Last week, I spoke of a Ponzi scheme in the high art world. Maybe that was harsh but I wanted to get your attention.Because the public has been told by the art media, experts and art trend commentators that this conceptual art movement and the art from it is not only a real value because of it’s significance in the context of modern and post war art, but that these artists are themselves as significant as Monet, Picasso, Pollack, Warhol and de Kooning.
I think the investors bought these ‘assets’ with the idea of flipping them in the course of a few years but did they really believe these works were as important as the works of the previous stated artists? With so many new millionaire and billionaires being minted weekly, it seemed there was no end in sight to people knocking at the door of elitism asking for entree and willing to spend crazy money just to look they belonged, had culture and were significant themselves.
They ended up investing in the art worlds version of the financial derivative. It seemed that each one that came along was the sucker, paying the sucker price and finding other suckers to offload onto after they made a profit. Everyone was making money. The critics, the galleries, the media, the investors that museums got to put up funds for huge, exquisite parties and exhibitions.
Even the reputable auctions houses got into it for a taste. ( I use ‘reputable’ loosely based upon known issues of provenance of various works auctioned off in the past twenty years.)
And let’s not even get into how most of these new millionaires made their money. The fact remains that the same instrument that crashed the world economy seems to have enjoyed a parallel life in the art world.
So whats going to happen? No one knows. Will it be propped up or left to deflate? Your answer is as good as mine. But I know this. People who really enjoy traditional art are having a field day. They have the best of both worlds now. Young, hungry artists who want a chance to sell and showcase their work and reasonable prices for emerging artist’s work that doesn’t break your bank. It would appear that now is the time for the rebirth of art in it’s more traditional forms: painting, sculpture, photography, sketching, drawing, even graffiti.
In the end, the real work that is sweated out by the artisans themselves always ends up being discovered by real people. And that is where the true value lies; in it’s discovery.