Home » Troubled Economy: Good for Art?

Troubled Economy: Good for Art?

Is the economic shakedown the best thing that could have happened to the art world?

It seems that amid the upheaval and uncertainty, survivors will emerge and we reckon they will be old masters, mid-century and contemporary masters, as well as lesser-known, high quality works. Works that were representative of certain turns in the history of art, despite having fallen from favour. Witness the recent resurrection of the wonderful, and important artists Alice Neel, Elaine Sturtevant and Paul Thek, among others.

(A fantastic, weighty book on Thek is just out from MIT Press – click HERE)


Paul Thek, Meat Sculpture With Butterflies, 1966. Image: thebody.com

Not only because collectors are now demanding value for money – they may have cared more about flash and attitude a few years ago – but also, as Charlie Finch points out HERE, that America is seeing what he calls “the perfect storm”. Big American collectors are “desperate to invest devalued currency into artworks by the dead and aged, coming face-to-face with a slew of soon-to-be indicted moneybaggers, forced by either the law or necessity to sell their art collections.”

Meanwhile museums are resurrecting and recontextualising early greats – The Whitney Museum will show Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s early work this spring, and the AGO’s Surreal Things “offers a new perspective on the surrealists’ contentious and ambiguous relationship to the commercial fields of design, fashion, advertising, architecture, film and theatre.

ruby-lips-594.jpg
Salvador Dali, Ruby Lips brooch, 1949. Image: ago.net

Now is a great time for collectors to really inform themselves about art, to watch what’s happening, and to gather enough information themselves to determine which art stands out. This is the art to invest in.

6 Responses to “Troubled Economy: Good for Art?”

  1. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  2. Andrea says:

    American mega-collector Peter Brant on the current climate: I feel that it’s very important that artists realise that the world is what it is today and they have to adjust and not be unreasonable. [That means] scaling back projects that are not realistic in today’s economy and depending more on being creative and having brilliant ideas that don’t have to be executed in gold or platinum or diamonds.

    More from the Art Newspaper HERE – http://www.theartnewspaper.com/article.asp?id=17201

  3. Murray Quinn says:

    I always cringe when I see the word ‘invest’ when discussing collecting, since the vast majority of collectors will never realize any financial gain from their activities (and, in fact the opposite is typically the case!); however, your statement about informing ourselves, gathering information etc. is good advice in any economic climate.

  4. Bill says:

    Just buy what you genuinely respond to and you’ll not be disappointed, that’s my feeling.

  5. Murray Quinn says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with Bills sentiment; collecting needs to begin with some sort of visceral response to the work. And perhaps that is enough, but I believe that as a collector matures and his/her collection grows, there also comes an intrinsic need to refine your ‘taste’; consider (or reconsider) the scope of your collection, educate and challenge yourself, build relationships, foster your reputation, set goals and seek out the best. And then you absolutely will not be disappointed, either today ….or in the future.

  6. Bill says:

    What Murray says is true. What he is describing is a proper collection. There’s a difference between a collection and a bunch of paintings (or whatever) that don’t have anything in common (no matter what the price tags were). I guess it all depends on what you want to have happen to the works once you are gone. If you don’t really care, then just buy whatever you like; but if you want it to be viewed as a “collection” (by institutions you might want to donate to, for example) then you do have to approach things more methodically.

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