07 February 2013

Day 187: Why is Art so Expensive?

In one of the Afrikaans newspapers was an article on "Now everyone wants to have a Tretchi".

In the article, the author asks questions regarding the price of art - and why some art pieces are suddenly more expensive (though he's more talking about one artist in contrast to other artists - while from my perspective the same questions can apply to ALL Art).

The first thing that comes up when you ask people why Art is so expensive is the principle of Supply and Demand. There's only the one art piece which is unique in itself, only one person can have it and so in order to compete and exclude others from gaining access to it the price goes up.

But then the question of demand is not answered. Where does this demand come from? Where is this high willingness to pay for a physical object which may or may not even be aesthetically pleasant. I mean, Piero Manzoni canned his shit and it's called art.

It's all just based on consensus. A bunch of people agree that something is Art and now it's Art and now apparently it is 'valuable'. And if you want to be 'in' and you want to be part of this alternate reality called 'the art world' -- you want that painting/art piece that everyone agrees one is more worthy than other art pieces. I mean how ridiculous is that -- it's completely subjective. It's based on what other people agreed before them 'is art' and filter/interpret art through what they think they know about art. So they're not even looking at the actual piece for what it is, it first has to be filtered through someone's entire art knowledge before they have something to say about it.

Yes, art can be cool. I did art at some point and it's a fun medium to explore to express yourself and communicate in a different language where the art world has its own established 'symbolism' that you can use to convey a message.

But selling a painting like The card Players from Paul Cezanne for $267 million dollars? That's not what arts about, that's just a mind game. Especially if you consider that Paul Cezanne is looong dead and is never going to see any of the money -- so it's not supporting him in any way whatsover. If you look at Van Gogh, he had a terrible life -- what's in it for him when Portrait of Dr. Gachet was sold for $147.8 million. Surely, there's more important things you can do with your money? The person who actually deserved to get some money for the labour he put into the piece is long gone and you have a world where half of the population lives in misery -- so deciding to spend that amount of money on a piece of canvas with paint which together forms a picture over deciding to use your money to change the world for the better = it sounds kind of psychopathic to me.

The documentary "Exist through the Giftshop" by Banksy shows the whole Art scam quite clearly. In it, they follow around Thierry Guetta whose really into street art and basically a street art-wannabe and he ends up with his own exhibition selling pieces. And it's not like he put tons of work in the pieces because he mostly hired people to do the work for him and there's also not really a profound meaning behind any of his work. But because he's able to simulate art and 'make it look like art' = people believe it's art and make it art in their head. People come to his show and ask him questions and give their insight into what they are seeing and they're just making profound shit up and he just agrees with whatever they say = now it's art.

So art is all in the mind of the beholder and really has no other value than the time spent working on it and the money spent on acquiring the materials.

In Equal Money Capitalism Art will be valued as an expression -- not as an object to create an obsession about which leads to mental disorder like throwing tons of money away to get a piece while millions suffer.

You will also no longer be limited by people having to buy your art so you can survive and make more art -- your will be supported within developing and exploring your expression.

Expression and Creative Licensing

This will be more a ‘hobby’ point. For those people whose only income is derived from such activities, they’d have to be part of a greater collective like a Cultural Centre where many points of expression are explored and presented, where the general public can come and check it out and participate in community projects. It will be a place of coming together, having fun events, meeting people – socialising, which are all things people really enjoy.

In essence it’s about self-expression. You want the freedom to express. You will have the freedom to express and you will have the support that will give you the freedom to express. The concept of ‘ownership’ is only relevant to those points that are necessary to make your life function, like a house, a car – things like that. The other things are not really an ownership, because there’s nothing new. You’re simply expressing something that already exists. You are using notes in a particular sequence -- which forms a melody. The melody already existed - it’s just a coincidence that you’re the one that came up with that particular melody. The same goes for the lyrics of a song: the words you use for a song already exist, it’s just coincidence that you come up with it or another person comes up with it – it’s equally possible.

So it’s not about ownership there, or about having a copyright, or controlling it. That’s exactly the point we want to move away from – control. So that people can express themselves, if they like it.


This will allow a lot more people to enjoy and explore art as a point of Expression without the money constraints being in place -- while more people will also be able to enjoy appreciate one another's art. This will allow for Art to take on a whole new dimensions as there will be actual freedom to express.
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