art market

Melbourne Art Fair 2014

August 23, 2014
Melbourne Art Fair 2014 at the Exhibition Building

Art dealers in Australia have an image problem. Every time a high profile art fraud comes to court, as in the recent case of a dud Albert Tucker painting, there is a mass of lurid publicity. We hear shocking stories about the prevalence of fakes, shady dealers, unreliable auction practices and double-dipping art consultants. It … More


Markets & mindsets

September 11, 2012
On site 1

In China last week for Shanghai Contemporary, it began to dawn on me why Australia’s commercial gallery scene seems to be struggling to keep afloat: while the contemporary art market has become completely globalised we remain a stubborn provincial outstation. This is no reflection on the quality of Australian art but it is a growing … More


Melbourne Art Fair 2012

August 11, 2012
Screen shot 2012-09-02 at 11.12.08 AM

Another Melbourne Art Fair, another chance to take the unsteady pulse of the local art market. With no hard data about turnover, a hasty prognosis would suggest the sector is still feeling the pain, although smiling through tears. Every year the Fair commissions a major work that is subsequently gifted to a public gallery. This … More


Masami Teraoka, Migration

June 2, 2012
Masami Teraoka: New Wave Series / Christine at Hanauma Bay 1992 watercolour on paper 56.5 x 75.0 cm

One of the strangest developments in the Sydney art scene is the sudden upsurge of galleries showing and selling high priced international art. This is surprising, given the fact that these are dismal times for retail and the art business is essentially retail with delusions of grandeur. There are only two explanations: either there are … More


Art Hong Kong 2012

May 26, 2012
Contemporary art installations at Art HK

Hong Kong is ideally located to take advantage an eastern economic boom that keeps defying western prophets of doom. Although it may sound scarcely believable, that defiant attitude is shared by leading western art dealers who have begun opening gigantic new spaces in a city long known as a cultural backwater. Those bad old days … More


Struggling Artists

July 20, 2011
Michael Lindeman, Artwork - Isolation

A reader, Glenn Stelzer, has emailed me to suggest that his brother, Bevan, is an artist worthy of attention. He says, quite rightly, that there are a lot of talented but “struggling” artists who never get their time in the sun. A painter, Edwin Smith, has written to alert me to his exhibition with Bruce … More


Art Hong Kong 2011

June 10, 2011
Hitesh Natalwala, Surrender 2010, Gallery Barry Keldoulis

It is scarcely believable that the Hong Kong Art Fair is only four years old. As the infant prodigy among the many, many fairs that have been breeding, virus-like, in all parts of the world, Hong Kong’s growth has been freakish. It started out as a shrewd, optimistic idea in 2008; struggled through the GFC … More


James Guppy

December 18, 2010
James Guppy, Love in Kuwait, 1993

This has been a forgettable year for the commercial galleries. Not only are sales down, even attendances have been disappointing. It is as though people don’t trust themselves to visit galleries in case they are tempted to spend money. Art dealing, after all, is a glorified form of retail, and the economists are telling us … More


Super Cooper

July 15, 2010

Despite a ludicrous survey conducted by the Australia Council that tells us 93 per cent of Australians are actively involved in the arts, the politicians are not fooled. They know that art is a minority pursuit, with no votes to be won or lost. One of the reasons for this stasis is the age-old connection … More


Brett Whiteley: A Sensual Line 1957-67

June 1, 2010

Brett Whiteley: A Sensual Line 1957-67 By Kathie Sutherland Looking through a recent auction catalogue I was struck by the estimate given for a picture of a blue and white bird by Brett Whiteley. This attractive but undoubtedly minor work is expected to sell for $500,000-$700,000 – a ludicrous sum for a painting that would … More


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