Alasdair Nichol
Anne Bracegirdle
Christopher Barnekow
Clinton Howell
Courtney Christensen
Cristina Salmastrelli
Curt Bilby
Dennis M. Wade
Devin Finzer
Elena Zavelev
Eric Smith
James McAndrew
Jennifer Mass
Juliet Helmke
Kate Fitz Gibbon
Kathleen Guzman
Lark E. Mason, Jr.
Laura Patten
Lawrence M. Shindell
Marc Porter
Mary Pontillo
Massimo Sterpi
Maureen Bray
Megan Noh
Michael McCullough
Mikhaile Solomon
Morgan Long
Nanne Dekking
Narric Rome
Peter K. Tompa
Ronald Fiamma
Sharon B. Soloff

The Business of Art Observed Symposia

Art is a 50 billion dollar industry and is becoming more of an innovative business than ever before. The Business of Art Observed Symposia bring together art market professionals to discuss key business issues, trends and technology disruption facing the industry on both a national and global scale.

Analyzing and understanding how the art world is being disrupted and the impact this is having on business models is key in today’s climate. The art world’s unique set of challenges: the birth of a global arts market, the use of social media, preferences towards digital galleries and the growth of international art fairs, as well as struggles with regulations in an evolving industry, was addressed in an open and interactive platform during the inaugural conference. The successive conference continued the discussion of key themes raised, including innovation in art business models, the evolution of best practice, industry changes like the use of blockchain, how artists are navigating the business ecosystem, regulation and the growth of art fairs.

Observer brings together leading figures from the art world to share their experiences and you can view recordings of the talks below at your convenience!



Understanding the New Generation of Auction Buyers

Speaker(s): Alasdair Nichol, Christopher Barnekow, Courtney Christensen, Kathleen Guzman
Host(s): Observer

This panel of experts will answer the question: What are millennials collecting? They will explain how they analyze the behaviors of potential buyers in order to predict trends.

Courtney Christensen Christopher Barnekow Kathleen Guzman Alasdair Nichol
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The Fair Economy: How Art Fairs Have Reshaped the Art Market

Speaker(s): Cristina Salmastrelli, Elena Zavelev, Eric Smith, Juliet Helmke, Maureen Bray, Mikhaile Solomon
Host(s): Observer

Probably the most urgent challenge facing the arts sector concerns the question of representation and the responsibility of everyone working within the arts to encourage more egalitarianism through providing platforms and opportunities to a different voice.

Juliet Helmke Maureen Bray Cristina Salmastrelli Eric Smith Mikhaile Solomon Elena Zavelev
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Zombie Statistics, Draconian Laws, Media Complicity: The End of the Global Antiquities Trade

Speaker(s): Kate Fitz Gibbon, Megan Noh
Host(s): Observer

The media has helped to propound a myth – that the illegal trade in cultural goods is a pillar of organized crime. That trade in antiquities is part of a multi-billion dollar network with links to the drug and arms trade, to money laundering and terrorist financing.

Kate Fitz Gibbon Megan Noh
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The Auction World and Its Changing Nature 2019

Speaker(s): Marc Porter
Host(s): Observer

The US was the largest auction market for modern art in 2018 but there is no room for complacency. Keeping up with rapid changes and transparency as well as understanding today’s new customer demographics is important.

Marc Porter
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Blockchain and Collection Management

Speaker(s): Jennifer Mass, Nanne Dekking, Sharon B. Soloff
Host(s): Observer

This session follows how auction house, Christie’s partnered with Artory, a blockchain-powered digital registry, to establish provenance and create trackable records for art sales through the encrypted registration of works sold in its Barney A. Ebsworth Collection sale.

Sharon B. Soloff Nanne Dekking Jennifer Mass
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A Financialized Art Market

Speaker(s): Morgan Long
Host(s): Observer

In recent years, there has been plenty of talk of the “financialization” of art. A financialized art market could lead to an explosion of liquidity and value.

Morgan Long
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Insurance & Risk Management

Speaker(s): Dennis M. Wade, Laura Patten, Lawrence M. Shindell, Mary Pontillo, Ronald Fiamma
Host(s): Observer

In today’s complex art industry, all stakeholders should consider whether solid risk management should now weigh in favor of using third-party risk transfer tools versus continuing to self-insure against such a risk adopt new ownership standards. This session will look at modernizing risk management in the art market and how the industry should apply forensic due diligence to transactions and ensure they view all business activities through a lens of strategic risk and reputation.

Ronald Fiamma Mary Pontillo Dennis M. Wade Laura Patten Lawrence M. Shindell
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Regulating the Art Market 

Speaker(s): Clinton Howell, James McAndrew, Lark E. Mason, Jr., Michael McCullough, Narric Rome, Peter K. Tompa
Host(s): Observer

US art dealers, auction houses, galleries, art museums, art fairs and art consultants may soon be subject to government financial regulation.  Many are calling for regulation in the art market to counter and combat the tax evasion, money laundering, price manipulation and trading on ‘inside information’. Proponents of regulation seek more open trading and greater disclosure of all aspects of art transactions, including details regarding the parties, prices and any guarantees.

Narric Rome Peter K. Tompa Clinton Howell James McAndrew Michael McCullough Lark E. Mason, Jr.
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The Art Market 2.0

Speaker(s): Anne Bracegirdle, Curt Bilby, Devin Finzer, Elena Zavelev, Massimo Sterpi
Host(s): Observer

This session will cover multiple technology solutions to help the art industry’s relationship with government legislators for trade, provenance and authenticity. We will discuss the importance of technology-driven transparency. These solutions embrace the improvement of the management and verification of collections & exhibit works.

Curt Bilby Anne Bracegirdle Elena Zavelev Massimo Sterpi Devin Finzer
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