Wednesday, October 21, 2015

… and change

The groan you can hear in the air is probably the tectonic plates of the art economy starting to shift. There’s Webb’s plucky experiment with the turnover model in Parnell, the fallout from the Bambury/Jensen settlement, Bowerbank/Ninow testing a dealer auction mash-up, My art offering collectors interest-free cash to buy stuff with, a corporate taking over the Auckland Art Fair and some very sharp words dissing auctions from the world of art dealers.

'If you are wanting to start an art collection, to go to an auction to buy the art is bad practice. You won’t get the best examples and you won’t learn anything: the work is a product, which is an anathema to us.

There are all sorts of pressures that go with auctions, let alone the competition. If you are bidding against one other maniac you will overpay – it’s too dangerous.' 

Dealers Tim Melville and Emma Fox reported in NZ Herald on Saturday


Finally there’s a cash and carry online model for art and collectibles being set up by the Fairfax Group of all people. And the media barons look as though they're going straight for the jugular with the simple proposition 'Get Stuff' riffing on the name of their eponymous website. In a sample Facebook page (you can see it here) for instance you could bid for a work by Rohan Wealleans starting with an opening bid of $800 or use the 'buy now' feature and get it directly off the shelf for $1,800. It's a technique that makes most art dealers go pale but in this case at least one (Ivan Anthony) is in on the game with his artists and contact details featuring as the art part in the launch offering. So, as far as art's concerned, even though the site is presented as an auction, the chances of getting a bargain look kind of remote. 

Image: Yvonne Todd. Buy now