Outlook for Chinese art market – interview Larry Warsh – Arttactic podcast

CHINESE ART MARKET

Larry Warsh of AWAsia in New York, a private organisation which provides Chinese contemporary art sourcing and curatorial services to global institutions such as MOMA and the Getty Museum, talks about his take on the outlook for the Chinese art market on Arttactic’s newly-launched free podcast service.

Warsh’s expertise lies in Chinese painting and photography by the first generation of historically important Chinese artists who came to prominence between 1989 and 1999.

Topics discussed include:

  • the evolution of US interest in Chinese art – Americans ‘came late to the party’, Christopher Phillips’ show at ICP ‘Past Present Future’ 2004-5 was the start

 

  • why the Cynical Realists appealed to the West

 

 

  • recommended books about Chinese art

 

  • weaknesses of Chinese art scene (as yet undeveloped education, infrastructure and curatorial skills)

 

  • opportunities in the market – Chinese photography

 

The promotion of Chinese art is Warsh’s self-confessed mission so it is not surprising that the bulk of the interview claims great investment opportunities for selected Chinese artists. He suggests that scarcity of supply (he says there are only 30-40 historically important contemporary artists) and the future potential of the Chinese buyer base (favourable demographics, population size and a growing interest in contemporary art) means that prices are bound to rise.

Asked why the top auction houses seem to be featuring less Chinese art in their recent sales, Warsh explains that he sees this as evidence of the scarcity of supply of quality Chinese art rather than lack of demand.

We are not quite convinced by this argument. If supply is scarce but the demand still exists, then the pieces that have been coming to the market recently would have made heady prices but instead they have fallen along with other art categories and asset classes. In Hong Kong’s Spring sales 2009 works by Zhang Huan failed to sell at Sotheby’s and at Christe’s a Cai Guo Qiang edition ‘Kaleidoscope Time Tunnel’ and a Yue Min Jun lot were passed in.

No matter, we like controversial opinions. Arttactic promises more podcasts with ‘key’ figures so we look forward to hearing a variety of views. To listen to this one go to ArtTactic Podcasts and search for Larry Warsh May 22 2009.

Unfortunately we cannot give you a direct page link – we hope that ArtTactic will iron out this wrinkle in its promising new service.

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Comments

Outlook for Chinese art market – interview Larry Warsh – Arttactic podcast — 2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the link to the podcast. In regard to the specific link, I wanted to let you know that we have updated our podcast page so now each podcast has a unique link (which can be obtained by clicking the image associated with each podcast). In regard to the Larry Warsh podcast, that link is: http://www.arttactic.com/podcast.php?id=7

    All the best,

    Adam

  2. Regarding the recent sale in HK – not all works for sale at the auctions (and even the weekend sales) can be considered great work, although the artists might be important. The Cai Gou-Qiang piece you mention, for example, was not a typical work for the artist (it was not a gunpowder drawing, and pretty marginal at best). Not all works by important artists can or should demand strong prices at auction, even in the best of times.

    Regarding supply and demand, all asset classes are still weak, including Chinese art, but with Asia’s growing collector base (as we have seen in the weekend Christie’s sales) prices are coming back as the Asian buyers start to dominate the sales and collect their own artists.

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