At last year's FIAC -- Paris' post-Frieze international art fair -- I spoke with dealers about economic health and buying trends in the art market. But by now, everyone pretty much knows the score: the art market has pulled itself back from the precipice of the 2008 downturn and seems to be robust enough to elevate attendance by not only serious collectors but celebs (Bono, John Malkovich, Karl Lagerfeld, Kate Capshaw) major artists (Takashi Murakami, Daniel Buren, Martin Parr, Lewis Baltz, to name a few) and a general public willing to wait in long lines in very chilly weather. 168 galleries from 21 countries filled the Grand Palais, with the younger galleries now lining the upstairs level instead of at the Louvre's Cour Carrée, as they did last year.
I decided to focus on art instead of money in 2011. I asked 18 dealers to select one artwork each from their booth and talk about it for no longer than two minutes. Half are Paris galleries which, of course, predominated, the others from around the globe -- from Beirut to São Paulo to Los Angeles. What you'll see in the following segment is a somewhat random but nevertheless illuminating tour of what art galleries are highlighting lately... and a wide-ranging sampling of what deep-pocket collectors might have heard as they strolled the aisles.
Michael Kurcfeld is a documentary producer and journalist based in Los Angeles and Paris (www.stonehengemedia.com).