Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Party's Over

Contrary to the naysayers, over the past couple of years I have continued to be optimistic about the art market, always realizing that eventually the party had to end.

Well, the party is over and I expect that the art market, both the auction markets and the retail markets are entering a period of severe contraction similar to the one experienced in the early part of the 1990's.

Housing starts overlaid with recessionary periods, since 1959.

The art market tends to follow the trend of the US economy often with a time lag of roughly one year. As I write this, the US economy has been contracting since about the start of the year and should remain weak into mid 2009. The world economic situation is severely compromised and vast amounts of wealth have gone to money heaven. This is not the kind of environment which fosters a vibrant art market.

Short and sweet, but I'll answer questions.


C. L. DeMedeiros said...

how all this translate in the art market for an emerging artist?
how to survive now with recession>?

George said...

If the art market slows down, obviously sales will be more difficult, but the opportunities to exhibit should remain about the same especially in the non-commercial venues.

You ask, "how to survive now with recession?" I guess the real question is how to survive at all, but somehow everyone seems to figure out how to do it.

Feneon said...

As the Sage might say: this is another of the systems regular shake outs. if you have means to continue you may not notice the destruction so much. If you do not, you may find the lifestyle less romantic. Eviction is not fun.
This is the point when commitment is defined.
Read "The girl with the Gallery" by Lindsay Pollock,
the section where Edith is trying to run a gallery during the great depression. and good luck
(link to review)

George said...

I also write a fairly esoteric blog on finance and the current economic conditions are unique in the last century for their complexity which makes it hard to predict with any precision how the average man on the street will be affected.

However, one does not need to go back as far as the Great Depression to find possible parallels. The Oil Crisis of the 1970's killed what had been the first robust art market since WWII and kept a damper on any expansion until the start of the 1980's. Closer to us in time, the recession in the early 1990's had a very negative affect on the art-world sales.

Regardless, these periodic down cycles are good in the sense that they tend to purge the art-world of the kind of excesses we have seen in the last few years. In my opinion when excessive amounts of money start chasing after the "latest new thing" it acts as a corrupting influence on artists, money becomes a heightened focus at the expense of of everything else.