One cannot help but water whether there is something we had not seen in art especially when Leonardo DiCaprio and Miley Cyrus recently made controversial appearances at Art Basel in Miami by dressing like vagabonds. The truth is the art industry is under siege especially now that marketing and publicity machines have taken over both the fashion and the music industries. However, this does not write off art because it has been there for longer than anybody can tell.
There is no doubt that art has taken a new turn in the modern world so quickly that some people cannot keep up. About a century ago, it was said the art maestro Paul Durand-Ruel could hold on to the artworks that he thought were great up until his client’s tastes could catch up. While it may be true that probably his artwork took too long to sell and they were sugarcoating the situation, he eventually sold them to people who correctly understood artwork.
Today, on the contrary, a piece of artwork may sell too fast, but the person buying it may not have a clue of what it means and probably does not care. In artwork, the juice is one’s bragging that he bought a perfect piece of artwork and not just its physical nature.
Today, many people have money, and they end up buying and selling pieces of bad art. However, thinking about the situation further, you may notice the artists of today may be nothing compared to those from a century ago. If anything, given how the art market looks, it may be harder to tell whether there are any excellent artists left. Today artwork is like fun parlor games for friends where each one picks the one he/she likes. However, questions still arise especially in a year where there have been high auction results with some of them breaking the set records. For instance, Christie’s and Sotheby’s reportedly sold over $2 billion of art in a single week.
While breaking records is not a bad thing, people who love art cannot help but wonder whether the artworks that are breaking records now will have value in the next century. On the hand, does any give a damn? I once heard someone saying, “Beauty is fleeing, dumb is forever,” and I loved it.
One reason why it is hard to work out the overall value of artwork today it is plural. Multiple registers of value that may sometime fail to operate together are there, or sometimes, they may overlap or intertwine therefore making the process harder.
It is true that artwork has its monetary worth. However, art possesses more than that. It includes historical and curatorial value not to mention its critical ones. These values should be accounted for, open to change and undergo a never-ending debate. Today, we can say that fashion has a role in determining the amount of artwork as well.
While it is true that sometimes people take into account these registers of art value today, mostly they do not. For instance, you can refer to Jeff Koons recent retrospective at the Whitney Museum of America Art. Even though the critics we not impressed with Koon’s presentations, the market adores him and you can see how his artworks are selling. In November alone, they hand broken some records. Museums and curators, on the other hand, have been swayed by the urge to have more attendance.
The media, on the other hand, has not been helpful to the situation. They are only interested in what prices artworks attract with the aim of capturing the attention of their readers. Seemingly, the more a piece of art sales, the bigger the story the media will have to air or publish. They take little time to talk about the other values that come into play when distinguishing a lousy art from a great one. In art, critical, curatorial and art historical establishment are very dangerous when deciding the historical importance of a particular artwork.
Taking an example of Diego Velazquez, he is a great artist who lived in the 17th-century, but people still adore his artwork today. This means that his works have both historical and monetary value in them. When one of his works sell for millions, it is understandable. Generally, the fact that a piece of art has a short market value should not be used to create a long-term bearing. The skills must have historical values that are subject to review and change with the passage of time.
However, today the notion of long-term value is no longer relevant. If anything, the collectors are in charge of gauging what goes up and what comes down during a specific period. This makes the high value of some artworks irrelevant. Once an artwork surpasses a certain amount, it becomes more of a publication that art.
This outlook on the industry was provided by the experts at Ian Tan Art Gallery. Their outlooks on artwork are professional and smart. Visit their gallery today:
Ian Tan Art Gallery Vancouver
2342 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3G3