Features / Focus

How to Win Global Art Market – An Interview with Jagdip Jagpal

posted 23 June 2020

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.

Jagdip Jagpal, Director, India Art Fair. Courtesy India Art Fair

Jagdip Jagpal, Director, India Art Fair. Courtesy India Art Fair

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?

Jagdip Jagpal : Global marketing strategies have been successful where organisations have recognised the need to create bespoke local strategies in different regions to reflect local audiences whilst not compromising their global outlook and marketing objectives. The involvement of local experts and on the ground marketing teams (who are also part of the audience) has been critical to this. Most global strategies are strategies that were applied in a blanket manner to Europe and North America but extension to new regions has been bespoke. These strategies can co-exist as long as the messages do not conflict. The expansion of popular global digital and social media formats to local markets has provided the tools for this to happen.

While global and local media overlap, where the key messages remain consistent, key factors determine how they operate distinctly. Language, style, tone and editorial style are just as important as the behaviours of local press and how local audiences access and use information.

One area where the two do merge is where specialist or sector specific publications and communications are concerned. Art magazines and websites covering contemporary art are an ideal example of this. However, most sector specific publications focus on English speaking artists and art movements that the west can relate to as opposed to be being heavy in first hand research. Further, the majority of established publications originated in or are editorially controlled in the West.

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?

JJ : More and more arts organisations are rethinking their communication strategies, turning to new, innovative methods to engage with existing and new audiences––both online and offline. The key is to project clear and consistent messaging in traditional media, along with developing a strong editorial narrative and tone of voice across your website, email communications and social media. High visibility and authority against competitors on search engines such as Google is also important.

Image Courtesy India Art Fair

Image Courtesy India Art Fair

At India Art Fair, we underwent a complete brand overhaul in 2018 which was consistent with our efforts towards repositioning the fair as South Asia’s leading platform for modern and contemporary art. We adopted a year-round approach––by regularly publishing original, new and insightful content on our digital channels––creating a reputation for the brand beyond the physical fair. Wherever possible, we aim to provide genuine insight, giving our readers unparalleled access Indian and South Asian artists as well as the regions in which they operate. Today, I am happy to share that the calibre of India Art Fair’s digital communication matches the world’s best fairs.

Q : What are your thoughts on the impact of technological development (ex. Big data, A.I., etc.) to art market?

JJ : Without question, the art market has undergone vast transformation in recent years. Artists are enjoying the benefits of digital technologies; from creating innovative works using new media to finding interested audiences online. Along with playing a defining role in the production and promotion of art, technology is also being employed to other ends; whether it is documenting and tracking provenance of artworks, predicting market performance and sales, or preserving and spreading knowledge on historical art objects and artefacts.

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?

JJ : Knowledge production, whether in universities or outside of it, is extremely crucial. Along with supporting grants and scholarships towards research and publication, the state should also find ways to encourage arts organisations to communicate with public audiences in a smart, engaging and accessible manner––say, by adopting an innovative editorial strategy that serves as a strong foundation for inclusion of younger audiences and the digital development of education in the arts. However, academia is not the route to audience development. It can only be achieved through accessible communication and media.

Q : Could you elaborate on why you think accessible communication and media, rather than academia, is the way to better achieve audience development? Do you also find this to be the case for strengthening global competitiveness for Korean contemporary art?

JJ : Contemporary art by its very nature has, in the grand scale of art and antiquities, has a limited audience. Even more so outside of the European and North American art scenes. To create a market you need to create greater awareness and that’s why audience development is critical. Whether or not all audiences can afford to collect contemporary art, as long as they are aware of it and/or able to appreciate it will it become part of the conversation around the larger cultural scene. Public exhibitions and fairs play a key role in engaging new audiences and done right they are inclusive not exclusive. Academic language around contemporary art is difficult to understand even for the highly educated as it is heavily reliant on jargon or technical terms the meaning of which is only known to a small group of people (i.e. academics). Indeed, the artists themselves don’t use academic language when discussing their work in public forums. The trend in museums across Europe and North America for the past decade has been to provide simple, clear and informative storytelling around art works. A key strand of engaging new audiences and developing existing ones is engaging the younger generation and providing enjoyable learning opportunities. Again, these are best delivered by experts in communication and media. The same applies to Korean contemporary art not just in terms of global competitiveness but also for developing the local market.

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?

JJ : Art fairs are an important driver for the wider art market. I believe there will always be a need for art fairs as they come in different forms and formats, but it is important that they meet the needs of those looking to view, buy and invest in contemporary art and can be flexible to changing conditions. Perhaps what Korea needs right now is an internationally recognized regional art fair focused on showcasing high-quality contemporary art and artists from the region. This formula has proved successful for Indian contemporary art.

Installation view, David Zwirner Booth #E1 at India Art Fair, 2018 Courtesy David Zwirner

Installation view, David Zwirner Booth #E1 at India Art Fair, 2018 Courtesy David Zwirner

Q : Could you provide examples of how internationally recognized regional art fairs proved success for Indian contemporary art? What kind of programs or events could make a local/regional fair global?

JJ : The 2020 Fair concluded in February this year. Not only did it attract a larger local audience but also first time international visitors. Year on year (2018, 2019 and 2020 fairs), India Art Fair has seen increases in the number of local visitors, new or first time collectors, international museum directors and curators, leading international collectors, international press and international artists. We are able to attract these different visitor groups as the identity of the fair is clear – it is a one stop shop for the best art, galleries and foundations from South Asia. We promote the fair in these terms and this is matched by the visitor experience. We do have international art however we do not rely on international blue chips. We have a diverse range and we insist on new works made specifically for our market. For example, Yayoi Kusama created a unique work specifically for India as she was keen for her work to form part of an Indian collection. The fair also attracts a lot of South Asian artists and many of them engage with the fair through residencies, talks, performances and workshops. The programme is designed to be audience facing and is a mix of film, performance and talks. We do not include academic talks but focus on artists talking about their work or audience participation discussions about art and issues of the day.

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?

JJ : While I may not be too familiar with Korean art history, I have extensive knowledge of international contemporary art and through that I have been exposed to the Korean contemporary art scene. I have proactively visited and admired works by Lee Bul, Do Ho Suh, Jung Lee and of course, the incredibly popular Nam June Paik (first seen at Tate Liverpool) – many of whom studied abroad and achieved global renown, holding major exhibitions at some of the world’s leading museums, galleries and fairs over the course of their careers.

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?

JJ : India Art Fair has, over the last 12 years, contributed to the international conversation on Indian and South Asian modern and contemporary art. Wherever possible, we look to profile artists from across the region in dialogue with one another. Our education programmes––whether it is talks, performances, masterclasses, walkthroughs, workshops or book signings––aim to encourage deeper critical engagement with the cultural history of the region. We are committed to representing the country's vibrant and growing art scene. At the fair, Indian galleries and institutions will make up a minimum of 70% of our 12,000 square meter floorspace, each showcasing a diversity of works by emerging and established artists alongside new talent. For me, it is incredibly important that the fair retain its strong focus and connection to its home base.

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?

JJ : It is important to engage with the new collectors––local and international––who will be important in shaping the art market of the future. At India Art Fair, we run special programme of masterclasses, workshops and walkthroughs to expand their knowledge and interest in both Indian and South Asian contemporary art. Beyond the fair, we regularly host one-on-one advocacy meetings as well as have a strong website, editorial and social media strategy in place, which has proven to be successful in opening up access to art and artists from South Asia. The presence of the Korean Cultural Centre (India) and South Korean galleries at India Art Fair have not only increased audiences for Korean contemporary art but also led to sales to Indian and international collectors and sales to Indian collectors when they are visiting fairs in other countries. The Indian collectors have become interested in Korean contemporary art work at the fair.

Related Articles

How to Win Global Art Market by Daehyung Lee
How to Win Global Art Market - An Interview with Carsten Recksik
How to Win Global Art Market - An Interview with Jane 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 David Field
How to Win Global Art Market – An Interview with Jess Ringham

Jagdip Jagpal

Jagdip Jagpal successfully repositioned and delivered the 2018, 2019 and 2020 editions of India Art Fair, where she is responsible for the strategic and curatorial enhancement of the fair having, as well as expanding activities in India and internationally. She has over 30 years’ experience in numerous creative industries including arts and culture, publishing and media, luxury and fashion.
Prior to moving to India, Jagpal has played important roles at UK not-for-profits institutions including UK–South Asia network New North and South, initiated by Dr. Maria Balshaw. Her previous roles include managing international partnerships and programmes at Tate. She is a former trustee of the Wallace Collection and Almeida Theatre in London, and was an advisor to the New Art Exchange, Nottingham. Since 2012, Jagpal has been on the Development Board at the Royal College of Art, London and serves as a Governor at the London School of Economics where she studied law.

Recently Search Word