Popping up, all over the internet, like bald little mushroom heads in the corner of an overgrown garden, are dozens of buy-art-online sites. Their spores are in the air. There’s a new one every day, with offerings that cover the whole gamut of affordability, quality and snob appeal.
It’s time to match the couch, my friends — shamelessly, and in the privacy of your own homes; the way you shop for porn.
As I continue to study the art market’s very slight, but seemingly strong rebound, I will continue to compile reports which should lend insight, not only to the workings of the art market as it improves, but to trends that should grow out of this latest bubble burst. What follows are some things to look out for and what they mean for the future.
Although news reports of record sales continue to herald the recovery of the art market, many galleries continue to experience hardship and are driven to close their doors. I believe that auction houses have discovered a new way to take advantage of this unfortunate trend.
Sotheby’s upcoming Contemporary Art Sale is going to offer some of the most iconic works of our time — so many in one show that the outcome will definitely exceed house estimates.
In her book, Seven Days in the Art World,Sarah Thornton tells us that, in auction speak, a “good so-and-so” is not necessarily one of the artist’s highest quality works, but, rather, one that’s iconic of the artist , one that, as Thornton puts it “fetishizes” the aspects of the artist’s work when s/he emerged.
It’s okay to love Simon de Pury. I’ve said before that hisPhillips Art Expertsite is really fun: it has video and games and contests and lots of color. It’s a great way to rake in the low-brows like myself who love to see the art universe brought down to size, demystified and even made out to be kinda cute. :)
So I say, big deal if Stuart Jeffries gets all fan-club on us, talking about how cool de Pury is: the dude’s just giddy-making with his darling themed auctions and his “elegant, leggy gait”.
“Art is not a bad thing to invest in. Historically, it has outperformed most other asset types.”
~ Simon de Pury
White Column’s Celebrity Line-Up
White Columns’ 2010 BENEFIT EXHIBITION + AUCTION (on view ON VIEW APRIL 24 – MAY 15,) shows an impressive list of donating artists. Impressive in size, but also in the celebrity status of the artists themselves, with the Turner Prize winning, Toma Abts, famed prankster Maurizio Cattelan, the notorious Billy Childish and David Byrne even.
FINALLY, the pious facade that art marketers apply as protection to their artists, their buyers, their collections, and their reputations, is being — um– noticed.
In April 16th story for the New York Times, Randy Kennedy begins:
“Imagine a market for highly sought-after items in which the makers and sellers work hard to ensure that the items go only to certain buyers, even if other buyers might be willing to pay more. The favored buyers are then expected not to resell the items for many years, even if the values skyrocket. Ideally, in fact, the buyers are expected to give these items away eventually, for the public good. And if the buyers don’t abide by these expectations, they risk being cut off, cast out with the other unwashed wealthy who can afford to buy but have no access.”
Anyone familiar with the art market and the practices of dealers and consultants on the one hand, representing the primary market, and auction houses, on the other, representing the secondary market (traditionally), will not have to “imagine” very hard. Market savvy dealers have always sought to “place” art rather than sell it, seeking to create a prestigious provenance for their artists. And auction houses used to refuse to touch art any younger than five years old, seeing it as a tasteless and destructive practice to sell new pieces in the secondary market.
But it’s really nice to see that the practice, and it’s very elitist, very very naughty implications are finally being brought out into the light.
And in a very amusing tale of what appears to be petty vengeance, a woman scorned, in this case Marlene Dumas, has, it seems, blacklisted one Craig Robins, because he made her look bad by selling one of her works from his collection to David Zwirner Gallery.