Last Friday, Unit London co-director Joe Kennedy had a fantastic conversation with author and art market expert Magnus Resch. Both men, looking happy and hirsute from their respective lockdown locations, layed out their thoughts regarding art in the wake of the coronavirus, as well as discussing art world functions more generally.
Usually New York based, Magnus Resch is currently hiding out in the sundrenched neighbourhood of Venice, Los Angeles - desperately looking for a hairdresser. He is the author of several books on the art world including: 100 Secrets of the Art World, The Global Art Gallery Report and Management of Art Galleries; he has also taught a course on gallery management at Columbia and an MBA in entrepreneurship in the art market at Yale. More recently, Magnus is the founder of MagnusClass - an online series of seminars aimed at aspiring artists.
Resch views the art world as two polarised spheres of vastly differing sizes: the first makes up 0.1% of art world activity and is inhabited by 5-10 galleries, about 25 artists and a few auction houses and museums; the other sphere is representative of 99.9% of art world activity, comprised around 25,000 galleries and millions of artists. The disparity of attention spread between the spheres is what, in Resch’s opinion, is causing the art market to stagnate. He believes that the art market gives an illusion of growth, but in reality inaccessibility and elitism are stifling it’s potential to involve more people financially. In other words, the art market’s issue is not supply, but demand.
The German author went on to speak about artist networks and the curiously ambiguous notion of ‘talent’: how, over the last century, the term ‘talent’ has become redundant due to the absence of an objective criteria for assessing the quality of art. Resch’s slightly pessimistic view (but by no means flawed) is that the only thing of importance to an artists’ trajectory is their network and entrepreneurial drive. Resch elucidates these points - and many more - magnificently. Lifting the veneer on the art world can be a rather ugly, demoralising process, however Magnus has an ability to be both informative and humorous, to expose an unpalatable truth in a colourful, irreverent way. In that regard, he reminds us of a brilliant satirical cartoonist, somebody who cuts to the core of an issue, showing the darkness, but always framed in light.
Scroll down to view the conversation in its entirety. It’s not one to miss...