Wednesday Bits: Canaries in Coal Mines; things to come are coming!


Instagram is The New Chelsea

The New York Times is finally noticing that Instagram has become “the social media platform of choice for many contemporary artists, galleries, auction houses and art collectors, who use it to promote art that they are selling.”

The popular social media platform has been providing a wall-less art space forEVER now. Hell, we’ve on been on it since the Simchowitz-style of art marketing via Instagram (which was, actually,  covered by the times) caused many art world insiders (followed up by Jerry Saltz [Jerry Saltz for goddsakes — and the NYT is only NOW yapping about it??? Seriously NYT: get in the game!]) to bust a blood vessel.

Now all we need is some technology that will allow Instagram posters to snap ultra-high-rez pictures like the ones Google boasts on their Art Project.


Growth in Art Loan Industry is —um— Really Really Big

Meantime, the Art Newspaper reports that the art loan industry is taking off.

“Art lending business is booming”, according to the first comprehensive poll of the industry, conducted by the research firm Skate’s and due for publication on Tuesday, 4 August. The report calculates that art loans could account for more than $10bn in 2015, at least twice the 2011 level, and could grow to become a $100bn market.”

As recently noted by yours truly for the New York Observer, ArtRank’s market savvy founder, Carlos Rivera has joined the art loan bandwagon with Levart, and it looks like he’s right on time.

Although Art Market Monitor begs to differ with The Art Newspaper’s numbers! Marion Maneker virtually sneers, “Mind you, Skate’s own report then goes on to quote Deliotte saying the current art loan market is $9.6bn with only $3bn of that collateral with non-recourse loans based upon the asset itself, not the borrower’s credit. All in all, the $100bn number is neither plausible nor useful.”


Are Diamonds The Art Market’s Canary?

For those about to sell, or those hanging on to assets, or those who just need to know when to bail quickly on all those newbies they’ve speculated on, a good early indicator of (the immanent?_)  art market downfall, would be a nice tool.

Back in January, The New York Times reported signs of overheating in the art market, citing the growing number of guaranteed lots at top-tier contemporary sales, stating, “More than 40 percent of the works at the November evening auctions of both houses carried company-funded or third-party guarantees.”

Now expert chatter on Twitter indicates that others are taking a canary-in-a-coal-mine approach to early detection. Noting that the art market often mirrors the gem market,  my Twitter feed led me to a recent Rapaport ( report that diamond cutters have cut back on their usual July/August rough purchases.

In August, Rapaport Monthly Report  stated, “The global diamond market deteriorated in July as a slump in polished prices extended and demand for rough sunk to lows last seen during the 2008 financial meltdown. Sentiment was also reminiscent of the crisis, with manufacturers and miners noting the tough environment experienced in the first half of 2015 intensified in July.”

Note: 2008 was when we saw the last big art market slump.


Following up on last Wednesday’s story re: Artists and galleries hating on German Culture Minister Monika Grütters’ planned Cultural Property Protection Act,   Artnet reports that heavyweight collector, Hasso Plattner “has threatened to withdraw his pledge to bequeath his private collection to Potsdam’s Barberini Museum if the government’s proposed changes are implemented,” prompting Dieter Woidke, Brandenburg’s ministerial president, to request that Grütters “provide clarity on the proposed provisions of the act.”

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