Whitehot Magazine

March 2012: March/April Art Market Report


CHRISTIE'S "FIRST OPEN" POST-WAR & CONTEMPORARY sale took place March 7, totaling $10,621,000. 196 of 252 lots sold, 45 of which stemmed from the private collection of Peter Norton (of Norton computer software). Top lots included: a painting by Beatriz Milhazes sold for $626,500; "Blue Scream" by Edward Ruscha for $554,500; a work by Jim Hodges for $482,500; a triptych by Glenn Ligon for $350,500; and a piece by Wade Guyton for $350,500. Artists Elizabeth Peyton, Fred Tomaselli, Takashi Murakami, and David Hammons also garnered high prices.

ON MARCH 8TH PHILLIPS DE PURY & COMPANY held a contemporary auction that totaled $7,203,250—an impressive tally with numerous works selling for triple their estimates. Highlights included: "Untitled #426" by Cindy Sherman that fetched for $446,500; a work by Anselm Kiefer for $314,500; a Roy Lichtenstein painting for $302,500; a Dan Flavin sculpture for $302,500; and, a piece by Matthew Ritchie that fetched for $182,500 (est. $50–$70K).

THIS SPRING ICI LAUNCHED a series of six “Conversations” with contemporary art world experts. March 8th marked the first talk, "Building the Collection”, with renowned collector Howard Rachofsky and famed curator/advisor Allan Schwartzman. For more information, visit:  http://curatorsintl.org/events"http://curatorsintl.org/events

THE 14TH EDITION OF THE ARMORY SHOW ran March 8–11 under its new managing director Noah Horowitz (formerly at VIP Art Fair). The Armory Show attracted over 60,000 visitors (issuing some 11,500 VIP passes) to view 228 exhibitors (less 50 galleries than previous years). According to Art Market Monitor, the Modern section consisted of 71 exhibitors, while the Contemporary section presented 157 booths,"19 of which [were] in the Armory Focus, eleven in the Solo Projects and seven in the show’s ‘Not-for-Profit’ section. This section sold, during the opening sneak preview, a work by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson." Kjartansson was one of the highlighted artists of this year’s “Armory Focus: Nordic Countries”. 

    In terms of programming, VIP’s were treated to a slew of private collection tours and parties. In terms of public events, several panels took place during the fair in The Wall Street Journal Media Lounge. The panel titled "What is art worth NOW?" joined “Alexandra Peers, veteran New York culture writer and editor, moderat[ing] a discussion around these pressing questions with Victor Wiener, head of Victor Wiener Associates, LLC, an independent appraisal firm; Dorit Straus, Vice President, Worldwide Specialty Fine Art Manager, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies; art consultant and curator Todd Levin; and Adam Lindemann, collector of contemporary art and design.” They debated back and forth about the ever-shifting art market landscape—"a schizophrenic manifestation" of what the art market was and what it will be as skyrocketing prices reflect not just artists’ values but new pools of wealth and income discrepancy throughout the world.

    The not-for-profit, Art Investment Council (AIC), hosted a series of art market-related discussions in The WSJ lounge.  Marion Maneker of Art Market Monitor moderated a panel with dealer Richard Feigen, Artvest's Michael Plummer, Christie's Marc Porter, and advisor Allan Schwartzman on "Art Market Transparency & Auction Guarantees". Kelly Crow of The Wall Street Journal hosted a panel on "The Art Fund Landscape" with Prajit Dutta of Arts India Funds, Artvest Partner's Jeff Rabin, Reuters’ financial blogger, Felix Salmon, and Bruce Wilcox of Xiling Fund. Lastly, Judd Tully of Art + Auction discussed "Emerging Markets" with panelists whose expertise represents the four BRIC countries: Harry Hutchison of Aicon Gallery New York (with additional locations in India and Pakistan); Noah Kupferman, Co-Head of Chinese Works of Art, Americas at Christie's; Carmen Melián of Sotheby’s Latin America; and, Sergey Skaterschikov of Skate’s Art Market Research (based in Russia). Video recordings are available at the following links:


THE ADAA ART SHOW REMAINS Armory's main competitor. It presents many of the same galleries and targets similarly refined audiences as The Armory Show. With only 72 exhibitors, the smaller but very successful fair raised $1.2 million dollars for the Lower East Side's Henry Street Settlement during its preview alone.

    ADAA attracted approximately 20,000 attendees accompanied by rampant sales. "Sold out booths include[d] exhibitions such as: Henry Taylor at Blum & Poe; Sarah Sze at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery; Suzan Frecon at David Zwirner Gallery; Yoshitomo Nara at The Pace Gallery, Elliott Hundley at Regen Projects; and a two-person exhibition of works by Lynda Benglis and Adam Fuss at Cheim & Read. As of early Sunday, March 11, additional galleries were on the verge of selling out including: Luhring Augustine Gallery, Metro Pictures, and Marian Goodman Gallery. Notable sales from other ADAA members include six works sold by Menconi & Schoelkopf Fine Art, LLC, all within the range of $100, 000 – $500, 000, and two prized works sold by Skarstedt Gallery, Ltd. at $800,000 and $1.2 million."

OF THE MANY SATELLITE FAIRS, the Independent continues to redefine itself. Founded by Elizabeth Dee, the third edition presented several impressive booths such as: an installation by Cyprien Gaillard at Sprüth Magers; works by Oliver Payne and Uri Aran complimented by Thomas Bayrle wallpaper at Gavin Brown’s enterprise; and an installation by Oscar Murillo at Stuart Shave/Modern Art.

OTHER SATELLITE FAIRS such as Volta NY (now in its 5th year) ran in collaboration with The Armory Show with a combined ticketing system for both fairs. The 80 exhibitors showcased solo booths (each representing one artist rather than an entire roster). The 11th edition of SCOPE New York attracted over 18,000 visitors. As of last year, its new premise along the Hudson River occupies 5,300 square meters in close proximity to The Armory Show. Fountain Art Fair has also relocated. It marked its 7th edition with a debut at the 69th Regiment Armory. And lastly, Moving Image Fair—solely dedicated to presenting the best in contemporary video art—received stellar reviews.

THE FASHION INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY held a panel open to the public titled: “UN(DER)REGULATED: Ethics in the Contemporary Art Market” on March 12. The discussion moderated by Walter Robinson, editor at Artnet Magazine, examined the ethical dilemmas and decisions particular to conducting business as a for-profit in the art world. The four panelists included: Richard A. Altman of Altman Law Office; Lucy Mitchell-Innes of Mitchell-Innes & Nash and ADAA President; Sheri Pasquarella, owner of SLP Art Culture Commerce; artist John Powers; and, Renee Vara of Vara Fine Arts and Board of Directors of Appraisers Association of America.

ASIA ART WEEK NEW YORK brought together 17 institutions March 16–24. Several auction houses including Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams, Doyle New York, and iGavel hosted accompanying sales. Furthermore, approximately 30 gallerists and galleries specializing in Asian art dating all the way back to the days of dynasties held complimentary receptions.

ON MARCH 29TH ARTS TECH MEETUP held a panel titled "The State of Art Blogging" sponsored by Tumblr at Pivotal Labs. Hosted by Julia Kaganskiy and moderated by Hrag Vartanian of Hyperallergic.com, the talk featured the expertise of Paddy Johnson of Art Fag City, Rebecca Stokes of MoMA's Inside/Out blog, Carolina Miranda of C-Monster.net, and Andrew Russeth of Gallerist.

    The panelists discussed how they channel the voices of their respective audiences as "compulsive communicators” through the instantaneity of blogging while adhering to the basic rules of reportage 101. Although many professional writers want to remain relevant via blogging quality content, credit and compensation is scarce. It is an evolving medium—“writing but faster”, as one panelist quoted Susan Sontag. Video recordings of Arts Tech meetups are available at the following link: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/artstech

THE 4TH EDITION OF THE DALLAS ART FAIR hosted 78 prominent galleries from the United States and Europe, April 13–15. Highly regarded among dealers and collectors as a friendly and refined event to do business, gallerist Carrie Secrist named it “the Miss Congeniality of art fairs.”


TEFAF MAASTRICHT (which stands for The European Fine Art Fair) ran March 16–25, sponsored by AXA Art for nine years running. Art Media Agency reported, “For its 25th anniversary, TEFAF [welcomed] 265 exhibitors from 19 countries into an exhibition space over 31,000 m2 in size. As in previous years, more than 30,000 of the works on display…from antiquities dating back to the Neolithic era to contemporary artwork.” 72,000 people attended this year with increased traffic from Russia, China, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

In regards to this year’s programming, TEFAF partnered with Artnet on a symposium titled “Change and challenges: The Art Market's Past 25 years and it's Future”. The comprehensive event examined the market from various angles—economic, technological, cultural and demographic influences—with several experts such as: Arts Editor at the Financial Times, Jan Dalley; J. Patrice Marandel, Curator of Paintings at Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and, Philip Hoffman, Chief Executive at The Fine Art Fund Group. Video recordings are available at the following link: http://www.tefaf.com/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=156

NOW OLD NEWS, TEFAF released its annual report, conducted each year by Dr. Clare McAndrew—a cultural economist and the founder of Arts Economics. Though the data is based on auction tallies not private dealings (an impossible feat given the art market’s opacity), the research does draw upon the expertise of industry veterans.

The report states that in 2011, China overtook the United States in terms of overall global art market share at 30%, up from 23% in 2010. The United States came in just one percent lower at 29% (down 5% from last year), followed by the UK at 22%. Several factors contribute to China’s dominance given its 1.4 Billion population that includes over 1.3 Millionaires. BusinessInsider recently created a comprehensive infograph on the Chinese Art Market available for viewing at the following link:  http://www.businessinsider.com/size-of-chinese-art-market-infographic-2012-4?utm_source=alerts&nr_email_referer=1

The TEFAF report also delves into the entire art market at-large. It estimates the current global art market value at €46.1 Billion, up 7% from 2010 (seeing a 63% increase since 2009’s financial crisis). “2011 showed a continued recovery of the aggregate art market but that it has been very uneven in terms of outcomes…the top end of the market did markedly better than the middle and lower ends.” The rapid redistribution of wealth isn’t isolated to Western economies. In fact, emerging economies have caused a redistribution of wealth by geographic location. Countries such as BRICS (Brazil, Russian, India, China, and South Africa) greatly influence buying behavior and sales. “The next decade will be the first period when emerging market countries contribute more to global economic growth than developed ones.”

THE 6TH EDITION OF ART DUBAI took place March 21–24. The MENASA (Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia) region’s foremost art fair, featured 75 galleries from 31 countries, and attracted approximately 22,500 visitors. “For 2012, new names such as Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Arndt, The Pace Gallery and Alexander Gray Associates brought museum-quality artworks to Art Dubai alongside returning gallery heavyweights, the majority of which experienced strong sales, with Jeddah’s Athr Gallery selling out within half an hour of the fair’s exclusive Jumeirah Patron’s Preview on Tuesday, March 20.” The extensive roster realized $45 Million in sales over the course of four days.

Art Dubai programming included the “Global Art Forum_6: The Medium of Media” presented by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority in partnership with MATHAF: Arab Museum of Modern Art, directed by writer and curator Shumon Basar. Another series, “Terrace Talks”, brought together the expertise of Michael Govan (Chief Executive Officer at Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Melissa Chiu (Director of the Asia Society Museum), collector Richard Chang, artist Zhang Huan, and Lekha and Anupam Poddar of the Devi Foundation.

THE 11TH EDITION OF ART PRAGUE ran March 21–25 with 30 participating galleries. This year, the fair attracted over 5,000 visitors accompanied by numerous participatory events in the Czech capital.

THE 16TH EDITION OF the Pavillon des Arts et du Design transpired March 28–April 1. With 77 exhibitors (17 from outside France), the PAD showcases the best of fine art as well as decorative art, merging these industries under one roof—a model now repeatedly emulated. And coinciding with PAD was Art Paris Art Fair. It featured 120 exhibitors representing 1200 artists, from 16 countries (40% from abroad). The fair, situated at the Grand Palais, attracted 48,000 attendees over the course of four days.

THE 7TH EDITION OF ART FAIR TOKYO ran March 30–April 1. It included 164 galleries specializing in antiques, crafts, as well as modern and contemporary works. Attendance went up by a staggering 23% from 2011 with 53,000 visitors.

IN MID-APRIL CHRISTIE’S HELD a two-part sale in Dubai of Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian, and Turkish art. Almost all of the artwork was sold—91% of the works by value, 85% by lot. The top lot was earned by artist Mahmoud Saïd for $602,500. These sales reflect The Middle East’s rise in notoriety. According to Caroline Hyde, this region of the art market is worth $11 billion, expected to triple in the next few years. See the following BloombergBusinessweek video link for more details: http://www.businessweek.com/videos/2012-04-19/middle-east-art-market-grows

ZURICH INSURANCE GROUP recently announced its sponsorship of Christie’s Dubai auctions over the next three years. Currently, Christie’s holds Dubai sales twice per year and this sponsorship helps attract more high net worth individuals (HNWIs)—clients who need tailored insurance for their art purchases, many of whom undervalue their respective collections.

Michael Jeha, Managing Director of Christie's Middle East, explained to AMEinfo, "Our Dubai auctions continue to act as a major catalyst in the development of the art market in the Middle East. Zurich has demonstrated a real understanding of the needs of collectors, and this partnership will further our efforts to grow the market here in the region." For a comprehensive video titled “Christie's Sale Reveals Growth in Dubai Art Market”, see the following link: http://www.bloomberg.com/video/90917551/"http://www.bloomberg.com/video/90917551/

ZONA MACO MEXICO ARTE CONTEMPORANEO ran April 18–22 in Mexico City. As the biggest Latin American art fair, the 9th edition showcased “90 galleries from around the world, representing more than 900 artists in over 10,000 square meters of exhibition space.” The impressive roster included Sadie Coles, Eigen+Art, and Lisson as well as local establishments such as Kurimanzutto (based in Mexico City) and AFA Gallery (Santiago).

THE 46TH EDITION OF ART COLOGNE took place April 18–22. Also known as Internationaler Kunstmarkt, the fair saw 60,000 attendees viewing over 200 exhibitors such as: Thaddaeus Ropac (based in Paris and Salzburg), David Zwirner (New York), Nature Morte (New Delhi/Berlin), Michael Werner (Cologne/New York), Hauser & Wirth (Zurich/London/New York), Sprüth Magers (Berlin/London), and Daniel Buchholz (Berlin/Cologne).

This year, Art Cologne collaborated with the New Art Dealers Alliance (originally in Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach week) as a joint fair. NADA Cologne ran April 18–22 with 30 participating galleries including Lisa Cooley, Nicelle Beauchene, and Schmidt & Handrup, met with some success.

THE 30TH EDITION OF ART BRUSSELS ran April 19–22 complementarily with Art Cologne. The 182 (mostly European) participant galleries represented more than 2,000 artists and attracted 31,000+ visitors. “Debates and Art Talks” included a conversation between Rem Koolhaas and Hans Ulrich Obrist. Video recordings are available at the following link: http://www.artbrussels.be

In terms of successful exhibitors, top sales were sung by Galerie Perrotin, Harris Liebermann, Alex Zachary/Peter Curie, Gaudel Stampa, D+T project, and Plan B. On the first day, Gallery Maskara (based in Mumbai) sold most of its works by Indian artist T. Vekanna, while Cherry and Martin (Los Angeles) sold out six paintings by Matt Connors. Two young Belgian galleries, Galerie VidalCuglietta and Office Baroque had sold-out booths by the end of the second day.

NOW IN ITS 8TH YEAR, Germany-based Weng Fine Art AG stands strong as a leading financial firm specializing in art trading. Weng operates as a pseudo advisory, buying and flipping works using its network of professionals to analyze, authenticate, and eventually speculate on art dating back to 1994. Since becoming a publicly traded company in late January (offering 500,000 shares on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange), Weng’s stocks continue to skyrocket in value.

THE STATE OF QATAR is considered a single entity in respect to its buying power. In fact, according to various sources (such as Art Market Monitor and The Art Newspaper), Qatar ranks as one of the biggest collectors of contemporary art. Recent purchases include a Richard Serra piece for the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), Mark Rothko’s “White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose)” for $72.8 Million, and just last February, the state bought Paul Cézanne’s “Les Joueurs de Cartes”.

FRANCE’S GOVERNING AUCTION AGENCY, Conseil des Ventes Volontaires de Meubles aux Enchères Publiques, recently released its 2011 figures. According to CVV, French auction houses tallied €2.38 Billion in sales, up 8.3% from 2010. 

BLOUIN ARTINFO’S FOUR PART SERIES titled “Experts Predict Art Market Trends” provides insight on what might happen next. See the following link: http://www.artinfo.com/tags/experts-predict-art-market-trends

ACCORDING TO THE MEI MOSES® ART INDEXES, the first quarter of 2012 saw a decrease in all art indexes by 7.8%. Although the Impressionist and Modern index went up by 17% and Post-war and Contemporary went down by 9.3%, these figures reflect current auction tallies excluding the slew of upcoming PWC sales in May.

Oscar Murillo installation at the Independent, New York. Image courtesy of Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London


Shireen Lohrasbe

Shireen holds a BBA in Design & Management from Parsons The New School for Design and an MA in Art Business from Sotheby's Institute of Art, New York. She has contributed to several online publications including Art Observed, Quintessentially Art, and Whitewall Magazine. Shireen is a regular art market contributor at Whitehot Magazine.

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