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26 entries
Ben Laden not entirely responsible for the present crisis
01 December 2001



America has been facing his most serious economic crisis since the early 1970s partly because of the terrorist attacks against the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington and as a result the art market has been much stranded during the past two months.

Collectors have been restricting their purchases, dealers are worried, museums have recorded much less visits and tourists are rare in New York. However, signs of a dire economic crisis appeared at the end of March in the U.S, a negative factor that was simply amplified by the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Many artists have been shocked by these attacks and might be tempted to show some patriotic feelings in their future works but the artistic community in New York seems more concerned about the present situation on the art market. Life there has not resumed in a normal way even though major contemporary works have been selling well at auction but this has not been the case for average pieces, which have often remained unsold.

Dealers are now quite pessimistic especially as collectors are not in the mood to buy while the Metroploitan Museum has incurred a big financial loss following a drastic fall in visits. As an example, the Guggenheim Museum has had to make cuts in its workforce after facing a 60% fall regarding attendance.

New York has been facing its worst economic crisis in thirty years and such situation has had a direct boomerang effect on Europe where the art market is almost at a standstill. As a result the famous Flea market just off Paris has lost most of its American visitors who represent over 6O% of its buyers while only a few auction bids have reached the $ 150,000 mark in the Drouot salesrooms. Many important antique dealers might thus face bankruptcy if the economic crisis was to last throughout the year 2002.

It was hoped that the forthcoming monetary revolution in Europe with the adoption of the Euro in place of national currencies would induce many people to acquire works of art to convert their hidden liquidities (over 150 billions FF-some $ 20 nillions just in France) but nothing of the sort has occurred yet.

Meanwhile, Sotheby's, Christie's and other foreign auction houses have been allowed to operate in France from November 29th but such event, hailed as a positive factor for the art market, might not bring immediate changes as the result of the bad economic situation. All the more, many companies are facing cashflow problems, a sign suggesting that more people will be out of work. If unemployment was to rise again in Europe, the art market would face a serious recession except for exceptional pieces seen as safe investments by certain wealthy people.

Now, everything depends on Wall Street and other European marketplaces that pinpoint the health of the economy of the industrial world. Finally, Ben Laden, with his devilish plans, just amplified a crisis for which he was not directly responsible but because of the deadly attacks he engineered, the Western economy is more than ever fragile as his likes might tempted to follow in his footsteps.

A.D

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