November 17, 2018

The End of Middle-Class Art

The art market is increasingly controlled by the major auction houses and a handful of high-powered dealers. Indeed, the two sectors have grown quite similar, with personnel moving fluidly from one to the other, and auction houses hosting exhibitions and orchestrating private sales. The art business long resisted corporate expansion, because too much was tied up in the expertise of the singular dealer (whose name was usually on the door) and his or her personal relationships with artists and clients. Rather than achieving economies of scale, expansion diluted a dealer’s efficacy while raising costs. However, the business model followed by today’s most successful galleries relies on vast teams of registrars, preparators, social media mavens, researchers, writers, and sales associates to achieve market saturation on a global scale. Large staffs are also used to lure artists, estates, and collectors with a range of services that cannot be matched by smaller organizations. Gagosian, with 17 locations, employs 250 people; Hauser & Wirth (seven locations), 200; David Zwirner (five locations), 165; Pace (nine locations), 150. According to Jose Freire, director of Team Gallery, these are the only four galleries that count. “And everyone else is not them.”

Read more

JJ Best Of The Web

"You are being watched. Right now, cookies are tracking which websites you visit and what you click on while you’re there. Your smartphone is logging your location."

"The US placed sanctions on 17 Saudis on Thursday as punishment for their alleged involvement in the murder of Saudi journalist and US resident Jamal Khashoggi... according to experts, the move doesn’t go far enough to reprimand the kingdom."

"If the slow-motion crisis that is Gaza ever has a turning point, then this week’s deal between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, or what’s left of it, and Hamas leaders, under siege, is what the turning would look like."

"Nicholas Parisi's new biography, 'Rod Serling: His Life, Work, and Imagination,' fails to present a complete picture of the legendary screenwriter who did his best work outside the TV show that made him famous."

"Nearly a year after the tax cut, economic growth has accelerated. Wage growth has not. Companies are buying back stock and business investment is a mixed bag."

"By shifting accents, Australian expatriates are seen to be shifting class and status, indicating a sense of superiority to those who remain in Australia. The quickly acquired faux-British accent in particular has been associated with pretension..."

"Denim, usually in the form of the humble pair of jeans, is arguably the world’s most popular fabric. Over the years, it’s been worn by everyone from supermodels to soccer moms."

"Capitalism disadvantages women along several axes. The dawn of the industrial revolution enshrined a division of labor that largely confined them to the domestic sphere."

"In the past five or so years, hosting a Thanksgiving meal among friends a week before the actual holiday has become a standard part of the celebration for many young adults."

"Are these business owners trying to keep out certain customers? What about children? Or people who are paid in cash, or others who, for whatever reason, can’t or won’t open a bank account..."

"Humanity is on the verge of a weighty achievement. On Friday, representatives of more than 60 nations will convene in Versailles, France, to approve a new definition for the kilogram."

"...the more modern form of the movement has its roots in late 19th-century Europe... The sole focus of some missions based in England and the U.S. was the conversion of the Jews to Christianity..."