The dominant trope surrounding Frieze this year is the prevailing sense of amazement that the Contemporary art market not only exists but seems to be stable and solid. The Independent marvels that Christie’s will be selling a Damien Hirst work for millions of pounds (we’ll see won’t we?) but finds the fair healthy:
The 2010 Frieze Art Fair is the largest yet, with 173 galleries from 29 countries setting their stalls in Regent’s Park. In a sign of increased stability, the fair had more applications than ever before and this year welcomes new additions from as far afield as New York and New Zealand.
Reuters asks Robert Read for a neutral opinion:
“It is a much more stable, steady business than it was, and hopefully that will be better for dealers and collectors,” said Robert Read, fine art expert at specialist insurer Hiscox. “I think the correction has been good. It’s all very exciting having things soaring out of control, but it will always be shortlived.”
Bloomberg’s Scott Reyburn has Read adding that based upon his insurance valuations of nearly half of the booths at Frieze, most pieces at the fair will be priced well below $100,000. Reyburn also talks to a gallerist who describes which artists have defended their values well:
“Collectors are looking for artists who didn’t nosedive in the last couple of years and for those who people are talking about,” said David Maupin, director of the New York-based gallery Lehmann Maupin, one of the fair’s established exhibitors. “There’s been a cleansing. Buyers want quality and value.”
And Frieze’s organizers express surprise that more galleries have not gone out of business:
At a quietly expensive lunch to launch the 2010 fair, co-director Matthew Slotover was cautiously optimistic. “I have no crystal ball but certainly in the art market, things have settled down,” he said. “Very few galleries have closed. It’s surprising, but the economy seems to be buoyant enough.”