Kathryn Tully was in the audience during our panel on the future of the art market “In Times of Volatility” at ArtBasel with Wilbur Ross, Jeffrey Deitch and Steven Tananbaum. She caught Ross’s answer to the question of how art was likely to fare during the next phase of the global economy:
“Collecting is a highly contagious, incurable disease. I think art in general will be fine, but selectivity is going to become more and more of an issue as we get into a less permissive [economic] environment,” said Wilbur L Ross Jr, one of the top art collections in the US, during an Art Basel talk about how the art market was performing in these more volatile economic times.
Tully also stopped by Kenny Schachter’s talk on art flipping where she heard him make this observation on why flipping tends to be a transitory phase:
“There was a brief period over the last couple of years when there was an arbitrage between the cost of art in the primary market and the cost of art in the secondary market,” he said. “There was a group of speculators that made money, but it was a game of musical chairs and then the music stopped, abruptly.”
He said that it was not natural for artists who had only been working for a couple of years to sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, so the correction had been inevitable, adding that people who buy on rising prices, rather than the importance and quality of an artist’s work, are the ones that are burnt. “When people think they can get in and out of the art market for a quick, financial hit, it’s a misguided enterprise from the get-go.”