Has London changed the way artists do business?

Recent openings in the capital might have brought about a fundamental shift in the way gallerists and artists work
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Luc Tuymans argues the art world is like the diamond trade
Luc Tuymans argues the art world is like the diamond trade

There's a great piece in The Art Newspaper today, questioning whether the galleries which opened in London recently herald a change in the way that artists and dealers work together.

As we reported last month, New York institutions Michael Werner, David Zwirner and The Pace Gallery have all opened premises in the British capital, just in time for London's Frieze Art Fair. Many artists represented by these Manhattan institutions already have a gallery in London, which lead many to wonder which representative would win out when it came to the sale of new works.

Now, as part of The Art Newspaper's Frieze coverage, Charlotte Burns and Gareth Harris have surveyed some insiders, to see whether increased competition will change the way artists relate to their galleries.

Victoria Miro, who had represented Peter Doig exclusively until Michael Werner opened in Mayfair, admitted to the newspaper "the art world is changing. It seems that anything goes, and there's no such thing as exclusivity any more," adding that Peter Doig is "only with Michael Werner, for now".

Pillar Corrias is also quoted as saying that galleries, once limited by national boundaries, now take a more international in outlook.

However Luc Tuymans, whose work is currently showing at the new David Zwirner gallery, is more cautious. The Antwerp artist compares the art world to the diamond trade, "because it's totally based on trust." With most galleries preferring to rely on handshakes, rather than contracts when dealing with artists, the Belgian painter argues that long-term, faithful relationships work best for him.

"I trust these people," says Tuymans of his galleries. "We have grown together. As an artist, you have to be taken care of, and they will, for instance, buy back my works at auction to protect me." Fairly expensive protection, we'd imagine. For more affordable insights into the works of Tuymans and Doig, consider our respective monographs.

 


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