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market correction

Post #531 • May 4, 2005, 11:22 PM • 20 Comments

Todd Gibson has a must-read piece up at NYFA Interactive regarding an imminent art market correction.

From alternative investment funds specializing in fine art, to corporations, to individual collectors around the country using the web to access gallery inventories and auction house catalogues, more people are buying contemporary art now than at any point in the past 15 years. This increased demand has significant market impact. Established galleries are selling out shows of mediocre work by well-known artists. Many of these middling pieces are flipped on the secondary market within two years, setting auction records. Prices are unsustainably high at the top end of the market right now.

I had a sinking feeling about a market correction back in March, equally based on anecdotal evidence, but Todd is far more numerate than I am. Listen to him.

Young artists should first focus on developing a voice. Rather than rushing their work to market as soon as they complete academic programs, artists will need to give themselves more time to work and develop a mature style. As the market becomes more selective and rewards innovation over novelty, it will value work by artists who drive toward multiplicity and richness rather than those who simply exhibit something new.

I'm not exactly sure what he means by multiplicity, and I would suspect the opposite to be true - that in a conservative market, the artist ought to drive towards singularity, namely, having a distinct and continuous style. But richness, definitely. Quality, in other words. Integrity. I think this is a better long-term strategy anyway and don't seem to have much knack for novelty in the first place, but it sounds about right.

I have to confess that even in my moments of greatest enthusiasm about the local art world I have harbored a nagging suspicion about it - its hyperbolic expansion and the party-driven frenzy just don't seem like the stuff of long-term growth. Something hit a nerve, semiotically, when Nina Arias got, well, corrected out of Rocket. Arias was always great at getting the crowds in the gallery - and at a certain point, based on the little I know about what went down, that became detrimental to the operation somehow. At any rate, she's out, Nick Cindric is still there, and the gallery is still cranking along - Cristina Lei Rodriguez's show sold out and everything seems to be fine down there. And the last time I was at Rocket a cross young man whom you would have carded on sight - hell, the little sprite hardly looked like he should be driving - remarked sorely that there were no alcoholic beverages available. I thought, yeah, welcome to reality.

I'm biased because you'd have trouble washing your hands in the amount of alcohol I drink in a year. It's a great social lubricant, especially when greasing up a business transaction involving art, but it obviously can't drive the whole deal - the work has to attain a certain level or it's all a bunch of hooey.

Let me confess further that as soon as Basel announced it was coming to Miami, my first thought was: Well, time to leave. Because we just became the center, and things don't happen in the center. They happen at the periphery. You know, the edge. I'm glad I stuck around - my San Diego gallery found me at Art Center that fateful December in 2002 and they've been great ever since. But when you catch Mammon and Bacchus making out in the bathroom, it's time to thank the host for a lovely party and go home. I have never trusted Basel's breathlessness. I'm not moving to Peoria or anything, at least not yet, but I keep looking at Basel with all its hullaballoo and thinking, yeah, okay, so do we have plans for when we finish up with puberty?

Oh, look - Muh just linked to an interview with Mat Gleason:

Is the Brewery more often helpful or harmful to the artists living there? Helpful - and helpful in the extreme - the competitive presence of other artists forces people here to put up or shut up. Except when the artists fall into the party-people sinkhole, all the Art Center students taking ecstasy until Mom and Dad have to come pick them up and take them home. But for the most part, your art gets better after being here a while and interacting.

Yeah, that sounds about right too. Good luck making your work, people.



sum yum

May 5, 2005, 7:00 AM

Yeah um, Snitzer anyone???
this guy basically tell his people what he wants, take pictures then draw from them better yet trace from them....overrated prepackaged garbage, one thing I can appreciate from a show like "abstraction in Miami" is its sincerity....



May 5, 2005, 3:17 PM

Sum Yum, I'm not sure what you mean about Snitzer. He's having an opening this friday night, for Beatriz Monteavaro. Interesting article Franklin.



May 5, 2005, 3:45 PM

"it will value work by artists who drive toward multiplicity and richness rather than those who simply exhibit something new."
What is richness? Is it more detail? More texture? Gold paint? Or are buyers looking for more traditional means of assessing their investment? The hunger for the next new thing over the past 100+ years has left a vacuum for artistic revisionism. Which I feel will lead to a renewed interest in the multiplicity of the artistic talent behind the work.
I don’t think there will be a market correction as such, but the emperor will be getting some new cloths.



May 5, 2005, 5:07 PM

I don't understand multiplicity, he doesn't understand richness. It takes all kinds, I guess...



May 5, 2005, 6:52 PM

Conann - new clothes, old clothes, whatever. He just has to put something on and stop parading around naked.

I see by your website that you like to paint clouds. The evening sky in summer in Miami is the best show in town. On a slow news day Franklin could post a few cloud pix.



May 5, 2005, 9:04 PM

yA, i hear you all. I was not getting what multipule thing he was refering to, as well. Richness we ussally associate with quility. Multipule we think of quanity. The only thing that I could think of was that in the pieces that are created thier would be multipule layers to it, like an onion.

Im still in art school and still in an environment where im trying to find my voice. The questions im hearing from fellow students as well as come from my mouth are 'how am i gonna make aliveing from this'. Practical issues and the notion 'i could support myself with these doodles that i've done forever' could make young hopefulls 'jump the gun'.

I want to mature my own style, art. I want to say something and I have to remind myself of that, all the time.



May 5, 2005, 9:59 PM

I would love to check out Miami's evening clouds in summer, its been a long winter here in Belfast. I think my love of painting clouds comes from living in LA for ten years.



May 6, 2005, 12:50 AM

Well, Franklin, I'm wary of breathlessness in general. It seems to be frequently associated with superficiality, hype, trendiness-unto-death and a desperate need to be in or "with it" at any cost. It can be a way to fool one's self into believing what one knows, deep down, to be glorified BS.


james stillman

May 6, 2005, 1:24 AM - is this good or bad for miami art scene? kind of risque. any information?? anyone going to their faktura show tomorrow??




May 6, 2005, 1:38 AM

Ignore Magazine is Omar Sommereyns' latest effort. Omar and I both wrote for Street before it folded and he occasionally appears in the New Times.

I haven't evaluated the product but it is good in general when more things are happening.


james stillman

May 6, 2005, 1:47 AM

hmm. i think i agree. the listings section on the site is what i like best, this city really needs that, for art especially. i was slightly offended by some of the content.
they seem to have a rather large staff. other prominent art writers?



May 6, 2005, 2:59 AM

omg! that site is hilarious. sven's the man. i'll def be out there james. is that the same humberto from new times doing a column on coke? lol.



May 6, 2005, 6:23 AM

In Addition to Sven's show tomorrow a video he stars in is up at:
is odd weird totally pointless but In a lol way I like it.

As for Ignore Magazine anything is better that the current situation Miami is currently in Miami Herald vs The New times with both coming out as week Franklyn has been holding it down but theirs lots of room and need in this city for more opinions on art and culture.

And as for the current state of the Art world I feel like there may be a bubble, although not as bad as the condo and housing market, and an artist has to try to keep their blinders up. but not showing artwork in order to try to gain their own voice would be detrimental since the process of showing the artwork helps find that voice. Maybe too many young artists are pushed into solo shows and art directed by their galleryist but I think despite the rhetoric Miami is improving and its happening right before us. I do think that Miami could use group shows to help foster more artists.But for the most part I think with a bit more careful devolopment. This could get even better.


Young Phdeazy

May 6, 2005, 6:35 AM

Part of finding a signature voice comes from showing I believe. Emerging artist need to find ways to side step galleries. I would share some specific ideas but I need to try them myself first.
I haven't been to many places in the world and I have not payed close attention to the art market but it seems to me that the value of art (specifically a painting) is in steady decline. So I think emerging artist should stop selling real paintings and market reproductions to non art crowds during times like these.



May 6, 2005, 6:46 AM

true just take a look at all the paintings at a thrift store and you know that generic painting may be in decline. I think painting as with all the arts needs a sharp concept to be relevant in today's hyperculture. A good example of concept is Andrew Andrew whose live is a performance - they don't call them selves 'artists' but are working sometimes in an art vernacular. Check them out at:



May 6, 2005, 2:48 PM

Harlan seems to be unintentionally citing the hyperbole and emptiness that got us to where we are now: "is odd weird totally pointless but In a lol way I like it" and "I think painting as with all the arts needs a sharp concept to be relevant in today's hyperculture." We have a lot of art that aims at amusement and relates to contemporary culture and has all of the substance of styrofoam packing peanuts, and could easily fall out of my life without my ever missing it.

"Read not the Times; read the Eternities," exhorted Thoreau, and I think art will embody more value if it can capture some of that eternity.

Harlan: b-tags need to be followed by /b-tags or we end up with problems, and the hyperlink attribute is "href," not just "ref."



May 6, 2005, 3:21 PM

You're right, Franklin. And saying the art market is not as overblown as the housing market does not comprehend the $15 million Warhols and $5 million Koonses. Phdeazy's "finding a signature voice" seems clearly to be a marketing concept. The ignoremagazine site strains painfully trying to be hip. I have a feeling some of our recent commenters are still groping around figuring out what art is "all about", but then I suppose one function of a blog like this is to work things out.


craig francis

May 6, 2005, 5:42 PM

oh boy, it always seems to come down to the same thing eventually. harlan, you said the dirty word. while i agree whole heartedly that much of contemporary art today will be seen as the dregs of art history, claiming, as harlan did, that all the arts need a sharp concept, does not in my mind lend itself to how shitty alot of art is. on the contrary, art that stems from an interesting idea, be it an idea pertaining to something outside of itself or not, is what makes good art.

i love the eternities and moreso i love how our perceptions of them, and our interpretations of them change. baudelaire wrote about how in the modern era, the era brought in by the industrial revolution, it was impossible to think about the eternities in the same way as previous generations. he was still refering to that classical notion of beauty, but in his time, beauty became manifested moreso in the wind blowing black smoke from a factory chimney as opposed to what it had been before. the painters he admired, the ones who were seeking the beautiful, were the ones painting the whores and the filth, and finding the eternal in the fleeting.

i don't know... just a thought. thanks again franklin for an interesting post and sorry i've been blowing a fuse so fucking much lately.

p.s.: kung or rene or whatever the hell you're calling yourself, i really like your evil rabbit paintings.



May 6, 2005, 9:47 PM

hi. does anyone know how to contribute to ignore? i think this is exactly what miami needed, a huge wake-up call that's going to bring young artists together and get people who are too busy watching tv or jai alai to go to shows. i think that fact that an artist like reeve schumacher, who's recent show was quite strong, add to this publication's credibility in a way New Times simply doesn't have. thanks exposing me to that link. see you at fakture, i'll be wearing a plaid suit. should be fun.


Harlan Erskine

May 7, 2005, 1:20 AM

hey, don't knock jai alai. Its one of Miami few historical jems.



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