Tag Archives: ethics

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?

ON NOT DOING ANYTHING THAT DESERVES A SNEER

1 Jan

In the following quotation from William B. Irvine’s book on Stoic philosophy A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, substitute the phrase “the art world’s approval” or “art world status” for every instance of the phrase “social status” to understand my purpose in posting this. My emphasis.

“Stoics value their freedom, and they are therefore reluctant to do anything that will give others power over them. But if we seek social status [the art world’s approval] we give other people power over us: we have to do things calculated to make them admire us, and we have to refrain from doing things that will trigger their disfavour. Epictetus therefore advises us not to seek social status [the art world’s approval], since if we make it our goal to please others, we will no longer be free to please ourselves. We will, he says, have enslaved ourselves.

If we wish to retain our freedom, says Epictetus, we must be careful, while dealing with other people, to be indifferent to what they think of us. Furthermore, we should, in other words, be as dismissive of their approval as we are of their disapproval. Indeed, Epictetus says that when others praise us, the proper response is to laugh at them…”

“… Marcus [Aurelius] agrees with Epictetus that it is foolish for us to worry about what other people think of us and particularly foolish for us to seek the approval of people whose values we reject. Our goal should therefore be to become indifferent to other people’s opinions of us. He adds that if we can succeed in doing this, we will improve the quality of our life.

Notice that the advice that we ignore what other people think of us is consistent with the Stoic advice that we not concern ourselves with things we can’t control. I don’t have it in my power to stop other people sneering at me, so it is foolish spending my time trying to stop them. I should instead, says Marcus, spend this time on something I have complete control over, namely, not doing anything that deserves a sneer…

Any of this ringing any bells, artists?

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