Sam Gilliam's Moment, Pat Stier's Big Commission, and Jeffrey Deitch Back in LA
Art Fairs Can Help GalleriesDutch academic economist Olav Velthuis has an opinion piece in the New York Times blaming art fairs for the structural stresses on middle market galleries. Let’s break it down: Why does Velthuis think smaller galleries are closing?
- “Art fairs are [to blame], to a large extent. Because of the recent changes in how art is viewed and bought, smaller and midsize galleries are in a vicious bind: How can they possibly participate in the fairs? At the same time, how can they not?”
- “Almost half of all gallery sales are nowadays conducted at the fairs, up 16 percentage points from 2010. Gallery owners on average participate in five fairs a year. Not because they like them so much as because they have to.”
- “Few buyers still make the effort to visit galleries in city centers on a Saturday afternoon. In droves they now go to the fairs, where they can view a swath of art in little time and socialize at the much-coveted V.I.P. openings and afterparties.”
- “the major art fairs should acknowledge that the nature of artist representation is changing and that the traditional model of a fixed gallery is losing legitimacy, in large part, ironically, because of the popularity of the fairs. A concomitant decrease in gallery visitor numbers has led several art dealers to turn to alternative, hybrid or nomadic galleries that depart from the traditional model centered around a fixed, expensive, exhibition space. The biggest art fairs should relax their admission criteria and open up their events to more curators and directors behind these new gallery models.”
…But Transfer Fees Won’tWe lost our patience with Velthuis and his argument when he trotted out this idea:
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