Special Issue "Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19"

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 19116

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Elena Sidorova
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre de Recherches Internationales (CERI), Sciences Po Paris, 75006 Paris, France
Interests: contemporary art market; online art market; sociology of art; art economics; art and politics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

According to “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Gallery Sector” survey conducted by Art Basel in the mid-2020, although the global art market has often been resilient to international economic and political events, it has faced some of its biggest challenges yet under the influence of COVID-19. Among others, the pandemic and the accompanying restrictive administrative measures taken by world governments all over the world have exerted a significant impact on such key economic indicators, as gallery employment, art sales, and organization of international art fairs.

The international scholarly open access journal Arts (ISSN 2076-0752) invites submissions for the Special Issue on the topic of “Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19.” Original academic papers (6,000-8,000 words long), whether qualitative or quantitative research methods based, should answer the following research question: How has COVID-19 affected the global art market? We welcome both theoretical and empirical contributions that reveal various economic, social, and political consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for the current state and future evolution of the global art market.

Dr. Elena Sidorova
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • contemporary art market
  • online art market
  • COVID-19
  • art economics
  • art and politics

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Article
Disruption, Digitalization and Connectivity: Asia’s Art Market in Transformation
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Arts 2022, 11(3), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11030057 - 13 May 2022
Viewed by 2131
Abstract
This study investigates the ongoing transformation in galleries, auctions, and museums in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei, and Singapore, where new models for art transactions and exhibiting practices lead to unprecedented evolution in the global art market. While the pandemic hit the art market [...] Read more.
This study investigates the ongoing transformation in galleries, auctions, and museums in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei, and Singapore, where new models for art transactions and exhibiting practices lead to unprecedented evolution in the global art market. While the pandemic hit the art market unprecedentedly, art organizations in Asia are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as the digitalization of online auctions and virtual art-viewing technology has made up for the cancellation of art events. We are also seeing increased cross-regional and cross-national collaborations in marketing and exhibiting activities. Whether or not it is part of their active strategy, to keep up with the rapid market changes, galleries and auctions must now devote more resources to their digital platforms. Affluent art collectors in this region see art consumption not only as a socially conditioned, symbolic mechanism manifesting wealth and cultural capital but also as an attractive investment vehicle with an increased appetite for the financialization of artworks. What are the benefits and complications of the digitalization of online art transactions and art viewing? How do multi-sited auctions and exhibitions indicate the increased demand for collaboration between commercial art organizations and art institutions? Based on fieldwork and semi-structured interviews with actors in the art markets and secondary Chinese resources, this research generates insights into organizational behaviors in Asia’s art scene and how the art market players actively adapt and persevere via taking on new, entrepreneurial models of operation and speeding up trans-regional and trans-national connectivity with their Western counterparts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19)
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Article
‘The Lucky Country’: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Revitalised Australia’s Lethargic Art Market
Arts 2022, 11(2), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11020049 - 05 Apr 2022
Viewed by 1282
Abstract
Since its publication in 1964, Australians have used the title of Donald Horne’s book, The Lucky Country, as a term of self-reflective endearment to express the social and economic benefits afforded to the population by the country’s wealth of geographical and environmental [...] Read more.
Since its publication in 1964, Australians have used the title of Donald Horne’s book, The Lucky Country, as a term of self-reflective endearment to express the social and economic benefits afforded to the population by the country’s wealth of geographical and environmental advantages. These same advantages, combined with strict border closures, have proven invaluable in protecting Australia from the ravages of the global COVID-19 pandemic, in comparison to many other countries. However, elements of Australia’s arts sector have not been so fortunate. The financial damage of pandemic-driven closures of exhibitions, art events, museums, and art businesses has been compounded by complex government stimulus packages that have excluded many contracted arts workers. Contrarily, a booming fine art auction market and commercial gallery sector driven by stay-at-home local collectors demonstrated remarkable resilience considering the extraordinary circumstances. Nonetheless, this resilience must be contextualised against a decade of underperformance in the Australian art market, fed by the negative impact of national taxation policies and a dearth of Federal government support for the visual arts sector. This paper examines the complex and contradictory landscape of the art market in Australia during the global pandemic, including the extension of pre-pandemic trends towards digitalisation and internationalisation. Drawing on qualitative and quantitative analysis, the paper concludes that Australia is indeed a ‘lucky country’, and that whilst lockdowns have driven stay-at-home collectors to kick-start the local art market, an overdue digital pivot also offers future opportunities in the aftermath of the pandemic for national and international growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19)
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Article
Bidding Better Online in Belgium: The Value of Auction House Expertise during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Arts 2021, 10(4), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10040075 - 05 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1140
Abstract
In this article, we present our analysis of how one of Belgium’s largest auction houses has creatively dealt with the forced transition to online auctions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on in-depth qualitative interviews and participant observation conducted at Bernaerts Auctioneers in Antwerp [...] Read more.
In this article, we present our analysis of how one of Belgium’s largest auction houses has creatively dealt with the forced transition to online auctions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on in-depth qualitative interviews and participant observation conducted at Bernaerts Auctioneers in Antwerp over a period of three months between February and April 2021, we show how the auction house has succeeded at maintaining relations with its clients and the public while exclusively moving its sales online. Our specific focus was on the mediation of expertise. Drawing on recent publications from the fields of economic sociology and anthropology, we analyzed how expert narratives of origin, authenticity, and uniqueness are communicated online to affect an object’s auction value. Based on our empirical research, which also includes narrative analyses of Bernaerts Auctioneers’ internet publication Prelude, as well as content shared online via social media, we argue that expert knowledge and practices of expertise are resilient and—contrary to what neoclassical economic theory might suggest—that they continue to be central to negotiations of value, as well as in online auctions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19)
Article
How Has COVID-19 Affected the Public Auction Market?
Arts 2021, 10(4), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10040074 - 01 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1749
Abstract
The day of the last live auction at Sotheby’s in the spring of 2020 was on 19 March 2020 as multiple coronavirus lockdowns forced auction rooms to close worldwide. In the following months, hundreds of live auctions were cancelled or postponed, and combined [...] Read more.
The day of the last live auction at Sotheby’s in the spring of 2020 was on 19 March 2020 as multiple coronavirus lockdowns forced auction rooms to close worldwide. In the following months, hundreds of live auctions were cancelled or postponed, and combined revenue at Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips for the second Quarter 2020 plummeted 79% year on year from USD 4.4 bn in Q2 2019 to USD 0.9 bn in Q2 2020. This article focuses on public auctions at Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips and uses primary research to demonstrate how leading auction houses responded to the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis. Leveraging Pi-eX’s public auction results database and its 12-month-rolling methodology, our analysis shows (1) the surge of online only auctions while the number of live auctions plummeted; (2) the limitations of online only auctions and the rise of new opportunities; and (3) a comparison of the COVID-19 crisis with previous art market crisis in the past 15 years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19)
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Article
Facing the Pandemic: A Perspective on Patachitra Artists of West Bengal
Arts 2021, 10(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030061 - 31 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 945
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has intensely impacted art production and the art market all around the world. This is dramatically visible inside the Patua or Patachitra communities in Medinipur, West Bengal, where Patachitras’ scrolls characterise the economy of folk-art communities in the so-called villages [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has intensely impacted art production and the art market all around the world. This is dramatically visible inside the Patua or Patachitra communities in Medinipur, West Bengal, where Patachitras’ scrolls characterise the economy of folk-art communities in the so-called villages of painters. Patachitras’ singing pictures belong to an ancestral tradition of storytelling and performing art. For centuries, new themes have been embodied inside the Patuas’ repertoire, creating a living heritage that has always reflected the political, religious, cultural, and social main events and, ultimately, COVID-19. Resilience has always been an important component of this heritage, as social changes and new kinds of entertainment have changed the audience addressed and the performances’ function. In the last few decades, the role of travelling artists has resisted and been readapted to the global art market by approaching art fairs and festivals both inside and outside the villages. Now, the impact of COVID-19 on the economy of these artists has been severe, as art fairs and exhibitions have been cancelled, and lockdown orders have stopped tourism and travels, significantly reducing their income. Thus, new approaches and virtual spaces of exhibiting are being experimented with to support the survival of these artists and keep the performances’ essence alive. This article aims to address how the pandemic has affected Patuas’ art market and production both from an economic and social perspective. The difficulties encountered due to the restrictive measures and the impossibility of performing will be analysed through an empirical approach. Based on telephonic interviews conducted with 30 hereditary Patuas from Naya between April 2020 to April 2021 as part of the project “Folk Artists in the Time of Coronavirus”, the article hopes to shed light on the impact of the pandemic on hereditary, performing castes in India, which might mirror the experiences of similar groups in the rest of South Asia. The article will also try to outline the future perspectives for the art market of these folk artists. The article consists of two parts: the first traces the transformative journey of Patachitra and Patachitrakars, and the second focuses on the impact of the pandemic through deploying the concepts of precarity, precariousness, and resilience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19)
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Article
Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19: A Case Study on the United Arab Emirates
Arts 2021, 10(3), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030059 - 30 Aug 2021
Viewed by 967
Abstract
How has COVID-19 affected the global art market? This virus interrupted 2020 in unforeseen ways globally, including the cancellation of the most important art events of the year. Through a close chronological study of the Emirati art scene’s response, both in commercial and [...] Read more.
How has COVID-19 affected the global art market? This virus interrupted 2020 in unforeseen ways globally, including the cancellation of the most important art events of the year. Through a close chronological study of the Emirati art scene’s response, both in commercial and noncommercial venues, this essay explains how, and why, the UAE’s art scene was able to react quickly and perhaps more effectively than that of other nations, and what that means for its future. Based on fieldwork and press articles, this article posits that the Emirati art scene evolved from being virtually non-existent to a thriving contemporary art hub in a matter of decades because it has always had to adapt to challenges such as nonexistent art infrastructure or the 2008 financial crisis. By studying the UAE, we find examples of exhibitions that quickly moved from being in situ to online, a rare instance of galleries and art auction house collaborating, government and institutional structures stepping up to support artists and galleries, and the renaissance of Art Dubai taking place in person in 2021 after being abruptly cancelled in 2020. This knowledge provides insight into how the global art market is changing to face the consequences of COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19)
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Article
“The Show Must Go On”. Ethnography of the Art Market Facing the COVID-19 Pandemic
Arts 2021, 10(3), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030053 - 03 Aug 2021
Viewed by 982
Abstract
This paper aims at understanding, from the inside, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying restrictive administrative measures on the art market. It is based on the interviews and ethnographic surveys made by graduate students from the Ecole du Louvre, from [...] Read more.
This paper aims at understanding, from the inside, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying restrictive administrative measures on the art market. It is based on the interviews and ethnographic surveys made by graduate students from the Ecole du Louvre, from September 2020 to May 2021. This methodology makes it possible to demonstrate that, during the crisis, art market professionals were driven by the motto “the show must go on”. On the one hand, they wished to keep a straight face and remain silent on their individual difficulties, preferring to talk about their vocation and the positive effects of the crisis. On the other hand, the commercial activity continued despite everything; if the pandemic accelerated the digital turn of the art market, the physical contact with the works and the collectors remained primordial. The art market thus remained physical but accelerated its digital turn. The proportion of each interactional framework—physical and digital—is still uncertain, difficult to measure today and to predict in the long run. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19)
Article
TikTok as a New Player in the Contemporary Arts Market: A Study with Special Consideration of Feminist Artists and a New Generation of Art Collectors
Arts 2021, 10(3), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030052 - 30 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2215
Abstract
How do social-media platforms such as TikTok function as a neutralising factor in the gatekeeping process in times of COVID-19 restrictions? How does TikTok change the experience culture in arts, and how does this impact how artists frame their working process alongside primary [...] Read more.
How do social-media platforms such as TikTok function as a neutralising factor in the gatekeeping process in times of COVID-19 restrictions? How does TikTok change the experience culture in arts, and how does this impact how artists frame their working process alongside primary gatekeepers? During the COVID-19 pandemic, TikTok attracted many artists, who used the platform to take their practice, and thereby their self-marketing, into their own hands. At the same time, a new generation of collectors use TikTok to discover art under popular hashtag #feministartists. When artists label their work with #feministartists, they insert themselves into the gatekeeping process, and use opportunities and restrictions bounded to that specific hashtag. The study examines this process of professional self-positioning by using interviews with contemporary artists, curators, and observations on TikTok, artist talks, and secondary interviews with artists on online platforms. The findings suggest a variation in how one trades in or trades on “feminist artist”, accessing resources, and gaining exposure. A focus on “feminist artists” is restrictive for consolidating artists’ efforts to pursue specific professional, social, political, and economic agendas through art. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19)
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Article
Why COVID-19 Will Not Change the Global Art Market
Arts 2021, 10(3), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030050 - 27 Jul 2021
Viewed by 2466
Abstract
This article investigates the valuation of artworks during the COVID-19 pandemic. It examines how art market participants employ fictional expectations of the future to stabilize valuations during uncertain times. A total of 86 forecasts originating from both the center and periphery of the [...] Read more.
This article investigates the valuation of artworks during the COVID-19 pandemic. It examines how art market participants employ fictional expectations of the future to stabilize valuations during uncertain times. A total of 86 forecasts originating from both the center and periphery of the global art market were analyzed. Taking a meta-analytic approach, focus was placed on what each analysis predicts, how it constructs the future it purports to know, and how the expected value of artworks and methods for their purchase are justified. This uncovered the paradoxical reality of art market forecasts—their authors are convinced that the power of crisis could reformulate the art market, but their conclusions do not assume the possibility of real change. Further, the argument is made that speculation about the future is at the core of today’s art economy. Therefore, in a crisis, market participants conservatively orient themselves toward artworks that already have established value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19)
Article
Art Galleries in Transformation: Is COVID-19 Driving Digitisation?
Arts 2021, 10(3), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030048 - 23 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1426
Abstract
Compared to other consumer goods markets, art galleries have long been reluctant to innovate through digitisation. However, the global outbreak of COVID-19 forces art galleries to reconsider the role of digital channels. This study aims to provide a better understanding of the art [...] Read more.
Compared to other consumer goods markets, art galleries have long been reluctant to innovate through digitisation. However, the global outbreak of COVID-19 forces art galleries to reconsider the role of digital channels. This study aims to provide a better understanding of the art gallery business model and its related difficulties of integrating digital channels into marketing, communication, and sales. Twenty interviews with gallery owners and managers in Vienna and Salzburg were conducted. They were asked about their attitudes towards, opinions on, and experiences with digital channels, and how they reacted to the restrictions caused by COVID-19. The findings verify that COVID-19 has led galleries of any type to reconsider their digital strategy. We identified limitations with respect to digital channels: plain presentation of information online; lacking or distanced personal interaction; online anonymity that disconnects from the social art environment; increased information and price transparency; a more commercial appearance; limited resources for digital adaptations. Galleries striving to integrate digital channels into their business model should pay attention to ensuring that analogue, as well as digital, channels are integrated into a coherent system where personal contact and the physical location remain the core of the business. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19)
Article
External Shocks in the Art Markets: How Did the Portuguese, the Spanish and the Brazilian Art Markets React to COVID-19 Global Pandemic? Data Analysis and Strategies to Overcome the Crisis
Arts 2021, 10(3), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030047 - 15 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1363
Abstract
The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, and the restrictions imposed by the social distance and the enforced confinement, are having an impact on the art markets globally. The aim of this article is to evaluate the impact of an external shock in [...] Read more.
The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, and the restrictions imposed by the social distance and the enforced confinement, are having an impact on the art markets globally. The aim of this article is to evaluate the impact of an external shock in the primary art market, using three countries as a case study: Portugal, Spain, and Brazil. These geographies have in common being at the margins in the art market’s main art hubs. It is intended to analyze how agents are responding to the new context, according to the data gathered within the gallery sector. The methods applied in the research are a combination of surveys carried out by the authors, field-based observation, along with an academic literature review, complemented by international and national reports analysis. The study’s main findings allow us to characterize the art market as a very resilient sector that energetically responded to the crisis, able to adapt and overcome challenges imposed by the new pandemic situation. Contemporary art galleries expanded digital activities, kept participating in art fairs hybrid models, continued to focus on internationalization, and pointed to the strengthening of public policies towards the sector and partnerships as key strategies to overcome the crisis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19)
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