“When I started 25 years ago, collecting was romantic, but it’s not anymore. […] Today it’s become business and guarantees are just part of the equation.” said Philippe Ségalot, a contemporary art consultant and private dealer. May marks the beginning of the auction season in New York and now, more than ever, art has become an international commodity.

Despite of the financial crisis, the art market, and specifically the contemporary art market, still appears as a safe tangible asset with high values and returns. Many of today’s new collectors see the art as an investment and ask art consultant to predict how their holdings will appreciate over time. This season more buyers made an offer prior to auction, accentuating the speculative fever.

It seems the art market is stronger than ever, nevertheless some critics say that the practice of locking up artworks in early turns auctions in a prearranged system. Which sort of art market are they building and with which effects on the whole art system: galleries, collectors and artists?

Full article: http://www.nytimes.com