No, I’m not talking about Campaign ’08, though it will be a relief to put that behind us too. What I mean is that the hyperactive art market is finally, indisputably, no-two-ways-about-it, drawing to a close. Despite a few record sales — for Malevich and Degas — last night’s Sotheby’s New York auction of Impressionist and modern art was a resounding dud, with more than a third of the lots failing to sell, including a Monet from the Rouen cathedral series. The Christie’s New York sales in the same category are tomorrow and Thursday. If those produce similar results, we will be entering upon a time when we won’t have to spend so much mental energy putting aside the market value of a work before trying to think about it in any other way. And who knows, if prices come down enough, maybe museums will be able to tiptoe back into the market more often to acquire good work for display in public, where we can all see it.
So even a global recession can have its upside. I don’t know about you, but that’s change I can live with.