Freeze showed what things cost

Every autumn during last six years the art fair takes place in London. It lasts for four days. There are hundreds of participants, thousands of works, a lot of exhibitions and auctions. The Freeze by right is considered to be one of the main events in the world of modern art. By the work’s scales and amount of sales the fair is just as good as the famous ArtBazel and December ArtBazel Miami, which is a bit smaller.

As it was supposed The Freeze-2008 became the most significant one of the whole history of its existence. As participants there were declared the greatest dealers and 152 galleries from all over the world. The total quantity of presented works was beyond a 1000. Besides within the framework of the fair there took place a series of night auctions Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips de Pury. The fair seemed very successful. But it was not so. The Freeze-2008 took place at the time of dire economical falling-off, which didn’t happen since the Great depression of 1930.

On the eve of the fair there were made different suppositions. Some time before the fair, which opening-day was on the 16th of October, the influential informational agency conducted opinion poll among the leading collectors, art-dealers and experts. And it must be said that mostly forecasts were pessimistic.

One of the largest art-galleries in Berlin Contemporary Fine Arts, participates in the fair during several years. However the manager of gallery Nicole Hackert wasn’t sure about the success. «I don’t thing that everything is going to be OK, – she said. – We all are dependent on general economical situation. » The gallery planed to exhibit works of the best German painters, such as Peter Doyg and Georg Bazilitz at the Freeze. Just several months ago they were the most popular painters. Now the situation changes from day to day. The experts don’t exclude that ₤111 500 000, got by Damian Hertz at the September auction Sotheby’s became the last record of the modern art. At least in the very near future.

The forecasts of the Moscow collector Vladimir Ovcharenko were also not very optimistic. «Freeze won’t set up a record, – he said, – too much money is lost and people are in no mood for art». The representatives of the USA expressed similar opinions. «Not many Americans will go to the Freeze, – said the head of the American company Levin Art Group Todd Levin. Even if the founders will establish low prices, the result will differ from that one several years ago.

Another opinion was expressed by the director of the British Art-index ArtTactic Anders Petterson. He said that Freeze is a perfect source of fresh collection material. Establishing adequate prices the dealers will be able to sell works which are in demand. It will be more difficult situation with the auction houses.

There were different forecasts about primary market, but there were no any doubts about sombre prospects of auction sales (it’s lack if to be precise). The main argument – was the auction prices, which differ from the galleries’ one which are the result of natural state of the market. The situation was commented on by Jill Silverman, the director of Paris gallery Gallerie Thaddeus Ropac which also was planed to be a participant at the fair: « The market is still reliable for us,- he said – our clients buy the works of art for adequate prices, which were establishing for several years. The auction is a different thing, because it’s prices are black-market».

The Freeze had a series of large auctions which total estimate was £107 000 000. In the light of the last events there were serious doubts about reality of this forecast. The series of five day’s auctions Sotheby’s, which took place just before it in Hong Kong gathered only $142 000 000 what was less than a half from the expected sum. This amount showed that the crisis touched not only a bank sphere, but also a sphere of art. Perhaps people didn’t lose confidence in the perspective of such investment. They rather don’t understand the situation in the market and decided to wait. As it was noted by the greatest dealers of the USA and Europe the activity of Soviet block’s collectors was significantly reducing during last weeks. And they provide the most part of sales in Herst and became just like a panacea for European auction founders.

The fair Frieze–2008 took place in London’s Regent’s Park at the period from У 16th till 19th October .

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Published in: on November 18, 2008 at 9:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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