in other words

Everything you ever wanted to know about the art market but didn't know who to ask

Allan's Intro


Leaps of Faith

Looking Back, One Year On

BY Allan Schwartzman
co-founder of AAP & chairman of Sotheby's Global Fine Arts


Our favorite—coconut layer cake from Donna Bell's Bake Shop, New York. Photo credit: Charlotte Burns

It has been, to my amazement, a year since we launched In Other Words. The idea was born out of frustration: it seemed to me that there were increasingly fewer outlets for analysis that looked beyond statistics to determine what is really going on with art and the market.

I turned to Charlotte Burns to create the newsletter because I have always found her to be an informed and probing journalist who understands the difference between the rhetoric and the reality of the art world.

It took a leap of faith for so many of the people who have shared their stories and insights with us to have that confidence and trust in what we have been trying to create—and in the very idea that an art advisory service owned by an auction house could produce independent and informative analysis and content across the field. We are deeply appreciative of their trust and participation.

From the start, we wanted to be in dialogue with people who have a deep interest in the art and market of our time. We value depth of understanding over volume of clicks. What we hadn’t anticipated was how much hunger there would be for frank discussion that is both accessible and “insider”. Quickly we found that dealers, museum directors and curators, artists and collectors were talking about what we publish and sharing it with their peers.

Another thing we had not anticipated was that our podcasts would attract, both in subject and audience, an even broader range of creators, influencers and opinion-formers. Oftentimes we find that the audience for the podcasts is different from that for our newsletter—they are developing on different but parallel tracks.

In the year since we launched In Other Words, the market has changed substantially in terms of what has sold well and what has not; the level of confidence in the market and the shifting of patterns of what is valued and desired. It has been a privilege to track this evolution—even while so many things, such as the cast of characters, remains similar.

For our second year, we are looking forward to deepening the range and scope of our podcasts and developing or hosting topic-specific events.

On a personal level (and maybe this was the real impetus from the start) it has been a true pleasure for me to be able to get back to writing on a somewhat regular basis. I never really loved the act of writing itself (which writers do?) but have often been fulfilled by the result—to have a forum to share random observations that, in retrospect, may not be random at all. I am grateful for this chance to write again, and hope that you all continue to be as engaged as we are. And, if there are topics you would like us to address, please write back and tell us. We welcome your thoughts and interests.

In the meantime, we have written a new market analysis for this anniversary issue,“Business, But Not As Usual”, following up on the first article we wrote in our launch issue. Read the latest article here



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