Olyvia Kwok Insights - What Art Auction Week Tells Us About The Art Industry

COVID-19 has caused unprecedented disruption to businesses and organisations all around the world. The art industry is no expectation. Art galleries have been closed, auctions have been cancelled, and artists have been forced to advertise and sell their work online. That said, the art industry appears to have adjusted well to the pandemic and has seen various successes over the last few months.
By: Westside
Dec. 22, 2020 - PRLog -- Christie's launched a 20th Century: London to Paris virtual auction on 22nd October which earnt a combined total of more than £900,000. Sotheby's also hosted a Contemporary art evening auction last month that saw famous pieces sold for over £1,000,000. From 13-23 October, Philips held a live auction which generated an impressive £8.5 million in sales over the week.

The above demonstrates the art industry's ability to adapt to the changing climate and flourish, despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic. Below, we are going to discuss what art auction week tells us about the industry, with some key insights from renowned art collector Olyvia Kwok.

Philips online art auction

Philips held a highly anticipated online art auction from 13-23 October. The Day Sales auction focused on 20th Century and Contemporary Art and achieved an impressive £8.5 million in sales. The enhanced live auction experience was broadcast worldwide from Philips' newly-built London studio and saw art collectors from 53 countries join the online sales room to compete for pieces from renowned artists including Banksy and Stanley Whitney. The number of online registrants reached an unprecedented level, which added to the energy and excitement of the sales room.

According to Kwok - "My take on the auction last week is actually quite positive. Phillips had an evening auction of what I call 'short and sweet.' It finished quickly and the art was young, hip, trendy, pop culture, which I think is one of the biggest and fastest-growing markets right now. This is mostly due to the fact that a lot of people can't physically come to London at the moment. So, you can use Zoom or FaceTime…the 'consumer market confidence' is starting to come back after the summer."

Final thoughts

Kwok believes that the art market will adapt and survive the difficulties brought on by the pandemic. In her opinion: "The art market is like the stock market. It's had a steady growth in the last 2-3 years, but now it's reacting to all the recent uncertainties, i.e., COVID, Brexit, the US elections." She adds: 'Overall, the market is fine - it has had a little pause, but as soon as America is OK to go - when the presidential election is over - then the market will act accordingly."
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