Wednesday 22 October 2008

Dross, dross, dross, dross, dross, gem

Amidst the plethora of articles about the purported collapse of the art market (which are so repetitive I'm going to spare you links) lurks the odd spark of interest. Yesterday, it was Carol Vogel's article in the New York Times looking at what impact corporate belt-tightening might have on American museums and galleries.

Directors interviewed for the article seem to have been remarkably frank. Glenn Lowry acknowledged that MoMA has instituted a temporary hiring freeze and a 10% cut in its operating budget; Brooklyn Museum's Arnold Lehman said they were struggling to find sponsorship to pay for a scheduled Yinka Shonibare retrospective.

Vogel also pointed to an increasing number of collection-based shows (rather than shows reliant on costly loan works) as evidence of cost-saving. However, as LACMA's Michael Govan noted, the news might not be all bad: if art prices go into freefall, “maybe we’ll finally be able to afford to buy things.”

This morning the article seemed even more relevant as here in NZ councils started announcing planned spending cutbacks. Without wanting to jinx anything, you've got to wonder what this might mean for the redevelopments of Auckland Art Gallery and City Gallery Wellington ....

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