Don’t Count Some of the Spenders Out, Predict Spiegel Online and the Financial Times
Der Spiegel comes out swinging with a gleefully negative take on the art market. Much of the negativity is based on the spurious trick of pointing to the sale of a single work by an artist and wondering how or why other works failed to reach the same price. But then the story takes an odd turn toward the unexpected:
But regardless of the crisis, one group remains very relaxed — the new Russian art lovers. They are also the ones maintaining Miami’s art show tradition of glamorous parties. Maybe the glossy show is just financed by money on loan, but at least they don’t let the downturn spoil their moods.
(More predictions of spending after the jump.)
23-year-old Maria Baibakowa, for example, invited “friends from across the world” to her party in Florida. The millionaire’s daughter from Moscow is an art historian and oversees her father Oleg Baibakowa’s collection. In December, she will open her own art showroom in an old chocolate factory under the name “Red October.” She says that the opening will be big, even by Moscow’s standards. She embodies a new generation of Russian collectors which enjoys life and art but avoids making rash purchases. She suspects that the crisis in the art world will echo that of the financial world — but with a six month time lag: “in February, the prices could really fall.” The only thing that really bothers her is that the quality of the works on offer could decline.
There will be winners from the crisis — tempting times are afoot for the buyers who have not lost much of their wealth. Art has become more affordable. The gallerist Iwan Wirth recalls the crash of 1991. Back then he was new to the business and managed to acquire some of his best works. Now, 17 years later, new opportunities have arisen: “The current art market situation opens up amazing chances. We bought some major works during fall auctions in New York.” And Miami? “The show in Miami will be the litmus test. As the speculators hold back, the art show will be a dream for serious collectors and they won’t let the opportunity pass them by.” He adds that a “buyers market” has developed overnight.
Over at the Financial Times, the take is more benign:
Art Basel Miami has transcended the clubby art world to become a social magnet for the monied and cultured – as well as those who just love a party – and a big marketing opportunity for luxury goods makers, with hundreds of dinners, product launches, panel discussions and general schmoozing taking place over the five days.
More than 43,000 people attended last year’s fair, and thousands more travelled to Miami to attend the host of satellite fairs that have sprung up. The whole event has become so important to the economy of Miami that the show’s owner, the Swiss exhibitions company Messe Schweiz, has taken a stake in the Miami Beach Convention Center.
However, as the news sinks in that the six-year boom in art prices has stalled on the heels of the global financial crisis, there are signs that the world’s most entertaining art fair will feel the downturn too. Exhibitors and sponsors, who committed to the event months or even years ago, are under markedly greater financial constraints than at last year’s buoyant spare-no-expenses fair, and collectors have finally pulled back their spending on artworks too.
Same Artists, Same Collectors, Less Champagne (Spiegel Online)
Art Basel Miami Beach Set to Party On (Financial Times)