Scott Reyburn had an important interview with Adam Lindemann at ArtBasel. Important because Lindemann said something publicly that many won’t acknowledge, the growing power of private collectors usurping the roles of both dealers and museums. The future of the art market and the future of art may be much better for this but the transition will cause a ruckus. Here’s Lindemann in Reyburn’s Bloomberg article:
“The market has split. It’s bipolar,” said Lindemann. “There’s no middle market money any more. There’s the affordable stuff, and there’s a top tier of trophy works priced at $1 million up. Anything in between is in no man’s land.”
“Power” collectors such as Don and Mera Rubell, Dakis Joannou and Francois Pinault have changed the art market during the last decade, Lindemann said. Wealthy individuals are holding shows of emerging artists before they are discovered by dealers, striking fear into the exhibition programs of cash-strapped museums, he said.
“The private foundations have taken on such momentum that the museums are afraid of them,” said Lindemann, 48, wearing an open-necked shirt, blazer and cream slacks. […]
Rising prices for established artists also reduced opportunities for museums to acquire the works to boost visitor numbers. Rather than donate valuable pieces to public institutions, many collectors will create their own museums, like the Beyeler Foundation in Basel, currently showing a Basquiat exhibition. One of its star works — the 1982 painting “Untitled (Devil)” — is owned by Lindemann.
“There’s room for a lot more private museums,” he said. “Perhaps one day, if I’m lucky enough to have the right works, I might even have my own ‘Beyeler.”