Art Radar Asia

Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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Archive for the ‘Recession’ Category

Dinesh Vazirani CEO Saffronart speaks about 2010 market outlook for Indian art – Arttactic podcast

Posted by artradar on March 28, 2010


INDIAN CONTEMPORARY ART MARKET OUTLOOK

CEO of on-line Indian auction house Saffronart explains that the collector base for Indian art is changing

Dinesh Vazirani is the CEO and Co-Founder of Saffronart, the world’s largest online auction house for fine art and jewelry. In the Podcast interview with ArtTactic, he reviewed the performance of the Indian art market in 2009. He also shared his observations on the changes in the Indian art market in the recent year. Moreover, he shared part of his formula of success in running an online auction platform of such scale.

How was the performance of the Indian Art Market in 2009? To what extent has the Indian Art Market recovered from the financial crisis in 2009?

A lot of changes happened in the post financial crisis period. The initial six months was a difficult time for the art market. The base of the investors and collectors changed quite dramatically. Investors and speculators that are active in the post financial crisis disappeared from the market. There are real collectors looking for good value and premium quality. In the later part of the year with the Indian economy getting better, confidence and perception changed. We saw some of the collector base come by and want to buy the best of the best.

 In the early part of the year, prices of modern art retreated by around 30-50% and contemporary art by 50-80%. Modern art prices recovered by 15-30% later in the year and contemporary art came back by 10-15%. In 2009, the Indian market underwent a transitional change. The players changed. Some galleries and auction houses shut down and some opened.

How is the heavy presence of speculators a threat to the sustainability of the Indian Art Market?

Speculators come into the market and drive up the prices. In 2005 to 2008, prices rose dramatically which brought in a whole slew of speculators, investors, private dealers, collectors and funds. In 2009, after the financial crisis, these players disappeared but they will come back if the value is right. However, it is not expected that they would be jumping into the market as fast as in 2005. This downturn in Indian Art is the first ever downturn in the history of Indian art. Most people have not gone through a downturn to understand the implications of it.

What pattern has been developed in the collector base?

The previous collectors of Indian Art are large corporate houses and business houses in the India subcontinent. However, in the last five years, the collector based has moved from a business house concentrated end towards a broader collector base, which constitutes a lot of professionals, younger collectors from the finance field and young business people. Interestingly, some are from outside of India. In 2006, more non-Indians collected Indian contemporary art and wanted it as a cultural bridge.

What is your outlook for the Indian  art market in 2010?

Players will be coming back to purchase work  and a new base of buyers are expected too. There were people wanting to come in to buy during 2005 to 2008, but the price rose too sharply then, so they want to come in now and see if they can get premium values. 2010 will be dependent on two things. One is the perception and confidence of the Indian base customers and the other is the participation of non-Indian buyers in the post finance crisis period in the art market.

Why has Saffronart been so successful as an online auction house when no auction houses have found equal success in this format?

For the past 10 years, we have been building up the collector base, giving them the confidence and transparency and improving the technological platform. On the other side, we have been doing physical exhibitions and previews all around the world, including San Francisco, L.A., Mumbai, New Dehli, Hong Kong and London. To make people confident, we added the brick and mortar side. It is the “the click and the brick” that has made Saffronart so successful. Nearly every business is heading to the direction of going online.

Is the art market fundamentally changing because of the web?

Over time, there will be a strong shift towards online transactions. People will transact more online or even leaning more to mobile bidding platforms. These mobile bidding platforms have been enormously successful. 

 To listen to the original Podcast, please click here. Arttactic has a range of fascinating interviews with art market influencers and is worth a browse.

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Posted in Art and internet, Art Funds, Asia expands, Auctions, Business of art, Collector nationality, Corporate collectors, Ecommerce, Globalisation, Hong Kong, India, Indian, Individual, Interviews, London, Market transparency, Market watch, Mumbai, New Delhi, Recession, Website | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Power 100: curators up and artists down on ArtReview’s annual list

Posted by artradar on December 2, 2009


THE POWER STRUCTURES OF THE ART WORLD

ArtReview: The Power 100What a difference a year makes. Last month, ArtReview magazine released its annual list of the one hundred most powerful people in art (see list here). ArtReview’s introduction to the list outlines that the financial crisis of 2008 caused a lot of big shifts in the art world and the list is a reflection of these changes: a third of last year’s entries, both artists and collectors, have fallen off the list and been replaced by newcomers. For instance, Director of MoMA Glen Lowry was not even on the list last year, and this year he enters the chart at number two. The magazine praises the likes of Lowry for being part of a new generation in the art world that they describe as follows:

“…percolating up from the middle ranks is a new generation of highly networked, flexible, globetrotting curators – men and women at the very centre of a new way of working.”

Curators top the list while artists have less clout and websites have more

Overall, it was curators who had one of the strongest presence on the list, with Swiss curator and writer Hans Ulrich Obrist at the top of the list and Sir Nicholas Serto, the director of the Tate Gallery, at third. Artists, by contrast, did not have such a strong presence in the top ten: the first artist on the list was not until American Golden Lion Winner Bruce Nauman at number ten.

The Independent newspaper goes so far as to suggest it is “The Year of the Curator”, which suggests that curators have a stronger influence in shaping what we know about art than the artists who create it. A change in the system of endorsement was also reflected by the increase in webmasters included on the list. It seems that technology now also plays a significant part in disseminating notions of what “art” is.

Profession 2008 vs. 2009

Professions in the list: 2008 vs. 2009

Questions of power

So who gets to be on the list and how they do they get there? ArtReview explains that its entrants are ranked as follows:

” [It is] a combination of influence over the production of art internationally, sheer financial clout (although in these times that’s no longer such a big factor) and activity in the previous 12 months – criteria which encompass artists, of course, as well as collectors, gallerists and curators.”

That said, it still remains ambiguous as to what exactly it takes in order to get a mention in the Power 100. For example, how does ArtReview compare the merits of two entirely different professions? How do they rank success when success in the art world is often based solely on a system of endorsement? In other words: how is power in art defined? Perhaps future lists will provide us with more answers to such questions, or at least continue to prompt us to reflect on who really is in charge of the art world.

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Posted in Business of art, Collectors, Critic, Curators, Gallerists/dealers, Lists, Professionals, Recession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Art loans can offer liquidity to your collection

Posted by artradar on November 4, 2009


ART LENDING INDUSTRY: ARTTACTIC PODCAST REVIEW

On October 13th, ArtTactic published there latest edition of the ongoing podcast series dedicated to art market topics. The new podcast titled “Art Lending Industry is an interview with Andrew Rose, the president of Art Finance Partners based in New York City. Highlights from the interview include detailed information about the array of available loans through Art Finance Partners, Rose’s opinions about how the recession has affected art lending, and a status update on the current state of the art market.

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Art Finance Partners is a specialty finance company that provides innovative credit and advisory solutions to owners of "unconventional" assets, such as fine and decorative art, antiques and collectibles.

Types of Loans

“Bridge Loan to Sale”– Advance in funds against and art asset that will be sold. Used to get cash before sale transaction happens. The duration is typically 12-18 months with renewal provision.

“Acquisition Financing”- Upfront loan given to buy artwork, paid back overtime. Similar to real estate loan/mortgage.

“Working capital line”– Used by dealer or collector to finance inventory or collecting needs. The duration is 12 months with the option to renew.

The advantages to employing art loans to your personal art investment strategy are two fold. They offer liquidity between auction cycles (bridge loan to sale), and allow you to defer payment which frees up capital increasing yearly collection budgets (acquisition financing).

How the recession has affected art lending

When asked how the recession has affected art lending, Rose’s response was upbeat.

“Every business is facing the same liquidity crisis at the moment.” He continued to state, “we are seeing a fair amount of demand. Surprisingly in this market we haven’t seen the for-selling that one may have expected in this recession.”

How are artworks valued and has the current recession depreciated these values

Art Finance Partners utilizes basic valuation strategies when determining the value of the artworks lent upon. Their strategy consists of referencing established auction prices for comparable artworks through online databases like ArtNet or AskArt. In the case of a rare artwork, they consult their database of private sales, or get the opinion of an appraiser or art dealer.

Art Valuation Facts:

Loan to value ratio: 40-50%

General value of artworks down 20-30%; ultra contemporary artworks down 50%

Andrew Rose ends the interview stressing that good quality artworks sell well. Although trends and tastes change, Rose reiterates: “there will always be demand for very good quality international artwork on the international market.”

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Posted in Acquisitions, Advisors, Business of art, Collectors, Interviews, Recession, Resources, Services | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New auction houses with new strategies open in Singapore art market

Posted by artradar on October 28, 2009


ASIAN ART MARKET TRENDS

Usually, to be a part of the bubbling Asian art market scene, buyers need to associate themselves with industry leaders Christie’s and Sotheby’s for lack of other options. In South East Asia, however, there’s a new way for collectors to discover their contemporary art. According to a recent article by the New York Times, a host of new and smaller auction houses—such as Borobudur, 33 Auction, and Larasati in Singapore—have successfully emerged to “fill in the gaps” of the market, which means they are opening their doors to a broader range of the market, from high-end collectors to first time buyers. So far, sales suggest this may be the right strategy to entice new buyers:

“Last week, sales by two auction houses in Singapore, Borobudur and 33 Auction, brought in a combined $10 million, with the larger sale, by Borobudur, easily beating its pre-sale estimate. Later this month another Singapore auctioneer, Larasati, will offer 160 lots of Asian modern and contemporary art with an estimated value of 2 million Singapore dollars, or $1.4 million.”

A.C. Andre Tananma, "Run Away" 2008. Part of Larasati's Asian Modern and Contemporary Art auction in Singapore on October 25th, 2009.

A.C. Andre Tananma, "Run Away" 2008. Part of Larasati's Asian Modern and Contemporary Art Auction, Singapore, 25 October 2009.

Many of the new auctions houses have developed as off springs from established galleries, such as 33 Auction (Singapore), Maestro Auction House (Jakarta, Singapore) and Kingsley Art Auction (Beijing), as a way of broadening their offerings to current clients, while also becoming accessible to new ones:

“Like everything else, the art market is not immune from the global recession and consequently sales at most galleries have been down for the past 12 months,” said Valentine Willie of Valentine Willie Fine Art, which has galleries in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, and has in the past helped Borobudur curate its auctions. “Auctions may seem a good way of clearing gallery stock and they offer the possibility for collectors of bargain hunting, especially after the boom of two years ago.”New and smaller auction houses would naturally try to fill in the gaps with more adventurous offerings and lower entry price points because, “the industry leaders, Christie’s and Sotheby’s have a somewhat limited and conservative offering of Southeast Asian art,” Mr. Willie added.”

Some auction houses are targeting the middle class crowd in particular, a demographic rarely cornered by larger and more established auction houses like Christie’s or Sotheby’s. To entice the middle class market, Singapore’s Ziani Fine Art Auction House tactic was to award cash prizes, serve wine, and even offer whiskey tastings at their September 20 debut auction:

“‘When you launch a new business you need to attract new people,” said Frank Veyder, a banker and partner in Ziani, before the auction. “We are very conscious there is a risk that people might think it’s just a fly-by-night, gimmicky house, but we’re holding this auction in a five-star location and we’re offering quality art.

“The pieces are not of the level you would see at Christie’s or Sotheby’s, but we’re not trying to play in that space,” Mr. Veyder added. “Our marketing is targeting to a wider, middle-class crowd.”‘

Though it can be said that the competition between auction houses is good for business, there are some auctioneers that are concerned that the market may have a hard time absorbing everything on offer.  Daniel Komala, chief executive of Larasati Auctioneers, explains:

“‘The art market has bottomed out; in fact, it’s fair to say that it has picked up some speed of late,” Mr. Komala said. “Having said that, the real capacity to absorb, over all, especially in Singapore, is only going to increase by 20-30 percent maximum from its rock bottom level. So, it’s wishful thinking to expect that the market will double up in capacity compared to how it performed six months ago.”

Read more New York Times

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Posted in Auctions, Business of art, Events, Market watch, Overviews, Recession, Singapore | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thai installation artist Surasi Kulsowong promises Good News at Para/Site Hong Kong – review

Posted by artradar on June 11, 2009


Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya shows visitors around at Surasi Kulsowong's Golden Fortune show

Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya shows visitors around at Surasi Kulsowong's Golden Fortune show

THAI ARTIST SHOW REVIEW

Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya, as new curator for the well-regarded Hong Kong non-profit Para/Site art space, explained his mission for the space in January 2009 to Claire Morin for Time Out:

“I want to refocus Para/Site … with more artists from Asia,” he says. “I also want Para/Site to become a social space, a space where things are actually happening, not just exhibited… I want the public to appropriate Para/Site and become a part of Para/Site.”

Since then he has made firm headway. In January 2009, to the amuseument and confusion of locals, the eccentric Japanese performance artist Tatsumi Orimoto, aka Bread Man, was guided around Hong Kong’s Graham Street market with baguettes wrapped around his head. This performance was followed by a rendition of his Finger Dolls piece inspired by his relationship with his supportive but now aged Mother (click here Tatsumi Orimoto review and video clips).

With his latest show, Fominaya has initiated an even more bemusing and irresistible experience for neighbourhood residents. In his first solo show in Hong Kong, Thai artist Surasi Kulsowong presents a site-specific show which seems to lie somewhere at the intersection between an exhibition, an experience and a grand game.

According to the publicity material the gallery is transformed into a playground by being filled

with five tons of thread waste into which a gold necklace with the Chinese word for ‘Fortune’ is hidden each week and made available to lucky members of the audience who find it.

When we visit, the feather-soft cotton waste laid out thicker than a mattress looks so inviting that we do not waste a minute in kicking off our shoes and wading into it. Not only pleasurable as a sensual experience, the show tickles the intellect with its playful turning-upside-down of the usual notions of money, gold, waste and value.

We are invited to consider whether waste products might have more value than first meets the eye. We are teased into questioning the meaning of value which, in this show, extends beyond measurable monetary value to include sensory stimulation, new experiences, social connection and plenty of laughter.

When we visit the show we see a young child who rolls around giggling on her back while her Filipino nanny chuckles and rummages on her hands and knees. The previous week the hidden gold was discovered by an elderly gentleman who is a patient in the neighbouring hospital. He came in his pyjamas with his nurse and told the staff that he planned to give the gold to his daughter. 

106

Good News is Coming

Alluring to a group of people far beyond seasoned gallery-goers, the show is full of wonder, fun and reward.  Yes  “it  can be appreciated on many levels” confirms Fominaya as he shows us some of the wall-hung images made to accompany the show.

In one, a Fortune magazine cover is recreated and a headline “Good News is Coming”, from another financial article, is appropriated and pasted onto it. What does this mean? On one level, the artist is providing us with a message which, like the cotton under our feet, is soothing and playful. But on another we are roused to consider the extent to which we accept the content and power of the media messages we are exposed to.

Kulsowong’s installation is inspired by the gloom of the global recession which he aims to counter with messages of hope and experiences of  happiness. Leaving with soothed soles and a smile, we take away much more than that. The Fortune cover and the heap of textile waste prod us with powerful questions about what we can do to create our own messages of hope.

Surasi Kulsowong

Surasi Kulsowong

The exhibition is accompanied by a specially conceived art edition called Good News is Coming (With Warhol’s Flowers), 2009, the proceeds of which will fund Para/Site’s activities. Contact Para/Site to buy.

Artist details

Surasi Kulsowong was born in 1965 in Ayutthaya. He lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand.

He is best known for his One Dollar Markets in which the artist, inspired by Asian floating markets, creates a market within an art space to reflect on the nature of consumer society and expand the meaning of the art space.

He has exhibited internationally with solo shows in Tate Modern and Palais de Tokyo. He has participated in the Gwangju Biennial, 50th Venice Biennale, 2nd Guangzhou Triennial, amongst others.

Related links:

Frieze review 2004 of  work 10SEK  – the writer notes the disarming way that Kulsowong cuts through social reserve by playing with money as a notion and a physical object.

New York Times review 2001 – looks at how Surasi uses space in his installation in Chelsea at his New York debut

Culturebase article – more details about his market artworks

Para/Site website

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Posted in Art spaces, China, Connecting Asia to itself, Curators, Gallery shows, Hong Kong, Installation, Nonprofit, Participatory, Recession, Thai, Thread | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How a long recession helped Japanese contemporary art collector, Ryutaro Takahashi

Posted by artradar on June 11, 2009


Ryutoro TakahashiJAPANESE ART COLLECTOR

 A Japanese psychiatrist, Ryutaro Takahashi, has become one of the most important collectors of Japanese contemporary art, having amassed a collection of over 1,500 pieces since 1997. And, in an inspiring story we can all take heart from today, he was able to do so largely because of Japan’s long recession. The Japan Times explains:

The late ’90s were particularly tough for dealers… because the long-running economic downturn had translated into severe funding cuts for public museums. The reason recent art is so underrepresented in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, for example, is that from 2000 to 2004 it had no acquisitions budget. Takahashi was able to snap up dozens of pieces while the nation’s museums went AWOL.

Takahashi emphasises that he did not take deliberate steps to fill the void left by underfunded institutions. So what did motivate this collector and how did he get started?

“I used to hang around Fugetsudo Cafe in Shinjuku,” he tells The Japan Times, describing the coffee shop that was a hippie Mecca during the counterculture years. “We’d hear about the happenings that Yayoi Kusama was doing in New York. She was like a star to us.”

Takahashi was not an artist himself, but the period left him with a fascination for the avant garde.

“In 1997 I saw an exhibition of new work by Kusama,” he says. “At about the same time, a show of new work by Makoto Aida was being held at Mizuma Art Gallery. So, in a short time I saw work by someone I thought was a star and also an important up- and-coming artist. That lit the spark within me.”

The spark quickly flared into a wildfire.

“Once I had bought a few I realized that if I was going to do this, I had to do it properly,” he says.

He focused on young artists from Japan, spending Saturdays roaming cutting-edge galleries: Mizuma, Ota Fine Arts, Tomio Koyama. Soon he was plowing all his resources into the project.

 

Makota Aida "A Picture of an Air Raid on New York City (War Picture Returns)" 1996

Makota Aida A Picture of an Air Raid on New York City (War Picture Returns), 1996

One of his first major purchases was Aida’s A Picture of an Air Raid on New York City (War Picture Returns), a giant screen-painting which depicts fighter planes forming an infinity symbol as they bomb New York. Since then he has bought about ten more Aida works.

Usually, big paintings by such respected artists would find their way into public collections. But not in Japan, or at least not in the past ten years in Japan. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, has just one Aida, and the five national art museums have none.

The story is similar with other 40-something artists such as Akira Yamaguchi, Hisashi Tenmyouya and Tsuyoshi Ozawa. Each has been given large-scale, midcareer retrospectives at major Tokyo venues, but none is well represented in any public collection. Takahashi’s holdings, by contrast, include several major works by each.

Read more in The Japan Times about:

  •  how Takahashi believes that Japanese art is becoming divorced from the West
  • what he plans to do with his collection and
  • where it can be seen now

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Posted in Acquisitions, Collectors, Individual, Japan, Japanese, Profiles, Recession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

More art, better art, riskier art at Art HK 09

Posted by artradar on May 19, 2009


HONG KONG ART FAIR

“What do you think of the art fair this year?” Advisors, fair visitors, writers and artists graciously suffered our question ‘du jour’ for the duration of the much-anticipated second edition of Art HK.

Tipped to be the Art Basel of Asia after its successful inaugural edition in 2008 we, along with art market participants around the world, were curious to know if this year’s show was still on track to fulfill its promise.

There was more art on offer this time with 110 participants (up from 101 in 2008) and there was a consensus view that the show was well-organised. “The management of the show is slick, very slick,” said a reporter from an established London-based arts magazine.

Whether it was the latent potential of the Asian market or the polished work by organisers Asian Art Fairs Ltd , a collaboration between Single Market Events, Andry Montgomery and Will Ramsay of Pulse Contemporary Art Fairs, prestigious galleries such as New York’s Gagosian and London’s White Cube signed up for the first time this year in an unexpected coup for a fair so early in its career.

But what about the quality of the art? Did it hold up against the top international art fairs? What did galleries dare to bring to a new market in the midst of a wrenching recession? How safe did they play it?

The answer: Happily not very safe at all. The utilitarian convention centre hall venue was filled to the rafters with eye-sizzling  non-decorative pieces: intriguing installations vied with over-sized multi-media works and towering sculptures.

Last year Amelia Johnson Contemporary sold Macau-based Russian artist Konstantin Bessmertny’s  popular paintings  like sweets. The year she also showed his more demanding enormous horse sculpture/installation/performance piece Momentum pro Aliquis 2008/9, a riderless Renaissance horse in wood.

“It is much, much better than last year” said a Hong Kong-based art advisor with 15 years of experience. “It is more cutting edge, much riskier”. Managing editor of Orientations magazine, Hwang Yin agreed “Yes the quality of the art is far better this year, less Chinese painting. The work on show is much more interesting.”

Even a Hong Kong hedge fund manager fair visitor who has not purchased an artwork in 10 years noticed the difference. “The quality is up several notches compared with last year. I found plenty of ideas and I am thinking of buying a piece this time”.  An account manager for a London-based arts magazine visiting the fair for first time said she liked the art at the fair because it is ‘international’ and was particularly intrigued by the Korean works because of their novel use of space and materials.

While feedback was overwhelmingly positive, there were a few stray, albeit muted, dissenters. A young highly-regarded Asian curator was less enthusiastic: “I think the art could be better but to be honest I am biassed. I have a problem with fairs anyway as I come from a non-profit background. But I can say that the work at Green Cardamom is stellar and The Drawing Room is showing some interesting pieces too”.

Hong Kong artist James Feldmanblogged unhappily about the Ferdinand Botero-like fat figure sculptures and the ‘saccharine kitsch’ from Beijing. But he did like Baselitz and Schnabel: “they stood out like a couple of grizzled WWII vets swaggering through a kindergarten”.

Surprise was the response of renowned Biennale-exhibiting artist Din Q. Le from Vietnam whose solo show South China Sea Pishkun at 10 Chancery Lane opened during the fair. “I am taken aback by the enthusiasm for the fair that everyone is showing. In the west the art scene is kind of depressed.”  

Hong Kong is known for its energetic, can-do culture and maybe that accounted for some of the fizz and excitement.  But for Johann Nowak of DNA Berlin, it was the future opportunities offered by the Asian art market which made his voice bubble with excitement as he talked to us. He believes Hong Kong is the ‘perfect place in every way’ for an art fair. ‘It is just perfect’. Pressed for specifics he came up with a benefit new to us: he explained that one of the key advantages of Hong Kong  is that “there are no dominant galleries in the town” allowing a level playing field and equal opportunities for visiting galleries. ”There are no gallery intrigues, that is what makes Basel work so well too”.

And what about sales? 

Reuters  focussed on the performance of the major international galleries in the first days of the fair and reported ‘notable sales’ such as the  Gilbert and George ‘Gingko’ piece bought from White Cube by an Asian collector for GBP325,000. For a rounded view, Art Radar approached a few of the other lesser known and Asian galleries on the last day of the fair.

Tokyo-based Yamamoto Gendai said “We have not sold so many pieces here, about 5” and German gallery Levy reported just one sale. Korean art specialist Cais Gallery who participated last year too said they had sold 4 to 5 pieces in the US$4-8,000 range. “It is slow compared with last year, fewer collectors”. Another Japanese gallery sold 5-6 pieces in the US$5-20,000 range with much interest shown in Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photographs. Beijing -based Aye Gallery sold 7 pieces.

In terms of sales, this was a “bits and pieces” fair and on the last day the mood was less buoyant than suggested by early press reports. Nevertheless the galleries remained firmly committed to the fair because of ‘the quality’. According to Novak, this year making sales is less important than networking and exposing work to institutions and international collectors. “Next year is the year to watch sales.”

Related links: Images on Flickr, 80 images on Arrested Motion blog,

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Posted in Fairs, Hong Kong, Market watch, Recession, Russian | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Three recession strategies for selling art in Shanghai – Shanghai Daily

Posted by artradar on April 20, 2009


CHINESE ART MARKET

Art galleries are hooking up with hotels, art projects are on hold, and artists are printing fine art onto silk scarves. Just about everyone in the art world is compromising in the economic downturn, reports Wang Jie for the Shangai Daily.

ShContemporary art fair

There’s speculation that ShContemporary will take a break this year but this has not yet been confirmed and the fair began active media promotion last month.

“No comments, but more details will be given later,” says Gu Zhihua, director of the organizing committee of Shanghai Art Fair, and the Chinese partner of ShContemporary.

Last month, Gu and his team began media promotion and planning for the 2009 Shanghai Art Fair scheduled for September at ShanghaiMart – a half year earlier than usual.

“We will try to find buyers for galleries coming to our fair,” says Gu tersely. “The size of the fair won’t be reduced, it still covers 24,000 square meters.”

 Galleries partner with hotels

Dealers are making moves to show their works in hotels including the Hilton, Renaissance and 5 star Shanghai Xijiao State Guest House to broaden exposure to their works and attract new buyers.

“A five-star hotel could be a helpful venue,” says Zhang of Simply Noble Gallery. “I want to give more exposure to the art in my gallery instead of locking them in the warehouse” due to hard times.

 He might be onto something. Hotel guests are mainly businessmen and tourists who aren’t visiting to satisfy their aesthetic sense, but a picture might just catch their fancy.

At the Hilton, enquiries have already been made about some of the works on show from their local gallery partner.

Cheaper products

The Hilton Shanghai has also developed some art side-products, such as postcards and albums. Other art products being sold by artists in Shanghai include art dolls, limited edition silk screen prints and scarves.  

For full article read Shanghai Daily: Can’t afford a multi-million yuan canvas? How about a silk scarf? Apr 2009

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Posted in Fairs, Galleries, Market watch, Recession | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Shanghai art fair goes ahead despite advice to cancel

Posted by artradar on March 17, 2009


SHANGHAI ART FAIR

The Financial Times reports that

Lorenzo Rudolf, one of the founders of ShContemporary, the Shanghai fair, has resigned as director after the event’s Italian owners ignored his advice to cancel this year’s event. The fair is going ahead, September 10-13.

Replacing him is the Beijing-based curator Colin Chinnery, previously deputy director at China’s first independent art space, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing. Chinnery was one of four senior staff who left UCCA, said insiders, because its owner/founder, the Belgian foodstuffs mogul Guy Ullens, wanted financial targets to be met earlier than initially planned.

Meanwhile, Rudolf has been hired to spearhead international development at the French company that owns Art Paris-Abu Dhabi, the art fair held every November in the Emirate.

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Related categories: Art fairs, market watch

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Mei Moses art index founder plans Chinese version, optimistic about Chinese art

Posted by artradar on March 10, 2009


CHINESE ART PRICES

The current state of Chinese art prices was discussed  before members of the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of China who had gathered at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) to hear a dialogue between UCCA director Jerome Sans and Cheung Kong GSB professor  Mei Jianping.

Mei Jianping is founder of the Mei Moses art index. Using a database of over 15,000 art pieces drawn from publicly available Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction prices, the Mei-Moses index demonstrates that investments in quality art, in the long term, deliver higher returns than bonds and gold. The index has received criticisms from some quarters for survivor-biassed results  – the index only tracks the prices of works which sell and ignores works which remain unsold. Supporters point out that stock market indices are similarly biassed and ignore companies which drop out of the index or go bankrupt. Despite these contrary views, the index remains one of the most widely referenced indices by press sources.

Professor Mei noted that

art prices frequently track the economic development of the artist’s home culture, citing how most American art from the 1950s has dramatically increased in value since. He then went on to describe prices at the peak of the Chinese art market last year as artificially high, buoyed by speculation.

Director Sans noted that

  • any trend with 10 years of momentum behind it cannot be regarded as mere hype
  • half of the top 20 selling artists in the world are Chinese
  • no collection or retrospective of contemporary art today would be complete without one or two Chinese artists which is a dramatic change from a decade ago.

At the conclusion of the talk Mei Jan-Ping affirmed his belief that the “long-term prospects for Chinese art as an investment, in spite of the current economic climate, were great”. He is sufficiently optimistic  about the long term interest of the Chinese people in the art market that according to Chinese Radio International he is now working on a Chinese version of his index.
Source: Cheung Kong GSB News 

Related categories: market watch, art index, Chinese art, art recession

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