Colin Gleadell gives many reasons to be fearful of the market for Contemporary art with reports of art fairs bereft of sales and soft secondary markets for new works:
Few sales have been reported at the contemporary art fairs in Shanghai and Berlin earlier this month. Frieze itself has had to fill gaps after 40 of last year’s exhibitors pulled out, and Art Basel Miami Beach, one of the three biggest contemporary art fairs, has faced similar problems with 60 of last year’s participants failing to sign up again.
Gleadell adds a few horror stories from the New York mid-season sales:
Conspicuous among the lower valued works were two which had been bought in 2005 at Art Futures, the annual event staged by the Contemporary Art Society which, as its name implies, encourages new collectors to enter the market with the confidence that works have been selected by a knowledgeable panel of experts. Both were estimated at $5,000 to $7,000, but one sold for $500 and the other for $250. Ouch!
At Phillips de Pury & Co’s newly styled Saturday sale, Now: Art of the 21st Century, held in London last week-end, barely half of the lots, some by artists never tested at auction before, found buyers.