VIDEO: Mathias Rastorfer on The Arrogant Naivete of Today’s Art World and the Future of Galleries and Fairs

Why financial success for an artist is not the same as art historical importance.



When Mathias Rastorfer speaks, the art world tends to listen.

Rastorfer is the longtime CEO of Galerie Gmurzynska, a gallery that is a consistent newsmaker. At the most recent edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach, the gallery celebrated its 50th anniversary, garnering headlines with a show playfully titled “A Kid Could Do That,” designed by the film director Baz Luhrmann. Not surprisingly, it proved to be one of the fair’s star attractions (see The Most Admired Dealers of 2014 and A Peek at Baz Luhrmann’s Collaboration for Art Basel in Miami Beach).

Recently, Rastorfer sat down with artnet News editor-in-chief Benjamin Genocchio to share his thoughts on the current state of the art market and the roles that various players—auction houses, old and new galleries, and collectors—play. Noting that he has studied both banking and art history, Rastorfer offered his unique perspective on how the market operates and the parallels between the two realms.

Among other things, Rastorfer talks about the risks of equating financial success with true art historical success, and also draws comparisons between the art world and the fashion world. Of the art market’s unprecedented growth over the past decade, he says: “If the market is bigger and supply and demand is bigger, does that mean you have more great art being created? I would debate ‘No,’ and I would say that there is a certain amount of geniuses born per century and that hasn’t increased just because there is more demand for art.”

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