Some of the Middle East’s most prominent art-related figures collaborated this week to offer advice on how both private collectors and institutions can build their art collections in the region’s burgeoning cultural landscape.
During an exclusive ‘Clever Collecting’ business forum hosted by The Capital Club, the flagship club of Signature Clubs International located within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), arts decision-makers including John Martin, co-founder and fair director of Art Dubai; Omar Ghobash, co-founder of The Third Line gallery; Michael Jeha, managing director of Christie’s Middle East; and Mishal Kanoo, deputy chairman of the Kanoo Group, provided their perspectives on how to assess and invest in contemporary art.
“Given the proliferation of opportunities to buy Middle Eastern art at present, a number of our members have been looking for expert and unbiased insight into how to build their collections either as individuals or for corporate investment,” explained Andrew Christon, General Manager of the Capital Club.
“Art fairs, auction houses and galleries are all contributing significantly to the growth of the region’s arts community and during the ‘Clever Collecting’ forum, the Capital Club welcomed a lively debate on the intersection between the Middle East’s commercial development and the patronage of its artists and sellers.”
During the discussion, which was sponsored by DIFC, Art Dubai’s John Martin revealed that the region’s premier contemporary art fair is set to attract more than 15,000 regional and international visitors from 19-22 March. Michael Jeha from Christie’s urged attendees to seek as many sources of art information as possible prior to buying, from specialists to gallerists, and all of the participating panellists agreed on the need to purchase art about which the potential collector is passionate. A further element of the panel discussion was the current valuation for contemporary Arab and Iranian art, which is seen as somewhat undervalued compared with Chinese and Indian pieces. Abraaj Capital, a shareholder in Signature Clubs International, is also the principal sponsor of Art Dubai 2008.
The Capital Club, launched late 2006, is opening this quarter in the DIFC’s Gate Village.