US Galleries to Forgo Art Fairs as Revenues Plummet
20 May 2020
Fewer than half will attend another fair in 2020 according to a new survey by the ADAA.
Anthony Meier Fine Arts, ADAA The Art Show, New York (27 February–1 March 2020). Courtesy Ocula. Photo: Charles Roussel.
Art galleries in the United States have seen an average 76% decrease in revenue in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year according to a survey conducted by The Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA). That follows a drop of 55% year-on-year in Q1.
The survey, which sought to assess the business impacts of COVID-19, was conducted with 168 American galleries from 15 April-4 May.
The survey found that, as of 4 May, 80% of galleries' full time staff were working from home, 36% were continuing to receive pay while working 0 hours, 10% had been furloughed, and 5% had been laid off. Among contractors and freelancers, 74% were laid off or had their contracts terminated.
Maintaining their spaces was one of galleries' main costs. Just over half of the 80% of galleries who rent their spaces had received accommodations to delay or reduce rent, while only 14% of those who owned their spaces were allowed delayed or reduced mortgag payments.
One of the consequences of the drop in revenues is a decreased willingness to participate in physical art fairs, where galleries made nearly half their sales in 2019, attending an average of four fairs, according to a report by Art Basel and UBS. Fewer than half of respondents said they would attend at least one art fair in the remainder of 2020.
'While the survey is focused on near-term impact, the implications are far-reaching and long-term for art galleries and the even greater number of employees and artists they support, both financially and as key partners in fostering their practices and careers,' said Andrew Schoelkopf, President of the ADAA, and Maureen Bray, Executive Director of the ADAA. 'Such immediate and devastating revenue losses will undoubtedly have a ripple effect on these small businesses and the broader arts community for the next 12 to 18 months if not longer, and it is still uncertain how long such losses may continue.' —[O]