Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Who's Hot? Who's Hotter?

Because yesterday's post wasn't quite contentious enough (just pour some milk over that bowl of rusty nails for me, will ya?), I'll direct you to perhaps the best measure available of which contemporary artists are currently most in demand. It's not a perfect measure, but Artnet.com has graciously sifted through the auction data available from the past month (a month in which, "new auction highs were set for works by more than 1,650 artists"). I've whittled down their data a bit due to space restraints...you can see the whole list of all artists, living and past, on their site. The results for contemporary artists who broke auction records in May 2006 are as follows:




$968,000Mark di SuveroBojangles
$968,000Cecily BrownHigh Society
$912,000Sean ScullyWall of Light. . .
$895,876Cai Guo QiangEagles Watching. . .
$800,000Blinky PalermoKomposition. . .
$744,000John BaldessariBeach Scene. . .
$744,000Raymond PettibonSelf-Portrait as Goofy-Foot
$688,000Mike KelleyAhh...Youth
$688,000Mike KelleyAhh…Youth
$598,400Grandma MosesThe Old Oaken Bucket
$576,000David SalleVagrant
$574,350Pierre SoulagesPeinture
$564,800Elmer Nelson BischoffRed cliffs
$531,200Elaine SturtevantWarhol Diptych
$531,200Neo RauchStunde
$506,186Wang GuangyiRolex
$497,600Dirk SkreberYellow Locomotive
$471,111Ilya KabakovWhere Are They?
$464,000ChristoThe Gates. . .
$441,600Robert IrwinUntitled
$441,600Magdalena AbakanowiczCrowd. . .
$419,588Fang LijunNo. 8
$408,000Piotr UklanskiUntitled (Skull)
$396,800Barnaby FurnasBlown To Bits
$363,200Tomás SánchezGracia en la cascada
$363,200Julio RuelasVisión de la conquista
$332,985Kim Dong-YooMarilyn vs. Mao
$329,600Wang DuFlea Market. . .
$319,615Salvatore ScarpittaElephant Trap
$307,200Peter BlumeWinter
$307,200Thomas SchütteMaschine (4 works)
$307,200Ugo RondinoneIf There Were. . .
$296,000Victor VasarelyJong
$296,000Kiki SmithUntitled (Butterfly)
$275,258Nam June PaikEnlightenment 78 RPMs
$273,600Karen KilimnikTabitha II
$262,400Thomas DemandCollection
$240,000Olafur EliassonRiver Raft
$221,860Demetrios GalanisSeated Nude
$216,495Yang FeiyunDreaming Season
$216,000Rodolfo MoralesDreams of a Village
$204,000Wilhelm SasnalUntitled (Plane and Bombs)
$192,000Ross BlecknerOceans
$180,000Harry BertoiaUntitled (Large Bush Form)
$180,000Martin EderMascara (Dream Endlessly)
$180,000Philip PearlsteinTwo Models. . .
$168,000Rodney GrahamWelsh Oaks #3
$168,000Huang Yong PingThe Doomsday
$163,132Odd NerdrumSelvportrett med hårbånd
$156,000Martha RoslerBringing the War. . .
$156,000Paul PfeifferJohn 3:16
$156,000George CondoThe Insane Psychiatrist
$156,000Thomas RuffNudes pea 10
$153,846Jan SchoonhovenR77-14
$144,000Ellen GallagherNightlamp
$144,000David SchnellGestange II
$144,000Tatsuo MiyajimaTime grid
$134,615Maria LassnigKorkenziehermann (Tod)
$134,615Richard Paul LohseElemente. . .
$132,000Nobuyoshi Araki100 Works. . .
$132,000Rudolf StingelUntitled (diptych)
$120,000John McCrackenGlacier
$115,979Ma LiumingBaby no. 7
$111,111J.-N.NiepceLa jeune fille. . .
$108,000Kerry James MarshallUntitled (La Venus Negra)
$102,000Carroll DunhamField


Blogger James Wolanin said...

The one person on the list that surprised me is Odd Nerdrum. I thought his work would be fetching a higher price.

6/20/2006 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger James Wolanin said...

Wow, a Raymond Pettibon piece for $744,00, not bad for someone who started out doing Black Flag album covers.

6/20/2006 09:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sum total is a mere $23,493,422

6/20/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

The sum total is a mere $23,493,422

Damn, that's depressing...especially in light of the Klimt Lauder bought for reportedly $135 million.

6/20/2006 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Wait I don't see my name...oh, thats 3 zeros, never mind. I think it's great that so much is being spent on art at all. I don't see that so called market ajustment coming anytime soon, especially for established artists, resale, old master and water front property.

6/20/2006 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous No Pity Please said...

Okay, I'm freaked out at having missed yesterday's festival of greed and disloyalty. Forgive me for posting off today's topic. I was dumped by a gallery who dismissed me on the phone while the shipper was literally dumping the work at my place (well, I don't remember the actual timing, but it hurt that much). He said I just didn't sell enough (which was no doubt true, as far as it went). This happened as the gallery was moving from the provinces to NYC, where most of the provincial artists had been in group shows and were theoretically promised their regular turn at a solo show, as I was. In reality, I found afterwards, the gallery had acquired a bunch of investors who, I take it, were instrumental in bringing in new artists more to their taste or beneficial to their pockets. Not a single provincial artist survived with this gallery. And it was the group of provincial artists who made this still-thriving-today gallerist's early reputation in the provinces that allowed him to move to NY. Fie on him. Pity on me.

The only lesson I've learned is that people will be loyal exactly up to the point that it intrudes on their own interests. I think, perhaps, there's no such thing as loyalty. It's just a pretty idea, as Hemingway would say. What gallerist would stick with an artist when it hindered the gallery's operation? And artists are no less human. The thread that I agree with that I think has been running through Edward's comments is that artists and gallerists should be professional, kind, and respectful. I think that's all you can do. I feel less sure about loyalty. I think it's deserved if the relationship between artist and gallery is long and personal and affectionate. Otherwise, it's just business, and to pretend otherwise might be a little self-righteous.

So, the natural question is would I feel better now if I'd been taken out to lunch and had it explained to me that my gallery was going to change radically because it had new backers with a new vision and I had no chance of making the cut? Would I feel better if they said they still stood by my work even though I was toast? Well, this may be a testament to Edward's reasonable and kind writing here, but, yes, I would feel better about it today, instead of still hating the person's guts.

6/20/2006 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

Christo's Gates?

6/20/2006 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Mike @ MAO said...

Ed, I saw that! 1,650 new record highs!! Impressive. Just like a Grateful Dead concert!

But, I think if you remove all the new Russian and Chinese artists, where they are just having their first contemporary art auctions.. the list of new records is not so insane.

6/20/2006 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Slim said...

apologies also for adding onto yesterday's post here.

Ed, I've been thinking about this loyalty thing, and although I can certainly appreciate your expectation of it, I keep thinking about something a teacher once said, years ago: There is no morality in art.

On a pretty basic level, artists need to be selfish - otherwise we wouldn't have the conviction. The art (and myself, the artist) has to come first, or pretty close to it. Tom Friedman strikes me as an unusually loyal artist to have stayed with Hudson for as long as he did. He owed it to his work and to himself to move on so he could grow artistically. Staying at Feature would have inhibited that - no matter how wonderful their relatioship. In the interview, Hudson sounds pretty rigid (they come to me), which is fine for him, but personally, that would frustrate me. I know of his well deserved good reputation among artists, and the fact that T.F. stayed as long as he did is really a testimony to that.

All artists have to decide for themselves the level of their ambition. Sometimes, it can exceed the abilities of their gallery. I don't know of a single artist who hasn't agonized, sometimes for years, over leaving a gallery.

6/20/2006 12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

the list of new records is not so insane.

Still, for the price of a di Suvero or a Cecily Brown you could almost buy a house. Not in Santa Monica, obviously, but certainly in Hemet.

6/20/2006 01:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Dazed and Confused said...

Is everyone still asleep or what? After yesterday's maelstrom I'm surprised things are so quiet. Maybe everyone is still recovering from their wounds and or exhaustion...

The thing that really stood out for me with looking at these numbers is the arbitrariness. Why one artist gets valued so much more than an artist of similar distinction or with comparable work. Of course there are the usual inequities of race and gender and these are obvious and as depressing as ever. A glut of money in the art world doesn't seem to change that sad fact. But some of the placement is surprising to me. Why is Sean Scully and Cecily Brown so high when George Condo, Kiki Smith, Ross Bleckner are on the low side. Maybe someone with more insight into the business can shed some light on this for me.

There are big differences in their work but I still want to compare Cecily Brown and Ellen Gallagher. I think because I hate Brown's work and love Gallagher's. Cecily Brown's painting High Society ($968,000) and Ellen Gallagher's painting Nightlamp ($144,000) are both abstract works of roughly the same size (Gallagher's a little bigger). So what accounts for the big difference in price? Is it the "mastery" implied in Cecily's handling of paint and more complicated composition (I personally think she is a horrendous painter and I actually like a lot of painterly painting)? The fact that Gallagher's work is minimal, "conceptual" and subversive. Is it a bias among collectors for the grand figurative tradition no matter how abstracted? Is it to do with the naked bodies in Brown's work (I can't even make them out). Is it as simple as race? I don't get it. Please, as I said, can someone with more insight into the business shed some light on this for me?

6/20/2006 01:17:00 PM  
Anonymous slim said...

And don't forget that artists don't see one red cent of these sales. Maybe if there was more equity for artists, they wouldn't be so anxious about jumping ship, looking out for their interests.

6/20/2006 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger John Morris said...

I guess, i also should apologize since my comment relates to yesterday's post.

Just remember that the piece you wouldn't buy off the artist for a few hundred bucks today could be on this list in a few years. I understand fully the risk to the dealer and that one can't always afford to do that, but that is what relationships are about. The cold shoulder you give your lover today could be lead to a slap in the face next year.

6/20/2006 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Does the Klimt going for such numbers signal the beginning of a reassessment of the 20th century? Not long ago he was considered a minor artist with a decorative flair, suddenly he is number one. It feels like the beginnings (well, another major step) of a conservative backlash against all things 'conceptual.'

Or is it just all the hype about one painting leading to a ridiculous auction outcome?

6/20/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Does the Klimt going for such numbers signal the beginning of a reassessment of the 20th century?

Could also be a baby boomer thing. That poster decorated a lot of college dorm rooms. Lava lamps are back too.

6/20/2006 02:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Zigzag said...

I'd like to object to the characterization of decoration as conservative and anti-conceptual. The pattern and decoration movement in the 70's was very conceptually and politically oriented at the same time that it celebrated visual pleasure. It also went a long way in contributing to the new plurality in the art world in the 70's. Maybe the fact that one can like Klimt again means that a simple opposition between decoration and conceptual, conservative art and advanced art doesn't really hold water.

6/20/2006 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger John Morris said...

I sort have an opinion about this, but I don't feel I know anywhere near enough about the art market to know if it's even slightly true.

The theory deals with the prices for established artists and dead artist prices. I think people would value highly the works that confirm the current taste in art highly. When Ab X was the rage, people valued the work that seemed to confirm that taste- German Expressioniism, Art Brut etc. I would think that once a taste develops there becomes a financial and emotional interest in confirming it.

I can't write that well. Does this make sense to anyone?

6/20/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

"I'd like to object to the characterization of decoration as conservative and anti-conceptual."

Maybe you're right, but then why do people keep asking me if it's the anti-depressants I am taking when they see my newer, more decorative work. Paradoxically, the theoretical underpinnings are much more rigourous than my older bad-boy work. (oof, this is all terribly generalized for the sake of brevity)

The point was not what I think, but what the market is indicating, the emerging world-view I was speculating about would be painted with a much broader brush than you are suggesting. I think the patternings of Klimt's works are super cool but I am 'worried' by the society portrait aspect. It seems retrograde.

yeah, yeah, Warhol. I would have to point out that Warhol was wonderfully two-faced about all that.

6/20/2006 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger This Broad said...

The sum total is a mere $23,493,422

In case I'm not the only one who finds these things interesting, the gender breakdown is approximately:

$3,542,000 total for female artists
$19,950,000 total for male artists

Or a ratio of approximately 6-to-1 of male art to female art "value"

6/20/2006 03:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Dazed and Confused said...

Thanks this broad. I was too lazy to total it up and I was hoping that you would...

6/20/2006 03:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I counted correctly there were:

9 female artists
Total dollar sales is $3,543,415
Average price is $393,713

57 male artists
Total dollar sales is $19,950,007
Average price is $350,000

6/20/2006 03:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Zigzag said...


Oh. His portraits. I get it. Do you think anyone cares that much who the rich people he painted are now? And that reflects anything about privilege and taste now? I guess that line of thought goes, "People now like looking at portraits of rich and privileged people from the past because we are in a conservative era where those values dominate" I thought your comment referred to the "decadence" of his decorative aesthetic. I guess I can kind of buy your logic. I still like Klimt because I can put the subject matter in context and I don't identify with the subjects of his portraits. I'm not sure if the equation is as simple as you suggest, but I may not be getting all of your argument.

6/20/2006 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger This Broad said...

hey anonymous, that is really fascinating about the average prices.

Cecily Brown--the female outlier who outsold the next female artist by $400,000--significantly hikes up the ladies' average (without her it's $322k, which is still not at all shabby!), whereas there's a lot of depth in the >700k market for the men. Like Dazed & confused, I'm interested in just what it is about Ms. Brown that is so compelling.

Also it's worth remembering that these are just the *new record prices*, and when you look at the overall auction results from contemporary auctions, the data takes a different shape. On average, women artists' Post-Modern & Contemporary work sells at auction for much, much less than men's by close to a factor of 10, mainly because there are so very few women who sell for figures in the millions (as of spring 2005 the club was limited to 3 women above the $1M mark: Louise Bourgeois, Agnes Martin, & Marlene Dumas. I haven't done the work on the 2006 auctions yet. I feel like Lisa Yuskavage may have broken in...)

6/20/2006 04:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fun with numbers

Standard Deviation for female artists: $274,515
Standard Deviation for male artists: $231,254

Lats make an adjustment assuming the highest female artist skews the results:

Sale Total for female artists (without the highest one) = $2,575,415
Average price for the remaining 8 = $321,926.88

Balanced adjustment (remove 6 i.e. 57/9 = 6.33)
Sale Total for male artists (without the highest 6) = $14,886,131
Average price for the remaining 51 = $291,884.92

Or only remove the top 2
Sale Total for male artists (without the highest 6) = $17,174,131
Average price for the remaining 51 = $312,256.93

Or only remove the top 1
Sale Total for male artists (without the highest 6) = $18,070,007
Average price for the remaining 51 = $322,678.70

Still way more male artists in the auctions but the pricing seems to be approaching parity (only with this sample though)

6/20/2006 04:52:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I may be missing out on something great, but I've never actually been to an auction. Do they serve drinks? Can you bet on which works are going to sell for the most? I mean where's the real fun of it? Is it just a bunch of people trying to outspend each other, or is there something else going on that's worth experiencing?

6/20/2006 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

arggghhh...make it stop...math hurts my brain...

just kidding, math only hurts my brain when I have to do it.

My understanding is that there are currently more women in MFA programs then men. If that doesn't translate into more women being exhibited and women making more money a generation from now, clearly there's bias in the system. What we're looking at now is the adjustment process...it was never going to equalize overnight (speaking historically relatively, mind you).

6/20/2006 05:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Dazed and Confused said...

I was finding the dueling with numbers exciting but, yes, that last one was hard to compute.

I may be missing out on something great, but I've never actually been to an auction.

I've only seen one high powered art auction and that was in the Metallica movie when Lars Ulrich sold his Basquiat. That was fun to watch on the big screen. BTW that movie has some good lessons for yesterday's post too. The scene where the former guitartist confronts Lars in therapy for being dumped from the band was pretty amazing.

This Broad: I'd like to hear your theory on Cecily Brown some day.

6/20/2006 05:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Dazed and Confused said...

This Broad: I'd like to hear your theory on Cecily Brown some day.

A post on your blog perhaps...?

6/20/2006 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa Hunter said...

May auction prices? Oh, Edward. That's SO last month... :-)

6/20/2006 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger This Broad said...

hmm, in that case I'd better start working on formulating one (a theory of cecily brown, that is).

I have liked a lot of her paintings but in my opinion they do not warrant being placed head and shoulders (price-wise) above so many other artists, male & female. Off the top of my head I suspect some tokenism in the way she has been anointed as *the* (long e) female genius painter. She was also marketed extremely well from the beginning. And being David Sylvester's daughter can't hurt, right?

6/20/2006 09:32:00 PM  
Anonymous greg.org said...

The gap between women's and men's prices is closing a bit, but only very slowly. These kinds of math games bring back fond memories of researching this last year: I was running numbers like this for months trying to "figure out" where the generational, stylistic, nationalistic, etc. breaks were that explained the price gap.

Ultimately, the gap itself was obvious, but there weren't any identifiable [read solvable] causes.

But several curators speculated off-the-record that apparent exceptions Brown and Yuskavage were both artists whose work appealed to men. So maybe it's the market impact of The Male Gaze.

Edward, as for your art school data, it's true that women are a majority of MFA's, but that flips almost immediately once you look at working/showing artists. Remember, Greater NY--the hot new artists show [sic]--was protested last year for being >75% men. So half the female MFA's got lost somewhere between graduation and PS1.

6/20/2006 11:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Dazed and Confused said...

Thanks This Broad. Makes sense. I'm not one for pronouncements of genius, but there are plenty of great female painters out there and IMO Brown is not one of them. I would also add that sex sells and she certainly capitalizes of of that in her work. I guess kind of in line with the male gaze thing but I would put it less jargony. No offense intended greg.org.

6/21/2006 12:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

The fun with auctions is when they have exhibits to see the works but these last just 3 or 4 days.

I hear that artists make no money on art sold by colletors.

Is there an expert here that can tell me how it works with auctions?
What is in there that go to the artist?

The results are surprising and make me wonder if people with money have any taste.


Cedric Caspesyan

6/21/2006 01:42:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Edward, as for your art school data, it's true that women are a majority of MFA's, but that flips almost immediately once you look at working/showing artists. Remember, Greater NY--the hot new artists show [sic]--was protested last year for being >75% men. So half the female MFA's got lost somewhere between graduation and PS1.

Good point Greg...there are measures already that indicate bias is alive and well in the system. I guess I meant to imply that a new generation of powerful collectors/curators will need to grow up, through the new female majority of artists, and implement adjustments accordingly to the purchasing part of the system.

What may be needed more than a shift away from the male gaze, per se, is a redistrubution of actual power. Most big collectors buy as a symbol of power, IMO, at least subconsciously (I can hear the phone ringing now). If those currently in power are overwhelmingly men (and I think it's clear they are...check ArtNews top 200 collectors and see how many single women you find), then possibly what they buy reflects their vision of the world. Women artists not offering up Brown/Yuskavage type hypersexual content, but rather visions from a distaff point of view, might be simply lost on them.

Of course, this is just a pre-caffinated theory, but ...

6/21/2006 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Art Soldier said...

Most big collectors buy as a symbol of power ... those currently in power are overwhelmingly men ... what they buy reflects their vision of the world.

HMMM, YOU THINK??? Now we're getting somewhere. It forces you to re-evaluate the importance of those canonized by the subjective whims of art history -- i.e., is our collective subjective taste formed by, and in service to, a lust for power by a very small, select group of wealthy men? Are you saying that maybe we don't like Matisse as much as we think we do, but that perhaps our subjective taste is affected by aspirations to achieve a sophisticated elitism as dictated by the historic preferences of a few white tastemaking men? Wait a minute, does this mean that the title of "artistic genius" has little [if any] meaning, since the title's bestowal is so heavily dictated by a small group of men, whose motivations are to confirm the status of what they bought "as a symbol of power"?

6/21/2006 08:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Hausfrau said...

Two different topics here.

One: Male /Female ratio from art school to market place: undergrad programs seem to be about 2/3+ women. Grads are running 50/50. Galleries show less than 1/3 women.

Collectors run the market (as someone said on last post) and I agree the on the "Male Gaze" effect. IMO there is also more support for the guys to pursue their ridiculous obsessions. Society encourages creativity in women because they're "more sensitive" but still does not support women in going after their dreams when it becomes a business. Same with chefs.

Two: Cedric asked "I hear that artists make no money on art sold by collectors."

I know that at least one state (California) has law on the books that requires a percentage of art resale be remitted to the artist. I don't know how this is regulated or what affect this has had on collecting and resale in CA.

6/21/2006 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

That needs a few tweaks, I think, Art Soldier, but essentially, yes.

is our collective subjective taste formed by, and in service to, a lust for power by a very small, select group of wealthy men?

I wouldn't say "lust for power" but rather lust for symbols of the power they must surely already have to be able to purchase art at these prices. But it goes much deeper than mere power.

The most insightful summary of why the super wealthy collect, IMO, was offered by the super dealer Joseph Duveen (he knew them all), who played upon their manipulable desire, now that they had conquered what could be conquered here on earth, to purchase immortality of sorts. Art lives on...the person who owns that art, whose name is associated with that art (e.g., think Medici or de Menil) gloms onto that "living on" in some way.

6/21/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Oh, yeah, my other thought (I'm a bit slow this morning): before anyone thinks that Art Soldier's conclusion means we can toss out the canon: regardless of why we valued this or that artwork up until now, the canon remains the most thoroughly examined and conserved narrative. Even if other art had been made along the way, most of it is lost and very little of it had been critiqued during the period when the critique would be most potent (i.e., by the audience contemporary with the work). More than that, unless you're an outsider artist, you owe most of your current thinking /output to the canon or to a response to the canon, so, tossing it out is, IMO, cutting off your nose to spite your face.

That doesn't mean we have to keep it up on the pedestal, but we should be careful how we go about lowering it.

or something like that...it's too early for this kind of heavy thinking...what you put in your coffee Art Solider, Red Bull?

6/21/2006 09:21:00 AM  
Anonymous hausfrau said...

so the artist seeks immortality through the collector and vice versa. If your work is bought at a high level by enough wealthy white men it becomes an art historical fact. If you buy enough high level art (mostly by white men, at least until recently) your name is carried on through museum legitimization. The dealers play the middle.

Is there any possibility of objective valuation of art and artists, given the forces at work and our immersion in the mess?

I like Matisse. . .

6/21/2006 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Art Soldier said...

lust for symbols of the power they must surely already have to be able to purchase art at these prices.

Don't forget, they essentially create the prices -- a few rich collectors outbidding each other; artists don't, dealers don't.

Sooo, why was MoMA created? Who decided which works it would canonize? And, why does the collective artworld consider those canonized artworks to be sacred? Because they succeeded in displaying a Kantian universal aesthetic? Because they exist as the embodiment of truth? Are you sure?

6/21/2006 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Is there any possibility of objective valuation of art and artists, given the forces at work and our immersion in the mess?

I like Matisse. . .

I like Matisse too, Hausfrau, regardless of whether he's in the canon or not.

I shudder at the thought of an objective vaulation of art though...not even sure what that might look like.

Even the greats in the canon go in and out of fashion. I've seen this in my lifetime (Guston's a good example...not so hot 15 years ago...can't touch him now). And what would objectivity mean for artists??? A huge step backwards, in my opinion: You MUST address this or that older artist. Yuck!

Art Soldier,

And, why does the collective artworld consider those canonized artworks to be sacred? Because they succeeded in displaying a Kantian universal aesthetic? Because they exist as the embodiment of truth? Are you sure?

er...uh...did you read my comments? I'm not arguing with you here.

6/21/2006 09:35:00 AM  
Anonymous hausfrau said...

Ed, I really like your statement on the canon posted as I was writing my last. And I absolutely agree on "objective valuation" Brain fever of the moment.

Art Soldier, I think that you make important points, but risk throwing the baby out with the vitriol. Institutional critique is essential, as is development of alternatives, but the system as it exists is what we have to work with/within. Maybe the truely important/independent work is being made by people who never enter the market and we may never see it.

I looked at your work for the first time this morning. I like it, but wonder about your position as an artist, as opposed to blogger, trying to enter the system you are so critical off. Or maybe you're not.

6/21/2006 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

If your work is bought at a high level by enough wealthy white men it becomes an art historical fact.

Seems like if your work is bought by anyone at a high enough level...

If there are enough people who want to change the system, couldn't they form a collective and raise enough money to bid up the prices of the non-white non-male artists they want to promote? They could bid against themselves and really get the prices up there. Or get some rich powerful people on board to help. I mean, Oprah has certainly helped a lot of authors with her Book Club. Maybe it's time for her to start an Art Club. Of course all the artwork would have her gold seal in the corner.

6/21/2006 11:32:00 AM  
Anonymous badly drawn boy said...

hausfrau: I wonder about art soldier's position as an artist as well. I think that when you create a public identity for yourself as a blogger you hold yourself up to some public scrutiny. I really appreciate when someone like Ed makes himself vulnerable by addressing concerns that are obviously close to his heart and approaches the issue with some humility and self reflection.

art soldier: Its ok to make paintings. And it's ok to critique the art market (and badly needed) but sometimes your comments seem so frenzied and not too sophisticated when you address the market value of art. What's up with that?

6/21/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous greg.org said...

I'd kind of flip it around to say that the whole notion of equating price and "value" or "importance" is suspect if it has such a systematic and significant gender-related bias.

And when you throw in the historical incongruities like Edward alluded to (i.e., artists going in and out of fashion, Christopher Williams complaining in artforum diary that his work sells for more than Man Ray's at Basel), the "objective" measure of $ vs $ totally falls apart.

6/21/2006 10:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

It's only been recent that artists started to become individualists moving in all sorts of personal directions, what turns the issue of the contemporary canon quite complex (and fluctuating as it should). But for a while artists hanged in movements and had common aspirations. They were responding
to each other's art and I don't think that these aesthetic ventures can be reduced to buying powers.

I think the powers-that-be-buying are strongly influenced by general currents of thought, and that would explain why they commanded religious church frescoe in the Renaissance just like today they buy whatever their gallerist tell them to buy or at least they read the opinions of criticism.

Sometimes buyers buy art because it is cheap and are surprised that they turned out to make the right choices.

I know the chelsea galleries and the magazines that publish their ads are pushing painting a lot because some rich people will only buy painting, but the serious magazines and criticism won't necessarely put painting on their frontcover. Some painters sell really well yet you never see them in museums because the "intelligentsia of the artworld" or whatever it is, (the cia of art) are not too much interested.

I do think canon implies a series of manipulations but they don't happen exclusively on the market level. On the contrary that market is often victim of the canon and that is why no gallerist or collector are truly safe.

(If that other gallerist turns out to have the great artist they may have already their own list of collectors waiting).


Cedric Caspesyan

6/22/2006 01:36:00 AM  
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Blogger b said...

Mark Said June 2006:
'I don't see that so called market ajustment coming anytime soon'

Ha, Wow, what a difference a couple years can make. 1600+ new auction records in one month! Speculative chinese and third world artists being rushed to auction! LOL

In retrospect it doesn't seem like it should have been that hard to see the hot air holding up this balloon (and the real estate balloon) and yet here we are! Even if anyone claims they saw it coming no one prepared for it, institutions are drained, museums closing, some auction houses in question, galleries laid off half their staff, museums selling inventory just to pay the heating bills!

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3/21/2009 11:49:00 AM  

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