9 Jan 2009

Consolidation and stabilization phase of the art market

(By Nalini S Malaviya)

The general perception is that the overall interest in art has dwindled to such an extent that no one is buying art. While, it is true that the amount of money that is being spent on art has gone down considerably, and that many galleries and dealers are affected, one can still come across many buyers who are continuing to buy art for its intrinsic value and also for investment. The economic recession has affected most businesses; at the same time there are people who are comparatively unaffected in the present situation.

There are still a lot of people who attend art show previews and other events. Some of them even end up buying paintings that they like. The category of art that was priced between Rs.15,000 to Rs.50,000 is seeing the maximum sales. Most of these works are either decorative or done by upcoming artists and even final year students from fine art institutes. It can also be noticed that most artists are now open to negotiation as far as prices are concerned. The boom time for art is definitely over and the plateau that one sees now reflects a healthier trend in the art market. This phase is also expected to allow artists and other members of the art community some breathing space which should eventually help the market. Greater introspection, more time and space to explore creativity, focus on business ethics will help in strengthening the market in the long term. As most analysts point out, this period of adjustment will help in the consolidation and stabilization of the art market. Well, it is important to begin the year on a positive note.

Most major art events such as fairs, biennales and seminars are going as per schedule. As galleries point out, it is important to continue with their events in order to keep the interest in art alive. 2009 will be significant in establishing and charting out the course that the art market will take in the years to come.

(Published in Financial Times)

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