Bloomberg BusinessWeek has an interview issue coming out and one of the subjects is David Zwirner who used to view the idea that his kids would go into the art business—as he did following his own father—warily. Now he’s all for it and thinks there’s a bright future:
Do you think New York’s Chelsea or the art world in general has become too corporate?
The art world—with the exception of Sotheby’s, which is a publicly traded company—has no corporations. This is a pretty fantastic industry. We’re moving real money. But we’re basically family-owned businesses that are free to react quickly. The art galleries have gotten bigger but not more corporate. We do a lot of silly stuff that shareholders wouldn’t let us do. Like building a ridiculously gorgeous, expensive, and over-the-top building.
The business has been on a roller coaster in recent years. Can you shed some light on that?
The art world has been almost ridiculously resilient. If I compare what happened in 2008 and 2009 to what happened in ’91 and ’92, it’s like night and day. We had very good years in 2008/2009. They were good enough for us to take a big risk and buy this property. And we’ve had record years since. The art market is not just the trade of goods, it’s a lifestyle. People will sell their stocks and their bonds, because it’s just money. Their paintings, their relationships in the art world, are much more than that.
Dealer David Zwirner on the Art Market and Collectors Like Steve Cohen (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)