Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Case for Buying Art Now

Right after the 9-11 attacks I found myself on the road visiting clients, many that I had dealt with for over three decades. For the first time in my career I received some responses to my advance email messages asking me to not even call because the client was not in the mood to think about art. That got my attention. In many cases economics were not the issue - it was an oppressive depression over the attacks that sapped any interest in art. This lasted for a good six months while the art world re-grouped and then continued doing what they do.

There are certainly some parallels with the malaise that has overcome much of the commercial art world in the past six months. For those dealers that enjoyed the action in 2007 and early 2008 fueled by easy credit and in many areas crazy prices, the crunch has been a shocker. Suddenly the bankers left with the buyers and now dealers have had to re-think their approach. Dealers have reported that the tribal shows have, for the most part, been well attended but that collectors have kept their hands in their pockets. Generally sales have slowed in more than one sector.
Regardless of your political persuasion the events since last November have, indeed, been maddening. It has been too easy to get caught up in all the political bickering, in-fighting, and gamesmanship. But really right now what can you do to make a difference? Basically, contact your elected officials and let them know what you think. Beyond that, down the line you can give money and support your candidates. In reality that's a ways off. As I mentioned on the blog, we may see another downturn in the market and the economy by most forecasts may be sluggish into 2011. In the interim there are going to be many opportunities in the art world, that will be fun, satisfying, and lucrative. Dealers and auction houses will get more creative to capture your dollar. Buyers like you will shake off all the distractions and will make money during this period. So if you can afford a bit now and then be wary and alert.. maybe this distraction will make you forget some of the insanity in Washington on both sides of the aisle.

Like any period like this sometimes it difficult to tell who is the victim and who is the predator. Be smart and treat your art buying like any other investment and seek opinions from experts you trust. Don't buy and sell through the same folks that are giving you buying and selling advice. Some times this works... many times it doesn't.

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