I recently got a chance for a session of Q & A with art market blogger Nicholas Forrest, from the land down under. He updates his webpage Art Market Blog almost daily with eassay-like reports on contemporary art market fluctuations. Forrest is an art market analyst, journalist, art consultant based in Sydney, Australia and thus I wanted to ask hiom about how hw analyzes the Big Crisis, art money and the role of the market for contemporary artists. Here is an excerpt:
Robert Stasinski: How has the current economic crisis affected the art market? Thomas Crow wrote in the Artforum Art and Its Markets issue one year ago that our modern notions of artists and their relation to the market came from a way out of guild restrictions in order to market their freedom and individual quality. How does the contemporary artwork’s status as commodity or experience developed according to you?
Nicholas Forrest: The current economic crisis has, for starters, caused many of the speculators and opportunists who took advantage of the hype generated during the art market boom to make fast money to exit the art market. Other opportunists in the form “trophy hunters”, who treated fine art as a mere status symbol, have also dropped in number as the contemporary art market that provided many of these status symbols takes a major dive. Serious collectors and connoisseurs, who were priced out of the market as a result of the wealthy speculators and socialites, have now re-entered the market. As a consequence, the art market is now being driven by buyers who are much more discerning and are seeking to justify their purchases from both a financial and connoisseurial perspective. The economic crisis has also affected the supply of top quality works of art as buyers who can afford not to sell their valuable works of art are holding out for better times.