New York Magazine’s Jerry Saltz Conjures Up the Good and Bad of Potential Market Crash
Art and the Art Market are two different things. Jerry Saltz sees a purging of the market as the best opportunity for art itself. Though he doesn’t use the metaphor, he’s thinking of the regenerative powers of a good forest fire:
Recessions are hard on people, but they are not hard on art. The forties, seventies, and the nineties, when money was scarce, were great periods, when the art world retracted but it was also reborn. New generations took the stage; new communities spawned energy; things opened up; deadwood washed away.
That’s the good. Here‘s the bad:
If the art economy is as bad as it looks—if worse comes to worst—40 to 50 New York galleries will close. Around the same number of European galleries will, too. An art magazine will cease publishing. A major fair will call it quits [. . . .] Museums will cancel shows because they can’t raise funds. Art advisers will be out of work.
And maybe this is just a little . . . snobbish:
But my Schadenfreude side wishes a pox on the auction houses, those shrines to the disconnect between the inner life of art and the outer life of commerce. [ . . . ] Additionally, I hope many of the speculators who never really cared about art will go away. Either way, money will no longer be the measure of success. It hasn’t made art better. It made some artists—notably Hirst, Murakami, Prince, and maybe Piotr Ukla´nski—shallower.
The art market has seen a huge influx of participants over the last ten years. That’s a good thing. Art has become important to more people who devote more resources toward it allowing more artists, dealers, curators, advisors and, even, critics to make a living in the art economy. A by-product of that expanded art economy is the fact there are more buyers and sellers. There’s more exchange; and more room for speculation. In a broader art market, there has to be room for fellow travelers and enthusiasts, buyers who like art but don’t worship at the alter.
Freeze After the Frieze (New York Magazine)