Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Economy: Why Are So Many Art Galleries Closing?

(Drivebycuriosity) - There is a lot talk about the fact that many art galleries are closing. Artnews published recently a long list of art dealers who had given up (artnews).  Some complain about high rents, "cut-throat-competition" between galleries and an allegedly weak market for art.  Jimi Dams, owner of gallery Envoy Enterprises on New York`s Lower East Side which will shut down  in August, declares "the reason for my decision is simple….  it is not fun anymore" (envoy). Dams claims "the art industry has developed into an uninteresting, boring entity".

I beg to disagree. I find the art industry still fascinating. But I think that there are too many art galleries and there is not enough interesting new art for all of them. Alone in my neighborhood, New York´s Lower East Side, have been about 130 art galleries. They had on average about 10 exhibitions each annually, that makes more than 1,000 shows alone on the Lower East Side. And there are the galleries in Chelsea, Soho, Tribeca, Midtown, Uptown, Brooklyn and Queens. I assume that New York alone has more than 2,000 art shows annually, in competition with Los Angeles, London, Paris, Hong Kong and many other places. I doubt that there is enough attractive new art work to fill all the shows.

I frequently visit art galleries and report about their exhibitions. Alone this year I have been reporting about 21 gallery shows in Manhattan. But I have visited even more galleries and in many cases I got disappointed. Many times I spotted just mediocre & boring works which didn`t deserve a blog post. Not every one who calls herself an artist is a Rothko or a Francis Bacon. Often I see just variations of overused ideas. I don`t think that the whole market "is uninteresting & boring", but unfortunately many exhibition pieces are. So, on average I reported just about one out of 4 visited galleries and I wondered why the rest could exist.

I believe that the lamented spree of art gallery closings is just part of a healthy consolidation. It looks like that the art market in general is rising again - as the recent art auctions in New York & London demonstrate. The demand for attractive art works is growing. In Manhattan I can see many new tenement towers which hundreds of flats which cost some millions each. Their owners may need to fill their walls with impressive paintings. Globally wealth is growing - and so is the demand for art.

PS The images here are from the above mentioned gallery Envoy Enterprises (envoy). 

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