Tuesday, December 09, 2008

It's Kiss or Kill

Dateline: Miami Beach, Florida: Naugahyde and a tie-dyed t-shirt

I imagine that the vapor trail in the sky I see from my South Beach hotel window is a NetJets leaving Miami with the very last uber-collector to get out of town, but in truth I know they all left Thursday or Friday.

Most dealers I know willingly acknowledged that things were a bit tougher this year than in years past. Miami was still Miami of course...parties, limos, glamor and yes, even art sales...but the fact that we needed our hoodies the night before the festivities began served as a fitting metaphor for the chill in the market. It didn't help matters that the headlines right as those NetJets were landing screamed "Recession" and the Dow plunged 680 points (nice timing, G-d...very nice indeed).

Given all that, traffic was surprisingly strong and dealers still sold, but a much higher percentage of dealers than in previous years reported that they didn't break even. What that might mean for the number of satellites next year remains to be seen for certain, but most observers are predicting fewer of them. Interestingly, Bambino and I noticed fewer artists approaching us with requests that we look at their work this year. Perhaps they read the post I did on this topic (suggesting it's not a good time) or perhaps the dealer they approached before us berated the idea out of them. In general, with times as challenging as they are and the costs of fairs as high as they are, I would restate that fairs are a particularly bad place to approach a dealer.

As always, it was wonderful to catch up with our dealer friends and collector friends...seeing them make the long hours of the fairs and the hard work and long set-up and dismantling more bearable.

I'll try to resume normal posting tomorrow (depends on whether I sleep in or not...highly possible).

Labels: Art Fairs, Miami


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back Ed. Looking forward to more of your Miami post game analysis after you get some rest.

To kick things off, while Miami was on, I caught this assessment over at artnet of the state of the art world. Would be interested to read your reactions to Polsky's characterizations and contrast them against what you've seen (and are seeing) in the trenches in Miami and back here in NYC.

12/09/2008 11:26:00 AM  
OpenID deborahfisher said...

Welcome home!

12/09/2008 07:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hah! Seems like I'm not the only one to have read that Polsky article and thought of Ed and wondered what he would make of it.

12/10/2008 04:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

"I work 18 hour days, why don’t you?"

Ah! Workaholics...

Cedric Caspesyan

12/10/2008 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last night everything broke.

12/20/2008 12:39:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Thank You!!!

I was beginning to wonder if anyone got it.

12/20/2008 10:55:00 AM  

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