The Contemporary Art Market

The Contemporary Art Market

Current Performance

Recent records posted by the contemporary art market performance can be highlighted using the preceding year, 2010 performance figures. Sales figures for art pieces in the current market can not leave the mention of top artists in 2010. Mixed reactions have been posted over a period of five years, a scenario that went worse in the wake of recent economic crisis at the global markets. Some of these contemporary artists who made appearances in the market include iconic artists such as Jasper John, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richer, Rothko, Maurizio Cattelan, Calder, Diebenkorn, Lichtenstein, Joan Mitchell, de Kooning and Yves Klein. It is perhaps worth to mention that the recent and current art market fortunes have a reflection of the global influence than it was earlier before. The impact of globalization has gradually permeated into the art market with major changes being felt in operation of the sales. Such changes include the use of major auction outfits such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s. A global picture is manifested in the manner in which the business is currently being conducted (Prospero, 1).

Giving a quick scan of the proceeding of the 2010 market, some of the above revelations come into light, for instance the fact that some of art pieces by some of the above mentioned contemporary artists dominated the market. It is also an observed fact mixed reactions depict the market situation while 2010 is taken into comparison with 2008, just before the recent economic crisis (Rehs, 1). Alternatively, impact of globalization can not be assumed in the wake of a more coordinated market with a global following. Some of the major sales recorded in 2010 at Christie’s include Jasper John’s Flag was sold at over 28 million US dollars. Warhol’s Silver Liz went fro over 18 million US dollars whereas Yves Klein piece by the name Anthropometrie was sold at over 12 million US dollars. According to Rehs (1), while most of these sales were effected in 2010 at a fairer value than the estimated figures, it could be said to be a reflection of better life ahead for the market.

Some of the best recorded postings at Sotheby’s included Warhol’s Self Portrait at over 32 million US dollars, a better figure than the initial valuation by over double the figure. Rothko’s Untitled piece attracted improved 31.4 million US dollars, up from 25 million US dollars of valuation. Maurizio’s Untitled piece was sold at about eight million US dollars making over six million US dollars profit. These figures are by far better than those posted earlier in 2008 and 2009 trading periods, indicating the change of fortunes for the contemporary market. Whether the trend continues into 2011 is a topic discussed below, in consideration of factors likely to affect the progress.

Performance Prospects in 2011

Contemporary art market in the second decade of the millennium can be predicted from the prospects of performance observed and projected in 2011. Two important factors will define the course of progress taken by the market, regarding contemporary market. On one hand, past performance of the market will determine how well or poor the performance progresses. On the other hand, expected changes in the foreseeable future of contemporary art will also have a huge bearing in the performance of the market.

According to Prospero (1), while it could be projected from the recent recovery from the economic crisis experienced from 2008, the art market still remains unpredictable. The author attributes this uncertainty to the entry and departure of artists into the art market such that there is some marked difference from the other markets. Influx of international artists into the contemporary art field increases competition and makes the market more appealing to many art lovers. Dominion by a few artists is expected to be forgotten, according to the author.

It can therefore be projected that prospects of performance into the 2011, contemporary art market will experience stronger forces at the global level. Impact of global economic fortunes will therefore directly be translated into the art market, unlike earlier performances. With the recent history of the market demonstrating a connectivity to global market performance, likely outcomes are that success will be determined by relevant the fortunes.

Further changes expected at the contemporary art market are as explained by Stallabrass (6) to the effect that the capital will be needed to increase conformity with trends at the global scene. According to the opinion of the author, the year 2011 will witness a shift from traditional practice where art work was merely incidentally product. More art investments are expected following the revelation that entry can be founded on innovation and creativity.

Innovation into art is likely to introduce changes into the composition of the market, where different components will have different contribution to the market. This is because among the four components of the contemporary art market, namely commodity, type, sector and category adopt innovation at different speeds (Robertson, 18). Entry of different international artists into art market is projected to incorporate changes into various components, with the inflexible components taking little or no change. However, their performance and value is likely to be unaffected but will remain as factors of economic performance at the global markets.

Performance at the contemporary art market is currently defined by the participation of auction outfits, but 2011 and later in the future, more private players are likely to make impact (Robertson, 20). With more liberal mentalities likely to emerge with an aim of propping up the market, private players will increase the level of participation of art stakeholders. This is because in the recent past, domination of an oligopoly of auction houses has characterized the contemporary art market. Limitations of the system have dragged opening up of the international market with a proportionate expansion of the market overseers such as the traders. It can therefore be predicted that the expansion of the market to have a more global image can only be improved at every sector, such as actual trading that private traders have taken progressively well into 2011.

Works Cited

Prospero, “The Market Sprawls,” The Economist, 18 February 2011. Web. HYPERLINK “” (accessed 9 March 2011)

Rehs, Howard, L. “Contemporary,” Art Market Monitor, 28 May 2010. Web. HYPERLINK “” (accessed 9 March 2011)

Robertson, Iain, Understanding international art market and management. Routledge, 2005. Print

Stallabrass, Julian, Contemporary art: a very short introduction. Oxford University Press, 2006. Print

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