Where Art World Insiders Purchase Their Own Art

Spots around the world where you could buy the next gem in your collection.

June 10, 2017 5:00 am
Where Art Insiders Buy Art
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Art auction-goers, like the ones in attendance at the recent big Basquiat sale, are always looking for the next big star that will don an apartment wall or become the gem of a growing family collection.

But where do the specialists, who put that auction together, seek out that art they’ve put up for sale? There’s a lot of hunting involved—and of course, traveling.

Bloomberg recently caught up with a number of experts in the art-hunting trade to ask where they actually look for said gems. We’re collected our five favorites.

Contemporary Art and Street Art – This emerging area of interest in the art world is based on sales of artists like Basquiat and Banksy, and Holly Block, executive director of the Bronx Museum of the Arts, tells Bloomberg that the place to seek it out is Wallworks in New York City.

Contemporary Chinese Art – We’ve covered the white-hot Chinese art market in the past, so we were interested to find out where a budding or veteran collector might find the next great investment or decorative piece. Fred Bidwell, executive director of Front International, name-checks the Long March Space in Beijing, China, which is in the city’s famed 798 art district.

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Unexpected Young Artists – Want to seek out the best and brightest of the unestablished contemporary art world? Donald Johnson Montenegro, director of the Luhring Augustine Gallery, says the place to do so is the Sculpture Center in Long Island City, New York. During normal hours, its a museum, but once a year in April, they put on a sale, with all proceeds going to the museum (tickets cost $750 a pop).

Outsider Art – This is the type of art produced by non-professional artists. That, however, doesn’t mean the art is bad—or wouldn’t be able to command high prices at auction. Rafael de Cardenas, founder of the architecture firm Rafael de Cardenas/Architecture at Large, notes that the place he tracks it down is Creative Growth in Oakland, California, a nonprofit that works with developmentally and physically disabled people. Apparently, since The New York Times wrote a profile on the organization, prices have been skyrocketing.

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Ancient Oddities – Throwing a high-end goth soiree and need a collectible 18th-century bust of the severed head of Saint John the Baptist to wow your guests? Look no further than Kuntskammer in Munich, Germany, per Gordon Veneklasen, partner at the Michael Werner Gallery. (There’s a lot more weirdness where that came from.)

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