Understanding The Art Market

The Art Market

Artsy made these videos to explain the art market in four parts: Galleries, Art Fairs, Patrons, and Auctions. Behold.

Galleries

What does an art gallery do for an artist? What fuels the global expansion of galleries like Gagosian and White Cube? And how has the internet affected the way galleries do business? In the second installment of “The Art Market Series (in Four Parts),” we look at the complex ecosystem of commercial galleries to probe these questions—and get to the root of how galleries effectively steward artists’ careers, promote their work, and protect their markets. Gallerists, artists, and art-world influencers like Amalia Dayan, Daniella Luxembourg, Dominique Lévy, Michele Maccarone, Elmgreen & Dragset, Josh Baer, Stefan Simchowitz, and Sarah Thornton provide their insights.

Art Fairs

In 2015, art fairs generated an estimated $12.7 billion in profits for exhibiting galleries. But why do collectors attend fairs in droves? And what’s behind their rapid international proliferation? The fourth installment of “The Art Market (in Four Parts)” tracks how the art fair has transformed from a trade show into a platform where all aspects of the art market—galleries, collectors, curators, and artists—converge, and why they keep coming back. Fair directors and art-world influencers like Noah Horowitz, Matthew Slotover, Elmgreen & Dragset, Michele Maccarone, Josh Baer, and Sarah Thornton provide their insights.

Patrons

What motivates patrons to fund artists’ wildest dreams? How has the concept of art patronage changed over time? And what’s behind the dramatic rise of private art museums? In the third installment of “The Art Market (in Four Parts),” we explore how and why patrons support artists and their careers, from the Medici family’s backing of Michelangelo’s work during the Renaissance to today’s most influential collectors, museum donors, and behind-the-scenes benefactors. Patrons and art-world influencers like Eli Broad, Maja Hoffmann, Josh Baer, and Sarah Thornton provide their insights.

Auctions

How did the art auctions business become a multi-billion-dollar industry? The film unpacks record-breaking sales, like last week’s epic Jean-Michel Basquiat painting Untitled (1982), hammering in at $51 million, and anomalies such as Ai Weiwei’s Kui Hua Zi (Sunflower Seeds) (2010), which pop up at auction in countless different quantities, making the connection between the auction price and market value of art. Interviews with auction-house specialists, financial analysts, and art-world influencers like Adam Lindemann, Xin Li, Sarah Thornton, Josh Baer, and Don Thompson add personal insight and shape the narrative.

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