Recession Forces Art World to Get Creative


At New York's annual Artexpo trade show -- a typically massive event that's been scaled down amid the recession -- exhibitors seek new ways to lure buyers. Some exhibits are downright, ah, revealing.


April 04, 2010|By Tina Susman

It's hard to say which booth was drawing more attention at Artexpo New York: the one with the paint-splashed naked man holding a box around his hips, or the one displaying cityscape paintings of tall buildings that resembled what you would see if the naked man dropped his box.

If, as Chicago gallery owner Woody Slaymaker said, the only thing worse than a lousy comment about your art is no comment at all, then creators of both works must have been gratified.

At a time when art sales, like other luxuries, are struggling against the lingering recession, one message making the rounds at the annual Artexpo -- which brought fine art, popular art, artists, gallery owners, collectors and browsers together in one eclectic group last month -- was that it pays to be different.

"People are more demanding than they used to be," said Slaymaker, the president of Slaymaker Fine Art Ltd., whose 14,000-square-foot gallery deals in original works from around the world.

He said he was urging artists to be more creative to lure reluctant buyers. The recession has pared his business about 18%. Today, he said, buyers are more interested in works in the $1,800-$2,800 range, unlike the past, when $5,000-$8,000 works were in demand.




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