Over the next few weeks there will be many attempts to understand the “meaning” of this week’s orgy of contemporary art buying. What’s immediately clear is that the market is shifting even as it reconfirms some stalwart names like Rothko, Warhol, Koons and Basquiat. Kelly Crow this morning takes a brave stab at explaining some of the market’s movement away from Richter and toward some new names, especially brightly color abstract painters like Hans Hoffman:
Why did collectors sniff at the older offerings but giddily embrace the new? Dealers say the homogenization of international art tastes may have played a role. Colorful abstracts are popular now in part because they don’t require the nuanced cultural translations of Chinese scroll paintings or German Expressionist portraits. And at a time when other investment vehicles appear stagnant, collectors see a chance to profit by buying and selling newer artists whose price levels may still be rising.
Looking for new names to ride to profits is a flight from quality to works that have yet to appreciate. Record prices for Twombly works on paper and Diebenkorns may signal a new direction as buyers look for quality that has not already been bid to the skies.
Giddy Highs for Contemporary Art (Wall Street Journal)