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+ Woudt's Monochrome Magic + Venice Biennale's Fresh Collab + Galleries' Creative Hustle

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Welcome to the 586 new art lovers who joined last week.

Art in a Flash is a series from Frame&Flame that provides a concise roundup of the week's key market shifts, as well as reviews of past auction performances and upcoming lots, to identify artists whose markets are 'heating up.'

This week’s Art in a Flash includes:

  • πŸ“ˆ Heating Up: Dutch photographer Bastiaan Woudt excels in black-and-white photography, with his "Disk, Alkmaar" (2020) selling for $80,951, highlighting his rising prominence in the contemporary art scene.

  • πŸ” Lots to Watch: The art market for Salvo surges posthumously, with record sales reaching $844,298, indicating a strong, growing interest in his works.

  • πŸ’­ Your Questions Answered: The 2023 art market faces challenges with lower sales and higher costs, prompting galleries to adopt creative strategies like discounts and BOGO deals to stimulate sales.

  • πŸ”— Market Stories: Key updates include Venice Biennale's collaboration for John Akomfrah's exhibit, Art Basel Hong Kong's expansion, shifts in New York's gallery landscape, and the Guggenheim's appointment of its first female director, MariΓ«t Westermann.

Read Time 05 minutes

πŸ“ˆ Heating Up

Bastiaan Woudt, Disk, Alkmaar (2020)

πŸ€” What you need to know:Β Bastiaan Woudt, a Dutch photographer born in 1987, emerges as a standout talent in the contemporary art scene. Woudt's journey in photography began in 2009 without formal training. He rapidly gained recognition for his black-and-white photography, encompassing portraits, nudes, still lifes, and landscapes. His work, showing a clear influence from Minimalism and Surrealism, echoes the styles of iconic photographers like Man Ray and Richard Avedon. Woudt's style is polished and restrained, yet bold in its use of silhouettes and composition.

βœ… Recent career milestone: Woudt's career has been marked by significant achievements and widespread recognition. His portrait "Disk, Alkmaar" (2020) sold for $80,951 sold at Phillips London in 2021, underscoring his market appeal. He has been featured in prestigious venues like the MusΓ©e du Louvre and Fotografiska and has gained representation from galleries such as BILDHALLE in the Netherlands and Zurich, Jackson Fine Arts in Atlanta and London, and the Fahey/Klein Gallery in LA. His works have been showcased in numerous exhibitions and art fairs globally, from Art Miami to Photo London, and his commercial and editorial photography has graced the pages of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and New York magazine.

😍 Why I Like It: Woudt's photography strikes a harmonious balance between classical themes and a contemporary edge. His intuitive approach, eschewing rigid shot lists for a more organic discovery process, lends a unique authenticity to his work. The mastery of minimalism in his photographs speaks through the tone and contrast, where a hint of surrealism invites viewers to focus on the essence of his subjects. His exploration of traditional photographic practices, combined with a modern digital approach, results in images that are both surprising and reinforcing of photographic tradition. Woudt's work is not just a visual treat; it's a poetic dialogue between the past and the present in the realm of photography.

πŸ”Lots to Watch

Salvo's "Il Mattino" (1994)

πŸ’­My 2 Cents: The art market for Salvo, an artist whose prominence has surged posthumously, is witnessing an unprecedented upswing. In 2023, the market fervor for Salvo’s works reached new heights, evident from a record-breaking auction sale of $844,298 in October - a figure nearly seven times greater than his previous high of $123,527 set in 2007. This significant leap in value, occurring eight years after the artist’s passing in 2015, marks a notable shift in the market perception of Salvo’s oeuvre.

This year alone, Salvo's auction record has been surpassed 14 times, with several works fetching around the $400,000 mark at New York sales. These numbers suggest a growing and sustained interest among collectors, a trend further underscored by the 28 paintings that went under the hammer in 2023. Christie's upcoming auction in Hong Kong, with Salvo's "Il Mattino" (1994) estimated at $230,000 - a piece previously bought for $116,000 in 2009 - signals a continued bullish trend in his market.

πŸ’­Β Your Questions Answered

This week's discussion centers around the current state of the art market, particularly focusing on the challenges and strategies galleries are employing in a buyer's market. This brings us to a crucial question with wide-ranging implications for galleries, collectors, and art market analysts.

What is the current situation of the art market, and what are the expectations for the coming months?

The art market in 2023 is characterized by a buyer's market environment, where dealers are ready to make deals amid lower sales totals, static prices, and rising overhead costs. Galleries, especially smaller ones, are facing a sense of "low-key panic" due to increasing operating and labor costs, even as inflation rates begin to ebb. This challenging scenario has led to the closure of established galleries like Cheim & Read, which shut down after 26 years in business, underscoring the market's volatility and the difficulties faced by galleries in sustaining their operations.

In response to these market conditions, galleries are adopting creative strategies to entice buyers. For instance, discounting prices is now more aggressive, with 20 percent becoming the new norm instead of the usual 10 percent. Additionally, galleries are engaging in price matching and offering Buy-One-Get-One (BOGO) deals, as seen in Art Basel's Access online sales platform. These strategies aim to stimulate sales in a market where bargains are abundant but overall sales are declining.

As the art world looks forward to Miami Art Week and Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB), these strategies represent crucial selling tactics on the fair floors, reflecting the galleries' need to adapt to the current market dynamics. However, with the major commercial cycle of the art world not expected to kick back into gear until March, there is an underlying uncertainty about the market's direction in the short term.

Have a question about the art market you want answered? Send me an email

πŸ”— Market Stories

  • πŸš€ Venice Biennale 2024 is stirring up excitement with Frieze and the British Council teaming up for John Akomfrah's exhibit. This is a striking move, blending artistic vision with a fresh collaborative approach, setting a new standard for international art showcases.

  • 🎨 Art Basel Hong Kong's leap in 2024 is a clear sign of the art market's resilience and ambition. Hosting 242 galleries shows a confident step forward, positioning Hong Kong as an unmissable hub for art.

  • πŸ›οΈ The return of London's Treasure House Fair in Chelsea brings a unique blend of design and antiquities back into the spotlight in 2024.

  • πŸ’Έ Jeff Bezos's acquisition of Picasso's "Femme Γ  la Montre" reflects a deeper trend where tech giants are increasingly influencing the art world, reshaping the landscape of art collection and valuation.

  • 🌟 Gallery updates abound as Casey Kaplan welcomes Amanda Williams, Beverly Fishman joins Jessica Silverman, and Roberts Projects adds Mia Middleton and Suchitra Mattai to their lineup.

  • πŸ›‘ The closure of Cheim & Read and the birth of Bueno & Co. in New York signal a significant transformation in the gallery landscape. This shift from a traditional model to a more tailored, client-focused approach mirrors the broader trends of adaptation and personalization in the art world.

  • 🌐 The recent changes in Documenta 16's curatorial committee underscore the complex relationship between global politics and the art community. This development reflects the challenges and responsibilities facing cultural institutions in today's politically charged climate.

  • πŸ›οΈ Kunsthalle Basel's appointment of Mohamed Almusibli as its new director marks a refreshing turn. His upcoming tenure promises to infuse this prestigious institution with new ideas and directions, eagerly anticipated by the art community.

  • πŸ‘ The Guggenheim naming MariΓ«t Westermann as its first female director and CEO in 2024 represents a breakthrough in leadership diversity. This appointment goes beyond personal achievement, symbolizing a broader move towards inclusivity in top-tier art institution governance.

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πŸ“š What I’m Reading

Many of you have been inquiring about my go-to book recommendations for navigating the art market. Well, the wait is over. Here's a curated list of my all-time favorites:

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