Powering growth by driving the creative economy has been ranked at the top tiers of global agendas. By 2020, the knowledge worker should possess ‘creativity’, posited as the third most essential skill by World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report on Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Art World Forum, a new knowledge dissemination platform and networking environment for art and corporate professionals, successfully engaged 150 stakeholders from 13 countries including Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, Russia, Israel, Switzerland,
Germany, Italy, France, Greece and the United States. All registered delegates varied in expertise from the art and business sectors locally and globally at the inaugural conference ‘Navigating the Global Art Markets’ on October 18, 2016 at the St. Regis Hotel in Singapore.
After a full-day of presentations, interviews and plenary sessions, discussions yielded consensus on the positive market outlook for art-tech businesses and online art platforms, signalled a shift in the perception of ‘art for investment’ as a taboo to an opportunity for promising returns on investment in contemporary art at the high-end, acknowledged the fast-changing traditional landscape and explored ways in which the new generation of ecosystem can adapt to a competitive hi-tech, globalised art market. Other notable points that were highlighted included:
THE ART MARKET AND OTHER BUSINESS SECTORS CAN LEARN FROM ONE ANOTHER
While Harvard Business Review interviewed Marina Abramovich in the November 2016 issue to discuss what the business world can learn from the creative processes of the art world, Art World Forum interviewed Professor Timothy Van Zandt, Dean of Faculty and Research; Professor of Economics at INSEAD, at its inaugural conference. The interview focused on what the art world can learn from economic game theory. “There is an awful lot of things drawn from finance which may seem like the most inhuman, impersonal business compared to art and yet, at the end, art is an asset. You need to supply the same principles to finance to try to understand how to price an asset.” We established that the aspects of price, matching, marketplace, transactions, and disruption, are buzzwords across all sectors – be it art, finance and even logistics.
MUTUAL INTEREST IN STRENGTHENING TIES BETWEEN ART AND FINANCE SECTORS
Referring to the transfer of wealth with a focus on Singapore, private banks and family offices have been curious about introducing art as an asset and including it to their investment mix. The aim relies not only on financial return but also on client engagement. As discussed by our corporate patrons panelist Jennifer Scally, the regional managing director of AXA Art, “We deal with insurance enquiries daily from museums, galleries, auction houses, private collectors, corporate collectors and a list of various exhibitions. Therefore, it is important for us at AXA Art to understand art. Our aim doesn’t rely as much on corporate branding… Rather, our message is to tolerate vast knowledge and the different ideas within a group or with a client.”
STRONG PRIVATE SECTOR PATRONAGE IN THE ARTS
TWG Tea sponsored Art World Forum speakers’ dinner while the newly launched Skyline Club and Lounge sponsored our cocktail reception. Our corporate partners included Singapore’s European Chamber of Commerce and the Swiss Business Association of Singapore; media partners included Art And Only, Art Media Agency and Art Views, a Yacht Investor magazine.
70% of the overall attendance was represented by the private sector, 10% by the public sector, and an additional 10% by the nonprofit sector; while art collectors and those in the midst of career transitions represented the remaining 10%.
ART IN EMERGING MARKETS AS INVESTMENT VEHICLE FOR REBALANCING A PORTFOLIO
With China and Russia are facing a slowdown in activities, emerging market recommendations by Serge Tiroche, Co-Founder of Art Runners and The Tiroche DeLeon Collection; Collector, for investors to pay attention to include Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia.“Every market behaves independently. That’s why for us it is important to diversify cross-market.” He continued to state “One thing is clear, that emerging markets are becoming much more important contributors to the art community.”
By way of market segmentation, Deloitte partner, Mohit Mehrotra stated “The one thing that is changing very significantly in Asia is the transfer of wealth from first generation to second generation. That being said, this transfer across generations clearly has an implication on the broader collectibles market.”
COLLECTORS’ MOTIVATIONS ARE CORRELATED TO THEIR CULTURAL VALUES
Greek Collector George Kypraios cited during the private collectors’ plenary session that “12% of collectors start collecting out of love; 6% of collectors say they do it purely for investment; 72% is a mixture of appreciation and passion for the arts with some inclination of investment… That gets you to 90%. The remaining 10% of collectors don’t know why they do it.”
Dr Peter Tay, Singapore Collector on the same panel, referred to the “doom and gloom” period of the art market by making the point that collectors are cautious in what they buy. However, his advice to “risk-averse people” is that “this (now) is the opportunity.”
SELF-DISRUPTION AS GROWTH STRATEGY IN NAVIGATING THE ART MARKET LATTICE
Self-disruption by shifting out of comfort zones and pushing boundaries in social roles has been identified as a growth strategy, which could be applied at the individual or institutional level in times of change. Successful change whether incited by individual need or market force, has been attributed to take place when change agents have complete detachment from preconditions to break new grounds and create new playbooks for new games to be played. We have a lot of respect for multi-hyphenates – serial entrepreneur Serge Tiroche (aforementioned) and , Collector; Artist; Co-Founder of Art Porters and the MaGMA Collection – who have track record success in stepping up to expectations from the multiple roles they take on in the aim of navigating the art market lattice.
Art World Forum is looking to bring local to global and to expanding to geographies beyond Singapore and Asia. We look forward to continuous engagement with the global art business ecosystem and would now like to call for nominations of experienced speakers for our conferences in 2017. Nominations may be submitted to [email protected]
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By Art World Forum, Veronica Neo