University of York, June 14, 2019 Deadline: Mar 29, 2019
When art makes the headlines, it is usually about money. In 2017, Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi sold for over $450 million at Christie’s New York. Just how can a painting be worth more than a penthouse on Fifth Avenue?
In this blog, our member Dr. Anne Luther, a researcher and software developer at The Center for Data Arts at The New School and for Professor Boris Groys at NYU, questions some of the recent practices by speculating collectors looking to make quick profits from the market of contemporary art. A similar call to blacklist so-called flippers was recently made by Thaddaus Ropac at the Barcelona Talking Galleries Conference (16-17 January 2017).
A plea for a more sustainable art market
by Anne Luther
New York is the center of the international contemporary art market. [footnote 1] Local actors are tightly interconnected, and one can understand strategies and mechanisms of the market in a much more traceable way than in anywhere else. The city has major museums and institutions; the significant auction houses host their ‘record auctions’ here; the most successful galleries are surrounded by an unparalleled density of galleries; and art fairs, art magazines, and art schools are abundant. The network of people working in this local art world is therefore incomparable to other cities: artists, artist assistants, art handlers, writers, art advisors, curators, gallerists and their staff are part of a tightly knit and highly social network that spans art production and collecting. Private collectors have a major influence in this network and have changed the art market in the past five years significantly.
The following will describe the most notable mechanisms responsible for a change in art production in this time period. I will use the term emerging to point to actors in the art world that, in the past five to eight years, appeared for the first time in institutional presentations, art fairs, auctions, and art magazines. Emerging therefore indicates a performance or realization within the art market and is shaped by the network that produces sales, reviews, and institutional recognition of the produced artworks. Continue reading “Anne Luther: A Plea for a More Sustainable Art Market”→
Iain Robertson, Understanding Art Markets. Inside the World of Art and Business (Routledge, 2016)
This recently published textbook integrates, updates and enhances the author’s previous books, Understanding International Art Markets (2005) and The Art Business (2008). Part I (’Technical and Structural Mechanisms’), looks at defining issues such as underlying legal and ethical questions or the structure of commodity markets. The book’s central section (Part II, ’The Markets for Art’) surveys the structures of today’s art markets – notably those for old masters, impressionist, modern and contemporary art – but also provides fascinating vistas of the art markets of previous centuries. Part II also includes an illuminating chapter on Chinese Art – a must read for those wishing to gain a better understanding of the underlying values that define the art market in China today. Finally, part III considers ‚external factors‘ such as aspects of art investment, or the roles of the state and the museums. ‚In claiming that the international art market reflects us, Iain Roberson holds up a mirror every bit as beguiling as Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray‘ (Alistair Hicks, Author of The Global Art Compass: New Directions in 21st Century Art). – Iain Robertson is Head of Art Business Studies at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and a TIAMSA member.