The aftermath of COVID-19 on the art market.


COVID-19 has impacted the activity of most art professionals, including art galleries, art dealers, virtual art spaces, and auction houses, to the extent that some art galleries have closed down. The turnover has decreased by 80 to 90%.

Even after the conversion and adaptation of sales from physical to digital platforms, it has not had a significant impact because the nature of the product being sold, such as a painting or sculpture, requires physical inspection of the artwork to prevent counterfeits. Additionally, these spaces have not yet reached a stage of recognition and legitimacy to achieve sales that exceed a certain price level.

If we consider the number of artists in Morocco, there are around 2,000 to 3,000 artists. There are multiple stakeholders in the value chain, including printers, photographers, art directors, framers, canvas sellers, and others.

The art market is estimated to be between 4 million and 5 million Dirhams, with the largest share of sales held by artist studios rather than art professionals. Half of this volume comes from sales within the families of deceased artists, and the rest is captured by around forty Moroccan art actors.

Galleries and artists are forced to seek markets abroad through institutions and museums in order to secure sales through exhibitions. This requires extensive work and networking to achieve this objective. The Moroccan art market remains highly dependent on the artist’s reputation abroad, waiting for an artist to exhibit and sell their paintings internationally to stimulate demand in the domestic market. However, getting Moroccan art into foreign museums is a guarantee of quality and international recognition.

It is unfortunate that Moroccan cultural institutions expect international museums to take an interest in the artworks of Moroccan painters before appreciating them later on.

The state remains an essential player in the art sector to promote and subsidize Moroccan art and artists, but the Ministry of Culture no longer has control over the museums in Morocco, not to mention the fact that the Museum Foundation has not created the famous acquisition committees for the past five years.

To this day, the state does not have the means to make acquisitions due to excessive bureaucracy, and even if they wanted to help, they do not have the administrative tools to do so.

Artists and art galleries should not rely solely on the domestic market, but exploring international markets is an essential avenue to increase their income.

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