Aug 15, 2007


Todd Gibson, who is sitting in for Tyler Green at Modern Art Notes, speculates that the art market bubble has already started to burst, and that the credit crunch will continue to hurt “the small subset of the NetJets-set who do the art fair and contemporary auction circuit with checkbooks in hand.”[1]

Here’s the key point in Gibson’s post; that the market for the ultra high end of the contemporary art market is very small:

The law of pricing in the secondary art market is that it takes only two people with money to push the value of Peter Doig’s work to $11.2MM. Or the value of a Rothko painting to $72.8MM. Or a Picasso to $104MM. If only one of the two doesn’t have that extra $10MM or $70MM or $100MM anymore, the work is no longer worth that amount.

Art Basel Miami will be the true test. From what I’ve heard the past few years have been frothy; by December we’ll know whether or not the bubble has truly burst. Will as many pop stars and hedge fund managers be making the rounds with their art buyers as in years past?[2]

[1] Don’t bubbles burst immediately? If a bubble “starts” to burst, doesn’t it just burst with a bang? Dear popular press, please invent a different metaphor than “bubble” because even if there is rapid decline, it’s not a burst.

[2] Comments are open for the hell of it.