Editor's Letter December 2008

Slow But Steady Goes the Art Market



Art collectors, curators, advisers, museum directors and trustees, and critics had their eyes on London in late October, as the Frieze art fair unfolded alongside the unraveling of the world’s financial markets. By all accounts, sales at Frieze were off, but also steady. Simply put, the best works offered at good prices sold; others did not. The same can be said for October sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s. This month, eyes turn to Art Basel Miami Beach, one of the world’s most lauded and big-monied gatherings of contemporary dealers — and a destination for scores of art collectors, professionals, and enthusiasts from the Palm Springs area.

Critic Jerry Saltz, writing in New York magazine, noted, “Recessions are hard on people, but they are not hard on art. The ’40s, ’70s, and the ’90s, when money was scarce, were great periods, when the art world retracted but it was also reborn. New generations took the stage; new communities spawned energy; things opened up; deadwood washed away.”

And so it is in the Califoria desert. While we have suspended for one year the publication of our ART+CULTURE supplement, we dedicate this month’s issue of Palm Springs Life and Desert Guide to art for art’s sake.

Forget the auction houses, which have no interest in art beyond the financial. And goodbye speculators, who only ever cared about what their art might return. This correction, if we can call it that, reminds us that art should be approached as a cultural experience and purchases as a lifestyle decision with great personal value.

This issue engages those of us who enjoy not only art but also an artful way of living.

Art permeates this issue. Our PSST! section covers many local art initiatives, several departments — InStore, Wealth, and Rear View — cover functional art, art as an investment strategy, and Paul Grimm, respectively, and our feature, “A Glass Act” about a Palm Springs couple’s studio glass sculpture collection and namesake gallery at Palm Springs Art Museum give Palm Springs Life a decidedly art-centric focus.

Our Desert Guide, included in this issue of Palm Springs Life, features four pages of gallery and museum listings that include featured artists, exhibition schedules, contact information, and images of works from some of the most anticipated shows of the season. We have much to see this year. It costs nothing to look. However, a purchase could lift your spirit during these uncertain times. Go for quality and what you love!

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