Patricia by Patricia

Patricia by Patricia
Patricia by Patricia

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Big Art Big Bucks

Andy Warhol's "Double Elvis" sold for $37 million
Lichtenstein's "Sleeping Girl," depicting a woman with closed eyes and flowing blond hair, fetched $44,882,500;
Francis Bacon's "Figure Writing Reflected in Mirror" — sold for $44,882,500.
Edvard Munch's "The Scream" for $119.9 million

You add these and many many more similar auction sales and this explains how sales of art in auction in 2011 have come back to the $31 billion level that they attained in 2007 after the dip in 2008/9/10. To put that in context, in the early nineties, sales were only in the hundreds of millions. We owe this current upsurge to the China and Asian markets. These figures comes from the cultural economist Clare McAndrew in a report for the European Fine Art Foundation. Sotheby’s just announced that sale in the May 2012 evening sale were $266,591,000.

How do those sales further break down? Peter Schjeldahl explains it in his New York article, All is Fairs. Modern and Contemporary art now accounts for 70% of art sold world wide. China then the US followed by the UK and a far fourth France are the nationalities that are buying. Half the sales happen in the auction houses like Christies and Sothebys but another $30 billion takes place in about 380,000 galleries and private dealers. Those two big figures, if you have not already done the math total over $60 billion a year in 2011.

I like this quote from Sarah Nicole Prickett in her article The rise and rise of the art fair in the Globe and Mail, “To see how art reaches the museum, the canon, you have to go to the fairs. I do not know if you can understand art without understanding the price of it. I suppose you could stick to an old-fashioned snob's dislike of art fairs, but that would be like eating meat, you know, without ever going to the butcher's shop.”

Private dealers do 31% of their business now in art fairs. Another quick calculation and you find a bit under $20 billion is spent for art at art fairs. Figures are not in for this year’s Frieze Art Fair at its first time in New York, but I think we can expect it to be over the $200 million that was made at the 2007 Frieze London. Amanda Sharp with and Matthew Slotover are the producers of the Frieze Art Fair and she says that 80 percent of the 45,000 visitors don’t buy art, but the arrival of this fair in the US heralds a change for New York. Although they had 10 other art fairs in March, none were on the scale or with the quality of Frieze.

Ann Berchtold who produced Art San Diego Contemporary Fair has followed the model of Frieze with focus on individual artists and specially curated spaces. The SD Art Prize at the fair is one very good example of this showcase of excellence. Last year, we managed for the first time with the help of sales of work by Adam Belt and Jay Johnson, to almost finance the prize for 2012.

You can see emerging artists nominated for the SD Art Prize at New Contemporaries V at Susan Street Fine Art Gallery opening on Thursday June 7th, 2012 from 6pm-9pm showing from June 2 to July 3, 2012
Shawnee Barton, Lauren Carerra, Noah Doely, Rob Duarte, Alexander Jarman, Anna Lavatelli, Lee M. Lavy, Ingram Ober, Vincent Robles, Deanne Sabeck, David Leon Smith, Brian Zimmerman
200 North Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach, CA 92075 More info: Melissa Stager 858.793.4442

You can see the SD Art Prize 2012 show at Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair Sept 6-9, 2012
Arline Fisch with emerging artist to be announced on June 7 and Jeffery Laudenslager with emerging artist to be announced on June 7, Balboa Park Activity Center, 2145 Park Boulevard, San Diego 92101