Here’s a story we’ve seen several variations on–the committed collectors v. flipping speculators–finally get a new twist. Beyond the hoary art-world chestnut where everyone is a connoisseur who buys for love, the Financial Times finds a group of young buyers who are pooling their resources to own works in common, it’s called The Collective (get it?):
“The recession has witnessed a withdrawal of the more aspirational type of collector attracted to contemporary art as a ‘brand’,” says Paul Hobson, director of the Contemporary Art Society, a London-based group that offers education programmes for art collectors. Those with smaller budgets, Hobson points out, may be evaluating potential acquisitions more carefully, but they’re still spending.[…]
Collector Lucy Meakin, 32, says she is “certainly having to be more cautious” – but that she has recently taken money out of the stock market and put it into art she loves, including a boldly-coloured geometric gouache by Op Art artist Bridget Riley, which hangs in the living room of her west London flat. […]
A quieter market means that one of the major hurdles for novice collectors – the fear of being intimidated in the white space of a commercial gallery – has been diminished. Individuals interested in getting into the art market have chosen “a very good time because anybody who you will ask for information has more time to talk to you”, says Candida Gertler, founder of the Outset Contemporary Art Fund.
Collectors’ groups and education programmes pitched at the introductory end of the market are still attracting new members. An example is The Collective, a London-based group whose members make regular contributions to a joint fund for purchasing works, which are then rotated among members.
Collecting groups offer buyers the chance to live with art at a lower financial risk. Paul Tanner, a founder of The Collective, says its members made a “conscious decision” to avoid buying works for quick resales, so “the current economic downturn doesn’t mean we should be put off”. And visiting galleries and artists’ studios in groups offers novices security they might not have on their own.
Youth Training Scheme (Financial Times)