Saturday, April 19, 2008

Art and Its Markets

photographs by fashionartedit 

Art and Its Markets. By James Meyer and Tim Griffin. Art Forum. April 2008. 
excerpted text and quotes: 

"First, the market has become exponentially larger and more global than in the glory days of having lunch with Leo Castelli i the 60's. The art market at that time depended on a small inner circle or cognoscenti, who collected either to pursue private passions or to extend their civic engagements alongside the dynastic museum directors of the '50s and 60s, and 70s." (Amy Cappellazzo, International Co-Head of Postwar and Contemporary Art at Christie's). 

"We had a newly enhanced ability to buy in real time - here we should also note the popularity of art fairs and auctions - and to bring transparency to to certain artists' markets by researching the sales of other comparable ones. In turn, financial institutions have taken a different view on art as an asset class and are much more willing to lend money against works of art with competitive banking terms." (Amy Cappellazzo)

"I actually think we are actually dealing with a gradual shift concerning the relationship between art and the market, and this shift  is reflected in the market's increased power of definition over what is regarded as a meaningful work of art." (Isabelle Graw, Founding Editor of Texte Zur Kunst)

"This might explain why market success has such authority these days. Financial pressures have increased, and economic constraints reach more directly into all aspects of our lives." (Isabelle Graw)

"On a certain level, our 'contemporary narcissism', it it is that, reflects the willed ignorance endemic to the worlds of contemporary art, a world into which one is freely welcome as a player and in many guises - from artist to collector, from critic to museological personality - because, in a certain sense, you don't have to know anything to play the contemporary art game." (Robert Pincus-Witten, scholar and critic)

"But I really do think that the global socioeconomic situation around art has changed completely; it's not just a few people collecting, whether we're talking about China or India. As far as the story of Chinese contemporary art goes, just a couple of decades ago the work was being shown mostly in shops and hotel lobbies". (Ai Weiwei, artist)

"Looking back, there are clearly political  reasons for this incredible expansion, since China has become a giant economic player in the world."(Ai Weiwei, artist)

"I agree with Tom that it is the social promise attending the art circuit that explains its current attraction." (Isabelle Graw)

"Pure, unadulterated, crass-market forces. People stop wanting what they cannot easily have. Demand can feed supply and vise versa, and in this instance we are able to discern the difference between efficient and inefficient markets."  (Amy Capellazzo)

"...when there's more money around - more collectors, more fashionability, and more demand - the prices go up! It's that simple!" (Dakis Joannou, collector and President of Deste Foundation)

"And so when we talk about market, we must remain very aware of our own subtle and unfortunate tendency to merge two different concepts 'value' and 'price'. So I ask, how do we approach such question of judgement? The answer is: time." (Dakis Joannou)

"Art pays no dividend other than one's own pleasure, and therefore one has to amortize one's joy when considering the cost of holding art - of tying up that much capital. But now that art is an asset one can borrow against, or trade on and defer capital gain taxes on, the word of collecting has changed. It has attracted a new group of smart business people who understand value and future value amazingly well." (Amy Cappellazzo)

"When I say manipulations, I am also referring to the way auctions are orchestrated ad choreographed. The auction house makes sure it has  buyer and gives out guarantees. Dealers get together and bid on artists' work to raise their prices or prevent them from falling. The neoclassical notion of the market a a 'meeting' of supply and demand doesn't hold up." (Isabelle Graw)

"Since the idealist aesthetics of Kant and Schiller, Art with a capital A has been charged with symbolic value, and this might explain why it is desired so strongly today. It is supposed to give you more meaning than say, a bag from Louis Vuitton. Collector's motives can't be reduced only to speculation." (Isabelle Graw)

"I would like to take up Donna's proposition that museums are engaged in the creation  of other narratives that can't be reduced to market issues. I agree with this, but only up to a point. For by creating other narratives, museums, curators, and critics like myself actually help create the symbolic value of art - which is necessary for art's desireability and market value in the long term." (Isabelle Graw)

"Are we living in times of generalized 'market imperialism', as sociologist Ulrich Brocklig would have it, where the market dictates the artistic relevance, or are we living in a knowledge based economy where knowledge producers are kings?" I would say that both diagnoses are true." (Isabelle Graw)

"When you change things, the chances are that the changes will end up becoming the foundation. We'll always be eager to find or create a new practice, a new source of exhilaration. But whatever you arrive at will soon no longer be there. And so you will need to move on, or you will need to move up. And this will have to be your perpetual practice." (Ai Weiwei)

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