Will art fairs push for art market regulation?

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In a bid to protect their share of the global art trade, art fairs may decide to champion calls for greater art market regulation , according to Skate’s Art Fairs Report, Spring 2015.

“There is a strong argument to be made that not unlike stock exchanges, which private entities with a broad mandate in policing regulation of the securities markets (and adding self-regulation on top of that), art fairs could play the same role: becoming the conduits of potential new legislation that sets the regulatory framework of the off-auction art trade,” it states.

“The fact that some of the world’s largest art fairs operators are owned by what are essentially local government entities-controlled companies (such as Swiss MCH Group, the owner of Art Basel and IFEMA: Feria de Madrid, the owner of Arco) will make this move even easier to accomplish.”

Skate’s research has found that in terms of attendance numbers, government-owned fair operators already control just over 30% of the art fairs market.

“Should there be a sudden consensus within the tax receipts hungry West to impose art market regulation, art fairs could find it irresistibly attractive to protect their off-auction market dominance by championing the cause, aligning themselves with their government controlled shareholders pushing for more tax income from the global art trade,” states the report.