‘Powerful’, ‘secretive’, ‘awash with money’ and ‘lawless’ – the art market has been compared to the Wild West in the media by those ranged against it. But how accurate is that picture? Ivan Macquisten, editor of Antiques Trade Gazette for 15 years and now an independent adviser, analyst and commentator on the international art market, lifts the lid on some of the myths, looks at where the real problems lie and sets out some ideas for change.
The loss of a balanced view and the constant attempt to force direct regulation on the market by those who do not really understand it risks upsetting the narrow healthy balance between self regulation and a potentially serious decline in the market through damaging legislation.
There are problems in the market, but they are often not where people expect to find them – and often they are caused by ignorance rather than intentional wrongdoing. There are solutions.
But the finger pointers also need to be careful, because their actions also cause problems and the fall-out could be more than they bargained for.
Writer, art market analyst and pundit, campaigner, collector and blogger, Ivan Macquisten spent 30 years as a journalist, 15 of them as Editor of Antiques Trade Gazette, and now runs ImacQ, his own business, media and public affairs consultancy.
He spends much of his time advising art market trade associations on policy and compliance, guiding them through public campaigns that often surround new legislation and representing them in parliament (UK) as well as with NGOs and international bodies such as the EU Tax Directorate, US Government Accountability Office and United nations Security Council Sanctions Team.
Those he advises currently include The International Federation of Dealer Associations (CINOA), The Association of Art & Antiques Dealers (LAPADA), The Antiquities Dealers Association (ADA) and The International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art (IADAA). He is also an informal advisor to The British Art Market Federation and to The Society of Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers (SOFAA).
Ivan also chairs art market panels and conferences, and conducts research into issues surrounding the market, edits art market reports and analyses data. He has just returned from two weeks in Italy as Visiting Professor to the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art, where he lectured on the Art Market and Associated Risk.