More art has been sold during the pandemic than the year before it.
Isn’t that strange?

The art fair circuit was closed. Galleries were closed. Artists were struggling.

So who is buying all this art? Where are they buying it? And which artists are benefitting from the windfall? 

The Praxis Centre For Aesthetic Studies had a fascinating guest at the Artist Roundtable discussions- Wendy Posner- and she took them behind the scenes to expose exactly what has been happening. Wendy Posner owns an art consultancy that sells art to private individuals who are building their collections as well as the hospitality industry, which means she sells work to hotels and public institutions as well.

Her company (which sells work all over the country and the world) was concerned with how the pandemic would affect hotels buying artwork.

So her team spent three months talking to everybody from the bluechip galleries that they work with all the way down to their art handlers and art shippers to find out what was really going on. 

Their research showed that it turns out that many hotels are closed and spending the next year renovating which means they are buying art. 

And not low end prints and inexpensive art, but everything from installation and public outdoor sculpture to large scale murals and high end art for the walls of the rooms.

The hospitality industry was looking at Covid as an opportunity to refresh their brands.

Because there was either low occupancy or no occupancy in the hotel spaces, it became more cost effective for them to do renovations during this period. 

She explained how hotels all over the globe from Saudi Arabia to Los Angeles want to look new and fresh when, two years from now, we’re back on track, and people are travelling in the same way they did before Covid. 

In addition, the hotel brands themselves have been changing. 

Chains like Hilton, Marriott, Holiday Inn – they used to be cookiecutter, with cookiecutter art. They would buy basically the same art for all their properties, so when you walked in you knew it was a Holiday Inn, or a Marriott, or a Hilton. 

What’s happened recently is that each of the properties are now becoming bespoke. 

They are hiring different interior design firms in each city to create a unique look for each property. For example, if you go to properties owned by a brand like Kimpton, they are very local oriented and/or they have a very unique, boutique feel. 

Therefore, business isn’t slowing, art is selling in terms of hotels renovating and using original work, commissioned work, as well as prints and photographs.

And it’s not just hotels. Sales are up across the board. 

People are renovating at home, lots of construction, wealthy clients upsizing and moving out of the city, which means they have to buy even more art.

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