These projects were previously seen as demonstrations of an artist’s ideas or ambitions that would attract the attention of curators and board members at the kinds of institutions that had the space to put them on display.
In conversations with ArtBasel’s director, Marc Speigler, the FT discovered the market for these extra-large works is now driven by private buyers:
For most galleries, the dream is still to get their artist into a public collection like that of MoMA or Tate — but it is private museums like Tek’s that are driving the market. According to Speigler, nowadays most buyers at Unlimited are private individuals. Last year, Hauser & Wirth sold all four of the works it exhibited. Three were bought by private collectors — a film by Martin Creed, Pierre Hughe’s “Cambrian Explosion” and a room-sized installation of paintings by Jakub Julian Ziolkowski — and the fourth, Zhang Enli’s “Space Painting”, went to the K11 Art Foundation, a non-profit museum in Hong Kong.