Not so super: investment proposals leave art market reeling

Aboriginal Art Directory | 08.07.10

News source: Sydney Morning Herald

If investors have only five years to divest themselves of artworks as the review recommends, it will worsen the impact. ''It's an added blow,'' Mr Ayers said. ''Art takes a while to appreciate … it could possibly severely damage that part of my DIY fund.'' Art dealers have reacted angrily to the recommendations, predicting dire consequences for the market.

Adrian Newstead, an expert on indigenous art, shudders at the thought of the market being flooded with works. ''It will absolutely devastate the indigenous art market,'' said Mr Newstead, who runs Coo-ee Aboriginal Art Gallery in Bondi.

The amount of Aboriginal art produced each year has grown exponentially since the 1970s. Mr Newstead said up to 250,000 works were produced each year. ''The most conservative estimate would be that tens of thousands of paintings will have to be sold. Art survives and prospers on confidence, so once that is eroded and the market is flooded with work, they can't be sold.''

Art and collectables are held by 1.6 per cent of self-managed super funds and comprise 0.1 per cent of the money invested. The Cooper review says it does not accept as logical that ''the art and numismatic industries would be severely or even materially affected by the … changes''.

However, Mr Newstead predicted that effects would be felt throughout the industry, starting with but not confined to Aboriginal communities. The indigenous art market was worth $120 million a year, about 15 per cent of that going to self-managed super funds, he said.

''When you kill 10 to 15 per cent of the market you affect everyone, not just the artists. When you talk about the Aboriginal art community you're also talking about framers, preparators, galleries, wholesalers, agents.''


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