While art dealers normally slow down over the summer, this year they have to play catch-up. © dimmushka
Its summer—but not as we know it. In any usual art market year, for as far back as I care to remember, we get to the beginning of July physically and mentally broken. The high-octane sprint through the Hong Kong, New York, Basel and London seasons (with Venice thrown into the mix every other year) takes its toll and the long summer break tends to be more of a necessity than a luxury.
In theory, this year should be different. For months, there have been no art fairs to visit, no exhibitions to see, no live auctions to attend and very little movement outside of our own front doors. But make no mistake, we are all still broken. As one dealer said to me in June, “Ive never worked so hard not moving.”
The adjustments to the sudden realities of a pandemic have been of varying extremes. But very few people have been spared sleepless “what if?” nights and daily panics about how to keep afloat, while struggling with Zoom. Most businesses and individuals have made the “pivot” to online, which sounds like a swift, 180-degree move but in reality involved sweaty hours hunched over stubborn computer screens. Meanwhile, the familiar, daily structures have changed dramatically. People have had to move elsewhere—either to support themselves or others—and many of the art worlds workforce now have children at home who need teaching, feeding and to have their own anxieties assuaged. Not to forget the people who have been seriously unwell—the art markets relentless social gatherings prior to lockdown took their toll—and those who have lost loved ones. So, I defy anyone to tell me that we dont all need a break.
There is, however, the nagging reality that we need to make up for lost income and the best time to do that starts now, as restrictions begin to ease. There are also other responsibilities to be met. “Artists need us to sell their art; thats what they hired us to do,” says Marc Glimcher, the president and chief executive of Pace, who himself was laid low by the virus. He acknowledges, though, that staff have been stretched to adapt to the virtual world and theres only so much you can ask. His third-way option is to open a more relaxeRead More – Source