“New or young collectors often buy from in and around their generation so that provides some optimism for Contemporary going forward,” says McAndrew. But, she says, the outlook going forward is too difficult to game.
“The art market is quite unpredictable, too,” she says. “Fashion or changes in taste drive growth as much as underlying economic fundamentals, but these are much harder to predict.”
One thing that is almost certain to be an issue in the art market of the future: Artists will need a lot more support. Most major art capitals such as New York or London are plagued by painfully high rents, and artists on average earn very little through the sale of their work. McAndrew says that in one of her discussions with a major New York gallerist, he cited the living conditions and housing for artists as his main concern.
“That’s the crux of the issue, really, rather than the small galleries” and whether they survive or not, McAndrew said. “The artists will never even get to a gallery” if housing in cities with robust art markets is priced out of their reach.
Early in her career as an arts economist, she says, she researched different programs that could help support artists’ careers. Many policies, such as artist resale royalties or a tax exemption for artists, didn’t work as well as she’d hoped. But one of the best ways to support artists’ incomes, she says, “is to provide a really healthy marketplace.”