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20th Mar 2009

Is the Way Contemporary Art is Marketed Going to Crash with the Market?

In these tough economic times the market for Contemporary art is suffering. Galleries are closing or letting go of staff, auctions are seeing prices drop and lots remain unsold. But is it the art that is taking a hit or the way it is marketed?

Historically art dealers and galleries are relatively new. Artists had patrons and commissions from the wealthy and institutions that were both religious, governmental or the wealthy.

While the road ahead many be bumpy for some artists, it is always difficult for artists who have a new or truly unique (vs. touted as such) to offer. Just about every great artist has been derided and had difficulties not because of any current economic situation, but due to the establishment.

As an artist who is founding a theory of Post Conceptual Art the establishment concerns me more than the economy. The economy was not a problem for the Impressionists, Post Impressionists, Dadaists, Abstract Expressionists and Pop Artists as they emerged– but the establishment was.

Will new and actually pioneering artists forge new ways of emerging that will further impact the way art is traded, bought and sold? Will artists find new ways to emerge and make their work known via the Internet, through Social Media sites like Twitter and Facebook?

If galleries are not managing to sell work to support their artists, will artists band together more to stage their own exhibits as the Impressionists and the YBAs did at first?

While Contemporary Art may not be a sure investment bet, certainly the work of great respected artists, the van Goghs, Monets, Picasso, etc. will continue to be a better investment than almost anything. Historically great fine art (especially two dimensional works), gold, precious gems & jewelry retain more of their value in difficult times and may gain more in boon times.

The aesthetic converges with the market worth when artists who inspire other artists, and especially inspire newer theories and movements are understood as being the greatest artists. Thus, a contemporary artist can be best judged in the future by those new artists who are inspired by him or her.

However, savvy investors and dealers will discover the new artists who have real and even radical theory. They will have to as so much of the look-a-like popular (but snazzy) Contemporary work that has been shown in the past few years is being devalued. When an artist’s work is reduced they become more difficult to sell and it can take years to regain the past level. When this occurs the artist is like someone who is unemployed – and it is far easier to find a job (or a sale or commission) when one is employed (hot).

When the news media proclaims that the art market is also suffering in these tough economic times, it needs to make the connection that what is taking a hit is the way that art is marketed is suffering. Dealers, auction houses, advisers, etc. are suffering from reductions in sales and prices. Galleries are closing or letting staff go.

The last recession demonstrated that new and emerging artists whose works were too new to be devalued were the one’s to find and collect. These artists are often easy to find as an artist who is radically creating a new kind of art sticks out like a sore thumb, especially today as searches for “contemporary art theory”, contemporary art manifesto”, “contemporary radical art”, “Post Conceptual Art”, and similar will turn up a slew of leads and pages to follow. Clearly one should follow for many pages as a new artists are not paying for ad words or dealing with SEO marketing. But, any cutting edge artist will be on the Internet, probably active in social media and have a web site and probably a blog.

The current question for the art market is will the dealers and investors find the artists before new ways of marketing art are developed by these artists? In Thomas Friedman’s “Flat World” a modern Da Vinci, Rembrandt, van Gogh, Pollack, Vermeer, and all of the original Impressionists, plus many others would have reached out beyond their cities, patrons and dealers to reach more people and make more contacts. Would they have developed followers on Twitter? Fan pages and groups on Facebook? Possibly, considering they were excellent communicators who had ties to other artists and people in their communities who were not part of the artistic establishment of their day. For the above mentioned great artists and for many others, the first purpose of being an artist is not to make money but to communicate to people—to reach and inspire art. Thanks to the Internet, whatever the current economy, we artists can continue to do that.

Artists will continue to make art. It is what we do, whatever the economy or market. New art theories will develop and new artists will emerge. It is up to today’s dealers, gallerists and art experts to discover these new artists before they are replaced by paradigms of art marketing the way that the City-States, Church-State patronage, and other art societies, marketing and commissioning establishments of the past were replaced.

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Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art at ungravenimage.com.

Post Conceptual UnGraven Image Art theory is based at the intersection of ancient spiritual wisdom and cutting-edge contemporary science. It shows us a new and enhanced spiritual and science-based way to see the world. It is a life changing vision that can even become an actual new way of seeing that is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Can this be true? See for yourself.

Check out the Fine Art Limited Edition prints, decorative prints, books, and printables that are currently available to you through Judy Rey’s Art of Seeing The Divine Shop. You don’t have to buy to avail yourself of the art and inspiration available there. However, if you select to collect investment quality archival art, or decorate your home with images created with strokes that are original letters from Bible texts, or buy a gift for someone special, there is a secure shopping cart that accepts most credit cards so your purchase is easy to accomplish. https://artofseeingthedivine.com.

2 Responses to “Is the Way Contemporary Art is Marketed Going to Crash with the Market?”

  1. Larry O'Brien Says:

    What is this Place have you seen the Art Collection i have From Paris France i am trying to Show+Sell So Let me Know what yopu think and i will tell you what i think God Bless Love and Marrage My Home My Life My Church http://www.freedomville.org Needs Heat to Thank You from me Larry O’Brien

  2. Sheryl Brown Says:

    Great article – very thoughtful and thought-provoking!

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