Has the Contemporary Chinese Art Bubble Burst?

We discussed some global art trends in our State of the Planet Issue, but one thing that didn't make the list was the apparently unstoppable expansion of the Chinese contemporary art market. And for good reason it seems: According to news reports, the unbridled speculation about the future value of such work has, much like goods in every other speculative market, been greatly overestimated:[youtube] art, and Asian art more generally, had been dominating the auction scene until recently, when sales hit a major speed bump. "In sharp contrast to sales in the last five years, where nearly all lots sold after frantic, record-breaking bidding for 'name brand' artists, most items that went under the hammer this weekend failed to reach the auction house's high estimates."So what happened? Well for one thing, "The magnitude of the economic crisis is such that even the ultra-rich will have second thoughts about buying things," says the founder of an art market research company in this Bloomberg article. Others have suggested that, like must bubbles, speculation outpaced actual demand: "too much money is chasing too few assets, causing both good assets and bad assets to appreciate excessively beyond their fundamentals to an unsustainable level."All that aside, I still think Yue Minjun is as cool as a cucumber.