In 2007, China surpassed France as the 3rd largest market for art (see article). The article also mentions that 75 pieces of art in China were sold above the $1mn mark. This is really quite remarkable, esp. since most of the Chinese art sold were contemporary. I was at a NYC art fair this past weekend, and saw works by emerging Chinese artists as young as 25 yrs old. Something about that doesn’t feel quite right.
The NYTimes has another article this weekend titled “Schooling the Artists’ Republic of China“. It looks like art, like any other industry, is going to become a much more contended category. Granted, you need to have talent – but in a country with 1.3bn people, there will be no shortage of talent. Question is, who is going to be the next Andy Warhol? We won’t know in decades; in the meantime, some artists will get lucky and make a killing. Timing is everything.
Here’s a quote from the NYT article that summarizes it all:
Chi Peng, who graduated in 2005 with a new-media degree, is viewed as a success story. He broke into the international art market a few years ago, at 25, with a series of photographs in which his naked image sprinted through the streets of Beijing with blurry red planes in hot pursuit.
Today he sells his computer-enhanced photographs for as much as $10,000 apiece. A decade ago Central Academy graduates who were lucky enough to sell a painting shortly after graduation would have been delighted to earn $100.
Mr. Chi calls himself an “80s boy,” part of a new generation that grew up in a freer, more consumer-oriented society. “It’s hard to define the 80s generation,” he said. “Our generation is a little tender but not spoiled.”
As for the pressures of the fast-moving art marketplace, which encourages artists to brand themselves for big collectors, he acknowledges some ambivalence.
Reflecting on his career ascent, he said: “It’s fast, really fast. I never could have imagined this, and I’m not sure it’s a good thing for me.”
Read Full Post »