Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Art Prices Drop. Galleries Close Doors. Auction House Cuts Jobs.

You don’t need to be an economist to realize that the financial skies will not be clear anytime soon. Could it be that the worst is yet to come? The auction house Christie’s International thinks so. Their plan of action? Simple. The notable auction house is in the process of making staff reductions as a result of poor auction performance in recent months. Staff reductions at a major auction house is just another sign of the chaotic times we are in as far as the economy is concerned.

The dire state of the economy has forced many artists to step outside the unwritten rules of the art market. Even established artists, such as Damien Hirst , have lowered prices drastically while embracing alternative marketing plans that go against the traditional schematics of the art market. Art dealers have suffered as well.

Many gallery doors have closed since the fall of the economy. I’ve been told that some art dealers and their staff have placed bets on which gallery will close next-- all the while fearing that they may be next. There seems to be no end to the concern that art professionals from all levels of the art world have due to the financial crisis.

The fact that Christie’s is showing signs of struggle makes it very clear that the decade-long art market boom has officially ended. Now is the time for artists, art dealers, and even auction houses to rethink the ways in which they sustain themselves during turbulent times. Indeed, the protective bubble surrounding the art market has popped .

The official statement from Christie’s to the press:
“Effective January 12, 2009, we have begun a company-wide reorganization review, which includes the possibility of significant staff reductions, not renewing many consultants’ contracts and the continuation of other cost reduction initiatives, that will ensure we remain competitive and profitable in 2009. Any staff reductions that might be necessary will be implemented globally in accordance with local regulations and in as considered and timely a manner as is possible.”

Links of Interest:

Christie’s Begins Massive Layoffs -- Art Fag City

Christie’s Cuts Costs as Art Market Slows -- New York Times

Christie's announces 'significant' job cuts -- International Herald Tribune

Christie’s to Cut Jobs as Crisis Cuts Auction Sales -- Bloomberg

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor
New York Art Exchange


Anonymous said...

Here's the thing....buyers in a bad economy still want what they there is a trickle down effect. I didnt see it coming, but I have had more business in the last two weeks than I had for the entire months of November and December combined. I could hire an assistant for a month just to keep up. Ive turned a few commission away. Unbelievable!! Why? People still want to decorate their homes....but they are shunning the ridiculously overpriced and pompous galleries and looking for "moderately" priced work from Independent artists. A boon for some of us!! I will ride it as long as I can. :)

Sharon Cummings

Anonymous said...

People are going to nest, not expand thier homes, but know they will be spending more time at home, and so want it to be quality. Something they should have been doing all along. Yes, this should help reasonably priced artists, and galleries. The market need to be EXPANDED. Most people look at the art world as flakes. Show some real worth, and they will come, but it will take a sea change in art attitude, not the publics. They respond better to real art than the brainwashed art graduate.

They dont want "the Painter of Light" any more than you do, mabye the Range of Light as by Ansel Adams, but are stuck with that tacky wallpaper as the art world has ignored the rest of humanity. Stop the absurd installations,self absorbed performances and news about showboating entertainers, and real art may well make a comeback, but it needs more people. They are hungry for it, feed them. Its not about YOU, its about US. Do that, and they will buy, once they get used to the idea that it exists again.

art collegia delenda est