Downward Mobility

More Art, Less Champagne

Since it began in 2002, collectors, including wealthy bankers and hedge fund managers, have come to the Miami Beach off-shoot of the Switzerland’s "Art Basel" to snatch the most expensive artworks from one another. Many stalls were sold out after only an hour. This year, however, things may be different. Even Marc Spiegler, one of the two heads of "Art Basel", lets ominous comments slip like, "Most galleries will probably not break any records this year," "Prices have gotten more realistic again," and, "The time for speculators has passed." As Der Spiegel reports, “The champagne years are over.” Prices at auction have dropped by 30 percent. American art museums are trimming their budgets. Sponsors like Deutche Bank don't want to book the prestigious German Pavillon at the Venice Biennale.