It is a delightful season for connoisseurs, as there are a number of art exhibitions happening all over the country, especially in the Capital. Most exhibitions are group efforts, either curated or gallery collections that are offering a wide range of contemporary art to the discerning buyer. However, it is interesting to note that there is plenty of overlap in the artists between the various shows.
Most galleries are now opting to play it safe. Their focus at the moment is on the middle bracket that is considered to be a safer option compared to new and upcoming artists. This is not surprising given the recent trend where art prices went through a major downfall during the economic recession. Incidentally, modern artists and other established artists are not as much in the spotlight for the simple reason that their prices are quite beyond the average buyer.
Spoilt for choice, the buyer or investor is not complaining. To look at it this way, it offers a wider choice to the buyer as the same artist's work is available at several venues in the same city or across cities, simultaneously or within a short period of time. On the flip side, most works from the same series tend to look similar, and there might be very little difference between the works that are available even at separate venues or cities.
The emphasis now is on salability and galleries are doing their best to ensure that the works are not only saleable but also the artists are reliable names from a long-term perspective. The loss in confidence that was seen earlier needs to be addressed. It has to be re-instilled in the buyer and investor, and most reputed galleries are doing their best to make art an attractive option once again.
However, there is a possibility that overexposure could have a negative impact and could lead to buyer fatigue as well. The onus lies not only on the gallery, but also with the artists and curators.
(Published in Financial Times)