Sunday, June 07, 2009

NYTimes article on Contemporary Chinese Art during Economic Recession

"China's Art Market: Cold or Maybe Hibernating?"
An Article from the New York Times written by David Barboza, published on March 10, 2009

The New York Times published an article with a brief overview of the contemporary chinese art scene in March. The article begins by describing the massive and decadent studio of famous chinese artist, Zeng Fanzhi, whose works can sell up to the millions of dollars in international auction houses. However, with the recent downturn and financial crisis depressing the world economy, the demand for Chinese contemporary art has fallen, after recent years of high success in the international art market. The article states that "by 2007, 5 of the 10 best-selling living artists at auction were Chinese-born, led by Zhang Xiaogang, who trailed only Gerhard Richter and Damien Hirst. That year, Mr. Zhang’s auction sales totaled $56 million, according to" Many critics said that the suddenly explosive demand for Chinese contemporary art in recent years would find itself in a bubble market in the coming years, and most recently that bubble has been stressed by the economic crisis. Galleries have been closing, people losing their seems the Chinese art world has hit a wall.

However, there are some who see this time as an optimistic opportunity for creativity to thrive. oduced their most popular works. “The market zooming up made a lot of people blind and deaf,” said Jérôme Sans, director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. “Now, we can have production of the mind, not just the product. No more of this making fast money" (qtd. in NYTimes). There were concerns that for a time, the commercial success of rising-fast chinese artists whose works were hitting jackpot in auction houses, were directing the chinese contemporary art world into imitations and reproductions and not enough original works-- the art was working for the market and money, but not art for art's sake. However, with the market at a hault, it seems that chinese artists can take this time to develop strong and innovative works without the pressures of money, hype, and sales. It will be interesting to see where the direction of chinese contemporary art moves towards during this recession and further down the line.

"China's Art Market: Cold or Maybe Hibernating?" can be found at

1 comment:

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