You know we’re in an art boom when the dealers start complaining that too much money is chasing bad art. That’s a phrase we heard a lot in 2007. The subtext was almost always Damien Hirst and his astonishing success. This, of course, was before Hirst’s incredibly popular 2012 retrospective at the Tate Modern, which curiously came after Hirst’s market was pummeled by the dual body blows of the massive Beautiful Inside My Head Forever sale and the global credit crisis.
In the South China Morning Post, David Zwirner echoes the market from nearly a decade ago. This time, however, it is not immediately apparent which artist or artists he feels are drawing too much money:
The art market veteran predicts 2016 will be “complicated”.
“America has an election – that’s not good, there’s instability there. The auction houses are very weak right now. Chinese economy is decelerating. All kinds of external pointers suggest we will have a rougher year,” he said.
This was a good time for the art market to focus on quality again, he said. “One problem in the art market is too much art that maybe is not of the greatest quality, but fetches too high a price,” Zwirner said.
Artists who had relied on the support of auction results alone would see their works become less popular compared with those who had “real careers”, he said. “If you get a show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York or the Tate Gallery in London, and they acquire your work, then one can assume that your career is real. That’s an objective criteria,” he said.
Top art dealer David Zwirner looking to open gallery in Hong Kong (South China Morning Post)