Tag Archives: art market

SEVERE CORRECTION

20 Jan

… of the art market. What were you thinking of, you dirty wee puppy? I’ll deal with you later. No, according to a University of Luxembourg study, the international art market is in a “mania phase” and the bubble is going to pop any time soon, leading to a “severe correction”. Countdown starting right now to an art exhibition called either Severe Correction or Mania Phase.

The contemporary art market has been a very bad, bad, dirty, disobedient and thoughtless pig.

The “zombie formalist” artists (i.e. makers of art as an asset class, devoid of narrative, representation, politics, ideology, etc.) and their handlers are partly to blame, but as the gentleman who created the term rightly says, and as I have also said in a various ways over the past few years about a hundred bloody times: “Since the entire market is entirely irrational, it can’t be rationally interpreted.”

Nonetheless, it’s in the nature of financial bubbles that any talk of the bubble bursting often brings about the very same pop feared by beneficiaries of the bubble, which probably wouldn’t happen if nobody was talking about the bubble bursting… and so forth until your head bursts too.

The Guardian article also contains this nugget:

“Levin said the bubble was inflating in part due to the prevalence of high-end money laundering being done through art, and how the two have come to affect one another. Buy art in one country and pop it in the private jet, the theory goes, and by morning you’ve moved $100m between tax jurisdictions.”

Again, QED. Exactly what I’ve said on this blog and at various talks and conferences on numerous occasions, sometimes to self-righteous splutters of indignation or shocked disbelief. On this blog we know some people who might “pop” art between tax jurisdictions or run art galleries to launder their dirty money, don’t we readers?

SuspiciousProvenance

Won’t we all be sad though when artistically worthless art owned by super rich people becomes monetarily worthless too?

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ROMANTICISM, BEAUTY, MONEY

18 Mar

THREE QUOTES FROM BRUNO MUNARI, ‘DESIGN AS ART’, 1966 (ON SUBJECTS THAT STILL HAVEN’T BEEN SORTED OUT BY THE ART WORLD FIFTY YEARS LATER)

Chatterton 1856 by Henry Wallis 1830-1916

“It must be understood that as long as art stands aside from the problems of life it will only interest a very few people… The artist must cast off the last rags of romanticism and become active as a man among men*, well up in present day techniques, materials and working methods.”

* Obviously this applies to women as well, and I don’t endorse automatic 1960s sexism.

 Michael_Jackson_and_Bubbles_(porcelain_sculpture)
“When a lot of money comes along before culture arrives, we get the phenomenon of the gold telephone.”

Batman89Vandalism

“A thing is not beautiful because it is beautiful, as the frog said to the she-frog, it is beautiful because one likes it.”

ARTIST TO CHRISTIE’S: C U NEXT TUESDAY, SUPPORTERS

27 Jan

Batman89Vandalism

In this short post by Jerry Saltz, we learn that the artist Wade Guyton not only printed multiple, identical, indistinguishable copies of a “unique” work that was to be auctioned at Christie’s for between $2.5 and $3.5 million, possibly more, but he also showed off the results of his labours on Instagram in what could be interpreted as an attempt to taint the sale.

Furthermore:

  • The auction has been given the horrible title If I Live I’ll See You Tuesday (from one of the works for sale) as if it were an exhibition and not a cattle market.
  • The “original” inkjet print was made from a digital file in the first place and therefore could be replicated perfectly at any time, in any numbers.
  • Christie’s are putting a brave face on it, but apparently they’re getting a bit scared that artists from within the system are kicking back against the sickening, high fructose corn syrup unreality of an international art auction industry that’s still in hysterical denial about an era where even capital-A Art can be infinitely replicable.
  • Christie’s delusionally think they have, or are brazenly claiming to have, a “gritty and underbelly-esq” [sic] side. With this level of embarassing neediness and such a tin ear for credible language it’s no wonder they chose to convey their grit with a promotional video of a skateboarder carrying on some edgy but unthreatening video speed-ramped shenanigans in the hip, street and far out daddio underbelly of Christie’s, alongside some gritty multimillion dollar art by off-the-hook, mad, bad and dangerous to know young bucks like Peter Doig. It’s a bit like a music video for a very minor hit by some hack alt-rock band from the mid 1990s. The Youth is into skateboarding, right? LOL, as I’ve seen the kids write on the interwebzone. I can’t embed the video, but you can watch it here if you want a good laugh/cringe. Christie’s posturing as edgy or in touch with contemporary culture is like an elephant trying to squeeze into your house for a casual breakfast with you.

MONET IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL

15 Dec

I don’t condone the vandalism or destruction of art works. Attacking art in a public museum or gallery is a particularly dickish act, even by the normal standards of no, seriously, don’t fucking do it you idiot. However, I question the need to jail a man for six years simply because he punched a Monet painting. The incident took place in 2012 at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, but he’s only just been sentenced. Andrew Shannon (described here as a “French Polisher”, which I’m sure is also some kind of obsolete sexual slang) claimed in court that he had a dizzy spell and fell fistwards into the painting. Witnesses said otherwise, and it didn’t look good that he’d muttered something about getting back at the state or that he had paint stripper in his bag. Maybe the French polishing thing was an attempt to explain the paint stripper. I’m never sure exactly how so-called rebels or iconoclasts think the state or the art world elite is more than fleetingly bothered by attacks on old paintings by dead artists, let alone rocked to its very foundations, but anyway… he’s doing six years in the slammer for it. I know it’s a different country and legal system, but for some perspective let’s consider Oscar Pistorious recently getting five years for riddling his screaming, terrified girlfriend with bullets.

Argenteuil

What we really need to examine here is the phrase that’s parroted uncritically, verbatim, in all the reports about the initial vandalism and the recent conviction of Shannon: “painting worth £7.8 million.” How and why is it “worth” £7.8 million? Is it really? According to whom? The artist wasn’t paid the equivalent of £7.8 million. The museum probably didn’t pay £7.8 million for it. How can any work of art be “worth” such an arbitrarily large sum, which is clearly beyond any form of rational analysis or justification? “Valued at” £7.8 million might be a more measured and correct phrase, though this also fails to tell us why or by whom. It’s not even an interesting painting. Only the Monet signature on it would ever make anybody look twice; it’s a prestige fetish object. It is certainly irreplaceable as an authenticated Monet relic, but it’s not as if nobody before or after him ever did a pretty little nothing of a painting with a lake and a sailboat. Now it’s been restored and repaired, a significant proportion of this small painting is not even the original one that Monet worked on. So at this point how does it differ significantly from an indistinguishably perfect copy painted by a hack in China?

When you’ve pondered these weighty and complex issues for a while, you may like to relax yourself by “getting back at the state” and accidentally “falling” on the painting in this startlingly realistic simulation of Mr. Shannon’s exciting day out at the art museum:

Punch a Monet

USELESS

21 Apr

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After Oscar Wilde published The Picture of Dorian Gray, with its preface in which he quipped that “all art is quite useless”, a young admirer wrote to ask for some explanation of what Wilde meant. Wilde’s reply:

“Art is useless because its aim is simply to create a mood. It is not meant to instruct, or to influence action in any way. It is superbly sterile, and the note of its pleasure is sterility. If the contemplation of a work of art is followed by activity of any kind, the work is either of a very second-rate order, or the spectator has failed to realise the complete artistic impression.

A work of art is useless as a flower is useless. A flower blossoms for its own joy. We gain a moment of joy by looking at it. That is all that is to be said about our relations to flowers. Of course man may sell the flower, and so make it useful to him, but this has nothing to do with the flower. It is not part of its essence. It is accidental. It is a misuse. All this is I fear very obscure. But the subject is a long one.”

Of course we’d expect no less from such a master of language and of aesthetics-over-function dandyism as Wilde, but even with the disclaimer of the subject being a long one he nails the problem with the commercial art market– then and now– in two paragraphs.

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