Art market

Artist Pension Trust makes first financial distribution

Sales from the 14,000-work collection will continue

The Artist Pension Trust (APT), a business that pools artists’ works to provide some financial security later in life, has handed back its first returns since it was founded in 2004.

More than 400 artists who are part of its New York and Los Angeles trusts received between $200 and $1,700 in July when more than 20 works, worth a total $452,085, were sold. APT is not disclosing details of the sold works.

“It’s great to see the programme working,” says the conceptual artist John Baldessari, who is on APT’s advisory board (though he is not one of its participating artists).

Since its founding, APT has amassed around 14,000 works by around 2,000 artists, making it one of the largest collections of contemporary art in the world. Its premise is that by giving one work a year for 20 years, artists are putting something away for a rainy day and are also able to share in the upside of their contemporaries’ success. When a work is sold, its maker gets 40% of the proceeds; the “pool” of artists (which ranges from 250 to 628 depending on the trust) gets 32%, with the remaining 28% going to APT to cover the costs of operating the fund. These costs now include running the APT Institute, which promotes its works through museum exhibitions and equivalent.

Early sign-ups to the trusts include the British artist Ryan Gander, who joined in 2005. Other participants whose work will have gone up considerably in value include Jeremy Deller, Shezad Dawood and Iván Navarro.

APT’s executives acknowledge that last month’s financial distribution is small, but describe it as “a major landmark”.

“We believe we have built a world-class collection,” says co-founder Moti Shniberg. “This should prove to be increasingly valuable as we look to provide more financial security to our artist community.”

Sales will now continue from APT, with ongoing distributions made annually.