Last week I wrote about the potential collapse in the high art markets of London and New York. The art world’s obsession over the conceptual art movement and in turn the works of designers like Koons and Hirst and the subsequent failure of their work to earn a decent return in the second hand trade auctions have led some to quietly look the other way and ponder ‘what just happened ?’.
Though some who observe the market may declare the market for these artist’s work and conceptual art itself is experiencing a revamping, there still is the question of whether high concept art has hit the peak and if it was truly valued realistically. If so, why are high end buyers rejecting the new works and looking elsewhere to invest in what is undoubtedly a turnabout from the conceptual art superstars?
Artists like Gerhard Richter, Adriana Varejao, Almed Alsoudani and Chinese portrait artist Yan Pei-Ming are enjoying splendid if not somewhat more terrestrial auction prices and their work is definitely in the direction of abstraction and expressionism. But abstract painting was declared dead years ago, so why the sudden movement of money and interest in these artists?
I believe the ‘art of the banal’; as it’s sometimes been referred to; and the perverted egoistic personalities that came with it, has overstayed it’s own welcome. And in the desperate attempt to be the ‘brand’ or the ‘product’, these designers and the ‘work’ got shelved. Much like the consumer who gets bored of the device that; once gleaming and smooth; is now faded and scratched,the inevitable thought occurs in the mind: ‘Did I throw money away at a passing fancy, or is it truly a value to me?’
And so it is with conceptual art of the last years. I believe that in the end there is something much more tactile and real about these new artist’s works. They represent the strain and toil of reaching within oneself in order to find the next level in themselves and the reflection of their human experiences in the world around them. They reflect the soul that is able to create organically instead of the mind that can just analyze. They prove the idea does not take precedence over the material and that the aesthetic elements are as important. In fact, all elements are of equal value.
While one could argue that this direction was inevitable, what about all the huge profits made by those whose responsibility was to make sure hype and over inflated works didn’t flood the market?
What happened to all the investors who got left with a bag of swag it now seems no one wants? And what is the impact on the new emerging artists producing fine art but having to wait for the markets to unload their own stock before they take on new talents?
While the investment trend seems to be returning to the classic medium of paintings, some have withdrawn from the market entirely because of the stink that is now emanating from the last movement. Can you smell a Ponzi scheme here?