohen's art collecting, but regardless of such stories there is a bigger picture. Before the 2008 crash, hedge fund managers were often seen as modern geniuses, yet today they are more likely to be vilified as a symptom of the madness of modern finance. A hedge fund supposedly "hedges its bets" and protects its investors by playing the markets in such a way as to be protected against a downturn. But this apparently cautious image is far from how hedge funds evolved in the 1980s and 90s.
Adept and fast-moving gamblers – Cohen told Vanity Fair that student poker-playing was the inspiration for his career – were lauded in the credit-boom years as the new heroes of global finance for the innovative ways in which they made billions. Today, such non-traditional finance looks like part of a festering problem.
Is art, for a billionaire, just something to do with your money, or is it a way to turn wealth into more satisfying forms of power? By translating wealth into art and culture, art collectors give themselves a stature in society that a big yacht won't buy. The wealthy in America have been good at this for a long time, and their efforts to turn filthy lucre into civilised prestige have given that nation its great museums.
Cohen seems to be bidding to become a great American collector whose appetite for the new is enriched by a respect for art history. As such, he is on his way to a stately fame. Or is he? That entire model of capitalism – the one where it works – is shuddering and juddering, and many blame wacky financial inventions such as hedge funds for getting us into this mess. If the money machine breaks, so does the art machine, presumably. Or perhaps what breaks is our deference to the idea that money makes taste.
I feel a bit sick. I need to stop thinking about art and money now.

Jay Jopling: Big space, big art, big ego

The gallerist Jay Jopling is a seemingly unstoppable force in British art. As he opens Europe's largest commercial gallery, Rob Sharp examines his influence
The showman: Jay Jopling at the new White Cube gallery in Bermondsey yesterday
A colossal south London warehouse packed with art worth millions: when White Cube Bermondsey opens today it will become Europe's biggest commercial art gallery – and cement yet another victory for the gallery's mercurial owner.
Jay Jopling, 48, is the founder of London's White Cube gallery empire, which has launched its third outpost in the capital to coincide with the Frieze art fair. It will see thousands of the world's wealthiest collectors flock to London over the next three days. Last night Jopling hosted hundreds of VIPs at the Bermondsey gallery's lavish official opening party – with many luminaries attending a small gathering at his Marylebone home afterwards. This week, London auction houses will sell 25 works by Jopling's most famous artist, Damien Hirst, emphasising the gallerist's standing as one of a small group of elite overlords in London's aggressive commercial art world.
Jopling's buoyancy exists despite widespread economic uncertainty. One London-based art collector said yesterday that some poorer galleries are currently "walking on eggshells" because of the financial downturn. Yet Jopling's mixture of charm, savvy and bullish behaviour will make him this week's most surefire victor.
"Jay told me a long time ago that if he couldn't be the best at what he does he wasn't interested," says White Cube's exhibitions director Tim Marlow. "The Bermondsey gallery is an affirmation of that. He wants a complex of galleries that will allow him to do the best shows with the best possible artists."
Jopling – "JJ" to his friends – is recognisable by his signature thick-framed specs and tailormade black suit and crisp white shirt. He exudes success, which creates the impression that his enterprises cannot fail – a useful trait in the tempestuous art world.
Throughout his career he has hit headlines – not least because of high-profile marriage to the artist Sam Taylor-Wood and short-lived fling with singer Lily Allen – along with a knack for representing attention-grabbing artists such as Hirst, Tracey Emin and the Chapman brothers, expanding while others contract through two financial downturns over the past 20 years.
Marlow says that part of his success is that White Cube owns all of its properties – alongside Bermondsey, White Cube has spaces in the West End enclave of St James's and once-edgy, now commercialised Hoxton – meaning Jopling is in little debt. The man himself rarely gives interviews, preferring – it seems – to let the stratospheric sums fetched by his artists around the world and the endless photographs of Jopling and his famous friends do the talking.
He has endured three eventful decades in the art world. The son of Tory baron Michael, he became interested in art as a teenager, reading Gilbert and George's 1974 book Dark Shadow in assembly while a pupil at Eton. "He genuinely loves art," says cultural commentator Michael Bracewell. "I think he's genuinely passionate about it". He studied art history at Edinburgh University and when there flew to New York to convince artists including Julian Schnabel and Jean-Michel Basquiat to participate in a charity auction. He reportedly began selling fire extinguishers as a sideline, demonstrating their effectiveness by setting fire to his sleeve.
When he moved to London in the 1980s, he became inextricably linked with the rising in-crowd of Young British Artists (YBAs). He dated Californian fashion designer Maia Norman, who introduced him to Damien Hirst, with whom she now has three children. Jopling and Norman hosted legendary dinner parties at Jopling's flat, attended by the likes of YBA Marc Quinn, whom like Hirst, Jopling now represents. Quinn and Hirst later provided Jopling with two of his most lucrative sales: Hirst's shark The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living and Quinn's sculpture of his head created from his own frozen blood, Self.
"Every cultural epoch throws up a figure who becomes a cultural ambassador for those times," adds Bracewell. "Jay came along in the 1980s and related to a new generation of artists. I met him when I was still working for the British Council and the art world was still incredibly academic. And here was this charming and smooth operator."
Jopling founded his first London gallery, White Cube, in St James's in 1993. He named it after an influential collection of essays by Irish author and artist Brian O'Doherty, Inside the White Cube: Ideologies of the Gallery Space, which emphasised that the blank walls of modern galleries had become "the archetypal image of 20th-century art". According to Melanie Gerlis, art market editor of The Art Newspaper, Jopling's "business-like" approach appealed to bankers with loose wallets "who wanted to put art on bare walls". "He's astute, he runs galleries like a business, not a cottage industry," she says. This sentiment continued through White Cube's expansion. Jopling founded his Hoxton gallery in 2000. A fourth is planned in Hong Kong early next year.
Art buyers put his success down to his polish. "He's very charming," notes collector Kenny Schacter. "He didn't get to where he is without being a very effective communicator."
He also has a reputation for looking after his artists. "He's great, he's got good energy, and he works with creatives across different generations throughout the process," says the Serpentine Gallery's co-director Hans-Ulrich Obrist. "He does get a kick out of doing unusual things and doing them with absolute conviction," adds sculptor Antony Gormley, whom Jopling represents. "You know he wants to push what's possible, and understands an artist's interest in that, as well as being a very good businessman. That's a very rare combination". Gormley says that Jopling supported him with proposals that had "zero commercial prospects" including Gormley's Trafalgar Square One & Other fourth plinth project,.
However others have criticised him for loving life in the limelight. A rare public-relations misstep was his short-lived "holiday romance" with Lily Allen. She was 22 years his junior and the daughter of his close friend, actor Keith Allen – the coupling followed the breakdown of his 11-year marriage to Taylor-Wood, the mother of his two daughters, in 2008. The break-up of Jopling and Taylor-Wood, it is said, was at her instigation. Both sides, diplomatically, refuse to discuss the divorce.
"He's all surface," said one gallery owner in a 2009 interview. "It's very much an operation that arose in the era of art meeting celebrity culture. Will that continue? I'm not sure." However, it is almost impossible to find a dissenting voice when it comes to Jopling – testament, perhaps, to his importance for the art world. His ability to pull off feats worth column inches is indisputable. "He moved artists from the arts pages to the news pages," critic David Lee has said. "After all, who cares what the critics think?" Some estimates put his fortune at £100m, though secrecy surrounds his exact wealth.
The proof, as ever, will be in his sales. As well as Bermondsey's first major exhibition, "Structure & Absence", the new gallery will exhibit work by photographic artist Andreas Gursky and Damien Hirst this week. Neither of which has a reputation of failing to fetch huge sums, and Hirst's performance at auction will be watched closely. "The art market is universal," concluded Marlow. "For that reason it is resilient. We have had momentum over the last 20 years and there's no reason to think at the moment that this will not continue."
Six galleries that shook the world
The Saatchi Gallery (UK)
Opened by Charles Saatchi in 1985 to show his private collection to the public, the gallery currently sits in Chelsea. The comprehensive collection incorporates some of the formative pieces of the Young British Artist movement. Frequently, Saatchi buys work from relative unknowns and his endorsement is still seen as a launch-pad for artists.
The Gagosian Galleries (Worldwide)
One of the most important figures in contemporary art, the American dealer Larry Gagosian has opened galleries in New York, London, Los Angeles, Rome, Athens, Paris, Geneva and Hong Kong. The original is the Los Angeles outpost, which opened in 1979 and has exhibited Jeff Koons and Cindy Sherman.
The Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture (Russia)
Dasha Zhukova – one-time editor in chief of Pop magazine and partner of Roman Abramovich – opened The Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture in Moscow in 2008. Based in the famous Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage, it has become one of the country's most famous art spots.
The Goodman Gallery (South Africa)
One of the pioneering forces behind the seminal "Art Against Apartheid" exhibition in 1985, the Goodman Gallery has been a go-to destination for new African art since 1966, when it was set up by Linda Goodman (now Givon). It has three sites: two in Johannesburg and one in Cape Town.
50 Moganshan Road (China)
The hub of Shanghai's vibrant art scene is this collection of once-deserted warehouses near Suzhou Creek in the north of the city. As well as housing various galleries – including the famous ShangART, run by the Swiss-born Lorenz Helbling, and Eastlink, the space is also home to several top-flight artists such as Zhou Tiehai and Ding Yi.
The Guggenheim (Spain)
Designed by Frank Gehry, the Guggenheim in Bilbao is one of the most famous pieces of contemporary architecture in the world. Part of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, it features a comprehensive collection of contemporary Spanish and international art, as well as high-profile visiting exhibitions.