The Art Business Conference (ABC) launched its first Asia edition at the Shanghai Exhibition Center, in partnership with YT Media, on 9 November 2018. It was at the time of West Bund Art & Design that international art gurus, collectors, curators and art media gathered in Shanghai.
The one-day conference marks the first time that ABC comes to China. Starting from artistic value with the theme of art and business, the organizer, YT Media and ABC, brought together internationally renowned curators, museums, expos, auction houses, collectors and art media in the art market.
ARTWOOK was invited as a partner to attend the grand art event. In the first session on how to value art, Qinwen Wang, ARTWOOK Art & Technology Executive Officer, shared the prospect of combining art and technology with many internationally renowned collectors, curators, auction houses and art media, as well as how ARTWOOK would use Blockchain technology to provide an upgraded crypto business solution for traditional art industry as a panelist in the discussion on investment and technology perspectives.
It was the second show of ARTWOOK on an international art platform following the Christie’s Art + Tech Summit in London. ARTWOOK CEO Ray also attended the event. In the session 1: How to Value Art? moderated by YT CEO Luyang Jiang Hildebrandt, Ray raised a question that collectors are generally concerned about - what kind of positive attitude that art investment should have and how to reduce the economic risk of art investment. These questions also sparked the collision of thoughts and a heated discussion.
How to Value Art?
The confusion between the Biennale and the Art Fair concept, as well as the Biennial’s disease into the art fair epidemic are the two topics of international curator and writer Francesco Bonami’s keynote speech on the development status quo of International Art Biennale and Art Fair. He said that only patience can bring stable and sustainable development.
Francesco Bonami, International Curator and Writer
Francesco Bonami noted that the art fair epidemic was a common problem for many art dealers. The relationship between art dealers and artists fades with energy consumption as they continue to rush to various fairs, and such kind of art market is unhealthy. Excellent artists are rare, if it expands too fast to “20 excellent artists and 25 art gallaries”, it is not necessarily a good thing for artists and galleries. “Art is like the Olympics. Only a few outstanding artists will have the opportunity to stand on the top and successfully defend their title, so we should gather up our strength to create a better art ecosystem, rather than making choices in current art fair epidemic.”
Division of Labor and Role in the Art Market
There are different roles and division of labor in art market. Therefore, Lilly Chan (Managing Director Asia & Head of Business Development of Phillips), Asia Amalia Dayan (co-founder of Luxembourg & Dayan), Désiré Feuerle (famous collector), Henry Little (Fine Art Group) were invited as panelists in this session.
Lilly Chan (Managing Director Asia & Head of Business Development of Phillips)
Lilly Chan, the Managing Director Asia & Head of Business Development of Phillips, said at the panel that, the auction house's rich historical auction data could provide rich record inquiry and guarantee for art investment. For the price of a piece of art, we can draw on the auction record of the artist's previous work. Collectors do not need to chase hot one, they have to do research independently, and the value of the artworks can be understood through the auction house, so it is very important to know why you want to buy.
Amalia Dayan（Co-Founder of Luxembourg & Dayan）
For the past 20 years, Amalia Dayan, co-founder of Luxembourg & Dayan, has worked with some of the world's most prestigious public and private collectors for postwar collections. In 2009, she co-founded the Luxembourg & Dayan gallery with her partners, focusing on modern art and postwar art. Amalia Dayan talked about the inability to accurately predict prices in the art market. She said that what we can do was to learn more, to take risks, and to learn from failure. The value of the collections of truly outstanding collectors is not determined by the price of artwork, but by their inner passion for art. Knowledge and love are indispensable.
Henry Little（Associate Director of The Fine Art Group）
Henry Little, Associate Director of The Fine Art Group, runs a 20-year-old art investment company and is very active in the market. The company has been providing consulting services for collectors from all over the world including mainland China and north America, helping collectors and enterprises expand their collections and do due diligence. Different from Amalia Dayan's point of view, he believed that as a professional art consulting team, he had a professional team to track and evaluate the price of art. Art transactions and investments through them are very likely to succeed. Therefore, he believes that the risk of art investment can be avoided through the evaluation and consultation of professional team.
Désiré Feuerle（Famous Collector，International Director of Museo Nacional del Prado）
Désiré, as an internationally renowned collector, added that, for art collection, he is more concerned about whether he liked it. Of course, for the new collectors, he also put forward his own suggestions – referring to the collections of other collectors. Of course, the art market as a whole is unpredictable, however, you have to try.
ARTWOOK CEO Ray said after the panel that, the risk of art investment has been a long-standing and open problem in the art world, the answer to which is not exclusive. As a young team, ARTWOOK is committed to creating an art investment trading platform through blockchain technology to solve problems and create value. From the sharing of art gurus, ARTWOOK has also found the diversified perspectives and the possibility of innovative models in the art market.
How to buy? Investment and technology perspectives
In the panel on investment and technology perspectives of artwork, Sophie Zhaofei Li (JD.com), Qinwen Wang (ArtWook), David Chau (ART021&JINGART), Larry Zhu (Bain Consulting) and moderated by Jennifer Schipf (AXA XL) were invited to share their views, with Jennifer Schipf (AXA XL) being the moderator.
Larry Zhu, Partner in Bain & Company's Hong Kong office and an Expert in Bain's Consumer Products and Retail practices
In the panel, Mr. Zhu noted that, art market in China has grown four times in ten years, while the number of high-net-worth individuals in China reached 1.9 million in 2017. Compared with 2006, the number has roughly increased tenfold. There is a clear positive correlation between the art market and the expansion of the middle class. The data shows that there are at least 50,000 to 100,000 active collectors in China, but the number of people with more than 1 million transaction volume is no more than 6,000. This is the status quo of the art market in China. Although the artworks are dazzling, easy to move and can avoid risks with less government regulation, artwork as an investment tool also bears certain shortcomings, such as non-standardization, low transparency, weak liquidity, inaccurate authenticity, and high transaction costs. This may be the problem that needs to be faced and solved after the art transaction.
Qinwen Wang, Art & Technology Officer of ARTWOOK
With respect to how technology can be applied to the art industry, Qinwen Wang, the Art & Technology Officer of ARTWOOK, brought a new point of view from the perspective of blockchain technology. She mentioned that the blockchain industry cannot completely disrupt the art market in the short term, but blockchain technology can provide upgraded and encrypted commercial solutions for the traditional art industry. Under distributed collaboration and incentive mechanism, the art-lovers who are proficient in technology can create on the chain, which gave birth to a new category of art: Digital Art ( or “Crypto Art"). In the upgraded and encrypted version of the commercial solution, the blockchain is an intelligent commercial solution for the art industry's collection management, transaction flow and art financial wealth management in the digital age. The traceability of the blockchain and the real K.Y.C account management reduce the investment threshold and enhance the security for art investment enthusiasts. “This is the evolution of the way people approaching art brought about by technology development, which is what ARTWOOK wants to do and is doing.”
David Chau, Collector and the Co-Founder of ART021&JINGART
In addition to the role of co-founder of ART021 Art Fair and CC Art Foundation, David Chau is also a promising young collector in China, whose efforts to promote China’s art industry is remarkable. He has also participated in the art ecosystem in his course of art collection. ART 021 aims to allow collectors who have not even been exposed to art to consume on the platform. ART 021 hopes to actually close the deal. While in current market, collectors and galleries in China may have not even been exposed to western systems, it is necessary to re-establish such a system in China. Serving both high-net-worth clients and mass-market consumers. He doesn't care about comparisons with other fairs, but cares about who is still active in the market 10 years later.
Sophie Zhaofei Li, Category Lead of Household Living and Artwork Department of JD.com
Sophie Zhaofei Li said during the panel that, the reason why JD.com established the JD Art Department is to provide 300 million users with more art experience. Starting from its 3C business, JD also hopes to make more contributions to the art industry. It’s a way for consumers to buy artworks through a relatively low threshold. JD hopes that such a way can promote art to the general public.
With the expansion of the high-net-worth population in China and the rise of the middle class, more people have seen the development potential of the Chinese art market. A common opinion mentioned unanimously by the four panelists is to make art serve the public more. In the next decade, how to better connect art with the public is full of possibilities and imagination.
How to be Creative? – Seek Opportunities between Art and Business in the Age of Social Media
The international media represented by CNN has expressed their concerns for the art industry without exception. The concepts of traffic and self-media that have emerged in recent years are also affecting the new views of these industry giants on art communication. A common view shared by art media attended the conference focused on the quality and in-depth report. While in the age of social media, the diversity of expressions and the integration with local market in China are what they are currently concentrating on. Artsy opening its official Wechat account is a localization attempt of the international art media.
Ellana Lee, Senior Vice President of CNN International
CNN used to give people an impression that CNN always reports international news that is sensational to the world，but Ellana Lee said that CNN's coverage on life in 2017 totaled more than 13,000 hours, including culture, art, fashion and so on. For CNN, quality has always been the criteria for news selection, so the story that can be chosen by CNN must be a good story that is fascinating. Moreover, CNN is also looking for diversified expressions: all symbols on Instagram have different uses. Although CNN is a TV media, it also uses a variety of social media to play featured content, and selects programs according to different audiences of different platforms.
Alexander Forbes, Executive Editor at Artsy
Alexander Forbes, Executive Editor at Artsy, has been in Shanghai for three years. He is learning to use Wechat. He said that, galleries used to promote themselves through PR companies, now however, both the gallery and the artist know that they have to write stories for themselves. Artsy must find the value of its storytelling methods, rather than describing an isolated event like "selling 400 million artworks somewhere in Shanghai."
Where Art Meets Creativity.
A long as all kinds of art are willing to take a different view, crossover will not be a slogan, there is really limitless possibilities. Art is not something of a high threshold. Like any knowledge, art is an important medium to improve the level of knowledge in life. When there is a basic aesthetic, whether it is the choice of life or the judgment of wisdom, it will make your life more precise and advanced.
Mika Ninagawa, Photographer and Film Director
Mika Ninagawa came to the conference with her new film, which is still in production. For art creation, she said that there is a great difference between photography and film, but they all start from her true feelings. In terms of photography, she pays close attention to people's desires, while commercial works and advertises are better ways to explore people’s desires. While for films, she directs the whole process, rather than shooting or performing. They are two different production ideas, but with the same feelings.
Jeff Chang, Collector and Singer
It’s not the first time that Jeff Chang cooperate with ART021, through which he get acquainted with a lot of collectors and artists. He said that it was the art that allowed collectors and artists to communicate with art-lovers and to have access to the best works in the world. Whether it was art or music, it was to sublimate the life. In addition to be a singer, he also wanted to spread art through various crossover cooperation.
Kylie Ying, Co-founder of ART021
Kylie Ying, Co-founder of ART021, felt that it was rewarding to present an art feast in Shanghai every year. She said that art is a creation that requires inspiration. Any work may spark the inspiration, which will let you pay attention to all aspects of today's society. It allows you to get the joy of life and a greater feeling.
Art Business -The New Museum Model for the Next Generation
Nicole Ching, Founder of Museum2050
Nicole Ching said during the panel that, the number of private art museums in China ranks fourth in the world now. The goal to setup 1000 art museums in China has been accomplished already. There are many new inspirational cooperation models in China, such as cooperation between real estate developers and museums and franchising, which is also a very distinctive model. The audience of the next generation museums is a younger one. In the discussion of the museum model, we used to seek consensus. Now, however, we are eager for individuality. The experience economy has always been mentioned, and the new museum model is a new model of social contact.
David Berliner, COO at Brooklyn Museum
The Brooklyn Museum, which has stood for two hundred years, is just the beginning for David Berliner. He said that museums need to be constantly updated to keep up with the times. The Brooklyn Museum has developed a new APP that allows audiences to ask questions from experts in the museum. Many people are reluctant to enter the museum and feel threatened, so there should be constant interactions, such as removing the commentators, and using the labels to make the audiences comfortable to read. Operation and financing are the points that the next generation needs to break through. Many art galleries today are always in financial trouble. Tracing new ideas and knowledge, self-improvement, and sustainable museum operations will always be the problems.
As an internationally influential art business forum, The Art Business Conference has been a great success since its inception in London in 2014. The one-day Art Summit provides an international platform for in-depth discussion of art transaction dynamics and the latest industry trends, technology, and art market practices. The focus of ABC's on China is undoubtedly a recognition and optimism about the potential of the art market in China. The keynote speakers have crossed many fields of the art market, but they have repeatedly mentioned how the future art market can be more perfectly presented to people from all walks of life, realizing a new world of art that belongs to, enjoyed by and grows for the public. As an art investment trading platform serving the public, ARTWOOK will also witness the bright future of the art market with the world.