The New York Times has been pushing the idea, for a year or so, that the global art market must be facing an inevitable reckoning. It began with 2016’s slowdown in auction volume. The paper continues with its steady questioning of whether buyers will want art in the age of Trump.
The problem with the Times’s single-minded premise—the art market can only be binary, up or down—is that the paper is blinded to possibility of more complex turns in the global trend toward placing value in works of art.
“Art is a transcontinental commodity,” said William Weston, a specialist dealer in modern prints, who was at Phillips on the evening of Jan. 19 for the auction house’s eighth “Editions” sale of prints in London. “Nationalism won’t harm its trading position. It won’t affect the market in New York or London. Americans won’t stop buying David Hockney because he’s a British artist.”