‘Recession good for art buyers, bad for artists’

March 23rd, 2009 - 8:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, March 23 (IANS) The financial meltdown is good for art buyers as it has made art more affordable, said acclaimed poet-critic Ashok Vajpeyi here Monday, adding that on the flip side it’s a “bad patch” for artists as prices of their works have gone down drastically.
“The current financial meltdown has made art affordable for art buyers. It is the right time for art galleries and museums to stock up good collection of paintings. But it’s a bad patch for artists…prices of their work have gone down horribly,” Vajpeyi told reporters on the sidelines of an international seminar on ‘Museum of the Future’ organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here Monday.

Vajpeyi, also the chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi, admitted that Indian art galleries have not been spared the effect of recession.

“Most art galleries across India have not sold a single art piece for months now due to this recession. Of course, if you ask them, they won’t admit for obvious reasons. There are even galleries that have been closed down.

“For example, Bodhi Art has closed all their galleries in Delhi, Berlin, London and New York…only the Mumbai-chapter is still working.”

“But still I feel it’s the time to buy and stock art pieces because soon after this period is over, the boom-time for art will restart,” Vajpeyi said.

Vajpeyi also talked about the expansion plans of Lalit Kala Akademi.

“Lalit Kala Akademi has over 6,000 art works, but we don’t have a place to preserve them. So we have decided to set up an art museum in Delhi.

“We have asked for 5-10 acres of land from the Delhi government for the Rs.50 crore (Rs.500 million) project. Work will start as soon as we get the nod from the government,” Vajpeyi said.

The veteran poet-critic further said he planned to set up a consortium for art writers and critics.

“The number of art writers and critics in India is too small. I have planned to set up a national consortium to encourage youths towards this genre of literature.”

“We have also planned to start scholarship programmes for young artists and curators soon. Already, from this year, we have started a promotional programme - a budding artist or art exhibitor can come and create an exhibition with Lalit Kala collections.”

“Most art institutions in the country have ‘ancient’ syllabus. The Akademi has long been persuading various art institutions across the country to upgrade their courses so that students can really benefit and we can also offer help. But we have received no responses in this regard so far,” Vajpeyi said.

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