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Art as Investment: A Survey and Explanation of the Art Market

On Wednesday, October 19th from 7:00 - 9:30 pm General Assembly and Active Ideas Productions hosted:
Art as Investment: A Survey and Explanation of the Art Market

Art as Investment: A Survey and Explanation of the Art Market was a panel discussion held at General Assembly.

There are many factors that buyers consider when purchasing a piece of art. For most the beauty and love of the art is always the first motivating impulse behind a purchase. That said, for most who are spending large sums of money the monetary value of the piece has to be understood, and to many the investment potential can be of interest and significant importance.

Art as an alternate asset class can be a rewarding and profitable for many collectors. However, understanding the art market can sometimes be a daunting challenge as the ins and outs of the art world are often unclear and confusing. This panel discussion will focus on being an introductory survey and explanation of the art market.

This talk was geared towards or those eager to begin investing in art but do not know where to begin. The panel explained the basic principles of the art market, the relevance of investing in art as an asset, and the importance of starting a collection early on. Bringing together experts from a scope of institutions in the art world, the discussion was moderated by Annika Connor and gave a broad overview of how to begin accruing one’s own collection.

Featured Panelists were:

Sarah Mudge Head of Part II Contemporary Art Sales at Phillips de Pury & Company
Bill Powers Half Gallery owner and co-founder of Exhibition A
Laura Martin co-founder Exhibition A
Brendan Dugan founder of An Art Service

Panelists Bios:

Bill Powers co-owns Half Gallery in New York City and recently, Powers co-founded, an online art site that commissions editioned prints. He helped curate the rare book room at the Gagaosian Shop on Madison Avenue.

Powers path in contemporary art first manifested itself in 1997 when he became the editor-in-chief of Blackbook magazine, where he remained off-and-on until 2005. He has also written about art and culture for other prominent titles including The New York Times, W, Paper, Vanity Fair, Muse, Details, and Purple Fashion, a magazine he occasionally still contributes to. Through his extensive editorial work, Powers has interviewed some of today's preeminent contemporary artists from around the world, including Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Kara Walker, Ed Ruscha, George Condo, Rashid Johnson, and John Currin.

Powers is an ardent art collector with an impressive collection of works by Alec Soth, Richard Prince, Elizabeth Peyton, Tom Sachs, Irving Penn, and Dana Schutz, among others. The first piece of art he ever bought was a photograph of ToeJam the Clown by Terry Richardson in 1998.

Powers is currently on the board of the non-profit RxArt, an organization that places contemporary art in hospitals and healing environments, and has recently been a judge on the Bravo TV series Work of Art: The Next Great Artist.  

As a part of this panel series powers will discuss the value of investing in young contemporary artists and his experience as a writer, curator, and judge working with fresh talent.  

For more information on Half Gallery please visit:

Laura Martin is the President and Co-Founder of Exhibition A, an online art site that partners with top contemporary artists including Nate Lowman, Terence Koh, David LaChapelle, Josh Smith, Sean Landers, Richard Phillips, Kim Gordon, among others, to create accessibly-priced editions of work or "prints”.  Exhibition A's mission is to foster a new segment of collectors by providing consumers with an entry point to the contemporary art market, while also supporting artists.

During this panel series Laura will speak about the digital space's impact on the contemporary art market and its collectors and touch upon some of the barriers to entry in the contemporary art market today. In addition, she will discuss how the internet can be used as a tool to break through those barriers to bring art to a broader audience.

For more information on Exhibition A please visit:

Sarah Mudge, Head of Part II Contemporary Art Sale for Phillips de Pury & Company.

Sarah Mudge has been a member of the ground-breaking Phillips de Pury & Company
Contemporary Art Department since 2006. She works closely with private collectors,
advisors and institutions and is in charge of the Contemporary Art Part II Day sales in
New York, overseeing the successful May and November auctions. Previously, Ms.
Mudge worked in the 19th century Paintings Department at Sotheby’s. She has
undergraduate degrees in Classics, Art History and Italian Studies from Brown
University and serves as a main auctioneer for the company.

For more information on Phillips de Pury & Company please visit:

Brendan Dugan, founder of An Art Service, a graphic design and art direction company located in New York City, working in publications, branding and websites. Working with a variety of clients, including artists, institutions, galleries and brands, An Art Service aims to realize artistically-minded projects by setting collaboration as its guiding principle. With its reductive style, An Art Service offers clients a straightforward approach to design that foregrounds the aesthetic power of art and photography.

Since 2009, An Art Service has functioned as a book publisher specializing in limited-run artist publications. In keeping with the laconic inventiveness of artists' books of the 1960s and 1970s, An Art Service presents publications that astutely translate a particular theme or facet of an artist's practice into cleverly no-frills books. An Art Service is pleased to present a publishing program that ranges from artists books to monographs and exhibition catalogues, spotlighting both emergent contemporary practices as well the archival works of older artists.

Clients include 303 Gallery, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Atlantic Records, Bidoun Magazine, Lars Bohman Gallery, Capitol Records, College Art Association/Art Journal, Damiani Publishing, De Appel Arts Centre, Diesel, Dolce & Gabbana, Gagosian Gallery, Green Owl Records, Guggenheim Museum, Hauser & Wirth, Maccarone, New Museum/, Nike, Peres Projects, Primary Information, Andrew Roth, Soho Rep and Yale University Press.

An Art Service has collaborated with artists such as Richard Aldrich, Carol Bove, Dan Colen, Nate Lowman, The Estate of Lee Lozano, Paul McCarthy, Adam McEwen, Bjarne Melgaard, Asher Penn, Katy Perry, Dash Snow, Piotr Uklanski and others.

For more information on An Art Service please visit:


Earlier Event: September 28
Beyond the Box: Art Outside the Gallery
Later Event: November 16
The Fusion of Fine Art and Fashion