Portraits as Art Market Currency Pt. 1 – artmarketblog.com

Portraits as Art Market Currency Pt. 1 – artmarketblog.com

The popularity of figurative art took a real dive post WWII when abstraction began to really hold take, which meant that portraiture, one of the purest forms of figurative art, suffered considerably along with the other forms of representational art.  More recently, conceptual art captured the imagination of the art world and, like the abstract movement, overshadowed the less glitzy world of the classical and the traditional.  The contraction of the art market that took hold in 2008 – primarily a result of the severely overheated market for contemporary art –  did, however, cause the art market to re-evaluate the value it placed on contemporary art as well question the reasoning behind the justification of the phenomenal prices being paid for contemporary art. Because the value of much of the contemporary art being produced is dependent upon the culture of the market in which the art is being sold, any major changes to the dynamic of that market are bound to have a severe effect on the value people put on contemporary art.  As is always the case, when the latest short term fashion driven trend begins to crumble, people turn to the safety and assurance of the traditional and the classical.  It is during or after major art market corrections that the difference between a short term fad and a particular style or movement temporarily going out of fashion becomes clear.  By definition, a fad is a temporary state of affairs that, once the novelty fades, is gone forever.  A considerable percentage of the contemporary art that enters the market will only retain the value it is given for as long as the fad it is associated with lasts.  Because the fads that drive the contemporary art market rarely get the sort of scholarly attention, cultural patronage or art historical recognition that ensure longevity of an artist and their work, many contemporary artists fail to survive the demise of a trend or the onset of an art market contraction.  Although portraiture fell out of fashion, as it has done on several occasions, the fact that there is so much scholarly, academic and art historical support for the genre means that there will always be a market for portraits – a market that can only continue to get stronger each time the genre comes back into fashion.

Philip Mould is a world renowned expert on historical British portraiture and, as well as regular appearances on the British version of Antiques Roadshow, has written several books that regale the reader with thrilling tales of the serial sleuther’s many quests to unearth the true identity of an artist or their subject.  Although he started dealing in portraits because they were cheap, Mould developed an infectious passion for British portraiture that even made me want to start dealing in portraits.  The great poet Charles Baudelaire once said that “A good portrait always appears to me like a dramatized biography, or rather like the natural drama inherent in every man” – a statement that I totally agree with.  Although the classical portrait may have a certain stigma attached to it, and may seem to many to be a rather boring category of art – once one begins to discover the biographical, socio-historical and cultural associations that a portrait is likely to have, the portrait can quickly go from being a humble representational picture to an extremely interesting and important historical document that can reveal fascinating historical, cultural and social information.  Uncovering the often hidden delights of a portrait is usually a time consuming project but is also an extremely rewarding and fascinating journey which more people are beginning to see the benefits of.  Uncovering the secrets of a portrait can not only be an exciting and educational experience, it can also be financially rewarding in cases where the information uncovered adds historical, cultural or provenencial value to the portrait in question.

Portraits have featured heavily in many of the most successful art auctions that have taken place over the last few months.  Asa an example of what I am talking about, check out the top results (from mutualart.com) of the July 14th Deweatt-Neate Old Masters and 19th Century Pictures auction.

Top lots sold above high estimate

Old Masters & 19th Century Pictures

Jul 14, 2010 10:00 AM
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, The flower girl
By Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
3,840 GBP
Green Arrow380% above estimate
Angelica Kauffmann, Immortality: A Nymph Presiding in the Temple of Immortality
By Angelica Kauffmann
79,200 GBP
Green Arrow340% above estimate
British School, 18th Century, Portrait of a lady Half length seated
By British School, 18th Century
2,160 GBP
Green Arrow209% above estimate
Titian, Head study of a man (fragment)
By Titian
1,560 GBP
Green Arrow160% above estimate

Stay tuned for part 2 for a detailed explanation of the reasoning behind my portraits as art market currency theory.

**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

Boo Saville at Trolley Gallery – artmarketblog.com

Boo Saville at Trolley Gallery – artmarketblog.com

'Residual Condition' biro on paper

'Residual Condition' biro on paper

There is no doubt that British artist Boo Saville has a fascination with death and the effects that different causes of death have on the human body and it’s appearance. The latest solo exhibition of Boo’s work titled ‘Butter Sunk’ is currently on shown at London’s Trolley Gallery and consists of a new body of work that explores the symbolic and ritualistic images of human remains and archeological remnants.

To get an idea of the sort of images that inspire Boo’s work all you have to do is check out her blog which contains many images that are definitely not for the faint-hearted. The works of art that she has created as a result of these rather disturbing images are, however, not anywhere as gruesome or gory as her blog would suggest. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Boo has managed to extract a sort of beauty from the macabre. By removing the colour from the images of bodies in various states of decay Boo also seems to have removed the elements of the images that would normally evoke a reaction of disgust or distress. Without the distraction of an overwhelming emotional response the viewer is able to interact with the image on a whole other level as well as appreciate the exploration of shapes, textures and surfaces that is a major part of Boo’s work.

The most intriguing and spectacular works in the show are undoubtedly the monochrome ballpoint pen drawings that are created using a technique that Boo pioneered and continues to experiment with. According to the press release “Her focus is also the texture and surface of drawing, harnessed through her intuitive use of simple biros and pens: fine details of bones and hair are coupled with layer upon layer of shaded lines to produce tones and depths that resonate the shadows and amplify the echoes of these post-human forms”

'Undefinable' oil on canvas

'Undefinable' oil on canvas

In contrast to the pen drawings, Boo uses a lack of detail to create the ghostly images that appear in her minimalist oil paintings which have titles such as ‘Grey Screen’, ‘Veil’ and ‘Shroud’. According to Boo “The new paintings are suggestions of an idea rather that the illustration which is achieved in drawing. The paint has a much more lucid quality which I want to exploit.”

Unlike some artists who rely on shock tactics to attract attention to their work, Boo has used creativity, technical skill and an obvious dedication to her craft to develop what can only be described as a extremely impressive body of work that is both challenging and intriguing. It is artist’s such as Boo Saville, who are genuinely passionate about their work and don’t go after the sort of artificial fame that plagues the art world, that are the true art stars.

If you want to see an exhibition of work by an artist whose work displays a combination of technical skill, talent and dedication rarely seen in the contemporary art world then get down to Trolley Gallery quick smart.

BUTTER SUNK
Boo Saville

29th January – March 14th
Trolley Gallery
73a Redchurch Street
London
E2 7DJ
tel +44(0)20 7729 6591
http://www.trolleynet.com

For more information on the show and a virtual tour go to:
http://www.trolleybooks.com/gallery.php?gallery=272

**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.

Aussie Picasso Sale Overrated – artmarketblog.com

Aussie Picasso Sale Overrated – artmarketblog.com

Here in Australia, the average art auction by one of the major auction houses will usually result in about AU$6,000,000 worth of sales so what do you think would happen if an artwork was sold at auction in Australia that was estimated to sell for AU$7,000,000?. Australian entrepreneur Rodney Menzies who, among other things, is the owner of one of Australia’s most successful auction houses, Deutsher Menzies, is selling a painting by Picasso from his own collection in an auction being held by his own auction house. The painting, titled “Sylvette”, is a particularly appealing portrait of a young Spanish woman by the name of Sylvette Davie who Picasso met in 1953 . As well as being a nice example of Picasso’s work, “Sylvette” also has good provenance which further adds to the appeal of this work. Plenty of people have been questioning the decision by Rodney Menzies to sell his Picasso in Australia through his own auction house but as far as I can see, Menzies has made a smart decision that can benefit both his business and himself. Several media reports on this sale suggest that Menzies would have achieved a better price selling the work overseas but while this may have been the case 20 years ago, modern technology has . The amount of marketing Rodney Menzies has done to promote the sale of this Picasso work will ensure a high level of international interest especially because of the current demand for quality works by Picasso and other modern masters. If Menzies can successfully sell the Picasso through his own auction house he stands to receive considerable international media exposure and a greater reputation for his business which would be of much greater value to Menzies than the slightly higher sale price the work might have achieve if sold overseas.

To suggest that this sale is some great test of the Australian art market, as some people have, would be extremely naive considering that works such as this Picasso are in high demand all over the world and also because of the relatively low value of the work compared to what is being sold in New York and London etc. If a painting worth $30 million was sold in Australia to an Australian buyer then I would certainly be inclined to believe that the Australian art market had evolved but a $6 million work sold to an international buyer doesn’t really get me all that excited. All that the successful sale of this work would suggest to me is that there is still plenty of demand for quality works by blue chip artists such as Picasso. As far as I am concerned, the geographical isolation of Australia will not have as much of an effect on the successful sale of this work as people might think. I am sure that there are plenty of very wealthy people all over the world who are more than willing to pay what would to them would be a relatively insignificant sum of money for a work sold in Australia that they may not have actually seen in the flesh. I would be very surprised if this work is not sold and even more surprised if it is sold to an Australian.

Other people have suggested that the successful sale of such a valuable work in Australia will do wonders for the Australian art market but, once again, I think that an assumption such as this is extremely naive and premature. Even if “Sylvette” does sell to an Australian, I do not think that there will be any change to people’s perception of the Australian art market or any change in people’s perception of Australian art buyers. Once again, all the sale of this work would indicate is that there is still demand for high quality works, nothing more. What do you think?

Update: Piacsso’s “Sylvette” has sold for $6.9 million including buyers premium to what is rumoured to be an international buyer.

image: “Sylvette” by Picasso

**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.

How Artists Can Get Noticed NOW !!! Update 7 June 08 – artmarketblog.com

How Artists Can Get Noticed NOW !!! Update 7 June 08 – artmarketblog.com

Several new avenues for artists to promote themselves and their work have recently popped up so I thought it was a good time to update this list. Enjoy!!

Seesle
http://www.seesle.com
Seesle is intended for all visual artists (professionals and leisure artists) who wish to bring their work to the attention of a large public. (Private) art collectors may also advertise work.

WebArtEx
http://www.webartex.com
Thanks to WebArtEx you can obtain widespread information on art exhbitions; gain access to artistic data and technical and economic data, as well as locations, services and supplies linked to an event with a view to creating and increasing the opportunities for exchange between the parties concerned. WebArtEx enables sellers to easily identify potential buyers and the latter to know the exhibitions and works-of-art available on the whole national territory.

GoZabo
http://www.gozabo.com
GoZabo gives artists an inexpensive portal to promote and sell their art online whether it’s jewelry, pottery or any mixed media! Gozabo also gives buyers the opportunity to save time from getting frustrated navigating thousands of artists’ individual websites AND the ability to go to one site where they can view products AND purchase them with secure shopping cart capabilities while shopping at home!

Zibbet
http://www.zibbet.com
A ‘Zibbet’ is the name for your art shop on Zibbet.com. When you name your ‘Zibbet’ you will receive a personalized web address. For example http://www.zibbet.com/mybeautifulart. You can fully customize the appearance of your Zibbet with a photo, bio and you can even display a YouTube video if you wish, as well as many other great features.

MutualArt
http://www.mutualart.com
MutualArt.com has a completely new approach to art on the web. Members can track categories of art – even individual artists – and receive new information on these from thousands of sources. They also receive advance notification of art events in the categories they choose – from exhibitions and lectures to opening parties and galas, to auctions offering works by their preferred artists.

MutualArt.com includes the world’s largest online archive of over 150,000 art related articles from over 250 quality magazines, newspapers and journals, as well as providing a conduit for galleries, museums, auction houses, art fairs and publishers to reach their target audiences over a single, global platform.

Time for another list of opportunities for artists to promote themselves and for art lovers to check out some talented artists.

Artist Rising
http://www.artistrising.com/
According to their website, Artist Rising (http://www.artistrising.com) invites you to mingle with emerging and established artists from around the world and browse their fine art and photography. Offering original artwork, fine art prints and limited edition works for immediate sale, Artist Rising allows for the discovery of creations that can express a mood, a space, or an appreciation/;.

Digital Painting Forum
A forum, gallery and shop for digital artists and mixed media artists
http://www.digitalpaintingforum.com/

Art Crazed
Network for photographers, collectors, artists, models and friends
http://www.artcrazed.com/

Pieronymus Art Network
A social network for artists
http://pieronymuskosch.ning.com/

WORLDWIDE ARTISTS Facebook Group
Facebook network for artists
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2258055248

Surrounded Art Competition:

You now have the chance to win signed copies of SURROUNDED’s latest album ‘The Nautilus Years’ and a limited edition poster. All you have to do is submit your favourite artwork/movie footage and the best entries will be included in the bands’ projections at their live shows. They can be works that either you have created yourself, or just admire by other artists. The images will then be taken by the band and sequenced in with their own videos and projected onto the back of the stage.

High resolution images should be submitted via email to info@surrounded.se or via this MySpace. Alternatively you can upload the videos on YouTube and email us the URL link. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to become a part of the band’s performance and be a part of their visual spectacle. Even if you can’t make it to a show, submit something anyway as chances are high it will still appear.

**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.

How Artists Can Get Noticed NOW !!! Update 5 (April 08)

Time again for another list of websites that can help an artist get noticed. If you are not an artist but are interested in art then you should enjoy checking out all the talent that is being shown on the websites below. Something for everyone !!!

Expat Arts Network
http://www.expatarts.com
Expat Arts is a growing global network for people who live between cultures. Our mission is to bring the world closer together through creative endeavors. We have been developing the network since June 2007.

Art Break
http://www.artbreak.com
Artbreak is a community marketplace for artists and art lovers. It’s a place for artists to share and sell their stuff, tell the world about themselves, get feedback, and make connections with other artists and people who like their work. It’s a place for art lovers to find incredible work from emerging artists from all over the world.

Art Log
http://www.artlog.com/
Artlog is about connecting people through art.
You can break the Artlog idea into four basic parts:
– Catalog: Discover new museums, galleries, alternative spaces and not-to-be-missed exhibitions, parties, openings and lectures
– People: The social layer tying the other parts together
– Focus: Tumblelog- Quick way to stay current
– Portfolios: Allow users to manage their own websites through the Artlog app

Concept Art Forum
http://www.conceptart.org
Conceptart.org is a web community of artists who are here for one purpose. We want to help each other learn about art, provide the best place to showcase work, further our art educations, and to meet other artists from around the world.

Fine Art Studio Online
http://www.fineartstudioonline.com
FineArtStudioOnline is a revolutionary web site creation tool that allows an artist to create his or her own art website in a matter of minutes!

How Artists Can Get Noticed NOW !!! Update 4 Feb 08p1010058.jpg

Well, I have come across some fantastic new promotional tools for artists in the last couple of months so it is time for another installment of “How Artists Can Get Noticed NOW!!!.

Art Review Digital:
http://www.artreview.com

artreview.com is an exciting new social networking site for the artworld, creating a global forum for discussion, interactivity and debate. Our members are artists, galleries, collectors, critics, curators and the curious. As a members of artreview.com, you can:-Post artwork, blogs, videos and audio and have members rate and comment on it
-Find exciting new artists from around the world
-Sniff through last night’s party pics and post your own
-Keep up to date with news and access ArtReview magazine archives
-Find the galleries that represent the artists with ArtFinder
-Create your own discussion groups and forums
-Promote yourself and make friends

Lab For Culture
http://www.labforculture.org

LabforCulture provides services to artists, cultural managers, producers, programmers, researchers and policy-makers.
We provide:
-Information, research and analysis related to cultural cooperation and collaboration, including funding opportunities, critical perspectives, research, news, and contacts (organisations and networks).
-Online networking tools to enable and strengthen the capacity for cultural collaboration within the cultural sector.
-Promotion of the players engaged in cultural cooperation and their activities across Europe and beyond.
-Spaces for connections, exchanges and knowledge sharing between organisations and individuals.
-Platforms for discussion and discourse on current issues affecting the cultural sector.

Artmakr
http://www.artmakr.com

The Goal of artmakr, is to bridge the gap between amateur and hobby artist, and snooty art galleries. Artmakr aims to take the vast and barren middle ground. It is our Mission to provide resource and inspiration to help more people, make art, and get paid for it. As well as to encourage more people to buy original art.

I Send You This
http://www.isendyouthis.com

for the artist we provide:
-Own independent website: artist-controlled image and information upload.
-Promotion within the isendyouthis.com advertised and marketed website network.
-A secure credit/debit card payment facility that can be used in the studio or on-line.
-Art opportunity notification service
-Exhibition promotion service
-Gallery submission service
-Artwork cataloguing and sales recording
-Mailing list and press release services
-Work shown in online art galleries and online art fairs

The Art List
http://www.theartlist.com

Since 2003, TheArtList.com has been a leading online resource for visual artists and photographers
who are looking for income and exhibition opportunities to enter. TheArtList.com’s searchable database of art contest and opportunity announcements includes a wide spectrum of content submitted by art galleries, institutions and art organizations.

Time to get busy!!!

How Artists Can Get Noticed NOW !!! Update 3

I receive many emails from artist’s asking how they can get noticed by galleries and dealers so I created this post to give artist’s some ideas for ways to promote themselves. The popularity of this post has motivated me to update it regularly as I come across new websites that would be of help to artist’s trying to promote themselves. If you have any suggestions for websites for this post then please contact me via the contact form on this blog.Updated 25/12/07 Online Galleries:

Red Bubble:
http://www.redbubble.com

Art Mesh
http://www.artmesh.org
Invite only: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=462506&highlight=artmesh

Folio Snap
http://www.foliosnap.com

Merchandise:

Printfection
http://www.printfection.com

The Art Group
http://www.artgroup.com

Networking:

Digital Consciousness
http://www.digitalconsciousness.com/

Organization of Independant Artists
http://www.oiaonline.org/

Miscelaneous:

Fine Arts Title Registry
http://www.fineartstitle.com/artists.php
-Capture personal commentary about each work of art: collectors will cherish it and the art’s value will be enhanced
-Certify your work was brought to life through your own creative effort; sign the Registered Certificate to use as your Certificate of Authenticity
-Begin provenance in the online record; it is transferred to the buyer and remains with the work forever
-Document and track your entire inventory with offsite, secure records

International Registry of Artists and Artwork
http://www.iraaregistry.org/
The IRAA is an authority in the registration of professional artists and artwork, and as such, serves anyone interested in art – including museums, historians, commercial galleries, educators, collectors, archivists, scholars, fine art publishers, universities, curators, estate managers, students, art insurers, and of course, artists.

Fine Art Adoption Network
http://www.fineartadoption.net
FAAN is an online network, which uses a gift economy to connect artists and potential collectors. All of the artworks on view are available for adoption. This means acquiring an artwork without purchasing it, through an arrangement between the artist and collector. Our goal is to help increase and diversify the population of art owners and to offer artists new means for engaging their audience.

Artist Pension Trust
http://www.aptglobal.com
Artist Pension Trust® (APT) is the first investment program dedicated to the needs of emerging and mid-career artists. APT’s long-term financial planning services allow artists to invest their artworks alongside a community of select artists, thereby providing a uniquely diversified, alternative income stream

Update 9/8/07
I have received several suggestions of other websites where artists can promote their work so I have decided to add the new resources to the list. If you have any other websites that you think should be on the list then send me a message using the contact box.

For The Artists: GET NOTICED NOW!!art-show.jpgart-show.jpg

In response to a large number of artists asking me how to market their art I have decided to write a basic guide for artists on how to get noticed online. The internet has opened up endless opportunities for artists to promote and market their work but with so many avenues of exposure it can be difficult knowing which to utilise and which to avoid. To keep things simple I have created a list of the most important avenues of self promotion for artists and links to relevant resources.

Networking:
One of the most important avenues of self promotion for artists is the involvement in, and interaction with communities of artists. By networking with other artists you get the benefit of their experiences, expertise and contacts within the art market which could lead to opportunities to exhibit your work, sell your work or be represented by a gallery of dealer. The internet has allowed global communities of artists to come together through online forums and groups to promote their work and enhance their marketing skills. There are many online communities of artists the best of which are:

Wet Canvas: http://www.wetcanvas.com
Saatchi Online Gallery: http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk
Surreal Art Forum: http://www.surrealartforum.com
Artists Network: http://www.artistsnetwork.com
Art Span: http://www.artspan.com
Online Visual Artists: http://www.onlinevisualartists.com
EBSQ Art: http://www.ebsqart.com/forum/
Art Forums UK: http://www.artforums.co.uk
D’art Fine Art: http://dart.fine-art.com/MessageList.asp?intBoardID=7966
Deviant Art Forum: http://www.deviantart.com

Online Galleries:
Online galleries allow you to create your own online exhibition space and also offer your work for sale. Even if you don’t sell anything, having your work in an online gallery is great exposure. There are lots of online galleries many of which are not very good so below is a list of some of the better online galleries:

Yessy: http://www.yessy.com
Etsy: http://www.etsy.com
Art By Us: http://www.artbyus.com
Imagekind: http://www.imagekind.com
Absolute Arts: http://www.absolutearts.com/portfolio.html
Empty Easel: http://www.emptyeasel.com
Boundless Gallery: http://www.boundlessgallery.com
Ekaweeka: http://www.ekaweeka.com
Fine Art: http://www.fine-art.com

Competitions:
Art competitions are a great way of getting exposure for your work and allow you to compare your work against other artists. Below are some links to websites that list art competitions.

British Arts: http://www.britisharts.co.uk/competitions.htm
Art Deadlines List: http://www.artdeadlineslist.com/
Art Show: http://www.artshow.com
Saatchi Gallery Showdown: http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/showdown/

Art Marketing Websites:
Art Biz Blog: http://www.artbizblog.com
Art Biz Coach: http://www.artbizcoach.com
Art Business: http://www.artbusiness.com
About Art: http://painting.about.com/

Blogs:
Another fantastic way to gain exposure is to create a blog that documents your career as an artist. Below are some links to free blog platforms:

WordPress: http://www.wordpress.com
Blogger: http://www.blogger.com

Merchandise:
Get your artwork printed on everything from mugs to t-shirts and even create prints of your work using these great customer merchandise creators
Cafepress: http://www.cafepress.com
Zazzle: http://www.zazzle.com
Finer Works: http://www.finerworks.com
Art Cards Wanter: http://www.artcardswanted.com

Happy Creating!!!

**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.

Artist Beats Pornography Charge – artmarketblog.com

Artist Beats Pornography Charge – artmarketblog.com

I recently wrote a post on the Australian photographer Bill Henson who was facing child pornography charges for using images of naked children in his work. After raiding the gallery where Henson’s work was about to go on show and sparking an international debate, the police made the decision on Friday afternoon not to pursue the prosecution of Bill Henson. This decision came after the New South Wales Director of Public Prosecution advised the police that the case was not strong enough to result in a conviction. In order for Henson to be convicted the police would have to be able to prove that the children in the images had been sexualised (which they couldn’t) as per section 91G of the NSW Crimes Act which states that:

(3) For the purposes of this section, a child is used by a person for pornographic purposes if:

(a) the child is engaged in sexual activity, or

(b) the child is placed in a sexual context, or

(c) the child is subjected to torture, cruelty or physical abuse (whether or not in a sexual context),

Ironically, the media coverage that the Henson saga has received because of the complaint made by Child welfare advocate Hetti Johnston has resulted in images of Henson’s work being seen by far more people than would have seen the works had the complaint not be made. In reality, Hetti Johnston and the other complainants have inadvertantly caused the very images that they were trying to censor to become more readily accessible and initiated a series of events that has led to the legalisation of the artworks they were attempting to get banned.

The support that Henson has received from the art world will have done wonders for his international profile and his future career especially now that his works that include images of naked children have been given the all clear by the law. I have no doubt that art lovers and freedom advocates all over the world will be buying Bill Henson’s work as a sign of support for the artist and an act of defiance against those that wish to censor and restrict artistic expression. Although I am glad that Henson will not be charged I do hope that the debate will continue and, that as a result of this saga, even more will be done to combat the exploitation of children.

For further information on legalities of the Bill Henson case see response from the Arts Law Centre of Australia below:
http://www.asauthors.org/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=ASP0016/ccms.r?PageId=10139

**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.

Investing in Art Market Businesses – artmarketblog.com

Investing in Art Market Businesses – artmarketblog.com

Everyone knows that the art market is booming and that the businesses involved with the art market such as art dealers, auction houses, art bankers, art investment funds etc. are raking in the money. So why aren’t more people investing in these companies? The answer is probably that people are more focused on the art than the companies serving the art market and are more than likely unaware of the opportunities that exist to invest in such companies to begin with. What if I was to tell you that you can not only invest in businesses serving the art market but you can actually invest in an investment fund that invests exclusively in businesses serving the art industry. Interested? – so you should be.

The Art Industry Fund has been created specifically as a means of investing in the companies that provide services to the art world and is being managed by the extremely savvy people at the New York based investment banking company Index Atlas which is headed up by the world renowned entrepreneur Sergey Skaterschikov.  As well as being the founder and CEO of IndexAtlas (http://www.indexatlas.com), Skaterschikov is also responsible for the highly regarded Skate’s Art Investment Handbook (http://www.skatepress.com). The IndexAtlas Art Industry Fund is a private equity fund which, according to the Investopedia (http://www.investopedia.com), can be defined as consisting of investors “that make investments directly into private companies or conduct buyouts of public companies that result in a delisting of public equity. Capital for private equity is raised from retail and institutional investors, and can be used to fund new technologies, expand working capital within an owned company, make acquisitions, or to strengthen a balance sheet”.

Basically, the way such a fund works is that the fund invests the money it has raised from it’s investors in a series of companies (in exchange for equity in the companies) which, is then used by the companies to undertake activities aimed at increasing the revenue and value of each company. By investing the money in these companies, the fund hopes to increase the value of the equity it has in the company so that when the fund’s equity positions are liquidated (or equity value is recouped in another way), the fund ends up with a profit which can then be passed on to those that have invested in the fund. As well as the private equity investment, the IndexAtlas Art Industry Fund will also be investing (on a limited basis) in a small number of publicly traded (stock market) companies that are involved in the art industry.

According to a press release from Index Atlas, “The fund’s primary objectives are to bring increased transparency to art investing and to support development and expansion of lasting institutions that will serve the art world and the greater alternative investment market as a whole. We seek to attain that mission in challenging art market environment by actively adding value in the boards of our portfolio companies and adhering to the ethical and transparency standards of today’s mainstream financial markets.” If you can afford the USD$1,000,000 minimum investment and have an interest in art and the art market, I would suggest you seriously consider this opportunity. For more information check out the IndexAtlas website at http://www.indexatlas.com/alternative_investments/artfund.html and for more information on the Skate’s Art Investment Handbook go to http://www.skatepress.com

**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.

The 2008 SYDNEY BIENNALE Art Fair – artmarketblog.com

The 2008 SYDNEY BIENNALE Art Fair – artmarketblog.com

With the world famous art fair Art Basel opening tomorrow, June 4 2008, there is plenty of speculation about who will be buying what and for how much but I would like to avert your attention for a moment to another major art event (non commercial) that you may not be aware of. I am particularly excited about this event because it is being held in my home town of Sydney, Australia and also because I am one of the official reporters which means that I will be keeping all the visitors up to date with everything that is happening and informing those that won’t be attending what they are missing out on. The 2008 Sydney Biennale art festival may not be as high profile as many of the other major non-commercial art events but it is considered to be one of the most important contemporary art events today and promises to be a landmark event. First held at the exhibition hall of the Sydney Opera House in 1973, the Sydney Biennale is one of the longest running biennales eclipsed only by the Venice Biennale (1895), São Paulo Art Biennial (1951) and the Biennale de Paris (1959).

From the 18th of June to the 7th of September the work of than 180 artists from all over the world will be exhibited in what promises to be one of the most exciting art exhibitions of the year and will include a diverse range of works, 50 of which will be newly created for the Biennale. The artistic director of the 2008 Sydney Biennale is Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev who is currently the Chief Curator at the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art in Italy and has previously organised exhibitions throughout Europe as well as at MOMA’s P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre in New York. The theme for the Biennale is “Revolutions – Forms That Turn” which according to Christov-Bakargiev “articulates the agency embedded in forms that express our desire for change”.

Having seen some of the featured artworks and the plans for some of the events I can honestly say that the 2008 Sydney Biennale is going to be an extraordinary celebration of art that will be sure to excite and entertain any art lover. I know that Sydney, Australia is rather a long way for many people to travel but if are able to attend I urge you to make the trip because if you don’t, I can guarantee you will be sorry. If the Biennale isn’t one of the prime events on your calendar then you are missing out on what will be an amazing opportunity to reflect on past artistic talent and marvel at the work of some of the world’s best contemporary artists. I am so excited about this years Sydney Biennale that I could go on all day but instead I will leave it to you to found out more information.

For more information check out the 2008 Sydney Biennale website here:
http://www.bos2008.com/app/biennale

and the online venue here:
http://www.bos2008.com/revolutionsonline/

**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.