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  • Auction Houses Look to Asian Collectors

    The contemporary-art market is not much more robust in Asia than it is anywhere else. But in other genres, Asian buyers are showing some surprising muscle, snatching up pieces that Western buyers have shunned and creating a lone bright spot in an otherwise bleak market. Collectors from mainland China continue to bid aggressively on imperial artworks and porcelains viewed as heirlooms that must be repatriated. At Sotheby's New York auction last month, Asian buyers took all but one of the top 10 lots; at Christie's, 14 of the top 20 went to Asians. An Asian buyer spent $362,500 on a 12th- or 11th-century B.C. bronze food vessel, which Christie's had estimated at $20,000 to $30,000, while a rare imperial zitan stand and cover, also estimated at $20,000 to $30,000, went for $1.42 million.Asian buyers are proving to have deep pockets in new auction categories: those associated with a high-end lifestyle. Asian oenophiles, demonstrating an educated palate and an appetite for rare wines,...
  • Dominique Strauss-Kahn on the Financial Crisis

    The sense of relief at last week's G20 summit was nearly palpable: thanks to their decisive actions over the last year, world leaders had staved off a second Great Depression. But Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, cautions that "crises never end." NEWSWEEK's Tony Emerson and Barrett Sheridan spoke with him about the knock-on effects of the recession, from war to banking reform. ...
  • Free Trade Policy: Intelligence Squared Debate

    Call it the Rubber-Chicken War—the looming trade dispute between the United States (which has announced punitive tariffs on imports of Chinese tires) and China (which is threatening retaliation against American poultry exports). Against the background of the G20 trade talks in Pittsburgh, that contretemps made this an auspicious time to examine the age-old question of protectionism. Last week, beginning the fourth season of public debates sponsored by Intelligence Squared US, six panelists discussed the proposition that "Buy American/Hire American policies will backfire." ...
  • Japan's Luxury Market Won't Recover Soon

     By Daniel McGinnJapan has half the population of the U.S., and less land than California, yet there are more than twice as many Burberry, Hermès, and Prada stores in the Land of the Rising Sun than in all of America. For decades they've been full of brand-conscious Japanese shoppers who typically dig deep for luxury labels, fueling a $20 billion-a-year market. But even before the global recession, there were signs of a slowdown. When McKinsey & Co. principal Brian Salsberg wanders through Tokyo's shopping district, he notices that "for every one luxury [brand] bag, there are 10 Uniqlo, Forever 21, or H&M bags," referring to trendy lower-priced labels. "It's easier and cheaper today to be fashionable in Tokyo [at] a 10th the cost," he says. In a new report, Salsberg cites several reasons for Japanese consumers' shifting taste. It partly stems from growing confidence: instead of relying on labels to ensure stylishness, Japanese women...