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Author Topic: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017  (Read 2809 times)

Peter McLennan

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2017, 06:12:49 PM »

Pretty much this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dw5kme5Q_Yo

Thanks for that link to "Adam Ruins Everything"  A great series. Shocking and hilarious. Always a good combination.
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Rob C

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2017, 06:00:05 AM »

I'm surprised that members of this forum seem to have not heard of Brancusi, Klimt, Twombly and Basquiat. They are very famous artists. Their work is deserving of high prices.

You omitted the word "some".

There are high prices and then nonsensical ones, where artistic value no loger pertains but rarity, hype and markets do.

Just as, one could say, with people who play with balls for a living.

elliot_n

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2017, 07:57:59 AM »

So what's the solution? A legal cap on the price paid for art?

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GrahamBy

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2017, 09:11:10 AM »

So what's the solution? A legal cap on the price paid for art?

Clearly not... but some form of transparency of pricing, such as the need to validate that the price bid at an auction was actually paid, and that the art work changed hands, would be a start. The practice of taking bids from trees used to be rife in real-estate auctions, but is gradually being stamped out.

As for the argument that "high prices are justified"... by what? If it was actually for the aesthetic value of the work, it would not be changed by the vital status of the artist, Brancusi never received 10's of millions for any of his statues. Klimt lived comfortably and was able to return the commission received from the Austrian government for his hospital series once it became clear that the works would be hidden... but he never received anything remotely similar to current prices. $100 milion for a single painting, if it went to the artist, would mean that neither he nor his children nor grand-children would ever need to work again. Is the contribution of one Basquiat really worth the life-time earnings of 10-20 leading scientists?

On those grounds, you'd have to imagine that the value is not just abou the pleasure of admiring the painting (which could be obtained from a carefully made print or copy), but related to other factors...
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Otto Phocus

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2017, 09:47:26 AM »

I am still not appreciating the problem of people choosing to spend their money on what they want to buy.

What justifies the high price of some art?  The fact that someone will choose to purchase that art at that high price.  If the price is "too high" no one will buy it.

How high is "too high"?  That is entirely up to the subjective judgement of the potential buyer. What is too high for one may be just right for another.
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elliot_n

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #25 on: August 31, 2017, 09:54:21 AM »

Is the contribution of one Basquiat really worth the life-time earnings of 10-20 leading scientists?

Art has filled the space left by religion. Science does not have much to offer here.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 04:23:44 PM by elliot_n »
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GrahamBy

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2017, 11:16:00 AM »

I am still not appreciating the problem of people choosing to spend their money on what they want to buy.

As a thought experiment: you work for a company that builds submarines, aircraft or some other expensive object. In attempting to sell these to the government of a not-particularly-wealthy country, you find it will be necessary to provide a retro-commission to the minister of defense (ie you jack up the price $20 million and slip it back under the counter).

Is there a problem with that?

The parallel comes from my argument that people are not buying aesthetic objects, they are buying instruments of tax evasion or money laundering...
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Rob C

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2017, 12:31:42 PM »

Art had filled the space left by religion. Science does not have much to offer here.

Um, art was fuelled by religion for centuries; I don't think the religious quotient of the very rich has much to do with the price of the "art" they buy.

I'm mystified by the relevance of science here, but the relative value of the scientists seems clear enough to me.

Rob

Otto Phocus

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #28 on: August 31, 2017, 12:52:55 PM »

As a thought experiment: you work for a company that builds submarines, aircraft or some other expensive object. In attempting to sell these to the government of a not-particularly-wealthy country, you find it will be necessary to provide a retro-commission to the minister of defense (ie you jack up the price $20 million and slip it back under the counter).

Is there a problem with that?


Yeah, that sounds illegal.  I would have a problem with that.

Not understanding how this would relate to people choosing to buy stuff with their own money though.  I am not following your analogy there.

Someone goes to buy art and they think

1.  I really like the way this looks, take my money!
2.  I think this may appreciate in value so I am willing to speculate (assume risk) on the purchase, take my money!
3.  or a combination of both

Can someone please explain what the concern is?  I am honestly not finding one.
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Robert Roaldi

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #29 on: August 31, 2017, 01:34:18 PM »

Hard to put an objective fair price on something when it's being bought to feed an ego. Other than the tax avoidance angle, it's not much different than a designer t-shirt, is it? Why do people spend more for a t-shirt with a logo on it than one without? To show off to friends, to show off to themselves, etc.

But that may be unfair. It could very well be that the buyers see something in some works that others don't. No law against that and no a priori reason to doubt it. Lots of people didn't like rock and roll when it first appeared. And if the tax avoidance is the reason, then those cases should be investigated tax as fraud, no reason to blame popularity of an artist on that.

I would be a bit happier if there were a "royalty" paid to the original artist on subsequent sales of a work of art. We have royalties on music, so why not art? Maybe we should have royalties on 2nd hand book sales. It's probably only due to arbitrary reasons why we have one and not the other. Adams ruins everything has a video about why car dealerships are so bad to deal with (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeDOQpfaUc8), which strikes me as similar. That retail sector is a closed shop, and there is no good reason for it other than someone wanted to do it that way and we let them.

More generally, is this worth getting upset over? The number of such sales are minuscule and don't really affect that many people, including the few of us reading this thread. It may affect us in the sense that prices are then inflated for museums, who may have legitimate educational or archival reasons for purchasing some artists' works. OTOH, museums who want to clear out their inventory may find price inflation convenient.
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Rob C

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #30 on: August 31, 2017, 06:12:06 PM »

Yeah, that sounds illegal.  I would have a problem with that.

Not understanding how this would relate to people choosing to buy stuff with their own money though.  I am not following your analogy there.

Someone goes to buy art and they think

1.  I really like the way this looks, take my money!
2.  I think this may appreciate in value so I am willing to speculate (assume risk) on the purchase, take my money!
3.  or a combination of both

Can someone please explain what the concern is?  I am honestly not finding one.


The concern is a great deal wider than the crazy money-people spending it; the concern also relates to the students who are studying art, think they have a reasonable talent and chance of surviving off that skill, and will almost surely have the shit kicked out of their dreams when the reality of the business hits them in the face. They will be lucky to land a job as teachers, a sort of eternal childhood for them, a chain to the education business rather than a flight of freedom through art. Of course, there will always be those for whom the little sinecure will be just dandy. The distortions of money corrupt everything, and the playing fields will not only be far from level, they will mostly be invisible but to a tiny handful of shakers and movers.

And some think commercial photography can be difficult?

Rob

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #31 on: August 31, 2017, 09:14:33 PM »

... Is the contribution of one Basquiat really worth the life-time earnings of 10-20 leading scientists?...

Is that your inner Marxist speaking? ;)

GrahamBy

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #32 on: September 01, 2017, 05:39:25 AM »

Is that your inner Marxist speaking? ;)

Nah, my inner jealous scientist (Jealousy is the motor of historical analysis ;) )
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GrahamBy

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #33 on: September 01, 2017, 05:41:42 AM »

Yeah, that sounds illegal.  I would have a problem with that.

Not understanding how this would relate to people choosing to buy stuff with their own money though.  I am not following your analogy there.

Using the purchased art to avoid taxes means it is not "their own money."

Using the purchased art to launder money obtained through illegal acivity means it is not "their own money."
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GrahamBy

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #34 on: September 01, 2017, 05:45:56 AM »

Art has filled the space left by religion. Science does not have much to offer here.

You mean in the tradition of a wealthy elite using invented myths to take money from the poor?

Art at least usually leaves the poor alone, except for motivating naive artists to believe they can one day make it big on the strength of their talent.

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elliot_n

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #35 on: September 01, 2017, 07:58:17 AM »

I mean that people turn to art for spiritual nourishment once god has left the building; our galleries are packed, whilst our churches are empty (at least here in the UK).

For this art to be made, we need art schools and art markets.

Or perhaps it would be better if art were prohibited?
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Rob C

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #36 on: September 01, 2017, 12:38:54 PM »

I mean that people turn to art for spiritual nourishment once god has left the building; our galleries are packed, whilst our churches are empty (at least here in the UK).

For this art to be made, we need art schools and art markets.

Or perhaps it would be better if art were prohibited?


From where do you draw the conclusion that folks turn to art for spiritual nourishment instead of staying within the bounds of religion? I don't see any obvious indication that anything has filled the vacuum once occupied by religion - at least, nothing that suggests a swap has taken place. Rather has religion, in the sense of church-going-as-measure, simply fallen by the proverbial wayside, whether en route to Damascus or elsewhere. Neither do I conclude that religion, as a personal philosophy, has really gone anywhere far; I think it has morphed into a quiet, personal and non-denominational form of belief in "something better" than the crass values of this necessarily money-led civilisation we've made for our collective selves.

If there is any identifiable new medium of worship, I think it could well be the humble cellphone, examples of which get far more fondling than any number of rosaries that I've ever seen at any time. Quite what the creeds or beliefs people derive from those toys/weapons of war is moot.

But I sure don't see art stepping into the breach; paying a visit to a gallery some wet afternoon doesn't signify a radical shift towards a nation of art lovers. It probably just means a change of tea rooms in which to while away the time. A cheap date, even.

Rob

elliot_n

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #37 on: September 01, 2017, 02:10:39 PM »


From where do you draw the conclusion that folks turn to art for spiritual nourishment instead of staying within the bounds of religion?

I was thinking of the Tate Modern at one end of the Millennium Bridge, and St Paul's Cathedral at the other. The Tate Modern surely has the greater footfall. Whilst not everyone who visits the Tate gains much in the way of spiritual sustenance - as you suggest, it's a popular dating spot - I believe that many visitors are seeking in art the "something better" that you refer to. I've had my fair share of spiritual experiences in front of paintings in art galleries (Manet, Munch, Pollock, Rothko, Twombly) and I can only imagine that my fellow visitors are seeking the same thing.
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Rob C

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #38 on: September 01, 2017, 02:30:04 PM »

I was thinking of the Tate Modern at one end of the Millennium Bridge, and St Paul's Cathedral at the other. The Tate Modern surely has the greater footfall. Whilst not everyone who visits the Tate gains much in the way of spiritual sustenance - as you suggest, it's a popular dating spot - I believe that many visitors are seeking in art the "something better" that you refer to. I've had my fair share of spiritual experiences in front of paintings in art galleries (Manet, Munch, Pollock, Rothko, Twombly) and I can only imagine that my fellow visitors are seeking the same thing.


Ah! temporary buzzes! In that case, I agree with your stance; I'd imagined you meant something truly life-changing or life-sustaining, as religion has been for many, especially the poor, for whom it can provide a present happiness not available in earthly terms.

The only way I see art capable of that sort of power is if you are already an artist yourself, in which case, it will rule your life. (You, as in 'one'.)

Rob

elliot_n

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Re: Extremely expensive art sells well, top 5 of 2017
« Reply #39 on: September 01, 2017, 03:16:33 PM »

I'm not getting a 'buzz' from Rothko. His paintings are meditations on death. Similar spiritual feelings with Cezanne. His paintings are studies of becoming.

Sure, some of the work I enjoy is 'buzzy' (Bridget Riley, Pollock), but there's more to modern painting than visual effects. 
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