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Victoria Donner, director, V&A gallery
“I do know, talking to Chelsea dealers, that there are collectors who’ve said I can’t buy this or that artwork because I had Lehman Brothers stock. But we [on the Lower East Side] aren’t feeling anything like that. As much as dealers have to face the fact that things will slow down economically, ultimately I think it will be good for art. I’m looking forward to where it takes us all.”

Arnold Lehman, director, Brooklyn Museum
“Many museums have had important support in general operations and programs from major investment banks, whether it’s Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch or AIG, to name a few. Depending upon their cycle of giving, the headline players are going to have to review what their support for the cultural community will be—and there will certainly be a change there. But the bright spot in all of this is tourism; cultural tourism is clearly something that has had a profound impact on New York. When there’s an opportunity for that part of the economic structure to continue to make money, I’m optimistic that the city understands where the positive part of its balance sheet will be.”

Thea Westreich, principal, Thea Westreich Art Advisory Services
“To think that there isn’t going to be anything that results from the financial situation is mindless, but there are also aspects of the international art market that are just not going to be affected. In fact, the downturn in the market has made some people feel more comfortable about art as an alternative asset value. But this all is going to unfold over time. Each auction, art fair and gallery opening will provide new statistics, and the market will respond accordingly and, of course, variously.”


Matthew Higgs, director and chief curator, White Columns
“Most of the key not-for-profits in New York have survived every economic downturn, and at White Columns, we’ve purposefully kept our budgets modest and achievable. Recessions are often very good for art, as they force one to be innovative. And if the commercial art market does contract, it will allow us to rethink and reprioritize the not-for-profit sector.”

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