Art Fairs Can Help Galleries
Dutch 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?”
What’s his evidence?
- “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.”
It is not clear where that data comes from, possibly Clare McAndrew’s Art Basel report cited earlier in the essay. What about gallery shows?
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