Typically this time of year, the New York art market comes alive after the May auctions at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips, which come right after the run to Randall’s Island for Frieze New York and uptown at TEFAF New York. But of course, 2020 is far from a typical year. This spring, collectors had to replace their VIP passes with online login credentials as the art market went completely digital due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
âI did some things during this period,â said Brussels collector Alain Servais. His biggest takeaway? “Art is not made to be seen online, except, he said, for art which is designed to see online.
âThe physical response at work is the key,â Servais said. He added that in the months that businesses have been shut down and art fairs around the world have been canceled, he hasn’t done any fundraising, finding the online user experience of Frieze “no less terrible. “and allegedly deleted between 50 and 200 e-mails from online viewing rooms. per day, “without even looking at who sends them,” he said. “I’m not kidding, it immediately goes in the trash.”
Instead of the more high-profile art sales methods, Servais and Singaporean collector Cindy Chua-Tay said they’d rather focus on artists whose work they already know and take a closer look at the works they do. they had already been in the back of their minds. âThe works I recently purchased are from artists whose works I already own,â said Chua-Tay. âIn some ways, this pandemic has made me more attentive to younger and emerging artists, and I am working to support them and the galleries that represent them. But the fundamentals of what I collect and why haven’t changed in the wake of this pandemic. ”
“[Iâve been] entertain absurd inquiries, âLindemann said. “People think that because there is the COVID crisis, everything would be at 30% [discounted] or something. Which I don’t understand, because the art world has never worked like this. It’s not like the stock market. These are things that are rarely negotiated.
His gallery participated in the online edition of Frieze New York because of the fair’s removal of stand fees, but with some skepticism. âIf they had charged it, I wouldn’t have paid it,â he said. âI saw a dealership say, ‘Well, we were tired of the fairs anyway. “”
He continued, âThey’re going to eat their lunch. [The bigger galleries are] have access to all [the smaller galleriesâ] customers and all their information. When they go bankrupt, these artists will hope to flee to the largest gallery. But maybe they were going to do it anyway.
For their part, Chua-Tay and Servais spoke positively of the new collaborations sparked by the crisis. âI am encouraged to see various entities coming together and supporting each other,â Chua-Tay said. “This is positive and extremely helpful as not all galleries have the technical infrastructure and resources to support a fully functional website, let alone the reach of an international clientele to generate sales.”
Many wonder if the current recession will impact the art market in the same way as the 2008 recession: a sharp crash and a slow recovery. Servais suggested that a silver lining for galleries is the fact that due to their limited capacity, they will likely be the only art spaces open for some time, with museums and fairs lagging behind. As galleries in Asia and Europe begin to reopen, he said: âI don’t know exactly what will happen in a year from now, but I think galleries have a unique opportunity to play the role that they are. 15 years agoâ¦ They should take advantage of the only cultural space available today, by being a little more innovative and enterprising than they usually are.
Chua-Tay echoed this optimism. âThe real patrons will prevail. The way we all see and buy art will be very different, âshe said. âI think it will be a combination of traditional vehicles, like fairs and galleries (but the format and scale will be very different), with new virtual platforms. It will be a very different art world to come.