Can art dealers evolve beyond the gallery-space owning model into something different? That’s beginning to be a concept for survival in the coming art crunch. Here’s Colin Gleadell’s take on the concept from the Telegraph:
The proliferation of art and antique dealers’ fairs has been one of the chief characteristics of the art boom, but will they succumb to the pressures of a recession? Sales were noticeably weaker at the recent leading contemporary art fairs, Frieze and Art Basel Miami Beach, and last month it was announced that the 13-year-old International Asian Art Fair, due to be held in New York in March, had been cancelled. Exhibitors were “in panic mode”, said its London-based organiser Anna Haughton, “so we decided to put it on hold”.
But the fair phenomenon, which grew out of the need for dealers to compete with the ever-expanding range of the auction rooms, is now deeply entrenched as a concept for convenient one-stop shopping and has become a key source of income for dealers. Some even think that doing fairs is more important than keeping an art gallery or antique shop open. [emphasis added]
So, although there may now be too many fairs, and some may fall by the wayside, those that adapt to the new economic reality can survive. [ . . . ]
In New York, the Outsider Art Fair this month and the Works on Paper fair in February are going ahead as planned, and all 70 stands for the American Art Dealers’ Association fair, The Art Show, next month have been booked, with a waiting list in case anyone drops out. For the time being, at least, it looks as if dealers are backing the fairs, and that the cancellation of the International Asian Art Fair is just an isolated case.
All’s Fair As Crunch Bites (Telegraph)