The Photo District News points to an interesting element in yesterday’s very successful sale of large-scale Eggleston prints. The prints were meant to attract Contemporary art collectors as opposed to photography collectors. The sale’s success would suggest this was a very smart strategy and raises the question, who will make the next move to further exploit the growing importance of photo-based Contemporary art?
According to Joshua Holdeman, international director of the Christie’s photography department, the point of the sale was to establish a new market for Eggleston’s photography in the contemporary art world. “Eggleston has been kind of stuck in the old school world of the photography collectors for a long time, whose primary concerns are about process, print type, print date, etcetera,” says Holdeman.
Whereas the type of print and the exact date a print was made is “a huge deal” for photography collectors, Holdeman says, “for contemporary art collectors it’s much more about the object itself—they couldn’t care if it’s a dye transfer or a pigment print or whatever, as long as the object itself is totally amazing, that’s what they care about.”
“This is an attempt to start a migration of Eggleston from the quote unquote confines of the photography world into the larger context of the art world,” Holdeman adds. By his account, the market-making auction was a stunning success. “I think it was probably the most important event for Eggleston in a long, long time,” he says.