‘What Next?’ an Uncertain Art World Asks, Sticking to Proven Brands

LONDON — The art market is almost as old as art itself. But it’s only in the last decade or so, with increased globalization, digitization and the rise of art as a multibillion-dollar investment vehicle, that the market has been viewed as an industry. And where there is industry, conferences are sure to follow.

On Tuesday, the inaugural New York edition of the Art Business Conference was held at the Time Warner Center. Aimed at “senior art market professionals,” the event sold 240 tickets, priced at $275 to $500, to representatives of more than 140 organizations.

“It’s a pause-for-thought day about where the industry is at,” said Louise Hamlin, the British-born organizer of the conference, whose company, Art Market Minds, has been holding similar events in London since 2014. Until recently, art was one of few industries without an annual conference in the United States, she added.

“The worldwide art scene has agreed these are good artists,” said Jean Minguet, an art market analyst at the French auctions database Artprice. “These are safe investments. It’s getting kind of boring.”

But that is the nature of industry. It’s all about global brands.


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