President Barack Obama put the middle class at the heart of his State of the Union address last month. "Corporate profits have skyrocketed to all-time highs, but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged. It is our generation's task... to reignite the true engine of America's economic growth: a rising, thriving middle class," he said.
Obama may not have had the art market in mind when he said this, but there are growing calls within the art community for a similar focus on its own middle section. While there has been considerable growth at both the top and emerging ends of the trade, the middle has stagnated. Mega-galleries including Gagosian, David Zwirner, Pace and Hauser & Wirth have all expanded internationally, but mid-level galleries including Hotel, Agnew's, Haunch of Venison and Saamlung have recently closed, and there are fears that more will follow.