Saturday, March 10, 2012

We must insist that what art works are economically determines what they mean socially and also artistically

Damien Hirst's For the Love of God, a $100 M 8,601-diamond skull. 
atRiFf

I'd like to discuss Andrea Fraser's article entitled 1% art which appears in the Adbusters' 100th March/April issue. Her ideas can also be found at Texte zur Kunst. Fraser calls attention to what she calls a misalignment between aesthetic phenomena and the economic conditions that shape its production.
It wasn’t just the emergence of art as an asset class, or the merging of artistic with spectacle and celebrity culture, or the direct link between the expansion of the art market and art institutions and the massive upward transfer of wealth that has impoverished billions and bankrupted public sectors globally. It was the almost total disconnect I found between what art works are under these historical and economic conditions, and what artists, curators, critics and historians say that those art works –especially works they support– do and mean.
The misalignment she mentions has been discussed here. One could make the case that the first half of Fraser's paragraph (in blue) implies the second (in red). But proving that "A" causes "B" is not easy. Even good criticism often fails to go beyond mere assumptions & cherry-picking. Take the graph below as possible evidence of a "link between the expansion of the art market and art institutions and the massive transfer of wealth to art as an intangible safer form of investment": 

Since the 2008 crisis, contemporary art has shown the strongest gain. Coincidence?

Let's observe that as this transference happens, art discourse becomes "delusional." Let's have it:
The works evince an unsettling mix of ebullient pride and painful embarrassment that is only heightened by the implementation of decorative chains, straps, studs, horns, and other trappings of the s/m aesthetic. With only fourteen of these dungeon effigies on view, the exhibition is stunningly sparse, creating a thrilling tension between the presented and the presentation.
Take a look at the writer's "epistemic license," who uses "evince" (a firm code for seeing), to justify his hyperbole ("unsettling mix of ebullient pride and painful embarrassment"). Why has art discourse erased the distinction between selling & seriously interpreting, describing or critiquing?

In fact, art discourse has the power to turn pseudo-graffiti into sublime. One could retort that epistemic license has been a fixture of art discourse before. Point given, but since the early 2000's (with the advent of art as a culture and spectacle), this kind of discursive practice has become the norm.

Fraser agrees:
What I persistently found in such perspectives was an elaboration of formal and iconographic investigations as figures of radical social and even economic critique, while the social and economic conditions of the works themselves, as cultural commodities, were completely ignored or recognized only in the most euphemized ways.
Alberto Giacometti's sculpture L'Homme qui marche sold at Sotheby's, London, February 3, 2010, $93,090 million, a world record for an art work at auction.

Some time ago, we presented a "critic's manifesto," suggesting an opposition between criticism & Criticism:
* criticism doesn't really address art, much less the art-object (which is left-aside at the periphery in favor of a theoretical byproduct that masks it).
* criticism is an abduction of critical discourse committed to clarity, specificity and honesty.
* criticism means wholesale entertainment, a waning of proactive engagement with the artwork and its politics.
* criticism embodies the platitudes of the art-market and its minions, the art media, posing as a serious option.
* criticism is opportunistic and sensationalistic. it presents the reactions surrounding the thing. art as art-for-.
* criticism stereotypes the art-object with pseudo-theories (whether pseudo-formalism, pseudo-Lacanian or pseudo-Freudian psychoanalysis, diverse forms of homogenized versions of post-structuralism, hermeneutics, etc.).
* criticism is so concerned with externalities of culture that it turns a blind eye to the dealings and mind-games of the art marker. basically, criticism is fake.
What does this disconnect between "aesthetic/epistemic" and "economic conditions" amount to?
The majority of what was said and written about art started to seem to me almost delusional in the grandiosity of its claims for social impact, particularly combined with its disconnect from the reality of art’s social conditions. As I suggested in 2008, the primary site of the barriers that separate the aesthetic and epistemic forms that constitute art’s symbolic systems and the practical and economic relations that constitute its social conditions may not be the physical spaces of art objects, but the discursive spaces of art history and criticism.
Movers and shakers @ LACMA: Eli Broad, Edyth Broad, with Lorenzo Piano, Michael Govan, and Jeff Koons

What are the "physical spaces of art objects" if not "discursive practices?" Objects are discourse. The former are shaped by the latter; our conceptual evaluations of the world. To assume a clear cut between  aesthetic/epistemic & economic realms would be to side with Kant's idea of the aesthetic as a realm of disinterestedness. So, why is art such a commodity? This is how economist Arjo Klamer presents what he calls the value of culture:
Elementary economics tells us to see things like paintings as commodities that are costly to produce and have their value determined in the interplay between demand and supply in the marketplace. Economists presume that people are reasonable enough, that they never pay more for a work of art than they consider it worth. People pay nothing for art that they do not value and they do not pay infinite amounts for priceless art. William Gramp, an economist, concludes from this that price is the best indicator of the aesthetic valueIt is a shocking perspective (if you care about the value of art). But try to prove him wrong.1
Fraser takes ARTnews' 200 top collectors. What's new here is that she goes behind the scenes to expose these characters' foul-smelling personal dealings. These art collectors make one's flesh creep: 

1- Bernard Arnault (listed by Forbes as the 4th richest man in the world with $41 B in capital, controlling LVMH, which reported a gain of 13% even during the crisis of 2011).
2- Roman Abramovich, with 13.4 B, "who has admitted paying billions in bribes for control of Russian oil and aluminum assets." 3- John Arnold, who got his start at Enron "who recently gave $150,000 to an organization seeking to limit pensions." 4- MOMA, MoCA and LACMA trustee Eli Broad (worth $5.8 B) "and was board member of the notorious AIG." 5- Steven A. Cohen (estimated worth, $8 B) founder of SAC Capital Advisors, "... under investigation for insider trading."  6- Guggenheim trustee David Ganek, "who recently shut down his $4B Level Global hedge fund after an FBI raid." 7- Noam Gottesman and former partner Pierre Lagrange earned $400 million each for the sale of their hedge fund GLG in 2007, making them amongst the worlds biggest winners from the credit crunch. 8- Andrew Hall whose $100 million in compensation in 2009 led Citigroup to sell its Philbro division, where he was the top trader, after pressures from regulators to curtail his pay right after Citigroup $45B bail out from the federal government. 9- Damien Hirst (worth $215 million) who, as artist, is now at a par with his patrons. 10- Peter Krauss who collected $25 million for just three months work "when his exit package was triggered by Merril Lynch's sale to Bank of America with the help of US funds." 11- "The firm of MoMA chairman Jerry Speyer defaulted on a major real estate investment in 2010, loosing $500 million for the California State Pension Fund and up to $2B in debt secured by the US federal agencies." 12- Reinhold Würth (worth $5.7B) has been fined for tax evasion in Germany (Würth has compared taxation to torture).   

The $25 million in bonus Peter Krauss earned for his troubles @ Merril Lynch was just enough to allow him to afford to buy Carl and Barbaralee Spielvogel's apartment at 720 Park for $36.63 million, twice what they paid for it two years ago. 

Fraser mentions a Dimitri Mavrommatis the so-called Swiss-based Greek asset manager, who paid £18 million for a Picasso on June 21, 2011 as thousands of Greeks were rioting against austerity measures. One could say that Mavrommatis example is not a ilegal or immoral  per se, though it shows a blatant disconnect between aesthetic and economic events. Paradoxically the apparent disconnection hides the fact that both, Mavrommatis' investment and the Greek crisis happen too close in time and space.  


Art is turned into value-charts: Cy Twombly's total sales for the period 2001-2010

Is the art world so corrupt? Let's not declare guilt by association. The list does not expose a necessary connection between art collecting and fraud. What Fraser brings to attention is the obvious porosity of two spheres (aesthetic and economic) which the elite of the art world has kept separate (for very a importan reason). And that's enough. 2

Art and money have become a standard fixture of the art world. By that I mean art practices: discourse, production, presentation & consumption.

 Revelers at the party Vito Schnabel, Stavros Niarchos and Alex Dellal threw at the W hotel, 2009.

As art becomes a spectacle of culture, the aesthetic/financial separation is erased. Art's blazing contradictions appear:
The art market has a unique talent for promoting art about the market. Since exhibition history enhances value, the collectors of what we might call "market art" have a vested interest in seeing their work take up space in traditional public collections. They often have the financial leverage to make it happen. In this way, the hedge-fund collector Steven A. Cohen could place Damien Hirst's shark tank on temporary loan at the Metropolitan Museum. The oversized trinkets of Jeff Koons start appearing at the same time in the museum’s rooftop gallery.
The critic & the curator are tacit allies of the market: framers, apologists of goods, middle-men who translate pictorial codes into a clear language of commodity exchange. It's so sad seeing artists themselves (in spite of protests to the contrary) happily rallying behind this fake legitimation process.3 In private, these hyperbolic practices are criticized as laudatory at worst, just at best, but necessary, in fact, to make a decent career.

I mean, who wouldn't like to be written about by a critic in a publication, or included in a show? 

Fraser realizes this contradiction. 
Progressive artists, critics and curators face an existential crisis: how can we continue to justify our involvement in this art economy? At minimum, if our only choice is to participate or to abandon the art filed entirely, we can stop rationalizing that participation in the name of critical or political art practices or --adding insult to injury-- social justice. Any claim that we represent a progressive social force while our activities are directly subsidized by, and benefited from, the engines of inequality can only contribute to the engines of that inequality.

Increasingly, it seems that politics in the art world is largely a politics of envy and guilt, or of self-interest generalized in the name of narrowly conceived and privileged form of autonomy, and that artistic "critique" most often serves not to reveal but to distance these economic conditions and our investment in them. As such, it is a politics that functions to defend against contradictions that might otherwise make our continued participation  in the art field, and access to its considerable rewards -which have ensconced many of us comfortable among the 10%, inf not the 1% or even the 0.1%- unbearable.
Even accepting Fraser's self-questioning, let's not pass on this obvious redundancy: Artists use the *system* to succeed, so, the *system* has appropriated the discourse artists use to succeed. As perverse as it looks, Fraser's soul-search can be successfully appropriated by the *system*.

Imagine an exhibition in any museum addressing this very issue, with catalog and artists & curator panels following the show. Let's say for now that the *system* subverts the presence-absence divide: It shows as it disappears!

For example, Edward Winkleman of Art World Salon falls for presence.
Er…uh…the critique of institutions is alive (*cough* #class) and well (*cough* #rank) by artists like William Powhida (whose new show opens Saturday) and Jennifer Dalton (whose current show ends this Saturday. (Full disclosure, I represent Dalton, but that’s why I find the notion that institutional critique is being discouraged so out of touch, it’s also why I can report that BIG money seems to get and does indeed buy such art as well).
Wilkleman doesn't get it (or doesn't want to?). Within the *system* the critique of institutions is institutional through&through! 4 

So, what can we do about the *system*?
A broad based shift in art discourse may help precipitate a long overdue splitting off of market-dominated subfields of galleries, auction houses, and art fairs. If a turn away from the art market means that public museums contract and ultra-wealthy collectors create their own privately controlled institutions, so be it. Let these private institutions be the treasure vaults, theme park spectacles and economic freak shows that many already are. Let the market-dominated art world become a luxury good business it already basically is.
Why not fight it?

I welcome Fraser's advice:
It's time we began evaluating whether art works fulfill, or fail to fulfill, political or critical claims at the level of their social and economic conditions. We must insist that what art works are economically determines what they mean socially and also artistically.
Isn't it cynical to keep selling art while presenting it as -primarily- aesthetic? Yet, as much as I sympathize with Fraser's position, this last point seems indistinguishable from the kind of art-discourse she is fighting against:
If we curators, critics, art historians and artist, withdraw our cultural capital from these markets, we have the potential to create a new art field where radical forms of autonomy can develop: nos as secessionist "alternatives" that exist only in the grandiose enactments of artists and theorists, but as fully institutionalized structures, which, with the "properly social magic of institutions" will be able to produce reproduce and reward non-commercial values.
The phrase in purple takes us back to a Schiller-like, Kantian-like space of strict autonomy.5 Even thinking it fails to imagine it. Art was never really autonomous, rather, it was defended as such by various theories of art. I can see an apologist asking how can I reject autonomy and still defend the idea of good and bad art? The same way one can tell the difference between good and bad wine.

It's time to talk about what's next, but not now. We'll be back with more soon. 

_______________
1 Arjo Klamer, The Value of Culture: On the Relationship between Economics and Arts Contributors, (Amsterdam University Press, 1996). 2 How can one separate say, art production or art consumption without taking into account the *system*, i.e., art world as a a whole? 3 A well-known artist has told me that there is no difference between good art and bad art today. He is right. 4 That doesn't mean that the *system* can preempt all subversive actions from within. This is a topic that we need to address soon. 5 Even as Baumgarten and Kant defined art as an independent sphere, it was being used as a religious, and political cipher. I'd like to bring up Theodor Adorno's Aesthetic Theory. Adorno's critique of aestheticism suspects any separation of the aesthetic from the bigger picture of society (which does not mean that one has to fall into a mirror-like reversal of social reductionism).

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

triff: good post, but it will not change things. pardon my skepticism. i'd leave the art market alone and move to other things.

r. charles

Alfredo Triff said...

I disagree with you, Charles. Change is always possible. Thanks for reading.

SeanBari said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SeanBari said...

Very good post. As a business major, I find it interesting that this post makes a connection between commodities/the economy and the arts. After all, these realms are usually kept seperate from each other because the arts are supposed to be "aesthetically inclined" and a commodity is "finanically focused." The part of this post that conveyed increased importance to me were the graphs for prices of contemporary art and specific sales by artist. OUR ENTIRE SOCIETY HAS FALLEN TO THE GREED OF MAKING AND SPENDING MONEY, even now through the artistic world. What ever happened to the beauty of art without looking at the price tag? What ever happened to enjoying/producing art simply for its beauty and compassionate nature? Instead, we find artists mass-producing art for economic gain (e.g. Britto). This post shows relevance to a converstion I had earlier this week about the health system in America. Doctors (though this a HUGE generalization) choose this profession, not because they love helping people, but because they want a six-figure check at the end of the day at the expense of the needy/sick public. The art world seems to be a new wave of this phenomenon.. Artists have increasingly started to produce works to make money. This arguably falls at the expense of future art culture in society. This must change.. How? Through government interaction? Possibly. Through human realization of a need for change? Perhaps. Only time will tell but this change lies in society's hands and is made relevant in this post.

Addys said...

Good Afternoon Prof. Triff:

Very good post.
In my opinion almost everything we do today we expect some financial reward. Art is number one in the list. Before art was considered a way of expression, it was evocative, it told biographical stories, it represented SOMETHING. Nowadays (do not mean to offend anyone) art has become purely abstract, of course my opinion could be biased by the fact that for me conceptual art means nothing else but colors and shapes, which is essentially what painting is, but in a nonrepresentational way. That’s it, it has become the “bomb,” conceptual art I mean. I am criticizing a little but, who says Andy Warhol’s “Campbell Soup Cans” and Piero Manzoni’s "Merda d'artista” was art? I think there are countless misconceptions as to what art really is, but I will not discuss this further.
Art became mass production and byproduct of consumerism, making art to sell and not so much to inspire and motivate others. I mean we know how artists are very selective when picking a gallery to show their art and so is the gallery, what do they look for nowadays? “Business licenses, insurance, ADA compliance, correct commercial zone in the city. To sell to the gallery, the artist must have a resale license, liability insurance, and most importantly of all for his success-the reputation as an artist which has been fomented in the press though favorable press releases, publicity and straight-out advertising that are controlled by others.” (Consumerism in the arts)
Art has become just another product in the market, it is not so much about the hard work and beauty of the artwork per se but its economic value is what matters. Artists make art based on demand and what “sells.” It has become good business.

Thank you

Alfredo Triff said...

Sean, glad you mention Britto, who is the epitome of profit making.

That’s it, it has become the “bomb,” conceptual art I mean. I am criticizing a little but, who says Andy Warhol’s “Campbell Soup Cans” and Piero Manzoni’s "Merda d'artista” was art? I think there are countless misconceptions as to what art really is, but I will not discuss this further.

Addys, generally it's expected that art works by consensus. But as such, you could choose to stay away. One can imagine an alien civilization looking at Duchamp's urinal and peeing on it. They probably won't perceive as art.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, the connection between the arts and money has always been present. Although, art is supposed to be aesthetically incline it is like any other profession and at the end of the day artist need to support them somehow. Some arts are more expensive than other; it all depends on the publicity of the artist and the importance of the work according to the people. The graphs above prove my point. Nowadays, economic wise any item is expensive so is the art world. Now, I’m not very good in the arts but I see there is a huge gap between modern art and the art from the past. Before, every work of art had a strong meaning behind today I personally cannot see the meaning behind the work. What use to represent a response to the bombing of Guernica, Basque Country, by German and Italian warplanes at the behest of the Spanish Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War by Pablo Picasso (Guernica) today is Piero Manzoni’s "Merda d'artista” (like Addys mentioned) which for me is empty do not represent absolutely nothing. However, this tells us how much society has altered throughout the years and what is considering being important, valuable and beautiful.

EDUARDO GUIZAN
M W F 10:00am-10:50am

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading this post. Regardless of what one may create or express through the arts, everyone wants to make money. The Arts and money are related, but ultimately, a true artist wants to express an idea, emotions , prove a point, or represent something that means to them and try to convey it to their audience. Those who do art just for the money, in my opinion are not true artist. As a musician, and in hopes of one day being able to contribute to society my utter most feelings and interpretations of life, I can understand where artist come from. All arts are a product in the market nowadays, even music. Just throw in some beats, and few "fuck nigga" here and there, and there you go, number one hit!... Where's the inspiration in that? But in the end, we are the one's buying those paintings, and albums and are helping those "artist" profit for work that wasn't even made from the heart. So what does that say about society? Change requires action, and action requires people.

-Beatrice Argota

JessicaFernandez said...

As an artistically frustrated individual, this post touches upon an observation which I made quite a few years ago and has become a recurring topic of debate amongst my inner circle of friends. From a young age, art – be it on a canvas or occupying a space – has been present in all facets of my life forming my perspective of the world around me. As such, I, the not artistically inclined, have admired art from a talent and economic point of view. From contemporary paintings hanging on my home’s walls, to the chairs that occupy spaces, and the once again admired street art that adds culture to our society, art is everywhere and as such comes at a price. It is when this price that is put on art is taken out of continent and becomes a status quote rather than art is when art’s true meaning is lost. (AKA I define art, much like in the article, as anything in our world that involves the use of the self or a material, molded and presented to others from an innovative, motivative and thought provoking matter.)

Yes, everything does have a price and the individuals who devote themselves to this profession have to make a living, but when is enough enough? The fact that the art world has been over taken by money is a “sad” phenomenon – especially when those who do not have the money many times are the true admires of the work and talent that are put into art – but is the reality of our society, a reality that each of us can do something about and not accept.

“Money makes the world go round, but money cannot be ones soul inspiration…”

Anonymous said...

I want to make a quick reference to the point about business and money. The truth is that with anything in this world, people like to make money. If they are good at something and see an opportunity to make a financial profit from it, they do; and they should. I don't think that making money taints a piece of work. Artists have created art work before they made any money from it. Making money for something as "pure" as art is only an advantage but it does not take from the inspiration of the work. People get mislead with what money does to the way people live their lives. In reality money does change peoples values sometimes, but it does not affect what inspiration takes place in a piece of work. And by the way, criticism is a big medium through which artists for instance make their money. The better reviews and criticism they receive, the more response from the public. I don't think that this will ever change. The people respond to criticism and what other peoples opinions are. As long as people are concerned with what criticism exists, and what other's opinions are, it will influence the arts, and any other talent that someone may have. I think an important tool that artists and performers need to acquire is ignore criticism, and focus on expert opinions, if necessary.

Mass production is only a part of business. If people respond to an artist's work, then why should he/she not take advantage of the opportunity. Thank you for this post Triff, the discussion we had in class helped to put some of the ideas into perspective.

By: Javier Figueras

Fiama Reyes said...

Throughout history, we have seen thousands human beings do about anything for money, and art is one the many disciplines involved. It is not a surprise to know that art is a synonym for the wealthy. Why is the debt crisis not having an impact on the market? Financial turmoil has been an incentive rather than a barrier for the wealthy to buy art. Moreover, during times of economic downturn, people buy tangible items as a shelter against volatility and inflation. There are too many good artists and too few individuals with money to buy. The most famous and overly priced art works hold a monopoly on the rising artists. This is a dismal time for the talented artists who are not establishing even though their work is more accomplished that the artists who are selling extremely well.

Linda said...

I believe that art is meant for aesthetic value; imagination and creativity, and I believe selling art for such high figures takes away the main reason behind it. Art is part of our everyday life and I don't believe should be exhibited in elitist galleries to provide its true value. Art can be anywhere and anything, and I believe some great artists take advantage and sell their art for ridiculous prices. Although I believe its primary purpose is aesthetic in nature, artists do need to profit from their work produced and should get paid. It's silly to say that artists shouldn't profit from any of their work produced, because just like any other art or career, we get paid for what we do.

-Linda Padilla

Linda said...

I believe that art is meant for aesthetic value; imagination and creativity, and I believe selling art for such high figures takes away the main reason behind it. Art is part of our everyday life and I don't believe should be exhibited in elitist galleries to provide its true value. Art can be anywhere and anything, and I believe some great artists take advantage and sell their art for ridiculous prices. Although I believe its primary purpose is aesthetic in nature, artists do need to profit from their work produced and should get paid. It's silly to say that artists shouldn't profit from any of their work produced, because just like any other art or career, we get paid for what we do.

-Linda Padilla

Kenny Ann said...

Throughout the history of humanity, things change. Sometimes it is for the better, but sometimes it is for the worse. I think art has become an economic commodities become the time has changed. This is what the public want; therefore, the artists have to give it to their fans in order for them survive. The artistic world is not a flourishing career, and even though an artist would make a very great work without the public approval, this excellent work does not worth anything. I also think that we force them to just produce work that they think will be sold instead of some of the deep paintings or sculptures previously done in the past.

Anonymous said...

As the decades have gone by, art has become more and more of a commodity. This does not surprise me because art is aesthetically pleasing to thousands of people. These people are willing to pay millions of dollars to own a gorgeous painting by Picasso or Van Gogh. The beauty of art is powerful because, in many cases, people become emotionally attached to it. I saw a movie called The Maiden Heist in which three security guards become very attached to three art pieces. They decide to steal those art pieces. Many people feel that they can identify themselves with specific art pieces and others feel that certain paintings give them a sense of tranquility. Since art is very meaningful and valuable to many humans, several talented artists make sure to sell their works for millions of dollars. Whatever object millions of people like, that object will be widely and,at times, expensively sold. For example, millions of Americans love consuming cheeseburgers and they are widely sold. Another example is the fact that many women love diamonds. As a result, diamonds are very expensive and the more rare the diamond, the more expensive it is. -Priscilla Suarez

Euvie P. said...

I have seen artworks from well known artists that I would not buy. However, something very simple can be very moving. "beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder" they say. I believe that artworks get selected depending on the taste of the person doing the selection. As well as artists use art as personal expressions, they also use it to pass out a message or present somebody else's situation. I believe that it requires a lot of passion and devotion to get an artwork done. Therefore, the people should be well rewarded by those who appreciate all the efforts required to get the work done.

Melissa Iparraguirre said...

Those people that possess the talent of making any kind of art, like paintings, sculptures, portraits or anything that portrays something pleasing to the eye, will take the chance of selling their work to make money. There has always been a link between artistic works and monetary gain. I’m not saying making money off of artwork is bad or anything along those lines, but it gets to the point where the audience starts judging what it valuable art and what isn’t. For example, Britto has created numerous amount of commercial art for department stores, such as Macy’s, and has indirectly placed a value of his name. Honestly, I do not see the big deal of the works he had made when his art is nothing more but profit. I think true art is an art piece that reveals a sentimental feeling about the artist, or conveys a story. Sometimes when a person who pursues art and begins selling their work, and the public becomes pleased with their product, it turns into a business and the artist is influenced and starts making art based on what the public wants and loses sight of the inspiration that got them to where they are currently. At the end of the day, people will do what they have to in order to support themselves and there will always be the question “what is art?” floating around.

anggieferrer said...

Throughout time, the meaning and value that many artists give to their pieces is shifting towards what society wants “art” to be. What I mean by this is that nowadays anything and everything is considered art, therefore artists take advantage of the term “abstract” to create ridiculously expensive pieces just because they excite the imagination and are aesthetically pleasing. Simultaneously, I believe that the finest and oldest pieces of artwork, paintings to be more specific, are usually worth a lot of money because they are almost considered “antiques.” Those pieces can actually be differentiated from the mass production artwork industry we currently have. The majority of current artwork represents popular culture, where the pieces with higher values are the ones that get purchased by consumers and become more popular, raising the demand as well as the production of the piece. Unfortunately, society has given in to the beauty of “modern” art and the emptiness of its artworks, although there are many who still enjoy and preserve the real substance of “art”.

sonia said...

Art, as literature and music, has always shifted towards different meanings or general concepts. We can exemplify this with modernism, Bauhaus, Expressionism, Contemporary art and such. Now, it has been long since a "new" trend started and maybe this is it; instead of "art for the sake of art" it has shifted to art for the sake of wealth, class and sophistication, a measure of your "level" in society, or at least that's what our current society has made of it. Artists, as any other creature in this planet, have had to adapt and evolve along the demands and markets that open along the way. The wealthy 1% demands a fine piece of artwork to display it in their homes (without caring much about the meaning) then that's what they'll have. It is saddening though, art should be a form of expression with the potential to hypnotize us with its beauty, intrigue us with its abstract nature or hit us in the face with the political or historical message it conveys, instead of simply being an overpriced object for decor.

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