In the recent 20 years, art expos have become the most important transaction and display platforms for the global artwork market, and now their development is being accelerated.
Expos as the bridge connecting galleries with collectors
According to the statistics of 2018 Basel Art Exhibition and UBS Global Artwork Market Report, there were 260 important art expos around the world in 2017, nearly 50 of which were founded within the recent 10 years and the artworks sold at art expos accounted for nearly half of annual sales achieved by many galleries. Data also indicated that 46% transactions of global galleries were done at art expos in 2017, up by 5% over that of 2016. Without a doubt, we are now in the “era of art expos”. After 2012, art expos of China gradually extended from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to the second-tier provincial capitals, leading to increasingly fierce competitions among various art expos. Faced with such a marketplace, good art expos must bear in mind the actual needs of galleries for mutual benefits while providing professional services that suit the needs of art consumers, collectors and investors, including artworks perfectly in line with their aesthetics, consumption ability and collection preferences. All in all, art expos function as a bridge.
On April 29th, the 13th Art Beijing unveiled, attracting over 160 art institutions from more than 20 countries. The exhibition covers an area of 30,000 m2, up by 5,000 m2 over last time – the largest exhibition since its initiation in 2006.
New galleries brought new resources
When it comes to the development status of domestic artwork market, it is true that operational difficulties occurred in some domestic galleries during certain stages, but the booming cultural industry still gave rise to a lot of new galleries. Art Beijing this year successfully attracted a series of new galleries and art institutions. Among the fresh and energetic art resources brought to the market by these new galleries, there are artworks whose values are high but have been underestimated at the market. Of course, artworks of young artists and new works by renowned artists are also present. New galleries partnered with domestic and foreign galleries that had previously participated in Art Beijing to introduce rich and diverse art resources. Featuring the four parts of contemporary art, classical art, design art and public art, Art Beijing this year sustained its commitment to youth art and image art, showing works that are more diverse and in line with the varied preferences of art fans, collectors and consumers.
Upgrade artwork consumption through art
Since the consumption upgrade is going on in China, it is apparent to see at the artwork market that the market changes had an impact on the structure of artwork purchasing power: investment and collection as the purpose of purchasing are now replaced by consumption and collection – a crucial symbol indicating a healthier structure of purchasing power at artwork market. That the purchasing power of current artwork market gradually makes the shift from investment to consumption applies to the transactions in both domestic and global artwork markets. According to the statistics of 2018 Basel Art Exhibition and UBS Global Artwork Market Report, artworks with a transaction price of fewer than 5,000 dollars at global artwork markets accounted for 62% of overall market transactions, with 92% of artworks sold at a price less than 50,000 dollars.
Therefore, art expos as platforms should foster more consumption groups that are more stable, for only with a larger base of artwork consumption groups can there be more people enthusiastic about art investment and collection. As the artistic appreciation of artwork consumption groups grows, their purchasing power will be gradually lifted to the level of investment and collection, for which Art Beijing was held. It is the wish of Art Beijing to rely on its platform impact to let the public have more frequent contacts with art and appreciate art. Therefore, the highlight of Art Beijing lies in its strategic partnership with JD Art so that the offline art scenes of Art Beijing can be integrated with online and efficient transactions of JD to promote the staged upgrade of artwork consumption.
Sales volume represents an important indicator of art expos. Actually, all exhibitors at the contemporary pavilion of Art Beijing sold their works. In terms of items on display, there were high-quality artworks suitable for collections and some other works worth a million Yuan. The average price of most items for sale and display was between 100,000 to 300,000 Yuan, some ranged from 20,000 to 50,000 Yuan. For video works and young artists’ works, the prices ranged from several thousand Yuan to 30,000 Yuan. Many new collectors were attracted to attend the expo for the high-quality and affordable works. Actually, the price ranges of expo items properly reflected the changes of purchasing power structure at the current artwork market.
Art Beijing, which has been held during the Labor Day holiday period, connected every part of Beijing together with art and now it stands as the city carnival of Beijing. With around 120,000 person-time visits this year, Art Beijing fully demonstrated that the public has huge demands for art and it met people’s growing demands for beauty in life through professional services and diverse artworks. Therefore, Art Beijing, ever since its foundation, has always been greatly supported by Beijing Government and Beijing Bureau of Culture. Besides, multiple public forums were held to which people could attend without charge, along with invited experts of art, finance, investment and design interacting with audiences. All these activities are contributory to the socialization of art education.
It has been 13 years since the first Art Beijing was held. Regarding the current development of domestic artwork market, more diverse art contents should be utilized to enrich the cultural life of capital citizens during holidays, connecting the whole city of Beijing to art. Meanwhile, the platforms made possible by expos significantly contributed to the new upgrade of cultural consumption. The large number of transactions and visitors further indicated that the era of art consumption is coming and Beijing further cemented its status as the center of national artwork transactions. It is also apparent that Art Beijing remains to be the most competitive and influential art expo in Asia.