|SUNDAY, JANUARY 11, 2009
Why prices are falling, inflation, greed, deception by dealers, auction house hype....
I have had many interviews over the years but they all focus on my book, my story and my life in Hollywood.
No one has zeroed in on the problems in the art business the way they are looking at the financial worlds, and explaining to people why the art world is collapsing.
Sales have dropped 40% at the auctions. Word has it that Sotheby's borrowed 250 million dollars to pay off debts. On line auctions are taking over the big houses. Dealers are going out of business left and right and unable to sell good things because they refuse to lower prices and tell the truth.
People are skeptical and weary and the sad thing is the art suffers. Art Fairs are a disaster... Shows are going unattended.
The facades of the market are falling and people are realizing that those who got caught in the hype of these past few years spending ridiculous amounts of money for Damian Hirst and Jeff Koons, Warhol etc.are not able to recoup their money because there are no secondary markets.
The middle markets have been cut out by the auction houses and high flying dealers who feed off the rich and famous. No different then hedge funds that are no more.
The art world is reflective of a society gone sour with greed and dishonesty and its time to talk about it.
The good news is that things are changing, the art world will rebuild itself like America will but only those willing to tell the truth and be honest about what they are doing will survive.
The days of dealers dealing among themselves making believe that people are buying their wares are over.
The days of getting 100 million for a painting by telling this billionaire and that one that someone else is going to steal that piece from them if they don't bid on it are over.
Prices at sales are deplorable... mid to low estimates at the most and there is no one attending.
At the biggest photography sale of a French Collector at Christies last month the room was packed with media, television people etc. filming the event.... the room had 75 people at the most and one or two raised their hands.
All bids were on the phone or hand held by the auctioneer forced by the auction house's ability to manipulate its regular clientele into buying.
I made the art market in NY and I can tell you that when there are no bidders in a room, people walking in off the street buying those sales are rigged, meaning its the auctions pushing its clients to buy, pulling bids out of them to get the objects sold, it is not people loving what they are seeing, walking around and spending money as they once did in the 70's 80's.
The art market went into a recession in the 90's came back and went into remission in 2000. It took less than ten years for the dis-ease of the art business to rear its ugly head again and this time it is over.
People should know why America is falling apart and it is not just about greed and money its about the loss of soul and spirit.
We fell short because we allowed ourselves to become materialistic to the point that we thought money and power was more important than honesty.
The art world thrives on shadows and dishonesty. You know that better than anyone else.
And the fact that the Russians, the biggest criminals in the world who steal and kill and destroy lives to become rich and famous are the ones keeping the art market alive or were up to this point proves that the end is here.
Finally... things can change because we are at ground zero.
It can only go up because it is at its worst.
Your queries will be appreciated.
Tod Michael Volpe