This article, from the many art press sources I read daily (and only post when something pops up that I find interesting or unexpected) wins for the week, maybe even the month.
Archive for the ‘The Art Newspaper’ Category
That’s an oxymoron.
I was reading Hoogrrl and below that awesome picture of the Dissident Display boys and me on a fried egg, is a comment:
- John D. said…
- I like the idea of collecting up-and-coming, or already-sort-of-there artists. I do some of that myself, and like you [Hoogrrl], I think about the future market value of the work. To that end, are you aware of any readily accessible auctions or other secondary markets where such works are bought and sold, hopefully for more than the was previously paid for them?
There is not a secondary market for emerging artists. Galleries and dealers try their hardest to prevent this from happening; it can ruin the career of a young artist. Most invoices include a clause that entitles the gallery first right of refusal if the collector decides to resell the object. Some people, who are not serious collectors and think they’re being a clever specullector, will buy and then try to quickly flip the work in an auction or other public domain. Doing this will get you blacklisted and the gallery, dealer and artist will never sell to you again (and trust me, we find out).
It takes time to develop a young artist’s career and committed galleries do this by developing different structures; for example, the price structure is dependent on published reviews in respected media (Art in America, Art Forum), the right curator including them in a group or museum show, a taste-maker collecting the work, etc. So by exposing the artists early on in their career to a secondary market makes all of the above difficult to achieve. Look at what Saatchi did to Sandro Chia … (obviously there is a huge scale difference in that comparison but it’s an interview everyone should have read if they haven’t already).
Back down to our scale, nobody wants to see a young artist they collect, their newest acquisition, in some random regional auction in New Jersey.
My suggestion, buy what you like and enjoy it. Spend time getting to know the artists you collect. By buying their work, you are providing them with a paycheck and supporting their career (1). Begin a relationship with the gallery who represents the artist, they in turn will develop a relationship with you and offer perks such as a price courtesy or a private viewing of new work (3). Soon you will meet others who also share your passion for work by that artist and they won’t sell too early in NJ either (10).
These are all benefits of collecting emerging art and there are at least 14 new friends to be made in the above interactions!
But if you need to resell before “it’s time” (mid-career or established, think years) go to the gallery you bought the work from. They will either buy it back or use one of their many outlets to sell it for you – it’s the best way to keep your respect and all those friends I promised you.
Immediately after the death/sucide of Jeremy Blake was announced there was a spike in readers brought to the blog by search terms such as “buy jeremy blake”, “buy blake prints”, “jeremy blake prices” etc.
At cocktail parties I’ve heard from amateur specullectors that an artists’ death is the easiest way for their art collections to appreciate. While basic Keynesian theory supports that, it’s not always the case. Thus, the following information may be disappointing to some, but I promise it is true and common practice:
Jeremy Blake, whose suicide last summer was all but incomprehensible to the career-obsessed art world, has had his beautifully mounted retrospective homage at Kinz, Tillou and Feigen Gallery [his dealers] … Fans may be slightly daunted however by the fact Blake did not often sign his digital prints, they have no edition number and, choicest of all, there are no actual, vulgar prices given for any works. Instead you have to leave your name and contacts and wait to see if you are deemed suitable. It’s an elegant system that keeps collectors on tenterhooks.
Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You by Adrian Dannatt – The Art Newspaper, Jan 08, p. 36
Luckily there is still a way to enjoy Blake’s work where right of entry does not rely on pedigree or contacts. Check out Wild Choir: Cinematic Portraits by Jeremy Blake at the Corcoran Gallery of Art through March 2nd.
and randomly MSN reports on it: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20517869/?GT1=10252
An investment group? Couldn’t be Philip Hoffman of The Fine Art Fund in London – they know better. Maybe it’s that British trader Chris Carlson who has become known for his cheeky quotes, “I love the fact that the art market is unregulated – it’s a nice change from the other markets I’ve worked in” (The Art Newspaper, July/Aug. p. 48).
(I mean we all think this in the private sector, but who actually goes on record with that, he even has worse ones – - – “unregulation” means our clients are “unprotected”)
But Carlson’s self-proclaimed “first hedge fund for art”, The Art Trading Fund, is only worth $50 million, so they couldn’t even afford it.
The Art Newspaper also reports that the £50m ($100m) price was dropped to £38m ($76m), which of course Hirst’s agent denies…
And there is also huge speculation that Americans bought it !?
I have been preaching this for the last 3 years and finally Jane Kallir’s Op/Ed in this month’s The Art Newspaper provides a concise and dead on written explanation:
At every level of the art world, deeper knowledge and principled guidance seem to be in short supply.
For the past century or so, the art world has been supported by four principal pillars: artists, collectors, dealers and the art-historical establishment (critics, academics, and curators). From a wider historical perspective, the latter two entities are relative newcomers. The development of art history as an academic discipline, and of public museums, dates back only to the 19th century. Only in the 20th century did dealers evolve from passive shopkeepers to pro-active impresarios, promoting the often difficult efforts of the pioneering modernists with missionary zeal. Public resistance to modernism, coupled with the pressures of international capitalism, gave new importance to dealers and museums, both of which played key roles by superintending the distribution of new art and ratifying its seriousness. At varying points in the course of the past 100 years, the weight of the art world has shifted from one of the four pillars to another. Artists made the modernist revolution; dealers recognised and supported it before academia did; in the post-war period, critics became so dominant that Tom Wolfe lampooned their influence in his 1975 book The Painted Word. And now, it seems, collectors have taken charge.
Over the long term, art-historical value is determined by consensus among all four art-world pillars. When any one of the four entities assume disproportionate power, there is a danger that this entity’s personal preferences will cloud everyone’s short-term judgement. Put bluntly, the danger of a collector-driven art world is that money will trump knowledge. Great collectors should ideally become nearly as knowledgeable as the curators and dealers who help them build their collections. But not all of today’s collectors have the passion or the time necessary to develop this depth of knowledge. Collecting, once the pursuit of a relatively small number of driven individuals, has become far more common among far more people.
This expansion of the art market, made possible by the broader dissemination of concentrated pockets of wealth and by the globalisation of art and related information, has drawn in players who do not have the focused commitment of the traditional collector. The exponential growth of the market, and the genuine gains realised by those who got in early, inevitably fuel the tendency, justifiable or not, to view art as an asset class comparable to stocks or real estate.
Art has also become the greatest common denominator in the new global social order. Today’s rich are an international elite whose members can measure their cachet by the level of VIP services given them at Art Basel and Art Basel/Miami Beach. Anointed by the glamour that today attends the public display of great wealth, the art world has acquired the patina of trendiness that was formerly exclusive to the entertainment and fashion industries. The contemporary focus on trendiness and investment potential, each of which operates on a relatively short timeline, obscures the fact that lasting value in art accrues in the course of generations.
The corollary to a collector-driven art world is that the canon of ostensibly great artists is being largely determined by market forces. The huge prices that have been achieved lately at the top of the market are the result not only of new concentrations of wealth, but of the fact that many people are pursuing the same handful of artists and works of art. Therefore the drop-off from the peak can be steep, becalming the middle market and consigning lesser works and lesser artists to also-ran status.
This is a market with a voracious appetite for alleged masterpieces, and little patience for historical or developmental nuances. It encourages superficiality: rather than collecting a single artist or group of artists in depth, collectors now often prefer to amass scattered masterworks: here a Matisse, there a Picasso, and then perhaps a Schiele. In an overheated environment, the art-historical establishment often finds itself chasing rather than guiding the market. The press must keep up with the latest trends, and coverage of social events and record prices often takes precedence over quiet critical reflection. Museums need the support of trustees, but the most powerful collectors no longer need the imprimatur of an existing museum; they can simply open their own.
If it sometimes seems that the art-historical establishment is missing in action, this is in part because, while the market has been aggressively constructing a new canon, academia has been busy deconstructing the old one. For several decades now, scholars have generally agreed that the white, male, Eurocentric canon that traditionally dominated Western art evolved from historical biases that are no longer morally or intellectually justifiable. Although this change in orientation has literally opened up a whole new world of aesthetic possibilities, it has discouraged academics from making qualitative judgements. Scholarship in areas that are useful to the marketplace, such as provenance and authenticity, has flourished, but overall connoisseurship has declined. Similarly, market pressures push dealers to become generalists, showcasing a hodge-podge of high-ticket items instead of specialising as they formerly did. Auctioneers, operating within a timeframe that seldom extends much beyond the next sale date, focus most of their energies on the highest priced lots. Novice collectors, justifiably wary and insecure, engage consultants who often know far less than the dealers and auctioneers. At every level of the art world, deeper knowledge and principled guidance seem to be in short supply.