Editor's Letter

Banking on Art

The Coachella Valley is a brilliant tapestry  of visual and performing arts — a destination rich in world-class art and entertainment. This issue of Palm Springs Life ART+CULTURE celebrates eight artists who live, work, and exhibit within the perimeter of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, as well as a few from outside the area who bring their art into our desert this season.

One “outsider” is Betty Gold, a Venice-based sculptor who has four large-scale works in the Coachella Valley — two at Palm Springs Art Museum, one (on loan from the museum) at CSU San Bernadino’s Palm Desert Campus, and one at College of the Desert. Gold, 70, returns from Palma de Mallorca, Spain — where she was feted with a 35-year retrospective — for a January exhibition of two new series of sculptures at Buschlen Mowatt Galleries in Palm Desert. We caught up with the sculptor prior to her retrospective exhibition (“The New Gold Standard,” page 40).

The exhibition unfolds as several other galleries open impressive shows: Hans Hoffman (through Jan. 8) and Peter Halley (Jan. 14-March 5) at Imago Galleries, Paris at Midcentury: Braque, Miró, Picasso (through Feb. 28) at Eleonore Austerer Gallery, and Picasso: Erotica in Our Art Library (Jan. 1-28) at Modern Masters Fine Art.

The emphasis on Picasso comes in the wake of last year’s $104.2 million sale of the artist’s Boy With a Pipe (1905) at Sotheby’s (the painting sold in 1950 for $30,000).

Naturally, more people — particularly those with wealth and time — are looking to the art market the way they look at the stock market. To diversify, they’re investing in art funds that pool investors‘ resources to buy pieces they will never hang in their own homes. However, the fad-fueled influx of investors will only make it harder to profit from buying art.

Fortunately, collectors have differing motivations when purchasing art. Most collectors who put up cash for pieces they love want to live with their riches every day.

We’ll let Art + Auction keep tabs on high bidders. Palm Springs Life ART+CULTURE will keep you on the cutting edge of the valley arts scene. This issue previews the season, beginning with a photo essay, “Eyes on the Desert” (page 24) that spotlights the new exhibit at Palm Springs Art Museum, Contemporary Desert Photography: The Other Side of Paradise.

We also take you inside the homes of Julia Roberts (Rancho Mirage) and Elana Donovan (Palm Desert), collectors of antiques who met at a weeklong workshop on 18th century French decorative arts at Christie’s in London. We share their story (“Treasure Hunters,” page 30) as Maison Felice begins its annual Style De Vie Lecture Series on El Paseo in Palm Desert.

Augmenting visual art and antiques, McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert and Annenberg Theater at Palm Springs Art Museum serve up an appreciable mix of cutting-edge dance, symphonic orchestras with top soloists, contemporary jazz, and much more.

Whether you collect, practice, or appreciate the arts, this issue promises an enriching look at the Coachella Valley's art scene. We hope you will reference it throughout the winter/spring 2006 season.

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