A little prediction: we’ll be seeing a lot more experimental work, and changes of scale and media from artists (those artists with gallery representation) over the next while. The thing is: to maintain the reputation both of the gallery and the artist when work is not selling like it once was, the gallery can’t be seen to lower the price of an artist’s work. After all, price has no relation to material or time costs, and is derived from a complex set of relationships and adjacencies (ie – who else the gallery represents, who owns work by this artist, where it has been shown), so to reduce the price would be akin to tugging at the bottom of a house of cards.
The alternative is for the artist to change media, format, or size. There may be a switch to small works on paper, perhaps, or print. But it’s also likely we’ll be seeing more installation, sound art, environmental art, dvd/video works and time-based projects from artists who have formerly made their reputations (and livings) from two dimensional ‘ownable’ art. This is a shame, because while I don’t mean to set up a set of oppositions, or value judgments between painting and other forms (that would be both inappropriate, and wrong), I often think artists are encouraged away from painting – especially when it gets tough. It’s far harder to get a First in painting in art school than in experimental forms, even though, paradoxically, it’s easier to find representation once formal education is over, as a painter. So perhaps the cry should be: when the going gets tough, the tough keep painting.