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October 16, 2008

The Cold winds of Recession blow through the Frieze Art Fair....

Not a big surprise.. it sounds like the generally red hot Frieze Art Fair in London got a chilly reception.

CaterineOpie_ice_houses_1a   We're hearing that perhaps the Paris, FIAC "Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain" (contemporary art fair) held in the Louvre's courtyard which is running next week, maybe have a chance of doing a bit better..

Now the only question remains.. how bad and deep will this art recession get??

(Photo #1 by Catherine Opie, "Untitled #6 (Icehouses)," 2001, C-print, ed of 5, 2 artist proofs, 50 x 40" )

Here's the first story we found on the influential art fair...by Scott Reyburn and Katya Kazakina of Bloomberg news..


Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) -- International art collectors including Gwyneth Paltrow, Charles Saatchi, George Michael and Dasha Zhukova did more browsing than buying during the early hours of the Frieze Art Fair in London yesterday.

The event, which runs through Oct. 19 in Regent's Park, coincides with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

As the U.S. and European governments infused billions into their banking systems, fears of art market meltdown didn't materialize. Dealers said they were pleased to see American collectors and curators still supporting the fair, even if the economic slowdown had made them more hesitant.

``There are a lot of people who are a lot less inclined to spend money immediately,'' said Matthew Armstrong, who curates the collection of Donald Marron's Lightyear Capital LLC, a private equity investment firm in New York. ``As a result, people are looking at art a little more soberly. It's not as frantic,'' said Armstrong, who was taking his time over purchases.

VIP guests were in no hurry as they trickled in for the first view at 11 a.m. Among the American collectors was the Oscar-winning actress Paltrow, who strolled leisurely from booth to booth in black, chunky high heels.

``I come to Frieze every year,'' she said. ``It's something I really look forward to.''

Paltrow, who described herself as a collector of ``the whole gamut from Darren Almond to Jasper Johns,'' didn't make any immediate purchases.

George Michael

Singer George Michael, who last year paid 3.5 million pounds ($6 million) for Damien Hirst's ``Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain,'' joined the throng. Dealers also welcomed Saatchi -- whose new gallery opened in London on Oct. 9 -- and Zhukova, partner of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, whose Garage Center for Contemporary Culture opened in Moscow in September.

``It's a looker's mood,'' said U.K. collector Frank Cohen, who owns an art foundation, Initial Access, in the English Midlands. ``The price levels are the same as last year or a little bit more,'' said Cohen, who hadn't bought anything during the first two hours.

Gagosian Gallery was offering two Richard Prince paintings.

The red ``Heartbreak Nurse'' was available for $7 million, the gallery said. A large canvas featuring hundreds of tiny porn magazine covers had a price tag of $2.5 million. Both were unsold at 3 p.m.

Exhibitors said that, unlike last year, collectors were slow to make decisions, putting things on reserve instead of instantly purchasing them.

``Last year, by 12 o'clock galleries would say, `Sorry, It's gone,''' said Wendy Goldsmith, a London-based private dealer. ``I haven't so far encountered that this year.''

Energy Levels

Some collectors balked at prices they perceived to be out of step with the turmoil in the wider economy.

``Marked out of 10, the energy level is about four,'' said Todd Levin, a New York-based art adviser and curator of hedge- fund manager Adam Sender's collection. ``People are talking about the financial markets.''

Frieze, which is in its sixth year, specializes in new works by cutting-edge artists, with most transactions priced at less than $500,000.

At David Zwirner gallery, works by Lisa Yuskavage, Stan Douglas, Thomas Ruff and Francis Alys sold for about $100,000 each, according to owner David Zwirner.

Gober Sculpture

Among the few works to sell for more than $1 million was Robert Gober's 2007 mixed-media sculpture ``Leg with Anchor.''

The piece sold to a private U.S. collector at the booth of Matthew Marks Gallery for $1.2 million. An untitled Gober sculpture, featuring a pair of breasts protruding from a wooden chair seat, also went to an American collector for $650,000.

Despite these sales, gallery founder Matthew Marks described collectors at the fair as ``cautious.''

Collectors tended to congregate at the booths of the more- established dealers. Hauser & Wirth sold 10 works on the opening morning. Indian artists were in demand with Subodh Gupta's 12- foot-wide painting, ``Still Steal Steel #9,'' selling for 450,000 euros ($607,590). Bharti Kher's 18-foot-wide triptych, ``I'm going that way,'' made of thousands of arrow-shaped Indian bindi-beads, went for 300,000 euros.

``The numbers feel better than we feared,'' said London and Zurich gallery owner Iwan Wirth. ``We've seen plenty of Americans. The crisis didn't make them stay away.''


Here are a few more Frieze stories we found...

A Soft Landing at Frieze? http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/28992/a-soft-landing-at-frieze/

            Sales picked up as buyers relaxed.

New Sobriety at a Slowed-Down Frieze http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/28991/new-sobriety-at-a-slowed-down-frieze/

You can’t quite hear a pin drop, but thanks to colossal global gyrations in the financial markets, the 2008 Frieze Art Fair is decidedly quieter and less frenetic than previous editions, with art commerce slowed to a more old-fashioned pace.

Curator's Voice: Neville Wakefield on Frieze Projects http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/28964/curators-voice-neville-wakefield-on-frieze-projects/

At an event that’s all about making money, even Frieze’s not-for-sale section, the curated Frieze Projects, tends to engage the commercial rationale of the fair, often in provocative ways.


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I've been collecting for about 10 years, and the current reserved feeling about buying is pretty much where we were at in 2001 and 2002, before picking up like mad in 2003. I think it's normal and healthy and wouldn't worry about it. Bad shit, whether it be a political party's ideology, an ridiculously elevated housing or stock market, and an out of control art market, ALL need a purging once in a while.

With an expanded global collector base, I would predict that in 12-18 months, the purging will be complete and things will pick up. The next year is a good time to reassess priorities, hatch a strategy, and go with it.

Hopefully, the young gallerists who close shop will learn from their mistakes, and the overall quality will be raised.

Oh, MAO. You love being the BEAR of bad news. Ba-dump-bump.

Thank you very much good work for information very cool thankss

I think everyone knew that the bubble would eventually burst. They always do. A new one will replace it in time.

thank you

Hard financial times have really been creating a stuggle for many art-related businesses. Gallery owners seem to have been hit the hardest.

Read a little blog about it here, and check out the link to a full story:

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