Thursday, March 19, 2009
The Influential and Wealthy
I stumbled upon these two links this past week and it got me to thinking about the the current landscape of contemporary Chinese art and its future. The first link isn't particularly thought-provoking; it's more of a financial news piece, but it does give a three-person list of the "most-valuable living Chinese artists". Zhang Xiaogang, Yue Minjun, and Zeng Fanzhi, are, according to Bloomberg, the triumverate leading the pack of Chinese artists in the high-stakes business of art. For me, the most interesting aspect of the article was its discussion about the profitability of Chinese artists in the current financial crisis. According to Hurun Report's (self-billed as the "webpage for China's business leaders) Robert Hoogewerf, "'Chinese collectors had begun to take an interest in contemporary art, which was until then mostly of interest to foreigners'" and that the "demand for Chinese contemporary art grew slightly last year. Auction prices for this category rose in the first half and languished after the latest -- and worst -- round of credit crisis broke out in September." So, it seems that the market for contemporary Chinese art is okay, at least for now. At least the market for contemporary Chinese art is better than it is for other parts of the globe (see this Telegraph article for quick insight).
[The original report from Hurun can be found here].
The second link is to a post from Andrew James Art, a London-founded but Shanghai-based gallery space. It was a response to a Chinese magazine's publication of last year's "most powerful 100" in the Chinese art community and in response, the folks at Andrew James Art came up with their own list, but called it the "most influential 100" to emphasize the influence that these artists/collectors/etc. have upon their peers. Though I don't know most of the names on this list, it's probably a good list to reference as the semester goes by.
Anyway, these two links (in addition to being informative, quick references) prodded me to think about the commercial viability of Chinese artists. I think learning about Zhou Tiehai's works probably influenced this vein of thinking, but it's probably something I want to return back to in a future blog post (and perhaps when I'm not feeling so rushed) examining what exactly is influence in the art community.