Dong Rui: Drive the spread and development of art in all efforts

Source:Global DBA (Asia Track)Date:2019-09-24

Dong Rui considers himself a lucky man, because his job perfectly matches his interest and he really enjoys working. Focusing on modern art in the 20th century and contemporary art, he often visits major themed and retrospective exhibitions at worldwide art museums. It helps him to reflect on China, the times, the genres and himself with a global vision, from the perspective of modern and contemporary art history.

Engaged in art market research, art asset management, content copyright and import of art derivatives, his overseas trips are mostly market oriented. In Dong Rui’s view, the art fairs in the United States, the Netherlands, and France are well designed, which present top-notch galleries and artists who are popular in the market. As three major auction centers, London, New York and Hong Kong often host collector parties, academic lectures, forums and exhibitions.

- Dong Rui  -

Founder, Art Market Newsletters

Chief Researcher, Art Market Research Center (AMRC)

emlyon Global DBA candidate

With his own ideas and tasks in terms of market trends, Dong Rui is very sensitive to certain phenomena. For example, when he finds that there are more collectors from the same region, targeting at a certain artist, he will conceive a local exhibition of the artist. Dong Rui and his team are also committed to introducing some quality art books from overseas. Recently, they are translating and preparing for the publication of "Edward Munch: Close-up of Genius", a classic biography of a Norwegian artist. Personally,he believes that it’s a good way to sponsor art projects – rather down-to-earth support than mere donation. And it works in the same way as donations, because for such publications, he has to pay the expenses of royalty, printing, distribution, marketing and promotion, which often leads to a loss in the end.

Dong Rui values academic research. Studying the topic of art pricing, he regards it as an important way to discover the value of art. Furthermore, targeted academic research is also a necessary link in the selection process of art investments.

Selecting art investments

In practice, Dong Rui believes that as the target of an art fund, the investment often has the following features:

1. First of all, the artist appears in the art history and is highly recognized, both by academia and art market. (As the research of art history keeps pace with the times, each emerging artist will trigger a lot of academic analysis and positioning.) Such artists and their works are popular in the market, which frequently show up in auctions and are easier to buy and sell.

2. Second, the market price is moderate. Generally speaking, a piece of artwork priced at the level of tens of thousands or millions of RMB is more suitable. Given marketability, risks and size limitation, few art funds will invest in any work over RMB10 million or even RMB100 million.

3. Last but not least, when considering the portfolio, artists are also a crucial point of focus. As far as a living artist is concerned, his/her personal experience and the evolution of his/her career path determine whether the potential value of his/her work will inflate in the future. For a deceased artist, it is important to consider whether he/she will receive long-term academic attention. A work that deserves investment needs to contain the potential and possibility of constant discovery of new value.

Today’s contemporary art market

The world is changing at an unprecedented rate. Dong Rui understands that dealing in the art market shall take account in a number of factors, along with frequent absorption and correction. Take contemporary art as an example. The market is characterized by diversity and it is difficult to classify a work by genre simply as before.

There are numerous young and middle-aged artists in the contemporary art market, who are energetic and creative, featuring enriched techniques and diverse materials. Dramatic social changes in the outside world have led them to think extensively. The concept of art investment is also changing. Post-80s and post-90s pays more attention to the influence of art on individuals, which makes the market more and more diversified. Young and middle-aged artists can easily find their own audience and the price of their works continues to grow.

However, contemporary Chinese painting and calligraphy faces market weakness. Many consumers are keen to buy replicas of ancient paintings and calligraphy because they are fascinated by books, education and other sources. But they are less acceptable to contemporary work. Except for a few artists, contemporary Chinese painting and calligraphy is far less popular than other segments.

In recent years, art has become part of daily life of mass consumers. For example, the number of visitors to art fairs is constantly rising, and many of the works target at this community. As people consciously improve the aesthetics of themselves and their descendants, there come also some online platforms of exhibition. The galleries focusing on low-end art struggle to survive. People would rather appreciate the works priced at RMB10 million from a distance, than buying works of thousands of RMB. In response to such a trend, Dong Rui thinks that it is necessary to drive the popularization and education of art in all aspects and tell people that not only high-priced ones are works of art, but also low-priced works can their values of art and existence.

“It’s so difficult to become an art patron. Don’t just look at them. Buy a piece of artwork and do something in your power.” advised by Dong Rui, who has been making all efforts to promote the communication and development of art.

Source: Shanghai Airline