[intro]This Dealer Doesn’t See the Tragedy in the Art World’s Contraction[/intro]
The number of articles currently circulating about the demise of New York’s Contemporary market amazes me. Art market writers are shocked by the number of ‘Cutting Edge’ Contemporary galleries that are closing and Charlie Finch, in his recent piece on ArtNet titled Will Collector’s Step Forward?, came up with an idea that made me say: What!?
Mr. Finch proposed the following in order to save the New York market:
There are many collectors who still have cash and who are not dependent on selling their collections to keep the wolf from the door. What is needed is for these fortunate folks to step forward publicly in a new kind of alliance which will target struggling galleries and artists for rescue. High-profile collector-curated shows of work that they already own, in which these collectors would publicly sell desirable work at a loss, subsidizing dealers and even giving a resale percentage to the artists who created the work, would be an excellent start.
WOW … an art dealer/artist bailout package supported by people who bought into the crazy hype in the first place — how nice! Look, the Contemporary art world does not need private individuals to save it, what it does need is a cleansing … and right now this particular segment is getting a much needed high colonic.
During every art market boom cycle we see numerous people jump on the ‘art dealer band wagon’. They think it is easy money: rent a space, paint the walls white, hire some staff and get some art. And when the money is flowing, and the hype is going, most of them can make a go of it. The real problem is that many of these people had no business being in the art world — and most had no idea what makes a work of art good or bad. Not to mention that some of the artists they represented had no business being in the market.
Now people should cry for them? Sorry, but I am not one of those people.
The cleansing of the Contemporary art market is here and was long overdue. I do feel bad for some of the good galleries that will be swept away, along with most of the artists since they were just pawns in an art world chess game … many being used by these so-called ‘art dealers’ to make a quick buck. Those artists who have the talent will be picked up by more established galleries … the others will have to wait until the next boom arrives; and we all know that will happen. It is time that buyers stop listening to the hype and start using their eyes and brains. So many people bought works by artists with little ‘real’ talent because they were told it was the thing to do; those people are now feeling the pain — at least from a financial perspective. However, those buyers who bought because they loved the piece (not strictly for financial gain) will continue to cherish their art even if, for the time being, its value has decreased.
-Howard L. Rehs