Zoo Art Fair 09 Fails to Deliver – artmarketblog.com

Zoo Art Fair 09 Fails to Deliver – artmarketblog.com

12-zooartfair-jpgThis year’s Zoo art fair was a rather interesting event primarily because of the new venue which consisted of several disused Victorian warehouse buildings in London’s east end that were divided into three sections (Zones A, B and C). Unfortunately (in my opinion) Zoo were kicked out of their usual venue at the Royal Academy of Arts after London gallery Haunch of Venison leased the space. Zoo weren’t entirely to blame for the circumstances that they found themselves in and as much as I would like to say that they triumphed over adversity, they didn’t. It was obvious that Zoo were attempting to make the most of the venue and give an edgy feeling to the fair by taking on what Zoo called an “adapted structure”, but it ended up feeling and looking much more like a last resort structure. Another major hurdle that Zoo had to come up against was the reduction in the number applications to exhibit from commercial galleries which they remedied with the introduction of non-commercial curated exhibits. Having a mix of commercial and non-commercial exhibits was really the only solution that Zoo could have adopted so I don’t think that they deserve kudos for coming up with this idea. The inclusion of non-commercial curated exhibits was, never the less, a solution that worked.

When I arrived at the fair I was immediately reminded of the 2008 Sydney Biennale which used a bunch of disused prison and shipyard buildings (see here: http://www.bos2008.com/app/biennale/venue/3) on a small island on Sydney harbour as one of the venues. The difference is that the Sydney Biennale used the derelict spaces to great effect and matched the art to the spaces incredibly well, which made for an amazing experience that gave the impression that the art was part of the site. Perhaps my perception of Zoo was somewhat skewed by the awesome experience I had with the Sydney Biennale but I still think I would have been disappointed with Zoo regardless of whether I had attended the Sydney Biennale or not.

One of my biggest gripes is that were virtually name tags on the walls or any other sort of signage to identify who the works were by. Whether this was an attempt to make the art and the buildings feel more like one entity I do not know, but it ended up being just plain annoying and in no way encouraged people to buy anything. Another major issue I had with the fair was the poor layout of the film section which was located in Zone B. The films on show were relatively long which the cold and lack of seating made virtually impossible to view in their entirety without getting sore legs or risking frost bite. To be honest it wasn’t the venue that made Zoo a failure, it was the way the show was put together and executed. Zoo could have presented a great fair had they utilised the space to greater effect and put a bit more thought into the presentation of the art as well as a bit more effort into making the experience more comfortable for visitors.

The one saving grace for Zoo was the small number of artists whose work was absolutely phenomenal and worth braving the cold to see. My next post will profile the artists that I believe made Zoo worth visiting.

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications

Frieze Art Fair 09 Review – artmarketblog.com

Frieze Art Fair 09 Review – artmarketblog.com

'The Couple' by Louise Bourgeois

'The Couple' by Louise Bourgeois

Over the last month or so I have attented twelve art and antique fairs in London which have left me with plenty to write about and the need for a few days rest. Although the fairs themselves were frought with issues the general mood was positive and the outlook optimistic. Dealers have reported good sales in most cases and seem to be in a very optimistic frame of mind as the market continues to pick up. The biggest fair I attended was the Frieze Art Fair which is one of the most important contemporary art events in the UK if not the world. Although one cannot help but be impressed by the glitz and glamour of the Frieze art fair it was just not an enjoyable experience for me. To start with, the marquee was really hot which made just being at the fair physically unpleasant, but the real problem with Frieze is that it is too much like a supermarket. When visiting a supermarket one tends to only take notice of the brands they are familiar with or the products that are the most visually striking due to the sheer number of different brands and products available. The same goes for Frieze where all but the works of the most recognizable artists and the most flamboyant works of art get lost in the crowd. I came away from the fair with memories of works by artists whose work is instantly recognisable and distinguishable such as Damien Hirst, Yayoi Kusama, Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Richard Serra, Takashi Murakami etc. I also have memories of other works by emerging artists that stood out of the crowd, but am unable to remember who they were because of the number of names and images swirling round in my head. Funnily enough, it was the big, bold works by the emerging artists that are reported to have experienced the highest level of success.

On a more positive note, quality was consistently high and sales are reported to have been considerably higher than last year. However, it is important to remember that a positive spin can be put on anything and that the likelihood of this years fair being any worse than last year was very slim. As far as figures go, sales of works priced at under 100,000 pounds were the most prevalent as one would expect with a show geared towards the work of emerging artists. Sales of works in the five figure range are reported to have been particularly strong which is pretty much the same trend reported by dealers at the 2008 fair. Six figure sales were few and far between, which is to be expected with a fair geared towards emerging artists and seven figure sales were even more scarce. There were, however, at least a few big ticket sales that are worth mentioning such as:

-A Louise Bourgeois sculpture titled ‘The Couple’ which was sold by Hauser and Wirth Gallery for US$3.5 million (about 2,150,000 pounds)
-Ruscha’s ‘A Riot of Atom’ which was sold by Gagosian Gallery for US$1.5 (about 900,000 pounds)
-A David Hammons installation which was sold by Salon 94 for US$1.5m (about 900,000 pounds)
-A Neo Rauch painting from 2002 titled ‘Harmlos’ which was sold by David Zwirner US$1.0m (about 610,000 pounds)

I honestly think that the biggest difference between this year’s fair an last year’s fair is that the dealers were in a better position to cater to the current market climate and have had the time to adapt their strategies to the buying trends. Dealers reported that buyers are still being cautious and are taking their time to make decisions which is, once again, similar to reports from last years fair. The market for contemporary art is not really in that much of a better position than it was last year but dealers have had more time to adapt to the conditions and make the best of a bad situation. One can take comfort in the fact that things haven’t got worse and that there is still money out there to be spent on contemporary art. There are undoubtedly signs that the market for contemporary art is poised to make a more speedy recovery than people thought which is somwhat of a scary thought.

The Zoo Art Fair was a completely different story but you will have to wait until my next post for more info.

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications

20/21 British Art Fair Report – artmarketblog.com

20/21 British Art Fair Report – artmarketblog.com

BAF_logoThe 20/21 British Art Fair held at the Royal College of Art building was a great event that attracted plenty of admirers (and buyers) with a wide variety of fantastic art. Sales at the fair were reported to be quite good and the atmosphere was very positive. Most of what was on offer was the work of well known British modern artists such as Ben Nicholson, Graham Sutherland, L.S.Lowry , Mary Feddon and Ivon Hitchens etc. , which would make sense considering that the market for contemporary art (21st century) has suffered so much. Perhaps the show should have been called the 20/20 British Art Fair instead of the 20/21 British Art Fair.

The Modern British market did not experience the same level of price inflation that other movements/markets experienced during the boom, and consequently did not suffer as much when the art market downturn took place. As a result, demand for top quality works by Modern British artists that are fresh to the market has remained high even though the number of works being sold at auction has dropped considerably. A major increase in demand for works by Modern British artists between 2006 and 2008 did produce a large spike in the number of works sold, but the market has since levelled out and is on a much less rapid and vertical trajectory.


Mary Fedden RA (b. 1915) ‘Bowl of Fruit’, 2008, oil on canvas, 60 x 50 cmMary Fedden RA (b. 1915) ‘Bowl of Fruit’, 2008, oil on canvas, 60 x 50 cm

The lack of an international profile combined with a primarily British clientele has somewhat limited the extent to which the Modern British market can grow. By no means are the British Modern artists any less talented or worthy of being purchased than their American or European counterparts. In fact, I would suggest that the British artists are not given anywhere near the recognition and praise that they deserve. Part of the problem is that the Modern British market is driven by discerning British collectors who are quite discreet and are generally not willing to pay any more for a work of art than they believe it is worth. A lot more visibility from collectors and buyers along with a considerably less reserved attitude to the contributions of their great Modern artists would go a long way to promoting the work of Modern British artists to a wider audience. The same enthusiasm for Modern British artists that was shown for the work of the YBA’s, for instance, is what is needed.

What has kept the market afloat is the fact that there is a high demand for top quality works which collectors are more willing to fight for and pay comparatively more for. More and more people are beginning to recognise the British Modern market as an undervalued and underappreciated market that hides relatively undiscovered talent. Once the art market recovers from the correction it will be interesting to see what happens.

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

Art-Athina 09 Greek Contemporary Art Fair – artmarketblog.com

Art-Athina 09 Greek Contemporary Art Fair – artmarketblog.com

For Immediate Release


Greece’s Foremost Contemporary Art Fair

Athens, 21-24 May 2009

Athens – Greece’s leading international art fair for contemporary art, ART-ATHINA, is delighted to announce its 15th edition and the first under the direction of Alexandros J. Stanas. ART-ATHINA – International Contemporary Art Fair of Athens – was established by the Hellenic Art Galleries Association in 1993 and has become over the years, one of Europe’s most established art fairs. As of 2009, ART-ATHINA will be organised by the non-profit cultural organisation, D.ART, which is dedicated to developing a strong contemporary art scene in Greece. Collateral events include In Praise of Shadows, an exhibition curated by Paolo Colombo taking place at the Benaki Museum and the On Art Performance (OPA) Festival.


The fair will be located at the shorefront of Athens, in the Faliro Pavilion, a former Olympic Games venue. Here the wide range of prominent galleries exhibiting at ART-ATHINA provide the fair’s international audience with an overview of emerging trends within the arts, and enable visitors to see and buy works from leading international artists. ART-ATHINA will also host an expansive programme of parallel events, talks, exhibitions and art projects taking place both within the fair and throughout the city, creating a platform for experimentation, discussion and debate within the contemporary arts.

The Faliro Pavilion is an ideal place to re-connect with contemporary art, while revelling in one of the most beautiful sea sides close to the centre of the ancient capital city. The new venue offers a variety of both indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces, and boasts amenities such as free parking and easy access by public transport.


ART-ATHINA is organised by D.ART, an organisation which publishes the bi-monthly arts and culture magazine highlights and takes part in important Greek arts projects, including events in cooperation with various private and public Greek institutions such as the Greek Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. D.ART is taking part and funded by the Dragonas Group. The fair is supported by the Greek Ministry of Culture and the Hellenic Olympic Properties S.A .


The month of May will see Greece as a prime destination figuring on top of every collector’s calendar as the country will not only host ART-ATHINA but also the Thessaloniki Biennale. Visitors to ART- ATHINA will be welcomed in Thessaloniki, and joint VIP programs will allow guests to visit both art events. ART-ATHINA is also pleased to announce a reciprocal patrons’ programme with Art Dubai and Art Rotterdam in 2009. The partnership will bring collectors from Dubai and Holland to Athens and seeks to create a contemporary art itinerary stretching from Europe to the Middle East.

For more info see: http://www.art-athina.gr

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

Art Market Correction Survival Tactics – artmarketblog.com

Art Market Correction Survival Tactics – artmarketblog.com

survivalLet’s face it, art auctions are mainly about two things – money and excitement. Best suited to those buyers who don’t care what they buy as long as it is a potentially profitable bargain, art auctions are far more beneficial to the investor than to the collector. Auctions are not really suited to collectors at all because a collector usually looking for specific works which means that they don’t have the option of bidding on a different work or a work by another artist if the one they are after goes beyond their budget. Although a bargain may be picked up by a collector, the likelihood of the next work they want to purchase exceeding the estimate is just as likely. What this means is that if the collector is willing to pay what ever it takes to acquire a work for their collection, the bargains that they may have acquired at other auctions could effectively be canceled out. In the end it would probably have been far better for the collector to have purchased from a gallery where the prices are relatively stable and the pressure involved in making a purchase is far less.

When times are good and the art market is full of speculators and trophy hunters the art auction industry buzzes with excitement and anticipation as records are broken and money seems to be in endless supply.  When a financial crisis influences the market and causes buyers to be far more cautious the art auction industry looses much of it’s lustre.  When the art market no longer offers the same excitement or the same potential for making a quick buck and the acquisition of a trophy work doesn’t carry the same cachet, the factors that make the auction method of conducting a transaction attractive begin to subside.  It is at this point that the gallery and the art fair start looking like a much better option for buyers owing to the fact that fairs and galleries don’t require split second decisions and allow for time to engage with a work of art and time for making a decision.

One of the major benefits that galleries and art fairs have over the auction industry is the ability to educate clients and potential clients as well as allowing them to interact with artists. Education and interaction give clients and potential clients the opportunity to actually experience the artist and their work, the effects of which can be extremely positive. It is easy to underestimate the impact that education and interaction with an artist can have on a potential buyer but when you have worked in the art industry you quickly realise how powerful education and interaction can be. The financial crisis has meant that those galleries that could stick pictures on the wall then sit back and watch the money roll in can no longer do so and are having to work extra hard for their sales. Potential customers need to be convinced that they are making the right decision which is where the education and interaction with an artist come into play in a big way.

Evidence of how important the role of education and interaction can be for an art related business was evident at the 2008 SOFA expo (http://www.sofaexpo.com) in Chicago which was held this past November. The SOFA expo is an International Exposition of Sculptural Objects and Functional art or in other words, contemporary decorative arts and design. According to the post expo press release the expo was a major success with high attendance figures and reports of extremely strong sales which were driven in part by the educational component of the fair. Lectures, panels and artist conversations were a major part of the expo and undoubtedly played a major part in it’s success. “There’s a spill-over effect to sales when one of my artists speak,” said exhibitor Charon Kransen, who saw a bounce from Simon Cottrell’s lecture enjoyed by 115 attendees. “My loyal clientele keeps returning,” Kransen added.

Those galleries and dealers who are able to utilise the tools that they have at their disposal and use a bit of ingenuity stand the best chance of surviving the art market correction. Those galleries and dealers that refuse to adapt to the conditions and do not recognise the areas in which they can make improvements or adaptations to maximise sales will be the first casualties of the correction, and rightly so.

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

Art Fairs, Exhibitions, Auctions and Other Stuff – artmarketblog.com

Art Fairs, Exhibitions, Auctions and Other Stuff – artmarketblog.com

I often get sent emails and press releases for art fairs, exhibitions, gallery openings etc. and would love to be able to post them all however, I just don’t have the time to promote every single event that I get notified about.  What I have decided to do is single out the best of the events that I get emailed about so below is a list of the top twelve events that I have received information on all of which are well worth taking notice of.

The myartspace Miami Basel Competition

Myartspace, along with Bridge Art Fair sponsored a competition juried by a world class panel from Bridge Art Fair, SF MOMA, San Jose Museum of Art and Whitney Museum of Art. The registration and submission period ran from September 1 through November 15, 2008. Fifty finalists will be selected and three winners will have their work represented at the the Bridge Art Fair in December in Miami.

See winners and finalists here:

Peter Alwast at Gallery Barry Keldoulis


Alwast’s practice engages the construction of ‘reality’ in both the digital and painterly worlds. His seamless stitching together of the various modes of virtual reality which won him the recent new media award is in this exhibition contrasted with his paintings, which show a fondness for what many now see as the quaint naivety of the medium, and the foibles of humanity the painted surface exudes when compared to the clinical exactitude of the virtual world.

Phillips De Pury December 17 Design Auction


Phillips de Pury & Company is pleased to announce our upcoming auction of Design to be held in New York on 17 December 2008 at 2pm. Phillips de Pury & Company continues its mandate to offer discriminating examples of contemporary and modern design, including architectural pavilions and ceramics. Significant early works from star designers Ron Arad, Marc Newson and Zaha Hadid are presented in dialogue with mid-century masterworks from Gio Ponti, Serge Mouille, Alexandre Noll and Jean Royère. Phillips de Pury & Company continues to influence design’s debates by introducing work from cutting-edge contemporary designers such as Jurgen Bey and Aranda\Lasch. This sale notably re-investigates the radical practices of futurist designer François Dallegret, whose eclectic works, though neglected by the history books, clearly resonate within the design community.

AUCTION 17 December 2008 2pm

Viewing 10 – 16 December

Reception 11 December 6-8pm



Los Angeles—The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents Contemporary Projects 11: Hard Targets—Sport and Masculinity, from October 9, 2008 through January 18, 2009. The exhibition features photographs, sculptures, video, and installations by artists, including Mark Bradford, Harun Farocki, Brian Jungen, Shaun Leonardo, Collier Schorr, and Joe Sola— all of whom suggest through their work that the male athlete is a far more ambiguous, multidimensional figure in our collective cultural imagination than ever before.



The London Original Print Fair returns to its old home in the main galleries at the Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House on Piccadilly next year, from 22-26 April 2009. Over 50 international dealers, galleries, publishers and print workshops have been accepted to show work at this, the longest-running specialist print fair in the world. Now in its 24th year, the fair is the largest event of its kind in Europe.

Death By Basel – December 2-7, Fredric Snitzer Gallery Miami


The Fredric Snitzer Gallery is pleased to present DEATH BY BASEL, an exhibition featuring artists from Japan, France, Norway and the US. The exhibition, selected by Agatha Wara and Antonin Gaultier, will coincide with this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, from December 2 – 7, 2008.

Fredric Snitzer Gallery FRED’s Projects
2248 NW 1st PL Miami, FL 33127
t. 305.448.8976 f. 305.573.5810

GSK CONTEMPORARY @ Royal Academy of Arts


A multidisciplinary season of cutting-edge visual culture at the Royal Academy of Arts supported by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

This autumn, the Royal Academy of Arts will launch GSK Contemporary, a new season for experimentation, discussion and debate within contemporary visual arts, made possible thanks to the generous support of GlaxoSmithKline, the Royal Academy’s first title sponsor.

The second part of the season, Collision Course, reflects the winter timings of the programming with a bleak and austere aesthetic underlying the three main exhibitions; Burroughs Live, Sudden White and Dark Materials, as well as the accompanying programme of talks and cinema screenings.

Royal Academy of Arts, 6 Burlington Gardens
31 October 2008 – 19 January 2009

Part II: Collision Course
16 December 2008 – 19 January 2009

Blacks, Jews, Muslims, and Naked Women United….STILLLIFE in Miami



STILLLIFE at Bridge Art Miami 2008 curated by Rebecca Weber
Artists exhibiting include: William Betts, Leslie Furlong, Eric Robert Parnes, Phillip Thomas,Walter Tschinkel, Reuben Wu.

Building off of the success of Berlin this exhibition will continue to examine the current state of cultural and world affairs with an aesthetic that examines not only current political concerns, but the concerns of man within the natural world. View Berlin Tagesspiegel on STILLLIFE Oct 29th

Keith Coventry @ Haunch of Venison


Painting and Sculpture Part I: Early Groups

10 December 2008 – 31 January 2009

Haunch of Venison is delighted to announce the first of two major exhibitions presenting work by the acclaimed British artist, Keith Coventry, for the last exhibition at Haunch of Venison Yard prior to the London gallery’s move to 6 Burlington Gardens in spring 2009. Coventry is known for his paintings and sculptures which manipulate the legacies of Modernism in order to address the conditions of contemporary urban life. Many of the art historical references that Coventry deploys are defined by the utopian ideals of Modernism. Coventry plays with these beliefs and shows them to be misconceived; the gulf between belief and reality stimulating a series of powerful and troubling undercurrents in his work.

Sheba Chhachhi @ Bose Pacia New York


Chhachhi’s Winged Pilgrims series is an innovative take on the questions of new media and globalization. Images of migrating birds, the robes of Buddhist pilgrims, and the exchange of technological aesthetics create a platform for these questions. By exploring the sort of reverse evolution of digital technology and migration the artist makes space for a discussion of globalization where traditional trajectories of advancement are can be destabilized and opened for discussion.

Originally created for the Singapore Biennale in September 2006, the work has also been exhibited at the ZKM Center for Art & Media in Karlsruhe, Germany as part of the exhibition Thermocline of Art: New Asian Wave (June 15-October 21, 2007), at the Hangar Biccoca in Milan, Italy as part of the exhibition Urban Manners (October 9, 2007 – January 6, 2008), and at Nature Morte in New Delhi (December 22, 2007 – January 19, 2008).

Winged Pilgrims: A Chronicle from Asia
November 13 – December 23, 2008
New York

Simryn Gill @ MCA Sydney


Opening this Thursday 20 November and running throughout summer, the MCA presents a solo exhibition of new and recent work by leading Sydney-based Malaysian artist Simryn Gill. The exhibition, Simryn Gill: Gathering, includes photography, objects, books and text works by this internationally renowned artist.

Born in Singapore in 1959, Gill lives and works in Sydney and Port Dickson, Malaysia. She has exhibited widely throughout Australia and internationally, including at the Biennale of Sydney (2002 and 2008), the São Paulo Biennial (2004) and the Venice Biennale (1999). Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Tate Modern, London and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC (both 2006).

Art Perform @ Art Basel Miami Beach

Since 2005, Art Basel Miami Beach has supported artists working in the sphere
of performance and live art through the Art Perform program. Curated by Jens
Hoffmann, Director of the CCA Wattis Institute in San Francisco, this platform
features a selection of international artists who are invited to conceive and present
specially commissioned site- and context-specific artworks. All presentations will
take place on the Art Perform stage at Art Positions.
Participating Artists:
Christian Jankowski (Germany), Adriana Lara (Mexico), Yoshua Okon
(Mexico/United States), Jordan Wolfson (United States)
Thursday, December 4, 2008
8pm Jordan Wolfson
Friday, December 5, 2008
8pm Christian Jankowski
Saturday, December 6, 2008
8pm Yoshua Okon
Sunday, December 7, 2008
8pm Adriana Lara

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.