Curate a burgeoning Indian art market

More Indians are putting value of the monetary kind in contemporary artworks than ever before. And much of this healthy, wealthy and wise build-up is due to more artists putting out their works in the market in a systemic manner that is far less scattershot and more visible than before. The ongoing ‘The Art of India 2024′, as well as ‘India Art Fair’ that starts tomorrow – both in Delhi – do two things simultaneously: one, bring contemporary art out into the ‘open’ for a far larger demand to be created across price slabs; two, break the barrier between established art by past masters or well-established artists – usually sought after by institutional collectors – and top-notch upcoming artists sought after by the multiplying spending classes who are increasingly appreciating the value of possessing good, contemporary art.

Much like the retail investor in the stock market, the retail art buyer in the art market is pushing up this till-now undervalued ecosystem in India. Picking up valued works by contemporary lesser-known artists push their value, quite like non-blue-chip stocks waiting to enter their ‘blue’ period. Galleries coming together under a common roof of art fairs – Delhi, by virtue of these collectives, becoming the de facto art capital – are, in a way, emulating the market dynamics of what the Paris Salon did for the 18th-19th-century European art world and artists, and the Biennales do today in more developed art markets.

Art, like all culture, maintains a strong, yet asynchronous, relationship with capital – the former thrives on the latter, while underplaying a 1:1 relationship. As an asset class, it also is a powerful marker and shaper of cultural power. Let’s frame it, hang it and curate it to its full potential.


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