RECAP OF THE ASA 2012 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
The ASA International Conference at the Arizona Biltmore, the "Jewel of the Desert," might just be our most successful international conference ever. Approximately 700 appraisers from the United States, Canada and other countries convened to attend the general and discipline-based seminars and presentations October 8-11, culminating a long weekend of courses and committee meetings. Personal Property Appraisers stayed an extra day to attend the post-conference PP Day.
Thanks go to the following participants for submitting the contents of this report: Patricia H. Atwood, ASA, Catherine Baron, Candidate for Advancement, Allison Gee, ASA, Marianne F. Partlow, ASA, Caroline Siegel, AM; Post-Conference Day Photographs courtesy of Analee McClellan, ASA
The first day of every ASA International Conference features a morning dedicated to all six of our society's appraisal disciplines. One of the 2012 Day One programs was conducted by Michael Holtzman. Titled Evaluating Large Diamonds and Fancy Color, Holtzman's talk illustrated how this specialized topic is best understood within the context of market structure that PP appraisers should recall from our ASA POV 201 course: "oligopoly is not a perfect market."
Steven Sherman, ASA, chairman of the International Valuation Standards Board, and Anthony Aaron, ASA, member of the Board of The Appraisal Foundation, provided a joint talk during which they explained some background and the current status of the appraisal industry's standard setters, along with the role that ASA appraisers play in this arena.
The highly anticipated presentation by Pebble Beach judge (and Smithsonian Expert of Automobiles) Jonathan Stein, JD CPCU, offered fresh insight into the dynamics of changing characteristics of value, followed by a spirited question and answer period. The talk was both a visual delight and an intellectual jump-start for our non-automotive PP appraisers, when the speaker compared a Chippendale table to a Bugatti. (Click here for Jonathan's automotive talk.)
The awards luncheon featured several PP members, including Fran Zeman, FASA, who was awarded a life membership in honor of her many years of significant contributions to ASA. Houston, TX, PP members Melanie Modica and Elizabeth R. Anders received the ASA award for Best Educational Event. The Chicago Chapter, led by PP members Patty Atwood, ASA and Lela Hersch, ASA, received several awards, and PP's Susan Golashovsky, ASA, received the "Best Mentor" award on behalf of the Philadelphia, PA Chapter.
Some of our PP appraisers chose to attend an afternoon Machinery and Technical Services (MTS) program covering the process and types of questions raised during audit reviews of appraisals prepared for financial reporting purposes. It offered a sobering insight into the "Big Four" accounting firms' expectations that a third-party appraiser be prepared to offer immediate response (not days or weeks later) to queries about rationale for opinions, and about supporting information from the appraiser's work file.
Meanwhile, the afternoon's combined G/J-PP program offered an inquiry into philosophical premises of ethics. It included a discussion of "the greater good for the greater number" utilitarian theory, which holds that the right course of action is the one that maximizes the overall "good" consequences of the action. Real Property appraiser L. Deane Wilson, ASA, presented summaries of Emmanuel Kant's principles, which are the underpinnings of a rule-base ethical system, of Aristotelian ideas about the attributes that make a virtuous person. Both USPAP and the ASA Code of Ethics were closely examined within the context of these ideas.
The PP special tour day on Tuesday, Oct. 9, kicked off with a tour of the Heard Museum, noted for its world-class collection of native American art, continuing education programs, and sponsorship of emerging Native American artists. Organized by conference committee member Chisty A. Vezolles, ASA, with Sharon Rollins, ASA, the morning and lunch in the outdoor courtyard passed quickly. The appraisers toured in two groups — led by Dr. Ann Marshall, Museum Director, and Diana Pardue, Curator. Among the exhibitions viewed were HOME: Native People of the Southwest, featuring the Senator Barry Goldwater and Fred Harvey Company collections of katsinas (kachinas), Pueblo pottery and silver work; Beyond Geronimo: The Apache Experience; Native American Bolo Ties; and Landscape, Form and Light, featuring contemporary paintings and sculpture by two generations of the Namingha family, well known Hopi artists. Accompanying one of the two tour groups, local conference committee member Corinne Cain, ASA, explained the role of supply and demand on the replacement value-comparable for works by two different contemporary artists represented in the museum collection.
The group traveled after lunch to the ASU Ceramics Research Center, where Dr. Peter Held introduced the museum's American ceramics pottery collection, which focuses on works post-1950. Twenty-five percent of the collection is housed in open display storage to encourage easy access for scholars and collectors. The museum also houses an extensive library for ceramic research, and has long-range plans to expand the collection to include European, Swedish and Danish works.
The group then toured the Western Collection of the Trailside Galleries in old town Scottsdale. Roxanne Hoffman, a partner at the gallery and Jackson Hole Art Auctions, talked about what's hot in Western art, and about consignment options. Hoffman discussed the various auction houses and galleries that have collaborated and worked contiguously to create a strong market for historic and deceased Western artists. She described changes in tastes and trends that have affected the Western art market in recent years. Wildlife art has surpassed cowboy and landscape paintings. Hoffman speculated that this shift reflects the aging of Baby Boomers and diminished appeal of the "romantic cowboy culture" for younger generations of collectors.
Day Two concluded with a personal tour and wine reception at Antiques on Central, one of the largest antiques malls in Scottsdale.
The final day of the international conference programming consisted of a series of presentations followed by a panel discussion comprising the day's speakers. Jan Leonard, SVP and Managing Director of UMB Fine Arts Management Services, and Earl Tjaden, Chief Fiduciary Officer and Executive Vice President of UMB Bank, described the function of their fine arts management, estate, and trust divisions, using examples from the estate of American artist Thomas Hart Benton.
Andrea Fiuczynski, President of Christie's, Los Angeles, spoke about defining appraisals when challenged by the IRS. She offered insight into the ever-changing international art market.
The closing panel discussion and Q&A period was moderated by attorney Michael Tucker. Notable comments during the Q&A session included advice to appraisers regarding the scope and content of their appraisal engagement agreements, as well as discussion of the role of appraisers and their appraisals, and potential for referrals to independent appraisers in the business model of an international auction company.
DAY FOUR (Post-Conference PP Day)
The Oct. 11 PP Post-Conference day started off at Taliesin West, the winter home and studio of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Taliesin West is home to Wright's Architecture Foundation. The participants then traveled south to Paradise Valley to visit Cosanti, the studio and home of Italian-born architect and Wright student Paolo Soleri, who is famed for his visionary treatment of architectural space and ecology (called arcology). Cosanti Senior Assistant Roger Tomalty, who has 40 years of working with Soleri, regaled the PP group with personal stories and photographs of the architect and his many past and pending projects. Cosanti is still in operation as a bronze-casting foundry.
The group enjoyed a private luncheon in the Praying Monk Room of the Sanctuary Resort in Paradise Valley. The luncheon prepared by the resort's Chef Beau MacMillan included a spectacular view of the Camelback Mountains. The PP post-conference day concluded at the Musical Instrument Museum, which is set on 26 acres and features more than 12,000 musical instruments, as well as music from more than 200 countries. The private tour was conducted by museum curator Colin Pearson.
Click here to view a photograph of Taliesen West Studio.
Click here to view a photograph of the Heard Museum's katsinas dolls collection.
Click here to view a photograph of Cosanti's bronze-casting foundry.
Click here to view a photograph of the Musical Instrument Museum.