THE ART MARKET
Christie’s goes green; UK election result boosts auctioneers; Metzinger’s cyclist speeds away; Christmas gets a dollop of sauce
Sustainability looks to be the buzzword of the art market in 2020, as its players begin the very necessary process of addressing wider environmental concerns. Thumbs up, therefore, to Christie’s, who have committed to halve their print production by the end of 2020. The auction house currently prints more than 700,000 materials per year — mostly catalogues and gallery guides — which puts sending the odd Christmas card into perspective. The initiative is “not only possible but essential”, says chief executive Guillaume Cerutti. Interestingly, the shift has been driven by a change in client behaviour — Christie’s data show that in 2019 to date, 52 per cent of all lots sold through the auction house worldwide were bought by people who had not received a print catalogue. The proportion is even higher for buyers from its bricks-and-mortar live auctions: more than 70 per cent. Traditionalists may mourn the loss of weighty, plushly printed tomes — but auction is a swift-moving business and printing books for every session is beginning to look like a very wasteful luxury. Christie’s confirms that all catalogue content will still of course be online, while any cost savings will be re-invested into digital engagement. Cerutti acknowledges that “broader efforts are also required to address our overall environmental impact”; Christie’s travel-related carbon footprint is among the areas also getting a closer look.
And finally . . . ’Tis the season to turn up the heat, says Natasha Arselan, the founder of AucArt. Her online auction house has a selection of 72 works by recent art graduates celebrating the theme of love and lust. “Desire doesn’t just belong in February,” Arselan says. “Why not give people a welcome antidote to the Christmas monotony?” Some works are probably not for sharing around the family dinner table, and there are quite a few intriguing titles (the On Dicks and Ducks series by the Greek-born Stella Kapezanou stands out). For those seeking a subtler kind of eroticism, there are also abstract works incorporating what are described as “sensual, lingering brush-marks”. Eros runs until December 31 on Aucart.com, with more themed auctions in the pipeline. Have yourselves a sexy little Christmas.