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March 01, 2007

Phillips Contemporary Department Taking on the Big Guys

Phillips_takes_on_sothebys_and_christies So.. given the recent bidding frenzy at this weeks Contemporary Art Auctions and the hordes of crazy people buying everything in site at the NYC art fairs, clearly the challenge for these auction houses is finding people willing to sell anything Contemporary.

So it's no surprise to see our enterprising contemporary expert pals over at Phillips & Co, Michael McGinnes.. sent us an interesting letter with the following opening paragraph...

Phillips Contemporary is now accepting consignments for our upcoming May 17th and 18th sales of contemporary art in New York as well as our June 22nd sale of contemporary art in London.  We are seeking strong examples of work from Post War to Cutting Edge and providing advantageous consignment terms to ensure the strength and balance of material included in each sale.

We just find it amusing to see every auction house ripping off  increasing their fees charged to the buyers.. and now also competitively cutting their fee agreements with the sellers.

Well.. As they've said for the last 10 years in the US Real Estate world......

Its a SELLERS Market !!

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This is pricesly why you should head over to IGavel.com and bid on work in Daniel Cooney Fine Art's online auction. No punishment for buying art there...and there's some good stuff too.

I watched some of phillips tuesday auction online and except for a few artist or really iconic pieces, the opening bids were often dropped well below what the stated opening bid would be and many struggled to get back up to where they were supposed to just open. Some didn't. But this also occured on "black tuesday" (4% down day on the nascrap) and I'm sure the audience must have collectively lost thousands/millions and I'm sure that had some impact.

Of course there were a number of works that went far above the high estimate. Vik Muniz comes to mind can't remember the others. It still get's me how that $300 Vik Muniz print goes for over $3000 now. Amazing. I love those "junk stock" prints.

But I think the point is BUY QUALITY - only buy strong or Iconic prints. The DOW is trying to bounce. But I'm worried about what will happen if the prophecies of a slowing US and China economy come true.

And about premiums. I was thinking how could they go much higher? But theoretically they could charge whatever premium they like, as long as the buyers keep coming. What if they charged a 100% buyers premium. Why not? If you're willing to pay 10k for a print you just bid 5k. It's the selling prices and sellers that will eventually get hurt.

And secondly even if they reduce the sellers premium and increase the buyers premium, still a high buyer's premium might affect how high folks bid. Which in turn still means a lower sale price for the seller. Although it could be a sellers market still, this tactic sounds more like a marketing trick to get better works on the floor than giving a "deal" to the sellers. I'm sure the auction houses are making more money than anyone.

Hey Mao, thanks for the tip on the Pickering. They just added the Tim Davis photo to the mocp site too. Another great deal. (Aperture wants $1000 for their same size Tim Davis!) I really loved his series of retail lights in homes when I saw it a couple years ago. http://www.davistim.com/images/retail/retail_1.html - My Life in Politics is pretty good too. http://mocp.org/shop/product.php?productid=16473

looks like you on a date.

Also of note,
"...Sotheby’s New York made some aggressive moves into the "primary market," buying the gallery of Color Field pioneer Andre Emmerich..."
http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/news/artmarketwatch/artmarketwatch2-23-07.asp

and

"Christie's move stuns dealers. ...Blain's gallery may now be a wholly owned subsidiary of Christie's, but he insists that his artists "will be working with Haunch of Venison and its team.... "
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2007/02/27/basales27.xml

this is a funny and frightening photograph

i think..... hmmmmmm all art is ...is someone trying to express themselves in a creative way eg. a red fire on a picture could mean there angry or a black and white picture could mean depression either way there all very creative by nelzy

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