According to the senior art columnist of The Business Standard, Kishore Singh, 2009 wasn’t a memorable year for India’s art industry, but it’s already correcting course, he stated. Here are some of his observations and recap of the significant events.
* Art funds received a bad name this year because the promise of astronomical returns evaporated and their payback time seemed flawed.
* Bodhi Art, gallerist Amit Judge’s ambitious venture, collapsed. In hindsight, most see it as a flawed model of a gallery that grew too fast. But while it lasted, it did bring in a specialization not seen in the art world before. Meanwhile, Espace, Renu Modi’s eponymous gallery, celebrated twenty years with a spectacular show, Lo Real Maravilloso.
* The India Art Summit did revive the fortunes of a sluggish art . There were no edgy works, no mega deals, yet its success caught most galleries unaware. They hastily put together shows to get collectors back to doing what they do best: spend on art.
* India claimed some of its lost space in both in the miniatures, as well as in the antiquities market and other art forms that had been drowned out in the recent past by a more vibrant contemporary market. It is now time to reclaim both pride and prices in that genre!
* A consignment meant for auction at the Taj Mahal Hotel escaped the 26/11 inferno, yet the year proved less lucky for Neville Tuli. While his Osian’s continued its expansion across lines with great ideas, 2009 has proved controversial. For the record, he dismisses these as rumors, but the market is not convinced.
* Waswo X Waswo exists. Watch the space where he travels in 2010.· After the peak of 2008, prices fell in 2009. Most people say it’s a good thing.