ART MARKET TRENDS CONTEMPORARY ART GALLERIES
As pointed out in a recent The Art Newspaper article, competition has never been fiercer for international contemporary galleries so today the top ones are focussing on building their global brand. As demand for contemporary artwork grows, the size and number of contemporary art galleries that sell it increases.
Larger and more numerous spaces spread over various continents are needed to showcase artworks, and artists and art professionals are favouring galleries that can provide this. And increasingly big-brand auction houses are organising curated exhibitions, adding a new element to the competitive mix. Quotes the article,
“Artists don’t want to wait another two years for a show,” [dealer Thaddaeus] Ropac says. “If we can’t offer them one straight away, someone else will.”
The Art Basel Miami Beach 2010 gallery line-up could be said to prove this point. The fair’s floorplan, writes Gerlis, was arranged according to the current art market hierarchy with a few of the top players like Gladstone Gallery, David Zwirner, Gagosian Gallery and The Pace Gallery occupying the most coveted spaces.
It seems that today, for those that can afford it, gallery owners really have to go all out. The article reports that Hauser & Wirth, for example, opened a 15,000 square-foot space in London in February 2010, in addition to their galleries in New York and Zurich, and Gagosian Gallery is planning to open its eleventh space in its eighth city, Hong Kong, early this year. The article goes on to say,
The gallery’s rapid expansion seems to play to today’s cash-rich but time-poor collectors. (Gagosian is rumoured to have sold seven works within the opening hour of the fair on Wednesday.) Other galleries have to play the same game—assuming they can afford to—or are forced to rethink their business models.
But with such an increase in number and size there are consequences. ARNDT – who until 2005 had spaces in four countries but now has only one in Berlin – estimates that “a gallery would need a turnover of about $100m a year to have five international spaces outside its HQ.” Furthermore, these galleries will have to deal with a horde of extra managerial aspects such as understanding the different tax and legal laws related to the dealing of art in each country they set up shop in.
Lacking a spare $100m, how else can a gallery tweak its game plan? Some dealers highlight the importance of maintaining relationships and trust between artist and gallery, gallery and buyer. In the article, Brussel-based gallery Xavier Hufkens talks about the importance of face-to-face contact: “It’s about having one space, one person to talk to, one person a collector or artist can meet with – that’s the only way you can really follow what happens to your work.”
Related Posts :
- Gallery shake out expected in Hong Kong in 2011 – December 2010 – unnamed sources mention business is difficult, considering their options for 2011
- ‘Guerilla’ gallerist on introducing Banksy to Asia, art atmosphere in Hong Kong – interview – April 2010 – two-year-old gallery Fabrik sets up shop in Hong Kong
- Art Dubai 2009 – who sold what to whom? 15 galleries talk to Art Radar – March 2009 – exhibitor galleries talk to us about sales, attendance and new collector trends
- New art fund gives money to galleries in ground business model – Saatchi – October 2008 – fund investment in cutting-edge, mostly young galleries
- Globalisation of Asian art galleries gathers pace – June 2008 – a quieter but no less significant change is happening in the Asian gallery sales market