I’m still slogging through Bill Ivey’s book, Art Inc.—trying to comprehend the intricacies of his arguments. For the most part, thus far as best I can tell, Ivie’s arguing that our cultural values—so heavily geared toward the commercial, and so heavily favoring the corporate—are at the root cause of our society’s dysfunctional relationship with the arts. That said, his solution thus far seems, at best, pretty pat and somewhat naive. I’ll report more once I manage to fight off the distractions of summer and can actually finish the book…
Meanwhile, a recent Reuters report by Mike Collett-While, “High art prices may disguise malaise,” tracks the continued decline of the current market for art. According to the story, which comes out of London, while the super-rich continue to push prices for Blue Chip art higher, “the picture is less rosy at the lower end of the market…. [and] values for even the world’s most sought-after artists could come back down to Earth with a bump if confidence were to slide.”
While records fell in a series of Christie’s and Sotheby’s summer art auctions, “falling share prices, inflationary pressures and rising costs of oil” were affecting the middle market, as one-third of lots failed to sell in a recent auction, and the the auction fell short by around $49.5-million of its low pre-sale estimate.
“The problem is when people in the market start to question and become uncertain,” said one analyst. “There could be a political or economic jolt that is so dramatic that it distracts people at the high end of the market, and it is like a house of cards.”