Saturday, May 09, 2009

Downward Spiral: Confidence in Contemporary Indian Art drops 90%

Diamonds, 2007, Bindis on panel, 64.25 x 70.25 inches. By Bharti Kher

According to ArtTactic, a London based research company that examines the art market, the art market boom for contemporary Indian art may very well be over-- at least for now. ArtTactic’s confidence index states that art market confidence in contemporary Indian art has dropped by 90 percent since last October. ArtTactic’s data is based on a number of factors-- including a balance between pessimistic and optimistic art market professionals who respond to their surveys. The responses were offered by over 80 individuals-- ranging from Indian and international collectors, art dealers, art advisers, to auction house specialists.

The confidence for Indian art in general has dropped 63% in the same length of time. The report states that the market for Indian art in general may take anywhere between two and 10 years to recover due to the aftermath of a market that sent prices for Indian art souring in the last few years. In fact, just over a year ago prices for some Indian artists had doubled-- a rapid increase in what turned out to be a paper-tiger market. The founder of ArtTactic, Anders Petterson, has said, “people see there’s nothing to hold these prices up any more.”.

The current slump is largely due to the state of the economy and the financial crises that has swept the world-- another sign that the stability of the art market in general can shift rather quickly. The implications of the bubble-burst market for contemporary Indian art may end up being disastrous for western art dealers who invested heavily in Indian artist since 2006. Concerning the burst Petterson has stated, “Western galleries got involved with Indian art at a high price-point and now they’re stuck with it.”

Needless to say, there is some concern that younger contemporary Indian artists may end up in obscurity due to the fact that the high prices for their work is no longer valid within the current art market-- 10 years is a long time to wait for the art market to recover after having been introduced to rising success early on.

Young contemporary Indian artists are not alone. There has also been a downward spiral in the art market for contemporary Chinese art. Similar to the contemporary Indian art market many of the top selling Chinese artists were virtually unknown before the Chinese art market boom. Successful young contemporary artists from India and China reaped what quick fame and fortune offers to artists who dominate the global art market.

I suppose the lesson to be learned from this is that success can be fleeting-- these young artists have been caught in the downward spiral of the economically burdened art market. That said, the art market may recover just as fast as it crashed. If the global financial crises has taught us anything it is that the unexpected can happen.

Link of Interest:

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor
Myartspace Blog on Twitter


mitchell poor said...

Interesting topic. There's still some excellent pottery out there. Norval Morrisseau is among the immortals. You can't even buy a book of his artwork without spending over a hundred bucks. I think Native jewelry will always be desired.

Anonymous said...

Download an image of a spiral, crop it, and have a printer plot it out in acrylic or oil, or have a robot arm plot it out in bindis, frame and hang it... Viola! you've just saved ten thousand dollars or whatever this thing sold for.

But really, most any image could be rendered or altered and printed in paint and sold as original art these days, or sold as just a print.

Most people wouldn't care.

True brush strokes or not, it seems serious and concerned art buyers would have a really hard time sorting real from mass-produced, coming out of the East - or any remote country for that matter - where even before computers were involved, paintings can fly off assembly lines.

In a world where any image can go onto canvas or board with no skilled hand needed, or where the lesser-skilled can print images and paint over them, It is hard to believe these swirls, dots on canvas, straight lines, and even texture studies sell at all.

And even in the US, there is a lot of art that sells for a good amount of money, that would be completely valueless (and will be 15 minutes later) were it not for the generated hype - be it by the artists themselves, their agents, or simply good luck in media exposure.

Imaginative and thought-provoking images, difficult to execute, proven authentic through examination of purposeful brush strokes and materials would be the best way to go.

That is where I would put my money, if I had hundreds of thousands in "disposable income"... which is a bit of an imaginary or nostalgic concept these days anyway.

Donald Frazell said...

Latin American art may be the thing of the future. That of Nature, and mans abusive nature, to each other, god, and the natural world. Our MoLAA here in the LBC us excellent, and prices should go up. As with a Polynesian Art Museum to open across the street in a year. Oceanic arts, have big collections now at LACMA. Their combination of nature, god and man is nowhere to be found in the academics of Europe and Norte Americanos. This Chinese and India stuff is made for Contempt collectors, and not very native at all. It has no basis in truth. Or history.

And check out this American guy who has done work in Brazil Excellent stuff.