Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Recession Resistant?

Of course, we're talking London, where the only thing higher than the pound's dominance over the dollar is the optimism and energy in its contemporary art scene, but if yesterday's Impressionism and Modernism auction results are any indication, it's not just contemporary art that's still hot and in demand. From The Guardian:
This week of big sales at rivals Sotheby's and Christie's is being seen as a bellwether, with many predicting the spiralling fine art market will eventually burst. That seems not to be the case quite yet. On Monday Christie's trumpeted the second highest European auction record only for it to be broken last night in a packed room of people bidding on behalf of the super rich.
Of course, on this side of the pond yesterday, the Dow took a nose dive. But while some dealers I know were gasping at the plunge, others (including myself) are taking a wait-and-see attitude. (Not that we have much in the way of options, mind you.)

There's no reason to break out the bubbly just yet, of course. Anyone assuming the recession won't have any impact is a dreamer. But even as we watch for indications that the sky is indeed falling, there are still signs that it's nowhere near the earth just yet:
Over at Bonhams auction house last night the world's first sale of urban art saw a Banksy screenprint of Kate Moss, a pastiche of Andy Warhol's portrait of Marilyn Monroe, fetched three times its estimate, selling for £96,000.
Perhaps speculation that the new global nature of the art market will prevent a 1990's type crash is proving true. As anyone will tell you, attitude is everything here:
Melanie Clore, deputy chairman of Sotheby's Europe, said the house felt "jubilant" after an evening which had been its most expensive impressionist sale ever; the strength of the sale could be seen in 60% of the 79 lots being sold over and above their high estimates.
"Jubilant" even. Keep the faith folks.

Labels: art market


Anonymous Anonymous said...


i concede your points, but using bansky as a barometer for anything is laughable. as a recession is allegedly supposed to weed this crap and the people who speculate on it right out of the market, it does seem interest will continue to, uh, spiral upwards and outwards until that inevitable wile e coyote moment when folks find themselves running on nothing but thin air. cue whistling sound before impact. beep beep.

2/06/2008 09:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although it is fine to have discussions about the macro and micro economics of the art world and the effects of a looming recession, the best thing to do is to continue working really hard making good art. We have no control over these global forces and maintaining and improving our daily existences should remain our main focus.

2/06/2008 11:23:00 AM  

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