Monday, January 03, 2011

Finally...Art For Everyone

I have seen the future of the art market...and it is transparent. So transparent, in fact, that you need not ever see the actual art to dabble in its market for profit and fun.

What am I babbling about? Why, the newly announced Stock Exchange for Art, of course [h/t J.L.].

Bloomberg has the details:
An exchange which will allow investors to buy and sell shares in art works plans to open later this month, the Guardian said.

A&F Markets, based in Paris and backed by 26-year-old French entrepreneur Pierre Naquin, will trade in shares of modern art from the late 19th century to the present day, the newspaper said. The shares will start at 10 euros ($13.37) for works valued at more than 100,000 euros, according to the Guardian.
And as the brochure (pdf file) touts, repeatedly, this brave new initiative is an advance over the current art market because of its transparency:
Art & Finance Services commits itself to offering the transparency necessary for an investor: transparency regarding prices and volumes, as well as the situation of the artwork, artist and market.
And beyond transparency, there are other democratic advantages for the cash-strapped public interested in owning art:
For public:
• possibility to obtain wonderful works of art.
• artworks made available to a much larger public.
• cultural enrichment.
Wahoo! Finally, the queasiness over art as a luxury item can end...we now have art for everyone!

Of course, you'll notice that the one privilege that most people assume comes with ownership of art (i.e., the ability to enjoy looking at it in your own home) isn't on the list, but not to worry. You won't be the only one in that position:
In Art & Finance Service’s market, an artwork can only be removed from the marketplace once a single shareholder possesses all the shares.
OK, so it probably does not bode well for me to begin the new year with such a mocking tone, but the notion of this stock exchange promoting "cultural enrichment" here is comparable to touting the joys of "pet ownership" for people buying cattle futures.

Labels: art market

11 Comments:

Blogger Brent said...

Everyone is hot to commoditize and make transparent everything. In a lot of ways art is the ultimate anti-commodity - so much are one fo a kinds, and the work of so many artists are so uneven it is hard to really use objective standards to really and truly value "art" all. (After all it seems the EC can't even consistently decide what is art and what isn't art for purposes of taxation).

1/03/2011 08:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Should be fun. Bigger bubbles.

1/03/2011 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Cyndi said...

I wonder if just 'anyone' can place art on this exchange, or would it be a kind of juried process?

1/03/2011 01:06:00 PM  
Anonymous gwen fox said...

The wonderful world of words....put together in a way to make everyone feel comfy. I think the word "transparency" will prove to be the word of the year.

1/03/2011 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger WILLIAM CHESAPEAKE said...

Ed can I sell short?

1/03/2011 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/03/2011 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Right out of William Gibson:
Chapter 15 - Box - "... Marley studied the quotations. Pollock was down again. This, she supposed was the aspect of art that she had the most difficulty understanding. Picard, if that was the mans name, was speaking with a broker in New York, arranging the purchase of a certain number of "points" of the work of a particular artist. A "point" might be defined in any number of ways ..." [William Gibson, "Count Zero," 1986]

(Corrects a typo in the quote)

1/03/2011 07:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Julian said...

Artists are now entering a futuristic world of horizontally moving figures in a vertical battle against the decimal.

Pierre Naquin has to really know how to make whatever art he's offering shares of accessible, because normal folk (and I'm assuming that is his target shareholder since wealthier folks just buy their own art) are still pretty intimidated and perplexed by the art market. No one likes to invest in things by which they are perplexed.

Off the top of my head, I just had some very basic questions, such as...
Where will the works reside? Is there some large warehouse in Provence where all the works will just languish or...? Will living artists be offered shares as part of the transaction?

1/03/2011 10:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"For the Love of God!", thank you for all of this transparency (shame on you Hirst), I was afraid I couldn't understand art without a clear investment formula guiding the way. This is great, now people who could give a rat's ass about art can finally see what all the fuss is about. I don't care to understand art, but I sure do appreciate a nice transparent market...thanks Art & Finance Service!

1/04/2011 12:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a couple in Marbella and Monaco a few years ago peddling on a website a lot of one Reubens, some Kandinsky, et al and they also wanted you to own shares of... The market idea has a Salanderist whiff.

1/05/2011 07:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HA! I was just thinking about why this didn't already exist the other day! LOL!!!

You see, the stock market is an imaginary field estimate of "trust"; it's not real, and only tangentially related to perceived value.

Why not objectify art as IBM or Apple? Haven't all of the current common artists already subscribed to the corporate idea of branding? (I guess then the artist him/herself becomes the art commodities market -- but only if the artist is not dead -- and then we could all buy Hirst futures?) : P

But if we elevate the idea, perhaps, if done with greater insight and humanitarianism, then the artworks in which stockholders invest would be on display in an Exchange Museum -- but then this would be almost exactly like any publicly-funded Art Museum (which is however fueled by tax dollars) but privatized instead. It's a plausible upside, at least?...But I don't think that's where they are going with it.

1/06/2011 06:17:00 PM  

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