If Bloomberg.com is to be believed the centre of the arts universe is imploding. In New York galleries are closing, exhibitions are being extended to reduce overheads and $100K discounts are not being laughed out the door. The doom and gloom of the financial crisis is hitting the top end of town hard.
Meanwhile in the City of Churches, the “I spent a week there one afternoon” (but that was back in the 70’s and things may have changed) town of Adelaide’s Paul Greenaway is beating the emerging artist market drum. Director of the self named Greenaway’s Gallery and founder of South Australia's Living Artists Festival (mmmm OK) says and I quote "In the past where you might have thought of buying a painting for up to $5,000 you might look more towards the emerging artists and sort of go around the $2,000 mark. ... I think ultimately this is going to be a positive thing for the art world."
And Marcus Westbury from “Not Quite Art” chimes in “The downsides are dire and self evident - dwindling arts budgets pale beside the damaged wrought in lives destroyed and certanties upended. Yet recessions can be great times for low budget cultural initiatives. Space - the almost impossible to find holy grail of artists in the boom times - becomes relatively cheap and available. Higher levels of unemployment means that talent has more time to experiment and innovate and less temptation (or opportunity) to chase big bucks elsewhere. Large scale cultural production - with it’s expensive overheads and high costs - becomes relatively more difficult. Small scale production - which works best when there is a very high ratio of initiative and labour to expenses and overheads - benefits immensely from the rapidly falling costs.”
Who can tell in these “interesting times” maybe the Aussie pundits are on to something that the Gucci suits are missing.