This month, TheArtro presents a special feature series titled “How to Win Global Art Market,” that is essential for Korean Contemporary Art’s competitive stake in the Global Art Market. The series, starting with an article by the curator Daehyung Lee, interviews leading journalists, art consultants and art market and marketing specialists from around the world. Discussions on global art marketing trends and strategies over the past ten years are coupled with expert inputs on institutional support to strengthen the international competitiveness of Korean Contemporary Art. Experts interviewed include Carsten Recksik, the publisher of art magazine ArtReview and ArtReview Asia, Jane Morris, Editor-at-Large of The Art Newspaper, Partner of Futurecity, Sherry Dobbin and Louise Hamlin, founder of Art Market Minds, which is a leading platform for art business conferences. In addition, James Green, Director of theDavid Zwirner, Jagdip Jagpal, Director of India Art Fair, David Field, Freelance cultural communications consultant, and Jesse Ringham, Head of Content at the Serpentine Galleries also accepted our requests for interviews. These privileged insights from the insiders of the global art market surely deserve our undivided attention as Korean art sets sights on broader horizons.
Q : In the last 10 years, what major changes have there been in global marketing strategies? What kind of roles are being shared and collaborated in global and local media?
Carsten Recksik : The major change is surely the shift from offline to online and this just follows recent changes in the behaviors of all of us. The digital world is the place where we communicate and where we get our information from, global marketing adapted to an audience that spends the majority of their time on screens. With social media, E-bulletins, geo-targeted advertising and similar tools it is rather easy to reach a big number of people very quickly, all it needs is one stand-out campaign. For galleries and institutions for example it is essential to raise an international brand profile and develop a presence in international key markets but still maintain a deep relationship with your regional audience that you are dealing with on a daily and more direct basis.
Q : We are experiencing a rapid change in platform from offline public relations to digital and mobile marketing. How are digital strategies changing, and how do you see its future?
CR : There are a lot of different ways now to get content across to your audience. Digital marketing creates the opportunity to reach out to a much larger audience and new ways of reporting make it easy to find out who your audience is and what they like and dislike about what you are doing. In the future marketing will probably be even more targeted and personal, and particularly in the art world more content will be created and shared that is developed according to the needs of the audience.
Q : Could you elaborate on how marketing will become more targeted and personal, and in what ways art content will be personalized and shared with the audience? Could you provide examples of targeted marketing?
CR : Bespoke limited edition publications and microsites featuring content that is relevant only to the target audience, restricted members clubs with special offers, online viewing rooms that are only accessible to select collectors, live streaming of events straight to mobile devices, small intimate networking events will make potential clients feel that they part of a project, and help to increase the number of returning customers.
Q : What are your thoughts on the impact of technological development (ex. Big data, A.I., etc.) to art market?
CR : I see these developments rather positive and the more tools there are available to improve our lives and to enable us to work in a more efficient way then the better. It opens up new possibilities not only in how we consume art but also how it is produced, sold, distributed, archived and talked about. It is probably a little bit too early to really judge the impact these technologies have on the market and if and how they will last. But what we can see already is that access to art and art-related content nowadays became more democratized (compared to few decades ago where it was only available to a few) and a lot easier to distribute. If new technologies like Virtual Reality will ever replace the physical experience of a gallery visit or the excitement when you first encounter an artwork that moves you is a big question, I personally doubt it.
Q : There has been a long history of academic research to strengthen global competitiveness of Korean contemporary art. There is an absolute shortage of publications, journals and channels in English. What policy and institutional support do you think are required for the Korean government to overcome this?
CR : Sharing knowledge is essential for a constant progress in a globalized art world. Governments (and not only the Korean) need to make necessary funds available where they can to support this. Seeking collaborations and swaps with English-speaking educational organizations, universities, publishers will help to support Korean research activities.
Q : What kind of government-funded collaborations could be possible to promote Korean artists and globalize Korean art? In what specific ways could knowledge be shared (perhaps in relation to the publishing world) to support Korean research?
CR : This can be via talk programs in Korea and abroad, bespoke publications on a given subject relevant to the Korean arts and culture, exchange programs for art professionals, or workshops like art writing courses. Right now there seem to be a lot of barriers and hurdles in the way though - including complicated bureaucracy and tedious application processes - to execute such measures in an easy way.
Q : Art fairs are overflowing, from affordable art fairs with limited price ranges to photo-centric fairs. Nevertheless, various attempts are being made to create a new kind of art market. What kind of art fairs do you think Korea needs?
CR : Even if I think that there is no such thing as the perfect fair for a given city country there are certainly some aspects that can make a fair more attractive than others: There is a tendency to smaller art fairs that are easy to navigate; art fairs should be supportive to local initiatives and emerging art spaces; a healthy mix of regional and international galleries - selected by an international and diverse expert committee and with ambassadors placed around the globe - can help to reach a wider audience and guarantee high standards; educational programs, workshops and talks can shift a focus on regional politics and relevant matters in the local art community.
Q : Could you elaborate on the idea of “fair fatigue” and in what ways it has caused a tendency in smaller art fairs? What other elements do you think are needed to create a globally reputed art fair?
CR : Art fair concepts developed fast in the past decade. But ‘fair fatigue’ has become a commonplace due to a packed global fair calendar and fairs popping up in the remotest of places. All of this in a time where everyone is concerned about the impact of frequent travelling. Collectors now think twice if they go on a long-haul trip to see another art fair, art fairs to are forced to be unique.
Q : How much are you familiar with Korean art history? Which Korean artists do you know, and from what route and point in time were you able to find out about them?
Everyone in the art world is familiar with the big names like Nam June Paik, Lee Ufan, Lee Kun-Yong, Lee Bul, Hague Yang, Park Seo-Bo and others that were featured in Western exhibitions and acted as an inspiration for younger generations of artists. Established Korean commercial galleries like Kukje, Gallery Hyundai, PKM and others are doing a great job by promoting these artists abroad and the recent hype around Dansaekhwa for example can be counted as a result of their work. A pool of younger galleries like One & J, Gallery Baton or Wooson Gallery are offering a glimpse into exciting young and upcoming artists including Nikki S.Lee, Kim, Kim Sang Gyun, Lee Bae and others. And inter-continental galleries like Tina Kim, Various Small Fires and Choi & Lager or on an institutional level the Korean Cultural Centers in major cities around the globe are crucial in this development by offering Korean artists a platform and also keeping audiences engaged in conversations around Korean art history.
Q : What role do you think your current work plays in terms of the overall art ecosystem? And with what areas do you find collaboration important?
CR : Publishing companies in the arts and culture are much more today than just a critical voice, filter or tastemaker. ArtReview - with its high level of expertise in various territories and aspects of the art world - is in the fortunate position to act as a natural link between producers and consumers. We are able to offer bespoke solutions beyond traditional ways of marketing including digital formats like podcasts, moving image and also come in as a partner for physical activation like networking events, talks and conferences to get the message across to the right audience.
The most interesting collaborations for us are probably the ones that you expect the least. The recent Connect, BTS project is a great example where the music industry crosses over with art institutions (Serpentine Gallery, Gropius Bau), shared and broadcasted by international media outlets (including our very own ArtReview), opened up the doors to a whole new audience and age group.
Q : Various programs for securing new collectors are evolving in different ways. What aspects of Korean contemporary art should be strengthened in order to appeal to global collectors? What has changed in the criteria for collectors that they find most important?
CR : Korea can be proud of a growing wealth of exciting artists, writers, curators, non-profit institutions and commercial galleries that are getting great international recognition already. It plays an important role in the global art world, but competition is tough and many are after a small audience. Collectors are facing difficult choices and are getting all-year round treatments and activations offered everywhere. Supporting and showcasing local talent and local networks, creating relevant and timely content and collaborating with international experts, insightful educational programs at home and abroad- all communicated on a personal level to collectors - are ways here to stand out and not only integrate collectors in Korea’s cultural fabric but also make it beneficial for all. Ideally this is all part of a natural process.
How to Win Global Art Market by Daehyung Lee
How to Win Global Art Market - An Interview with Jan Morris
How to Win Global Art Market - An Interview with Sherry Dobbin
How to Win Global Art Market - An Interview with Louise Hamlin
How to Win Global Art Market - An Interview with James Green
How to Win Global Art Market - An Interview with Jagdip Jagpal
How to Win Global Art Market - An Interview with David Field
How to Win Global Art Market – An Interview with Jess Ringham
Carsten Recksik is the Publisher of ArtReview & ArtReview Asia. He studied Art and Public Space at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg before graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich where he studied Visual Arts. Recksik was artist-in-residence at the Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado, São Paulo, Brazil and he was a recipient of the prestigious scholarship Kunstfonds in Germany. He has served as a guest curator for various institutions such as the Institute of Contemporary Arts London, the German Embassy in London, Modern Art Oxford and the European Commission London. As a project manager for various commercial galleries and institutions he has helped realise exhibition projects with numerous artists including Andreas Gursky, Ai Wei Wei, Paul McCarthy, Ellsworth Kelly and Pierre Huyghe. Before he joined ArtReview Ltd Recksik was the Associate Publisher of frieze Magazine.