Wednesday, October 13, 2010

To London

(photos courtesy of

(photo courtesy of 'The Art Newspaper')

As fall is in full swing and the holidays are fast approaching, we are also in the midst of auction season. In addition, this post comes on the heels of the completion of the Frieze Art Fair in London. With many people finding themselves very anxious about the current state of the art market, this is an appropriate time to be curious.

Sotheby's and Christie's in New York will be holding Contemporary art auctions in early November, which will include powerhouse names such as Bacon and De Kooning, along with the Dennis Hopper collection. The results of these auctions should prove to give us some slight inclination of where the market stands.

More recently, the Frieze Art Fair in London, which takes place every October in Regent's Park, wrapped up on October 17. 60,000 people attended the annual fair while exhibitors from over 150 contemporary galleries worldwide participated. White Cube, Hauser & Wirth and Gladstone were among them. In addition to being possibly the most dynamic and energetic contemporary art fair in existence, Frieze might also lend itself to be indicative of the current state of the art market. As can be read in Lindsay Pollock's recent article for The Art Newspaper regarding stall presentation at the fair, critic Jerry Saltz's reaction was, "There's not a lot of bling, but you can see dealers are trying to make sales." But did the sales come? Per a recent blog post by Pollock, who was also in attendance, "Sales were selectively brisk...I believe many of the exhibitors made money, thought I did hear moans from some quarters that results were just 'comme ci, comme ca'." According to The New York Times, a Damien Hirst installation brought $5.6 billion, which "may be the highest price point of any work ever achieved at Frieze." Is this a sign of an improving market? Tough to say, but at least there are mumblings of positive trends. It should also be considered a good omen that there were so many participants and so many visitors, a sign that galleries are alive and to some degree, well.

(The Anish Kapoor sculpture shown in the photo above, was featured at Gladstone this year.)

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