The Global Post checks in with some Chinese Contemporary Art dealers to find out what’s happening in the market every expected to collapse:
Fabien Fryns, who runs the F2 gallery in Caochangdi village on the outskirts of Beijing, does not look like a man who is worried about the financial crisis. “The middle has dropped out of the market,” said Fryns, discretely smoking a cigar in the gallery’s voluminous interior garden, “but the top and the bottom are both strong.” What is “the middle”? Pieces from $30,000 to $500,000, according to Fryns. […]
The recession’s impact on real estate speculation connected to art may be a different story. Beijing’s dazzling Today Art Museum, the city’s first independent museum focusing on contemporary art, will probably succeed. But a flashy nearby gallery complex known as 22 Art Plaza International, which had intended to capitalize on the museum’s attraction, stands largely empty.
Fryns said F2 and other leading galleries prefer the more remote location at Caochangdi, because the space is reasonable, and there is a lot of it. A collector who has flown to Beijing, ready to spend a million dollars or more on a painting, has no difficulty finding the location.
“We don’t get the drop-in crowd, the casual passers-by, the young couple with cameras, but that is not what we’re looking for,” Fryns said.
Add to the Global Post’s report this information from The Art Newspaper’s story on the Chinese Contemporary market by Chris Gill:
In June, Shanghai’s Eastlink gallery—one of the country’s longest surviving contemporary galleries—opened a new 700 sq. m space in Beijing. The Chinese capital and other regions will also receive huge investments to stimulate “creative industries”—an umbrella term which includes the arts. Under this programme, said Dong Menyang, director of the Art Beijing fair, “the Beijing government has also set aside Rmb1bn ($146m) to promote cultural industry development.”
In Shanghai, the smaller art scene has survived the crisis in slightly better shape than Beijing, partly because of the effect of multi-billion dollar investments ahead of next year’s Shanghai World Expo, when the city expects 70 million visitors in a six-month period. Among the galleries which have moved in, anticipating a boost in business, are Magda Danysz of Paris, which took over the running of the rebranded 18Gallery on Shanghai’s Bund district in late June, and Hangzhou’s White Manor gallery, which released tens of thousands of rare butterflies from China’s Yunnan province in the centre of Shanghai as part of its opening show by artist Song Tang.
Gill does close with this word of caution:
Recovery is by no means general in the art market, however. In Beijing’s troubled 798 art district, artists have been on protracted rent-strike against high studio fees, according to founding artist Huang Rui, who is no longer a resident. The area has also suffered a spate of break-ins, with galleries losing computers and suffering smashed windows.
Chinese Art–Not a Bust (Global Post)
Is China Ready to Recover? (The Art Newspaper)