Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hot ART Market Cools...OFF!

Photo : ''Cooling Off'' by Ruben Natal-San Miguel , Boston 2007

ARTmostfierce is beginning to sound like a broken record but, since Miami Art Basel everybody involved in business and art like mua knew what we are experiencing now ....recession?
I think that the Art businesses are fighting back by offering shows with several editions at different price points and offering what is considered to many as Classic Modern Good Investments vs Emerging Trendy Overpriced With Questionable Value.

Now where does that leave the second category ...back to the drawing board or to school to obtain a MFA to achieve validation and wait for the next flourishing of the ART market?

Most galleries right now are starting to showcase a new and fresh approach towards the public by bringing in better quality shows with the right goods and content not to mention, a more realistic and affordable price tag .

Please see below an article from Crain's Business New York by Miriam Kreinin Souccar .

The art market frenzy that made art students into stars overnight, spawned scores of fairs around the world and turned young investment bankers into major collectors may be coming to an end.
For the first time in years, New York dealers are reporting weaker sales, hesitant buyers and difficulty keeping up with the high rents in Chelsea, the center of the New York art scene. A few galleries in the bustling neighborhood are already subletting space to make ends meet, and insiders are concerned that some of the 400 galleries there could fail.
“Everyone is feeling a slowdown,” says Michel Allen, owner of an eponymous gallery in Chelsea. “People are still buying, but it's a much more difficult sale.”
Sales were down 10% overall for Ms. Allen this past fall over the previous year and sales in certain segments of her business, like photography, have stopped altogether.
Sundaram Tagore, whose Chelsea gallery represents hot international artists like Hiroshi Senju and Natvar Bhavsar, says sales in January fell around 25% from the same time last year. And David Maupin, of the Lehmann Maupin gallery in Chelsea and the Lower East Side, has reported a 50% drop in sales of work by younger artists whose pieces sell for less than $20,000, and a decline in sales of works priced at less than $100,000.
“Things just aren't selling in a certain range,” Mr. Maupin says. “Last year was very different at this time.”
Cold feet
Collectors have cold feet for a number of reasons, dealers say. But the most prevalent factor is the overall economic downturn, especially on Wall Street, where a lot of the new buyers have been coming from. Those newly minted millionaires, who now face shrinking bonuses or layoffs, were the ones spending wildly for emerging or midrange art.
To be sure, there is still a lot of money circulating in the art market. Many dealers say that though the frenzied buying has died down, they are having no trouble selling their most expensive pieces. There are now so many collectors around the world that losses from Wall Street collectors can easily be replaced by sales to entrepreneurs in Hong Kong.
“While the American population is holding back from acquiring more artwork, a lot of our clients living in Asia are acquiring more,” Mr. Tagore says.
Still, many gallery owners are anxiously awaiting sales results from The Armory Show, the city's biggest contemporary art fair, which runs March 27 through March 30.
Mixed results
Other recent fairs have had mixed results. The Art Show, a prestigious, 20-year-old fair sponsored by the Art Dealers Association of America, which ran in Manhattan from Feb. 21 through Feb. 25, attracted only 10,000 visitors this year, down from last year's 15,000. Still, according to Linda Blumberg, executive director of the ADAA, a number of the participating galleries sold out their booths.
Dealers who exhibited at both the Palm Beach 3 contemporary art fair and Art Basel in Miami this year say times have definitely changed. Mr. Tagore says he didn't make a sale until the last afternoon at Palm Beach. “Last year there was a frenzy. This year people were dragging their feet,” he says.
Michael Sellinger, a principal at Cottelston Advisors who produces a show in conjunction with Art Basel called Mash, says clients wanted to delay payments on works.
To stay afloat during the uncertainty, some gallery owners are cutting costs and even sharing their space. Kathleen Cullen started renting out a room in her 2,000-square-foot Chelsea gallery last October, shaving a third off of her $6,500-a-month rent. Ms. Cullen is considering taking on a second tenant.
She predicts that galleries in Chelsea will close if the downturn continues. “The number will be edited down,” Ms. Cullen says. “Before, everyone wanted to be a gallerist because it was considered a glamorous profession.”


Mike @ MAO said...

Hey Ruben...
Nice post..
But..It sounds like you want to join the Art Market Death Watch Cheerleading Squad!!

I'll let Ed Winkleman know.. he'll send you the application!

Anonymous said...

Dear Artmostfierce:

Since the market is down (or going there) is it a good time to invest?

Your fan,

Pepe said...

Is that Leslie?

ruben said...

The Girl on the photo is one of the leaders of the ARTmostfierce Motorcade Mafia.

MAO: Tell Ed that I am ready!
Tonight I will work on my presentation routine...hehe

angelo said...

I guess I will have to show my small works of art....small and personal.
I guess I will be able to say I am not a size queen.