Book Reviews

The Contemporary Art Market

Secrets of the Contemporary Art World?
– Shawn Rossiter

On a recent trip I picked up two books about the contemporary art world, Everything You Wanted to Know About Gallerists But Were Afraid to Ask, an interview format book dealing with fifty-one gallerists from all over the world that seemed a light enough read to flip through on the flight home, and Grands et petits secrets du monde de l’Art (Big and Small Secrets of the Art World), a more involved work that promises to take one inside the secret society that is the contemporary art world.

I have yet to finish either book but hope to write reviews on them for these pages when I do. In the meantime — and as a primer — you might check out a recent article in the New York Times that describes the alleged use, by galleries and artists, of “black lists” to bar purchases by collectors who they believe are buying the works merely to turn a quick profit at the auction houses.

We could only hope that our local art market were brisk enough to allow artists and galleries to consider doing the same. But you artists, do you do anything similar? Do you lower your prices because you like someone? Or have you been tempted to increase your price, or simply say no to that collector who is busy showing their muscles and otherwise making a boor of themselves? Any other ideas how one might organize (or manipulate) the market other than on a strictly free market, this is for sale and who pays for it first gets it basis? What about a “widow’s mite” market — show me the gross annual income on your tax return and I’ll adjust the price of a piece accordingly?

The founder of Artists of Utah and editor of its online magazine, 15 Bytes, Shawn Rossiter has undergraduate degrees in English, French and Italian Literature and studied Comparative Literature in graduate school before pursuing a career in art.

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