Saturday, September 09, 2006

What Is The Purpose of Art?

— James Surowiecki in an October 17, 2005 issue of New Yorker magazine said "Art collecting has traditionally been the domain of wealthy individuals in search of rewards beyond the purely financial. (The economist John Picard Stein once quixotically tried to quantify these intangible rewards, deciding that they were equivalent to a return on investment of 1.6 per cent a year.) The new funds, by contrast, allow people with smaller bankrolls to play the art market by pooling their resources, and the only benefits are economic, since investors don’t get to hang the paintings on their walls. In this scheme, art is just another “alternative asset class,” like gold or wheat."

A corporate tradition for investing in art.

The Artist's Role within your Investment Strategy

Of course, the artist plays a vital role in the scope of a work of art. Yet, in addition to the quality of the piece that an artist creates, other factors also carry weight in terms of the artist. He or she is key to your art investment strategy. Primarily, the basic factors including your collecting goals, enjoyment for a piece, interest, and quality should dictate your decision to buy a work of art. Make certain that the work meets the standards for presentation and condition and then, assess the other criteria.

As for the artist, the artist's general background is important. This certainly impacts the value of the piece. In basic terms, this means that the artist's background or his or her training and art teachers, degrees completed, and other credentials are important. Points such as an artist's exhibition record (how often and where do they show their work?), and the sales or commercial record come into play when determining value and investment return. Most of us understand the concept that, in simple terms, a work of art by an established artist is worth more than a piece by a lesser known artist. For instance, a Van Gogh usually commands higher prices at auction than a work by someone less well known, like Joe Smith. This is a simple concept.

Art is like anything else that can be marketed. We want the "brand name" or the popular artist's work or at least we are made to believe we want it through marketing. This is why we have to conduct some research before we buy.

You probably can guess what I feel about that last italic section. What a pile of shit. "Of course, the artist plays a vital role in the scope of a work of art." I can hardly type the words I am laughing so hard.

Now, I can understand that as an investment, art can be an interesting way to make money disappear. You can hide some of your profits by buying art. You might even make a few bucks. And I understand that investment can be emotional too, for instance an art piece may not have any or much financial worth, but a family can pass down art and enjoy a sentimental investment.

But for god's sake it is retarded to say some thing like "of course the artist plays a vital role". I don't think we need to know about an artists life or a writers life to enjoy their work. But the idea that people are playing around with products as if they just manifested out of thin air is a reverse extreme of being obsessed with tabloid like following of movie stars.

What I find so utterly offensive about the above quote from an investment web site is the chicken shit ignorance.

What happened to using one's own senses, emotions and experience to view and value the stature of any given piece of art work?

The treatment of art as an investment symbolizes a mass level of low self-esteem within the rich, art collecting mafia.

I suggest art's purpose is a cosmic reset button. An object whose value lies in the opportunity to fall through air to lose ones grip on reality and tweak our stale, slavery existence.

Art should be like doing peyote. Where are the art shamans?


Timmer said...

Shamantim is here. My money is well hidden in my art: supplies, materials, rent, exhibition fees. I suppose that I'm hoping one day to make huge sales and then my commitment of money and time is rewarded with hard cash, then I can go buy a VanGogh. Of course I'm just kidding here. Really I think that people should buy art to enjoy for themselves and this supports artists to continue working. There is no point in owning a Chagall if it's locked away in a safe for insurance purposes.

Candy Minx said...

Tim, this is important stuff. I was just about to compose a post about the layers and meanings cloaked with art itself, by materials used, by meanings referenced.

You said you are joking about a couple things, and I know what you mean, but also we hide truth within humour!

"I suppose that I'm hoping to make huge sales and then my commitment of money and time is rewarded with hard cash, (then I can go buy a Van Gogh)"

Well....this is a very dear topic to me.

The cost of art work.

In Canada I think prices are inflated and the reason they remain so, and mostly UNSDOLD is because some artists make money off grant system. Now that is fine and all for some people.

But there is a sad idea with well IDEAS. Generousity is directly associated with one self image of what one has. People always say they will donate to charity when they get rich.

I believe that the more you share your ideas and art, the more you will get more ideas.

I feel I can keep having a diagloque andd narrative. i am not worried about running out of a new painting idea or art work.

Something happenes in educationa nd producing art. Artists are making far too pieces per year. they don't have the confidence to know they can keep making more. They believe they should make ten or so paintings a year and sell the for 5,000 dollars each.

that way it was "worth their time."

What is this?

Why not make five paintings a month, and charge 400 dollars a painting?

Many of us could easily live on two thousand dollars a month, no?

So what if they don't all sell. The point is making them available to an audience and someone who might actually consider taking one home? And might actually be able to afford to take a piece of art work home.

At least paintings should be affordable till that fantasy unlikely event occurs when you could charge a bit more money for selling art work. :)

Someone has to sell this art work, and they need to buy food too. And to find someone willing to sell art for a good reasonable, even cheap price is impossible to find!

It gets back to this idea that art has to be an investment. And artists are poisoned by this too. We have been brainwashed by years of school..and by the sheer fact that we have spent years amking things that we can't sell and no one wants to look at and no one in the genral public feels is important or valuable or meaningful.

Something has to give here folks...

I could see myself running a gallery operation. I have tried but I couldn't find any artists willing to sell their paintings for less than a thousand dollars!?

so paintings, my OWN INCLUDED, I am not outside this by any means...stay in closets and storage spaces and the odd galleries without anyone even looking at them, let alone hanging them in their houses.

What the Bleep is this about kids?

thehealingroom said...

I love this, Candy:
"I suggest art's purpose is a cosmic reset button. An object whose value lies in the opportunity to fall through air to lose ones grip on reality and tweak our stale, slavery existence.

Art should be like doing peyote. Where are the art shamans?"

It CAN be a sacred act, but not automatically. And sometimes its in the acting, the doing, not necessarily the finished product. Though, I suspect a residue of the sacred energy is imbued in the finished peice.

Timmer said...

Yes! The act of painting is for me kind of shamanistic, so I got to do it. Selling art is a difficult thing to do and I am grateful to the people who have purchased a work from me. I suspect that my prices are modest and I'm willing to negotiate. I have recently faced the prospect of having to put my work in storage and I feel that once there they never come out again so I believe my idea is to sell them inexpensively, having them out there being enjoyed is better than storage. One odd thing when I put a piece in a commercial group exhibit this summer I was embaraced by how low my piece was in comparison so I put the price up to 1200, didn't sell. Later the director asked me if I could lower the price as a potential client was interested in mine and a competitors which was 2500. Well being self righteous I felt that my piece was the stronger of the two and expressed an unwillingness to lower my price, didn't sell, the competition did. So go figure where my confidence went then. Oh well, selling depends upon the situation I think, but I like your ideas Candy Minx! Maybe I should have lowered the price and then just go paint more because I'm going to paint anyway.

Candy Minx said...

Healing Room, I knew you would like that idea about art being a reset button. and I agree there is no promise that art will move people, like poetry it depends on the viewers/readers surrender....and the taste or art itself. I suppose many other factors too.

Tim, that sounds like a horrible situation! I am SHOCKED that whoever was representing would have revealed the two pieces were up against each other. it seems extrememly insensitve and that your best interests were not served.

It doesn't matter if you put the price down...I mean my gosh...why didn't they just lock you and the other artist in interogation rooms and have you stab each others backs!

Is it possible they played this mind game with the other artist in question too? Were they as forthcoming about the cost of the final sale as they were in their rude behaviour towards you?

Timmer said...

I don't know if they played the other artist, or if they are just plain insensitive and I don't know what the final sale price was. I have heard stories of similar situation though.
But I don't think much of it now, just thought I'd share a bit.