In the past week I have appeared on television twice and spoken to a number of other journalists on the subject of the Artist's Resale Right. Finally, after 15 years of trying, the wider media - and by implication the public - are showing interest in what for many has been an esoteric subject affecting only the periphery of a small sector of British industry. In other words, not very interesting or important and, if history tells us anything, what interest among the general public there is may well have withered on the vine by the time you read this.
Frankly, who can blame them.
In the same week as the British art market appeared to be warning that it is heading for ruin, headlines have also been grabbed by Sotheby's declaring their most successful single sale in history. And this on top of a series of summer and earlier spring blockbusters.
OK, the recent sales were in New York not London and, as those well versed in the economics of the top end of the art market will know, you can sell a painting for tens of millions at auction and still make a loss if the work in question is such a trophy that you have to waive vendor fees and hand over a large chunk of the buyer's premium to your consignor while absorbing all the considerable marketing and other costs yourself.
But the public and our lawmakers don't see this (nor do much of the trade). All they see is the crowing over billion dollar sales totals. No wonder sympathy is at such a premium.
Market's opaqueness is not helping
To be blunt, that's our (the industry's) problem. There is no direct regulation of the art market (a good thing as it encourages enterprise and limits red tape), but there is a price to pay for its increasing opaqueness as the leading auction houses, in particular, commit lower-end sales to online-only formats and cease publishing their results.
And it's not just the auction houses. Dealers well know that the more rarefied among them have a long-standing reputation for appearing forbidding and intimidating to potential buyers among the general public behind the secure facades of their St James's and Mayfair fastnesses.
On Monday I had the privilege of being one of the judges for Best Stand at Olympia. I know many of the dealers who were exhibiting there but even I, after notching up nearly two decades as an art market journalist, felt far more comfortable with stands that displayed clear labelling and pricing. I've heard all the arguments against, but I'm afraid they just don't wash.
Meanwhile the new generation of Contemporary galleries flying in from all four corners of the globe for Frieze London are often worse when it comes to presenting an arched-eyebrow, trout-mouthed pout of disdain to the ordinary punters who dare place a tentative foot on their stands.
Making the public feel welcome
Many of the more enlightened dealers at Frieze Masters have realised that a welcome look and word may not bring an actual sale, but could pay off in the long term, and there are members of the trade who are positively effusive in imparting knowledge and bonhomie in their efforts to extend their client lists, even if some of the individuals who turn up on their stands appear unprepossessing.
In general, although the art market as a whole has done far more to engage, entertain and inform over the past decade than it had over the previous century, there is still a long way to go.
That is why hard statistics, such as those put forward by the inestimable Dr Clare McAndrew of Arts Economics in her report The British Art Market in 2014 are SO important. There is nothing like a few headline-grabbing statement stats to get the media excited. And once that happens there's a chance that the public might get interested and begin to understand and even have sympathy for the long-term plight the high-performing British art market finds itself facing.
Let's face it, fiscal and bureaucratic fall-out from misguided European harmonisation directives is hardly the stuff of a red-top front-page splash.
US up 20%, China up 17%, World up 11%, UK down 12%. Most can understand that when it comes to the direction of market share. And if you can show how the ARR plays its part in this state of affairs, then you may get the chance to explain how what at first glance can seem a perfectly reasonable tax on sales proves to be anything but once you drill down to the details.
What this episode teaches us is that opaqueness may be good for client confidentiality and covering up blunders, but it stores up trouble down the road, breeding only suspicion and mistrust in an industry among those who do not understand it.
Clear and simple message
If we want the public and governments to listen, we have to be clear and simple in our message about why the British art market needs help and why they should support it. The British Art Market Federation with its meagre resources (come on you multi-millionaire, top-end dealers and auctioneers, back it properly!) is punching above its weight, as its commissioning of Dr McAndrew's report shows. But what we really need is an industry-wide beauty parade, a charm offensive that underscores not just what a success story the British art market has been, but also how it benefits the wider economy and what everyone - not just a select few - stands to lose if we do not cherish it properly.
This is why statistics and sales results matter... and why all of us need to do more to engage the wider populace, even if they are not immediately promising as prospective clients.
Otherwise, it all just sounds like a case of special pleading.