Kiwis’ love affair with art continues after confinement


The Covid-19 has prompted many Kiwis to rediscover the love of art.

Sales were strong at Wellington’s NZ Art Show this weekend, and the Auckland Art Fair in February broke sales records.

There was “no doubt” that people were showing more interest since the lockdown, said Carla Russell, executive director of the Wellington show.

The show’s opening night on Thursday was the most successful in its 18-year history.

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“We sold our tickets about two months ago, and we probably could have sold them 10 times as much.”

Stephanie Post, who co-directed the Auckland Art Fair in February, said a record $ 10 million worth of artwork has been sold. Revenue has grown every year since reaching $ 5 million in 2015.


Some of the projects that received the grant have been criticized a bit for their unusual proposals, the Detail is for the artists who received the grant and Creative NZ CEO Stephen Wainwright, who advocates for their approach to supporting the arts. (Video first published in October 2020).

Both events were canceled last year due to Covid-19, and Post said she felt “exceptionally lucky” to host one of the only live art exhibitions in the world since March of l ‘last year.

However, even this year’s Auckland Fair had its moments, with the city returning to Alert Level 3 on the last day of the fair. The number of visitors has increased from 10,000 to 7,000 regulars.

Post said all types of work have proven to be popular, from paintings, photographs and sculptures to an increasing number of video works.

Auckland artist Rachel Rush says the sales have been “amazing”.


Auckland artist Rachel Rush says the sales have been “amazing”.

The art galleries had also been “largely good”. “People who couldn’t travel spent some of their money on art, but what [artists] miss is the art fair, because when you don’t have an art fair in a year, that’s a big part of your sales.

Auckland resin and graffiti artist Rachel Rush said she thought she was in “big trouble” when most art exhibits went online because her works were better viewed in person.

Even so, the sales had been “incredible”.

Like others, Rush felt there was more than one reason for the insanity, including people spending more time at home and valuing the local culture as well.

“It seems that people appreciate art more… There seem to be a lot of people with more money, and also people a lot more supportive.”

Bern art dealer and gallery owner Dan of Sumer Gallery in Tauranga agreed that artists benefit from people’s lack of ability to travel, but there was also a growing curiosity about art as a ‘investment.

Dan from Bern said that an online art sale he organized in New Zealand was


Dan from Bern said that an online art sale he organized in New Zealand was “a blind eye”.

The real estate boom and the cost of cheap money made some people feel richer, “and I think that’s a big part of our market.”

But there were also others who were resigned to not owning a home and spending on important assets instead.

“There are so many people who are new to collecting art. Until about a year ago, most of our clients were Baby Boomers, Young Baby Boomers but Baby Boomers or Older Gen Xers.

“Now we’re seeing millennials coming in and even Gen Z people buying or thinking about art. And that’s encouraging.

He also had a virtual art sale in New Zealand and Australia and although they involved different artists, “the virtual art fair in New Zealand was a bit more blind” compared to the Australian.

In fact, he believed the market had rarely seen better times since a buying explosion in the early 2000s and its peak in the 1980s before the stock market crash.

Increasingly, however, buyers were starting to talk about art as an investment rather than just for their walls.

“A few years ago, if you had even said those words, people would cringe. I remember people at the art fair, one couple in particular, saying: Is this going to be a good investment? And I would say, by what metric? I think this is a question for you to resolve on your own.

Buying art for love or for investment is an age-old question for the industry.

Post said purchasing a gallery-curated artwork gives an indication of whether a artwork has investment potential.

“But you have to buy art because you like it, not because you want to make money from it. It’s hard to do.


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