As Christies May Contemporary Art sale is branded the most expensive auction ever, leading art-market commentator Georgina Adam looks behind the scenes of the Contemporary Art market to expose the players and drivers in its rise and rise.
Georgina Adam expertly unpicks the oblique machinations of the art market with a deft hand and a clear voice to reveal an intoxicating world of glamour, greed and fine art. Will Gompertz, BBC Arts Editor
As Contemporary Art auction results hit stratospheric levels, Georgina Adams fascinating new book Big Bucks: The Explosion of the Art Market in the 21st Century
(Publication 20 June) lifts the lid on the transformation of the Contemporary Art market in the 21st century from a niche trade to a globalised operation worth an estimated $50 billion a year.
Drawing on her personal experience and expert understanding of the contemporary art market over many years, the author describes in colourful detail the contributions made by a range of actors and institutions to these recent developments. The book focuses on the development of auction houses into globalised, often cutthroat art business firms; the emergence and modi operandi of powerful mega-dealers with global art-empires; the 'new frontier' of selling art on the internet; the radical changes in the profile of art collectors, particularly from growth economies in Asia and the Middle East; the phenomenon of the superstar branded artist; and the explosion of art fairs, as part of an event-driven lifestyle.
Georgina Adam also addresses the negative side to the art markets expansion, particularly its lack of regulation. The art markets famed and openly acknowledged opacity concerning prices, ownership and transactions, coupled with the easy portability of art, have made it an easy target for all sorts of skulduggery, from the just-legal to out-and-out criminality.
Georgina Adam is a journalist who has covered the global art market for the last 30 years. She writes a weekly column for the Financial Times and a fortnightly one for BBC WorldWide, as well as contributing to The Art Newspaper, where formerly she was Art Market Editor. She also lectures at Sothebys Institute of Art and Christies Education and participates in panels at art fairs in the UK and abroad.
Georgina Adam will be giving a talk at the V&A on Friday 20 June at 6.30pm entitled Big Bucks: The Explosion of the Art Market
Big Bucks by Georgina Adam
20 June 2014 234 x 156 mm 192 pp
Paperback 978-1-84822-138-3 £19.99
Also available as an e-book £19.99