Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Luxury Goods and Art Markets Shift Towards Asia

I've speculated a few times on this blog about the effect China and India's rising wealth and spending power might have on the art world of the future. I'm pasting in this previous post in full without it's videos.

"If you watched any Olympic coverage, you got a nice visual display of the awesome transformation of Asia.This is not just a one city illusion, looked at by the numbers, Asia's rising trade surpluses, huge savings rates and currency surpluses demonstrate a vast potential spending power, most of which has yet to be unleashed. China for example has gone to great lengths to keep it's currency far lower than the market would, depressing it's citizens spending power.

The other thing that came across was the almost violent pride, that has developed in in China and it's similar in India-- which is starting to be seen in the exploding interest in Asian art.

I wonder about the place American Art, now plays in art history and the art market. In the post war world, we were the sun, everything seemed to revolve around us, especially the art market. The message in art history books was that all the paths of history lead to us, which was funny since a lot of the modernist movement, came from artists inspired by non western art."

Today's Times did a story about the staggering growth of China's luxury goods market and the efforts of Auction Houses to cash in on it.

"Christie’s and its rival Sotheby’s say that in the last few years Hong Kong has emerged as a top location for sales of expensive jewelry, gems and fine wines. Asians have also become major buyers of ultraluxury goods at their auctions in London, New York and Geneva."

Rolls Royce had the pleasant surprise of seeing 20 immediate orders for it's 250,000 Ghost despite taxes that double the price.

The story only touches on the art market. It seems so hard to separate, the value of art from the symbolism it represents. A Warhol soup can or Marilyn was an icon of an iconic age.In the same way the dynamic power of the "big dick" American abstract expressionists has come to symbolise America's power in the 1950's. Suppose we didn't have a big one back then? Would our art have been taken so seriously? Everything about American art and culture was seen as important partly because we were important. Will it always be so?

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