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A New Perspective of Art Industry II: Focusing on the Members of the Art Ecosystem

A New Perspective of Art Industry II: Focusing on the Members of the Art Ecosystem

Kisung KWON, Assistant Professor, Kangwon National University
Heekyung KANG, Director, MMCA Foundation

There is a positive atmosphere in various areas within Korean art industry. However, it is showing a stagnation in terms of the amount of work transaction that can be used as an indicator. This phenomenon can be seen by looking at the 2019 Art Market Survey, which was prepared based on 2018 data. Looking at the trend in the volume of art market transactions, the number of works traded in 2012 increased steadily after recording 25,195 cases, recording 39.367 cases in 2018. However, looking at the transaction amount, it peaked at 494.243 million in 2017, but again reached 448,224 million in 2018, remaining between 400,000 and 500,000 million for 11 years.

Of course, there is a cautious aspect of evaluating the art industry only with the amount of art trade. However, although the transaction volume has increased rapidly since 2012, the fact that the transaction volume has been stagnant for 11 years until recently shows that there is room for a leap forward based on the qualitative growth of the overall ecosystem within the industry. Looking at the sports and entertainment industry, which can be explained as a cultural field along with the art industry, first of all, in the sports industry, Heung-min Son and Hyun-jin Ryu are standing shoulder to shoulder with other players on the top stage of the British and American leagues, respectively. Considering the characteristics of professional sports, this can be judged by the player’s annual salary. Heung-min Son is ranked first in Asia with an annual salary of £728 million (approximately 11.1 billion won), and Hyun-jin Ryu has an annual salary of 20 million dollars (approx. 23.2 billion won), which is the highest annual salary in the team and the 41st place in the league. For entertainment industry, BTS gained tremendous popularity around the world, ranking first on the Billboard single chart for two consecutive weeks. Although these splendid achievements from BTS may be different for each institution that estimates, there is an analysis that an economic effect of (1.7 trillion won) (approximately 1.4 billion dollars) occurs. The leap of the sports industry and the entertainment industry is thought to be a positive influence brought by the qualitative growth of the overall ecosystem within the industry.

To help advance the art industry to the next level, at the 2019 Korea International Art Fair (hereinafter referred to as KIAF), it was presented of a new classification system for the art industry using the ‘Market Value Network’ as basic data for sustainable development of the overall art industry ecosystem. This is basically divided into the core market and the derivative market, and the core market is divided into a viewing market and a participating market. In the case of derivative markets, major primary derivative markets derived from the main market, such as the art product transaction support market, the transportation and installation market, and the art supplies market, were presented.

Based on this, the 2020 KIAF will focus on the role of each derivative market within the industry and the capabilities required by each market member. Through these attempts, it was thought that it was possible to easily grasp the roles played by each market in the art industry ecosystem and the competencies required of members. Furthermore, it is believed that it can serve as a basis for establishing an institutional mechanism to improve individual competencies. Ultimately, these efforts can create an opportunity to take a leap forward with the development of the entire ecosystem of the art industry and lay the foundation for creating a sustainable ecosystem.


The role of major derivative markets in the art industry and the required competencies of members
In the 2019 KIAF presentation, the new classification system of the art industry proposed by applying the market value network to prepare the basis for research to secure the sustainability of the art industry ecosystem. Basically, it is divided the market into the core market and the derivative market. In the case of the core market, it was divided into a viewing art market and a participating art market. Specifically, the viewing art market was divided into non-sales-oriented market such as museums and galleries, and purchase-oriented market where works were collected and viewed. Participating art markets were divided into two categories: a participating competition market for art activities through participation in a specific contest, and a participating non-competition market for art activities as personal leisure and hobby activities.

The derivative markets focusing on in this article are presented in the last presentation, and these markets are derived primarily from the core market. Looking specifically at this, there are a total of 11 major markets that are primarily derived: ‘business support market,’ ‘supplies market,’ ‘artist training and education market,’ and ‘information market,’ ‘merchandising and copyright market.’ In addition, there are ‘facilities development market’ and ‘facilities management market,’ both related to art-related facilities, and rental and sales artworks related ‘rental market’, ‘sales and rental support market’, ‘preservation and management market’ and ‘transportation and installation market.’

At first, in the case of the business support market, it was confirmed that exhibition planning, artist support, public sculpture relay, sponsorship, event agency, and copyright relay as roles played by the art industry. It was found that understanding of the artist and/or work should be prioritized as a necessary competency in fulfilling this role, and a network for supplying and consumption of paintings should be secured with grasping the market price. In addition, it was found that the ability to plan and execute events, goods and programs according to spaces and events, and it is necessary to understand the characteristics of consumers and even suppliers, and to understand the areas of contracts and accounting.

The goods market is a market that provides the production and sale of works or tools needed by the artist. The main areas include painting (brush/paint/pencil), sculpture (sculpture tools), and crafts (craft tools). It was found that printmaking (printing equipment) and media (electronic devices) were included. As a competency required to perform the role of providing necessary supplies for each field, first of all, it was necessary to understand the materials for each field, and in a specific field, a recognizing of the chemical field was required. In addition, understanding of material characteristics and equipment (tools/electronics) in each area is required, and knowledge about repair was also identified as a competency to be equipped. In recent years, the necessity of electromagnetics required for visual image production is being emphasized rather than a tangible tool, and the importance of repair and coordination capabilities by technicians is increasing.

In the case of the artist training and education market, the residency and academy are operating as representative institutions. The main required competencies of the members are the part that can plan and execute the exhibition (preview), secure a network including writers and critics, and have the ability to archive and language. Furthermore, in the case of residency, it was found that it was necessary to have the ability to operate as a social club. Ultimately, in the case of the artist cultivation market, the role of managers in enabling them to actively work as artists is very important. On the other hand, as the entrance examination for universities changes from practical art skills to knowledge test, the focus is changing on the development of a versatile artist rather than the direction of cultivating a pure artist.

In the case of the information market, online media has recently occupied a major part, and magazines, newspapers, advertisements and criticism are forming the market. It was found that the competencies required of the members of the market were to secure or create content (provided information), obtain information in connection with it, and edit computers and organize books (design). In addition, it was found that the competency for securing advertisements, subscriptions and distribution channels should also be equipped. In recent years, it has changed from the existing atmosphere that was closed, and various information is being shared with many people. Moreover, it is approaching readers with various contents in a simple exhibition promotion.

Lastly, the merchandising and copyright market plays a role in various areas such as prints, goods, exhibitions, public sculptures, and publications/books. It was found that the members of the market should have the ability to plan products first and understand the production process and the characteristics of artists and consumers. In addition, it was found that being aware of copyright-related laws and administrative procedures would help in carrying out business.

Looking at the art facility development and management market, it was found that the facility development market plays the role of design, construction, and supervision, and the facility management market performs tasks such as rental, consignment, leasing, and subsidiary projects. It was found that the facility development market, as a key competency that members should have, basically requires knowledge on design/construction, as well as the characteristics of the consumer and viewing art market and the flow of visitors. It was derived that the facility management market requires the ability to manage (supervise/install) and plan/operate the exhibition hall, and at the same time have basic knowledge about marketing, accounting/administration. In addition, it is important to secure a network in various areas, and it was found that a well-established cooperation system is necessary when activities such as planning exhibitions and rental marketing are conducted.

Regarding the sale and rental of art works, there are a rental market, a sales rental support market, a conservation management market, and a transportation installation market. In the case of the rental market, it extends to rental subscriptions, public institutions, and the private sector to rent works. Based on the space planning ability as a necessary competency of the members, it was found that consumers should be aware of the characteristics of consumers and the trend of paintings, understand insurance (external installation), and secure networks in various fields. Recently, it is changing from temporary and long-term rental to regular subscription market, and understanding of consumer space is essential. The sales rental support market plays a role in fields such as auctions, rentals (works/archiving), private sales, exhibition sales (planned sales), and art fairs. It plays an intermediate role for selling works and, due to its nature, face-to-face is essential, but due to some circumstances of Corona 19, online sales are rapidly rising. In addition, the space where works are sold is changing into an accessible space such as an art fair rather than a gallery or auction. As a competency that members should have, it was found that planning exhibitions or events, grasping consumer characteristics and recent painting trends, and understanding insurance and taxes are necessary. Along with this, it was found that an important part was to secure a supply source to receive works and to secure a network for sales and rental.

In the case of the preservation and management market, it can be divided into restoration, appraisal, and storage, and has an independent and organic relationship. In the case of restoration, it was found that it was necessary to have the ability to analyze components and work on art, along with understanding the characteristics of materials and artists/periods. It was found that emotions need a clear understanding of the flow of each artist/period along with antique/modernization and have the ability to judge authenticity. Furthermore, it was found that the work should be sensitive to the market price and a high level of professional ethics is required. Storage is often used as a facility to store works purchased as a means of corporate investment. It is equipped with basic equipment for constant temperature, humidity, and security, so a personal need to understand it. In the case of the transport and installation market, it includes transport, installation/placement, withdrawal, work packaging, and even parts of transport, installation, and withdrawal of works such as insurance. It was found that members should have a clear understanding of the type of work (painting/sculpture/installation/media), walls, and equipment (tools/electronics) suitable for each situation, and should have driving and packaging skills. In addition, there are cases in which the work is placed directly, so you must have the ability to place the work in the space. Until the 2000s, the main task was to transport and install works sold at galleries where buyers wanted, but recently, media works are changing into a market that requires professionals who can handle them.

Art industry that can preserve and develop the value of art
The 2020 KIAF presented results related to the role of each market and the competencies required of members, focusing on the major markets that were primarily derived from the core market among the new classification system of the art industry announced by the 2019 KIAF. In future studies, it is necessary to understand the relationship between each market that may appear in the current market structure and to estimate the market size for each market or for each value network centered on the main market. This can help to better understand the art industry ecosystem. However, research that understands the relationship between markets and estimates the market size can be carried out when sufficient research resources are secured and available information is collected smoothly.

Art has an intrinsic value that gives inspiration for the world to be protected and developed beyond the existing frame. The art industry can and should play a role to preserve and maximize the essential value of art. When the capacity of every corner of the art industry ecosystem can develop and sustainability can be secured, I think that more people can experience these precious values of art and have a positive influence.