Why Older Artists Are Ahead at the Auction Houses

May 13, 2009 · Print This Article

An upward trend (age-wise) at the auction houses is underway; this week’s New York magazine has an article by Alexandra Peers arguing that it’s not necessarily about age vs. youth, but due instead to past over-productivity on the part of many younger artists.

Something much more subtle than a classic boom-bust cycle is going on. The art world is punishing the overly prolific, those artists who responded (in retrospect, perhaps too hastily) to stiff demand by upping supply. “There’s a winnowing,” says artnet.com critic Charlie Finch. Who was especially productive before the recession hit? Murakami and Hirst, still both under 50, get singled out by critics, as do Cecily Brown, Dana Schutz, and a host of contemporary Chinese artists. Artists whose work is plentiful or sells in editions—including many photographers—are now seeing softer numbers than those for painters like John Currin. While veterans like Cy Twombly and Bruce Nauman continued to work at the same pace, others did more work to meet the needs of galleries that had satellites or partners all over the world.”

Read the full article here. (Via ArtsJournal).

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