December 2012: Fall Art Market Report (II)

Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, “The Ship of Tolerance, Miami”, 2011. Photo courtesy of Jenia Fridyland.
 

THE YEAR CLOSED WITH ELATION and a bit of antagonism as the art world descended upon Miami mid-month and then headed home for the holidays. Innumerable entertainment options accommodated all of those who traveled south, but major celebrity attendance meant strict event exclusivity. Alexandra Peers of The Wall Street Journal noted a decline of free cristal and canapes, while others observed a sudden proliferation of velvet ropes and a clear divide between those “on the list” from the uninvited.  In his article for The Guardian, Charles Saatchi labeled the art world a  “sport of the Eurotrashy, Hedge-fundy, Hamptonites; of trendy oligarchs and oiligarchs; and of art dealers with masturbatory levels of self-regard.” This was particularly true for Miami art week where egos ran amok. Fortunately, everyone had fun and millions were made, echoing the $1.7 Billion combined earnings of Sotheby’s and Christie’s in 2011—a 35% surge in contemporary art purchases in part due to the influx of suits buying up pieces in the likes of German artist Gerhard Richter who’s super “hot” right now.

Unfortunately, some collectors are dismayed by the lack of quality circulating the fairs. While Miami art week is still considered one of the most prestigious gatherings, similar versions continue to crop up. Megacollector and columnist at The New York Observer Adam Lindemann recently wrote: “the freshness of new discoveries has mostly evaporated because there are so many international fairs in a single year and the galleries send out the list of the available works they’ll be showing a week or two in advance, so people like me get to see what’s on view in Art Singapore, Paris’s FIAC, Italy’s Artissima or the Abu Dhabi art fair. What’s worse, the galleries aggressively pre-sell everything they can before the fair opens.”

NOW IN ITS TENTH YEAR, ABMB (Art Basel Miami Beach) presented more than 260 galleries from over 30 countries and 2,000 artists, December 1–4, 2011. Over the past decade, ABMB has exhibited more than 525 galleries from 37 countries, each year sponsored by UBS since its inception in 2002. Despite economic uncertainty, the 2011 edition broke attendance records with 50,000 visitors (4,000 more than the 46,000 people expected), in part due to a new cohort of buyers who are expanding their cultural experiences and financial portfolios. “At this year's Art Basel Miami Beach we saw a whole new generation of thirty-something collectors, seriously interested in looking and learning – and now buying as well, with many more women collectors making their own independent collecting decisions”, said Lucy Mitchell-Innes of Mitchell-Innes & Nash gallery. Every year ABMB is divided into sub-sections allocated to various segments and regions of the market: “Art Nova”, designated to 42 emerging galleries from 17 countries each highlighting 2-3 artists per booth; “Art Kabinett”, allotted to solo booths and special showcases; “Art Video” featured films selected by David Gryn, director of London's Artprojx (such as “Gerhard Richter Painting”)—the 20+ screenings were projected onto a 7,000 square foot wall installed outside the New World Center in Miami; and the “Art Positions” section consisted of 16 booths presenting one project by one artist dominated by Latin American galleries. There was also a heavy Asian focus at the fair with no designated section per se. Clearly international in scope, ABMB continues to grow. According to Iwan Wirth of Hauser & Wirth, based in Zurich, London, and New York, “we are thrilled with the response and the continued confidence in investing at a museum-quality level and moreover sculpture at a large scale. With strong sales to international collections from China, Europe, Mexico, Canada and the US, we further learned the global impact of our artists.”
   
Packed every hour with an assortment of shoppers and spectators, eurotrashy bigwigs and blinged out celebrities like P. Diddy and Pharell to conservative philanthropists like Eli Broad filled the tradeshow space. Equally curious were the booths that attracted the most traffic and top transactions. In terms of popularity, Gagosian, Victoria Miro, James Cohan, Lughring Augustine, David Zwirner, Thaddeus Ropac and any galleries lining the main halls were in high demand as well as Galerie Crousel with its large Allora & Calzadilla well as Contemporary Fine Arts Berlin displaying a slew of newer, eye-candy colored works by Anselm Reyle. According to Artnet, “an estimated $2.5 billion worth of art was up for grabs at Art Basel Miami Beach’s 260 booths.” Major sales highlights included: a piece by Frank Stella for $1 Million and a painting, “Abstraktes Bild” by Gerhard Richter for $2.8 Million sold by dealer Christophe van de Weghe; several sculptures by emerging Brooklyn artist Carol Bove sold for price points between $60–150,000 at David Zwirner (one of Bove’s pieces joined the Jumex private collection in Mexico); a work by Fred Tomaselli sold for $500,000 at James Cohan Gallery “within the first hour of the fair”; three editions of Paul McCarthy’s “White Snow Dwarf (Bashful)” for $900K, and “MM … Food” by Rashid Johnson for $75K, at the Hauser & Wirth booth; Sean Combs (P. Diddy) purchased a neon wall sculpture, “I Listen to the Ocean and All I Hear is You” by Tracey Emin for £45,000 at Lehmann Maupin; Louise Bourgeois’s “Life Flower” for $650K and a painting by Tal R for $95K at Cheim & Read; two pieces by Lygia Clark for €195-275,000 at Alison Jacques gallery; a piece by Picasso with an asking price of $1.2M at Acquavella; a 2010 self-portrait by Cindy Sherman for $350,000 at Metro Pictures and another self-portrait by Cindy Sherman, 16 x 20 inches sold for $400,000 at Skarstedt Gallery; a 1933 work by Christopher Wool sold for nearly $3M at Luhring Augustine; a spot painting by the infamous Damien Hirst sold for €500,000 at White Cube (sold from the back room); several video works by Nathalie Djurberg were purchased for $35,000 at Zach Feuer; a painting by Henry Taylor for $35K at Blum & Poe; four works by Anish Kappor sold for £750,000, £575,000, £500,000, and £250,000 and two watermelon sculptures by Ai Weiwei for €60,000 per, at Lisson Gallery; two works by Gerhard Richter sold for $300K and $95K at Galerie Thomas (from the back room); Rene Magritte’s “La recherche de l’absolu” for $650K at Waddington Custot Galleries; a sculpture by Ken Price for $200K at Peter Blum; “Rocket Scientist” by Luc Tuymans sold for approximately $500K at Zeno X Gallery based in Antwerp; a large-scale “Peinture acrylique blanche sur tissue raye blanc et bleu” by Daniel Buren was purchased for $500K at Kamel Mennour gallery, based in Paris; and Eli Broad bought a large-scale Kara Walker drawing for $175K at the Sikkema Jenkins & Co. booth.

ABMB also hit it big by partnering with the Bass Museum of Art for “Art Public”, which featured artwork and performance curated by Christine Y. Kim of Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Thirty-five sculptures by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates priced at $30K each sold through Kavi Gupta Gallery outside the front lawn of the Museum. Gates, who performed at the opening ceremony for ABMB, sold the sculptures within the first 3 hours of “A Sermon on Art History” with his band, The Black Monks of Mississippi. Curator and critic David Harper wrote, “The ritualistic dancing and soulful spiritual singing of the performers was as mesmerizing as it was confusing within the context of the six-figure deals being made all around. As the performers slowly walked through the fair and out the exit, they continued to sing, modifying their songs to address each of the public sculptures installed in nearby Collins Park.”

In terms of educational programming, ABMB chose legendary Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco for the “Premier Artist Talk” with the editor-in-chief of Artforum, Michelle Kuo—their dialogue on Orozco’s artistry launched the Art Basel Conversations series. Other Conversations included: “Public/Private: The Evolution of Museum Missions”, moderated by author and art consultant András Szántó with panelists Margarita J. Aguilar (Executive Director at El Museo del Barrio), Thelma Golden (Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem), Madeleine Grynsztejn (Pritzker Director of Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago), and Beatrix Ruf (Director of Kunsthalle Zürich); “Collector Focus: Art Basel Miami Beach and South Florida: A Decade of Transformation”, moderated by Bonnie Clearwater, the Director and Chief Curator of Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami, with Irma and Norman Braman, Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz, Martin Margulies, Dennis Scholl, and Ella Fontanals-Cisneros—all notable collectors with internationally recognized foundations;  and “The Future of Artistic Practice: The Artist as Poet” with artists Gerry Bibby (based in Berlin), famed YBA (Young British Artist) Tracey Emin and Olivier Garbay (both from London), Karl Holmqvist (based in Berlin and Stockholm), and New York writer/curator/filmmaker Jonas Mekas (who shows with James Fuentes gallery), in conversation with curio-intellectual, Hans Ulrich Obrist (who’s Co-Director of Serpentine Gallery in London). A series of short talks titled “Art Salon” ran parallel to Conversations with notable speakers like iCI’s Chelsea Haines, Josh Baer of The Baer Faxt newsletter, photographer Todd Eberle, artist duo Emilia and Ilya Kabakov, artists Ernesto Neto, Erwin Wurm and Ryan McNamara, writer Sir Norman Rosenthal, The Guggenheim’s Chief Curator Nancy Spector, critic Robert Storr, Performa founder RosaLee Goldberg, curator Dan Cameron, prominent art lawyer Howard N. Spiegler, and many others. Salon topics included: “Biennials: Critical and Curatorial interventions”, “The Global Artworld: Focus on Argentina”, and “Art Law in the Digital Age”. Footage of the 20+ talks can be viewed at the following link: artbaselmiamibeach.com/go/id/lnp. For those lucky enough to attend ABMB, the University of St.Gallen partnered with the Pierre Bourdieu Foundation and Art Basel to “sketch the state of the art arena from different perspectives.” AMBM attendees can take an anonymous survey at the following link using the password: ABMB11): evasys.unisg.ch/evasys/online/

SEVERAL OTHER FAIRS MADE BIG IMPACT in Miami. The 9th edition of New Art Dealers Alliance Art Fair was held at the charming Deauville Beach Resort for the third time in a row.  It was NADA’s finest year to date with attendees like megacollectors Susan and Michael Hort, Marty Marguiles, Mera Rubell, Adam Lindemann, curators Vito Schnabel, Scott Rothkopf, Paul Schimmel, and Beatrix Ruf, and the Director of MoMA PS1, Klaus Biesenbach. NADA’s director Heather Hubbs stated, “Our expansion into the third ballroom allowed for a larger booth option which enhanced the visitors experience of viewing the work … I’ve never seen so many visiting collectors express such pleasure when visiting an art fair.” Everyone took notice perfectly encapsulated in the title of the Artinfo article, “No Longer an Upstart, a Buoyant NADA Brings in Big Sales and Art-World Power Brokers”.

Keeping with previous years, NADA placed several booths dedicated to non-gallery organizations in the front lobby such as Volunteers Lawyers for the Arts (VLA), which provides legal and educational services including art law workshops (for more information visit: vlany.org). Many galleries like Simon Preston Gallery sold out at the preview in part due to NADA’s partnership with Paddle 8 to "compliment, rather than replace" the physical fair this year. Paddle 8 co-founder Alexander Gilkes (formerly at Phillips de Pury auction house and LVMH) details the partnership with NADA: “We’ve been extremely happy. This has been the most concentrated period of time of activity on the site for inquires, sales, and reserves, certainly in the preview week. I think a lot of collectors that were coming down to the fair wanted first dibs on the important works, and those who were unable to attend the fair were able to acquire a decent amount [through our site] … Galleries have really benefited from the virtual registrar services that we provide with integrated shipping, insurance, and check-out, which means they’re much freer to handle their artists and sales as we streamline the fulfillments of these transactions. With regards to the whole online art landscape, we launched in the summer. Over the course of the year that we were building Paddle 8, we started to see the proliferation of this whole new genre. It concerned us initially but then it also reassured us because it validated the opportunity … we help educate and establish an emerging collector and filter this great myriad of choice that’s before us, representing art from the best galleries, the best art fairs, and now foundations and museums.” Case in point: within the first hour Paddle 8 went live, The Hole gallery under the helm of Kathy Grayson sold two $10,000 paintings via the site.

SCOPE MIAMI 2011 PRESENTED A NUMBER OF new galleries and projects such as its partnership with the recently resurrected Gen Art and smart USA (as in “Smart Cars”). “Gen Art Detour” commissioned several creatives like Billy The Artist to “decorate” white cars that acted as blank canvasses. BTA’s "TechnoArt” was later colored in by guests (see following link: bizbash.com/miami/gallery-images//?id=22013&ord=4). Show director Molly White stated, “[This year] we were very much have been looking back to the roots of what Scope stands for—taking risks, seeking out and finding undiscovered talent, presenting and giving them a platform for discovery.” In reference to the partnership with Gen Art, White explained, “There’s a nice paralleled mission there—Gen Art has a very strong mission in promoting young talent and seeking out the unknown.”
 
Another satellite staple, Pulse Art Fair, ran for its 7th year in Miami, attracting over 15,000 visitors. Highlights included: a series of six pieces by Garry Fabian Miller which each sold for $20,000 at Danziger Gallery; two editions of a panel by Angelo Musco sold for $90K at Carrie Secrist gallery; a photo by by Dinh Q. Le purchased for $180,000 at a Santa Monica gallery; and a painting by Kim Dong Yoo purchased for $117K at Hasted Kraeutler. SEVEN Miami was also a great success. Named numerically to pay homage to its seven founding (and only) participant galleries (Hales Gallery, Pierogi Gallery, Postmasters, P.P.O.W., Ronald Feldman Fine Arts and Winkleman Gallery), the second edition was even more successful than the last, partnering with Creative Capital to present “Healing Pool”—a techie-interactive-water-like video floor projection by Brian Knep. Furthermore, Michelle Tillou of Kinz + Tillou Fine Art collaborated with fashion designer Mara Hoffman and Jacquieline Nguyen commissioning five artists (Maya Hayuk, Eddie Martinuex, John Newsom, Javier Piñon, and Spencer Tunick) to create designs for a swimwear collection. For a comprehensive review of both Scope and Pulse written by fellow WM contributor Shana Beth Mason, please visit: whitehotmagazine.com/articles/scope-art-fairs-in-review/2431

HIGH-PROFILE ATTENDEES FLOODED ART MIAMI’S VIP preview. Now in its 22nd edition, Art Miami is the city’s oldest contemporary art fair. This year, the fair attracted over 55,000 visitors viewing “110 galleries in 18 countries, showcasing 1,000 artists from 60 countries around the world. There were 400 artists represented from nearly 100 cities in the United States”,  in a 125,000 square foot pavilion in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District. And the 7th Design Miami/ included 23 galleries up from 15 last year, attracting over 29,000 visitors from 150+ countries in the likes of Ron Arad, Delphine Arnault, Oleg Baibakov, André Balasz, Naomi Campbell, Sean Combs, Zaha Hadid, Alberto Mugrabi, Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, Don and Mera Rubell, and Aby Rosen. Director Marianne Goebl stated, “With each edition, we strive to bring greater depth and maturity to the fair. The caliber of works shown in the gallery program resulted in our strongest sales figures to date.” Design Miami/ renewed its partnerships with Fendi & Audi, and launched a series of talks with W Editor Stefano Tonchi as well as side projects that included a collaboration between Liam Gillick and Pringle of Scotland. Other well-publicized projects included Anselm Reyle’s collection (with an accompanying pop-up shop) for Dior and Olaf Breuning’s pieces for BallyLove.

THE DELOITTE 2011 ART & FINANCE CONFERENCE ran in conjunction with Miami art week. Deloitte Luxembourg is an umbrella company in “which tens of thousands of dedicated professionals in independent firms throughout the world collaborate to provide audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, and tax services to selected clients.” Clearly art investment is on the rise and this gathering of experts was well-suited to discuss such topics as: “Museums funding issues”, moderated by James Knox (Managing Director at The Art Newspaper UK) with speakers such as Julien Anfruns (General Director of International Council of Museums in France) and Martin Bethenod (Director of Francois Pinault Foundation’s Palazzo Grassi - Punta della Dogana in Italy); “Corporate collections tangible and intangible benefits”, moderated by Dr. Iain Robertson (Head of the Art Business programme at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London), with speakers such as Alistair Hicks (curator and art advisor at Deutsche Bank AG in UK) and Dr. Annabelle Birnie (Director of Sponsoring, Art Management, & Events/ Certified Valuer of Modern & Contemporary Art at ING Bank in the Netherlands); “Emerging markets collectors services needs” moderated by Jeffrey Boloten (Managing Director of ArtInsight) with speakers like Jonathan Binstock, Senior Advisor at Citi Private Bank Art Advisory & Finance; “New art investment developments - index methodologies and market measurement”, moderated by Managing Director of ArtTactic, Anders Petterson, with speakers like Professor Michael Moses (Co-founder of Mei-Moses Index), Michael Plummer (Co-founder of Artvest Partners), and Thomas Galbraith (Director of artnet®analytics); all wrapped up by Thomas Krens, the Chairman & CEO of Global Cultural Asset Management Group and the Director Emeritus of Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Fittingly, ArtTactic and Deloitte Luxembourg provided a survey of last year’s global art market in the “Art & Finance Report 2011”. Research was conducted over 4 months (a stated limitation on the Deloitte website) between July and October 2011, and involved “19 large private banks predominantly in Luxembourg, employing more than 900 private wealth managers … At the same time, [researchers] conducted a similar survey among 140 international art professionals (galleries, auction houses and art advisors) and 48 top international collectors to establish whether the issues and concerns in the art market were of a similar nature as those experienced in the wealth management community” (the report can be downloaded at the following link: deloitte.com/lu/artandfinance/report2011). Similarly fitting, Artvest Partners’ Michael Plummer and Jeff Rabin, and Skate’s Art Market Research’s Sergey Skaterschikov and Michael Moriarty, launched The Art Investment Council.  The new venture promotes transparency and regulation in the art market, especially in regards to art as an asset class. Plummer told The Art Newspaper, “Such large sums are changing hands that it is becoming increasingly important that the art market [has] the same ethical standards as the financial markets.”

A SLEW OF SATELLITE CELEBRATIONS ACCOMPANIED the fairs, honoring all things aesthetic. The Wynwood Arts district continued to flourish with several events commemorating the area’s “street cred” and awesome talent. Museums like The Bass Museum of Art debuted “Erwin Wurm: Beauty Business”, which attracted a crowd of over 4,000 at the opening night reception, ogling a series of large-scale sculptures. Other events and parties included: ABMB held a VIP reception at the W Hotel that featured artist Angel Otero’s centerpiece “Pissing Contest”—two angelic statues peeing chocolate with complementary giant wafers to nibble on; Art.sy and Louis Vuitton hosted a BBQ at Soho Beach House; Miami art dealer Gary Nader launched an auction to coincide with the main fair; Ferrari and Interview Magazine (hosted by Peter Brant of The Brant Foundation and Sotheby’s Tobias Meyer) held an exclusive party in a multi-tiered parking lot designed by famed architect duo Herzog & de Meuron; a flash mob of Andy Warhols entertained at a party hosted by The Andy Warhol Museum and Interview; Artinfo and Art+Auction put on the “Power 100” party; P. Diddy, Andy Valmorbida, and several others hosted a dinner party at Mr. Chow in honor of Raphael Mazzucco’s new book “Culo by Mazzucco”; Exhibition A and Details magazine commemorated the release of Richard Phillip’s “Most Wanted” prints at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach; and Rashaad Newsome of Marlborough Gallery put on a performance at the Miami Art Museum. Many superstars and socialites hosted, dj’ed and attended the events. Outside the usual names were Noami Campbell, Christian Slater, Pharell, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, Ivana Trump, Adrien Brody, Paris Hilton, Nicky Hilton, Alex von Furstenberg, Anna Beatriz Barros, and Brett Ratner.

In other news, 21 year-old Joseph Nahmad, son of billionaire collector David Nahmad and brother New York-based dealer Helly Nahmad (and cousin of London dealer Helly Nahmad—yes the two have the same name) is continuing the family legacy with Joseph Nahmad Contemporary. Although his family’s specialty is works from the modern and impressionist periods (owning approximately 200 Picassos with a total net worth of an estimate $3 Billion), Joe focuses on contemporary art. According to Artnet, Joseph’s next show will be “a Street Art exhibition in May that features Jean-Michel Basquiat and his contemporaries. Joe has enlisted the curatorial help of filmmaker and graffiti artist Nemo Librizzi, and though he hasn’t nailed down the location or details, he said he wouldn’t be surprised if he also includes influential examples from his family’s collection, perhaps by modern masters like Jean Dubuffet and Pablo Picasso.” In Miami the youngest Nahmad protégé was spotted partying with other trust funders and celebs (his older sibling is good friends with Leonardo Dicaprio, Stavros Niarchos Jr., and Vito Schabel for example), rubbing elbows with Dasha Zhukova, who’s Art.sy raised an additional $6 Million in Miami to fund their “Pandora for art” tech startup that just hired famed curator John Elderfield, as Senior Adviser.

ON DECEMBER 2ND, THE MIAMI CHILDREN’S MUSEUM celebrated the US debut of Ilya & Emilia Kabakov's “Ship of Tolerance”. Now in its fifth edition, the highly acclaimed Ship is a collaborative installation that includes 150 children’s paintings (based on the concept of tolerance), sewn together to create a mosaic sail. Constructed after an ancient Egyptian model, The Ship measures approximately 66-feet long x 23-feet wide x 43-feet tall and begets a sense of collective empowerment, especially for its young participants. One half of the Kabakov duo, Emilia explains the project's effect on kids from Venice to Sharjah, since its inception in 2005: “For the children to be able to participate, to be able to express themselves and see the result gives them the understanding that they have power—that it is in their hands to do something to change the world. Also, they [begin] to understand how to negotiate, how to know other children, and how to understand other people’s problems.” For more information please visit: shipoftolerance.com

POST-MIAMI MADNESS, THE ELIZABETH TAYLOR auction held at Christie’s earned $115.9 Million in sales of items from her personal, private collection. With a pre-sale estimate of $16-23 Million, the auction surpassed everyone’s expectations. Six jewelry pieces fetched for over $5M including a 33.19 carat Krupp diamond ring for $8.8M and a Cartier necklace for $11.8 M (with a $2-3 M estimate). According to Artinfo, “Though it was a night for jewels and not paintings, a number of high-profile contemporary art collectors were spotted in the throng, including Warhol kingpins Peter Brant and Alberto Mugrabi as well as investment guru Glenn Fuhrman and international art trader Ezra Nahmad.” To view a video “The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor: The Making of An Auction” visit: christies.com/features/collection-of-elizabeth-taylor-the-making-of-an-au-1993-3.aspx

ACTIVE IDEAS PRODUCTIONS HELD A “CURATING YOUR CORPORATE & PRIVATE ART COLLECTION” panel at General Assembly, December 14, with the following experts: New York-based Art Advisor, Heidi Lee; Kipton Cronkite, Founder of KiptonART; Sari Cohen, Collections Manager of Neuberger Berman Art Program; and Sarah Connolly, Creative Director of Cavern Home. “Bringing together both dealers and designers, this panel [focused] on how to build a comprehensive collection that will not only retain its investment value, but also work well visually in a home or office setting.” Apart from sculptures and paintings, limited edition prints provide a cheaper, equally important alternative especially for budding collectors unfamiliar with the fine art world. Panelists urged collectors to cultivate their taste over time, and think about the placement of their works beyond mere decoration—aptly articulated by Connolly when she said, “As a collector, you’re essentially a curator for your home.” Moreover, collecting art is a form of patronage. As Lee emphasized, “An important perk of art collecting is showing gratitude to the artists.”

SOTHEBY’S INSITUTE OF ART IN LONDON recently launched a course called “Executive Education: Business Management in the Art World” in which “participants gain the latest thinking in business management in the art world via lectures, case studies and practical sessions.” SIA-NY also offers a variety of continuing education options such as: “The Gallery Business: A Practical Guide”, “Contemporary Art: Market Dynamics”, “Marketing and the Commercial Art World”, and “Art & Finance: Where Two Worlds Meet” (for more information visit: sothebysinstitute.com). Christie's Education New York also offers a slew of continuing ed courses. The “Art Business Course” is broken down into modules ($3000 each) such as: “Art and Valuation”, “The Auction House”, and “The Art World Today”. Christie’s also provides shorter courses like “Navigating the New York Art Fairs” and “Global Contemporary Art; Focus on China” (for more info visit: christies.edu).

 IESA (INSTITUT D'ETUDES SUPERIEURES DES ARTS) now offers two 2-year MA progammes, the “History and Business of Art and Collecting” and “History and Business of the Contemporary Art Market”, validated by University of Warwick and Liverpool John Moores University respectively in partnership with Whitechapel Gallery in London. Both graduate programs involve hands-on studies in Paris and London, along with visits to Berlin, Liverpool, Art Basel and the Venice Biennale (for more info: iesa.edu).

THE TOP TEN AUCTION SALES OF 2011 totaled $413.6 Million, a lot less than last year’s $698.6 M cumulative tally. But many claim the market has stabilized from a whirlwind of frenetic buying and selling. As new players enter the market, especially from India and China looking to buy outside their regions, shifts continue to occur. According to many sources, Gerhard Richter’s market is growing exponentially. New York-based senior contemporary-art adviser at Citibank North America, Jonathan Binstock, told Bloomberg’s Scott Reyburn, “Richter is going to play a huge role in the market for years to come … Collectors are going for artists with proven reputations.” Furthermore, buyers have more access and incentive to do their own research—the internet provides a number of reputable sites for past auction records and other logistical info. According to The Economic Times, “This, in fact, is a positive trend and will surely help the art market in the long run. Buyers should conduct an independent research even if they are consulting financial or art advisors. It is important to take an informed decision. Buyers should take all necessary steps to safeguard their investments.” And this trend keeps everyone more open and honest.

WITH THE CLOSING OF ANOTHER YEAR, a few rankings—though somewhat redundant—deserve mention. The Financial Times referenced the most influential women of 2011 that included an “art” category celebrating artist Shirin Neshat, gallerist Barbara Gladstone, director of Whitechapel Gllery, Iwona Blazwick, Frieze Art Fair Co-Director, Amanda Sharp, and collector Sheikha al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. Artinfo too listed the top females in the art world in slideshow form (see: artinfo.com/news/story/754650/see-the-women-who-shook-up-the-art-world-in-2011). Meanwhile Business Insider invited all to “Meet Wall Street's 27 Most Powerful Art Collectors”, mostly a compilation of hedge funders like Leon Black and Steve Cohen, and a few finance/art insiders like Glenn Furham of Flag Art Foundation and Adam Lindemann—a handful representing the modern version of legendary patrons in the names of Henry Clay Frick, William Randolph Hearst, Andrew Mellon and John D. Rockefeller. As BI put it, “While fine art makes since as an investment and portfolio diversifier, most Wall Streeters don't accumulate Warhols or Picassos to flip them - they genuinely appreciate the masterwork of great painters, drawers and sculptors, and are passionate about art.”

In terms of 2011 events, Georgina Adam Editor-at-Large of The Art Newspaper wrote a piece for the Financial Times, “The art market: Record breakers and fakers” calling out all this year’s counterfeit scandals and the misleading numbers that continue to skews our perception of the art market. “A large chunk of [the art world’s financial] increase is due to China, which in 2010 already accounted for 33 per cent of the global art market. ‘So far in 2011, China represents between 35 and 40 per cent,’ said Artprice's head economist Martin Bremond.” As more information becomes more readily available, accurate portrayals of the art world and the art market are inevitably imminent.

Shireen holds a BBA in Design & Management from Parsons The New School for Design and an MA in Art Business from Sotheby's Institute of Art, New York. She has written for several online publications including Art Observed, Quintessentially Art and Whitewall Magazine. Shireen is a regular art market contributor at Whitehot Magazine.

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