Everyone Rejoice! Art Prices Are Exorbitant Again!
The New York Times reports that recent high end art auctions at such houses as Sothebys and Christies have seen rebounds in the price of artworks on sale there. Volume is still down, but overall the houses were happy to see people once again willing to spend money on art.
So all you artists who have been living on cat food the last year, you can go out and splurge on fine pate (though I’ve never been able to tell the difference between that and catfood before) knowing that money will again be flowing into you…
Or will it?
The auctions listed above are open only to the super rich. The bidding wars that drove up the prices recently were driven by a small handful of actual art buyers, who only focus on the most well known objects. Much of their newfound ability to spend may have more to do with the rebound in stock prices. Since the S&P 500 bottomed out at, believe it or not, 666 in March it has climbed back up to 1109 today. Anybody heavily invested, or who had money to invest heavily back in March is doing quite well compared to anybody who lost their job or security during this time.
So while I’m sure we’re all thrilled to hear that the super rich have recovered enough to continue becoming super richer, I’m guessing this turn in fortune will do nothing for artists who rely on the patronage of art lovers from the middle class or lower.
But if we wait long enough, maybe it’ll all trickle down on us. Like rain that flows from the rooftop to the gutter, then to the storm sewer where all the excess water requires waste treatment plants to dump tons of raw sewage into the ocean. Yep, it’s just like that.