The end of this year brings the usual round of art student graduate exhibitions. And this year a few art sales.
I am disappointed that I missed the RMIT sculpture graduate’s show. I did see at 1st Site RMIT University printmaking graduate exhibition. There is a huge variety of print making techniques from digital prints to linocuts. Lilly Dusting’s etchings “Plate 6” are beautiful delicate views of the bottom of china plates complete with paper sticker and makers marks. In a different direction Kim Hudson’s screenprints “With love to the ones I love” is a punk freak-show, graphically crude but effective.
I also saw at No Vacancy the RMIT Graduate Photography Exhibition. There was very little to get excited about unless you were recruiting a photographer for an advertising agency. Most of the photographers appeared very focused on their careers.
In a sign of the global economic recession this year Mahoney’s Gallery is having a sale. I have never seen a sale at an art gallery before. The red sale signs are out the front and prices have been drastically marked down. Most of the art on sale are prints and photographs from their stockroom. The sale was not listed in Art Almanac; it has not been widely advertised. I have heard that there are other galleries recently having sales, from the Harrison Gallery in Sydney to 696 in Melbourne.
It is a myth of the art market that art does not devalue; it was another myth that house prices don’t devalue that lead to the current economic crisis. Art prices did decline during the Great Depression and it is likely that art prices will fall again in this international recession especially for the very expensive contemporary art. At the moment there are bargains in the art market and on the stock market for those who can afford it.
After this round of exhibitions most of Melbourne’s art galleries will close down until the end of the year. And there is still enough strength in Melbourne’s art market that next year more gallery spaces will open.