Monday, October 28, 2013
Art Rant Number One
Kurt von Behrmann
|Edvard Munch's The Scream|
There are any number of questions you can ask an artist. You can inquire about the nature of the work or the themes involved. There exist a plethora of questions one can ask. Out of all of them that are possible one struck me as a bit offensive. That question, you may ask is this.
Do you actually “sell” your work?
The reason that question is so irksome is that it reduces art to just dollars and cents. It does not address quality, merit or artistic direction. The question ignores other issues like Republicans hate concessions. A refutation of the merit of art is boldly addressed when it comes to value based on the market.
If, and I do say if, the market is so damn accurate than why was a van Gogh worth a few dollars to be deemed priceless later. If the market is so damn accurate artist’s monetary value would be as permanent as gravity.
The subject is squarely art and money. The sad reality is that so many always ask the same question, do you get paid and how much? After a while question becomes an attack on credibility. Art should be of merit irrespective of the price. A van Gogh is no less wonderful if it were a few dollars or millions of them. The value of the work is in the aesthetic value.
Ideally a work of art must stand on its own. Its price simply a reality that artists have to get paid. Just like the lawyer, the doctor, the butcher and the candlestick maker. Everyone has to live.
But when art is reduced to just another transaction, something about the idea seems coarse and ill considered. Art is supposed to be more than a price tag. In an ideal world it should be something of wonder that poses questions or inspires to greatness. Art that fails to take a higher road only winds up sitting in a gutter wondering what went wrong.
People will always wonder about the careful dance that is art and money. Too bad that the fiscal always trumps the artistic side.