Wealth Bulletin & Financial News


Emerging art market frosty at Frieze

Tara Loader Wilkinson at the Frieze Art Fair

16 Oct 2008

Sentiment at the preliminary viewing of London’s biggest contemporary art show, The Frieze Art Fair, was mixed, as prominent London and New York galleries were swamped with buyers while younger, obscurer galleries were brushed aside.

Daniela Luna, curator of Appetite, the first Argentinian gallery to show at Frieze, said the financial markets had not helped the emerging art scene in Buenos Aires, but they were able to survive because of their low overheads and the fact they create much of their work out of “junk from the streets”.

She said they had not sold any work yet.

Deutsche Bank’s art adviser, Alistair Hicks, said he was pleased with the initial reception and the quality of the 150 galleries at the fair’s fifth year running. Every year the bank buys several pieces from Frieze for its private collection, including in past years, work by Anish Kapoor, Francis Bacon and super-artist Damien Hirst, who was first spotted at the fair.

Hicks said the bank had bought around 20 pieces this year from up-and-coming galleries, but had cut back on spending as a mark of sensitivity in the current financial environment.

A source attending the Frieze fair said prominent London galleries like White Cube, Stuart Shave and Timothy Taylor had received plenty of interest, as had well-established French, German and New York galleries, but many younger galleries in London’s east end had been forced to close down due to lack of business.

Nick Malone, a London-based independent artist who is attending Frieze but not exhibiting, said that demand for London art is steady, although there is widespread concern that a trickle-down effect from the financial crisis could spoil the art market’s upward trajectory.

 He said: “Those most in danger are the mid-range artists, those that sell pieces for a few thousand. Artists on the cutting edge will always be on the cutting edge, with or without a credit crunch, and there’s still plenty of demand at the top.”

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