China’s Art Market: Cold or Maybe Hibernating?

The Chinese contemporary market, which so recently was enjoying skyrocketing prices and acclaim around the world, is now suffering as the global economic crisis hits personal pocketbooks. A New York Times article begins by looking at the declining fortune of artist Zhang Fanzhi and others:

…Just as he and dozens of other artists in Beijing and Shanghai put the finishing touches on lavish studios that proclaim their success, the market for Chinese contemporary art has entered a downward spiral.

A global financial crisis has wiped out vast amounts of personal wealth, prompting a plunge in art prices. Suddenly bereft of visitors, galleries are laying off staff members, and the collectors who patronized them now worry that their art investments may prove a colossal folly.

“It’s been a long, cold winter,” said Zoe Butt, director of international programs at Long March Space, which is closing two of its three Beijing galleries. “The era of Chinese contemporary art commanding such high prices is over.”

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