Brand Amy-Amy Cappellazzo by Dodie Kazanjian
Major changes afoot in the overheated contemporary-art auction market.
Amy Cappellazzo worked for Christie's auction house in contemporary art market. Marc Porter-chairman of Christie's Americas hired her in 2001. Her job was meet with clients, assessing artworks, speaking on panels and at seminars, attending art fairs and bring business from London to São Paulo, Los Angeles to Hong Kong. Born in Buffalo N.Y. 1967. She played an important role in starting Art Basel Miami Beach.
She quit to create a new model, to be someone who will offer full-service expertise across the board to buyers and sellers, dealers and auction houses, museums and artists. Nothing like this exists under one roof. She wants to bridge art and commerce, she is uniquely positioned to provide it. "I want to build my own empire," she said. (Super-agent to the art world at large.) A full-service business. Art collecting is now way beyond being a private passion because the stakes have become so big. She will be an adviser who can tell you how to weed and grow your collection, identify and sell not essential so you can buy the irresistible. A few high rollers have offered her money up front to buy for them, manage and build a collection. She is also going to advise established artist, not to represent them but to offer the market-savvy expertise she's acquired over the years. (Dealers won't like this) She will be an active catalyst in the larger art-world revolution, where all the old distinctions and boundaries-between artistic disciplines, artists and dealers, museums and galleries, connoisseurs and speculators, fashion and art-have become blurred.
The art world is in a rapid revolution-Amy said. There has to be a reconsideration of its structure in every single way.
"Art collecting, once an elite passion for the few, has become a fiercely competitive occupation for a whole new class of buyers- hedge-fund managers, oligarchs (one of the rulers or upper class) in Russia, oil-rich sheiks and sheik-as (wife of a sheik) in Doha and Abu Dhabi, freewheeling capitalists in post-Mao China. Since the recession, a lot of these recent collectors have decided that their money is safer in art than in stock and they treat it the same way, as a major asset class- connoisseurship giving way to speculation. The contemporary-art market came through the 2008 recession virtually unscathed, and since then the new buyers have driven prices to sometimes-obscene heights. The latest high is the $142.4 million for Francis Bacon's 1969 three-part portrait of Lucian Freud at Christie's in November. (The evening sale total, $691 million, was the largest ever recorded.)
What is happened is the race for business between Christie's and Sotheby's in contemporary art, by far the most lucrative and glamorous area of the market today, is unrelenting. In order to get (superstar works) for the major evening sales, both houses often have to give up so much of their commission to the seller that their profit margin becomes razor-thin. This is why they are being forced to find other streams of revenue.
The art market has becoming global, fueled by Internet, giving new collectors access to all sorts of formerly privileged information. Contemporary art and artist became the darlings of a culture of celebrity and auction prices soared higher and higher.
2012 Christie's major focus was to beat out Sotheby's and Gagosian to partner with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts on a series of Warhol sales most happing online. This was a big game changer in the industry. "We're now representing artists' estates." Thousands of minor works priced at less than $100,000 each are being made available through e-commerce and promoted through social media. There is enough material to keep going for the next five years. Whole auctions will be going online soon, but that won't happen with the big evening sales for a very long time -if ever.
She advises "for young collector just starting out, look at American Minimal artists: Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Carl Andre, Agnes Martin-and 1970s Brice Marden."
She wants to do it all. Sounds like a great job to have. Maybe she could learn to paint too. -cjm
If you like to read original article it is found at Vogue.com Vogue Magazine March 2014, page 594.