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Prices for contemporary art

Запись от Валерий Рыбаков размещена 13.05.2010 в 12:08

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I did for you translate an editorial in the Web magazine «Who's who in international art».


The price of today's art

Among the issues that constantly ask the public about contemporary art, dominated by one: how to calculate the price of the product iskkusstva?

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This issue is often expressed surprise and skepticism of the public (and sometimes - and artists, gallerists, and historians) in the form of very high prices for contemporary art, difficult to understand: how can one explain, for example, what quite a monochrome picture (even if it is created famous Yves Klein) or the mountain of stones (the product of Richard Long) Art of um so expensive, and generally something of Article of IT?

Let's try to answer but not immediately, but gradually.

«This is - the devil knows what»

Contemporary Art, calculated specialists are from early 60-ies. the last century, consists of works that are strikingly different from each other. Meanwhile, it often gives the impression of incredible inferiority of execution - to such an extent that some imagine that "it can make any", including a child.
Even for Picasso once said: "This is - the devil knows what!" Writer Andre Malraux told the journalist Jacques Chancel, he said of Picasso, one participant the French Resistance, is not familiar with modern art: "This type - a real sorcerer: I can also "create" such works, but he manages to sell them for big money! "Contemporary art and black magic - both phenomena fascinate ...

This story clearly shows how difficult it is to explain the pricing of the product of the 20 th and 21 th centuries. But why this question still preoccupies our contemporaries?

What we are left with the criteria of the past?

Visitor halls of the Art 16 th, 17 th or 18 th century in the Louvre (confine these centuries, and this museum) feels that the financial value of works by Rembrandt, Nicolas Poussin, Francois Boucher meets art as superior, as well as specificity Each of these artists are quite obvious. One need not be art historian to assess mastery of these creators are not casually referred to as "masters of» («maître» - in French "lord, master, owner, master"). Recall that they possessed a wide erudition, incomparable to the level of a simple craftsman, necessary for the creation of works on mythological, religious or historical subjects.
It may be that some would think that these works are still too expensive, but no one will dispute the validity of their prices based on perfection of their execution. In addition, we are talking about the artists of the past, and historians have long identified the location of each of them among their contemporaries and with respect to the masters of subsequent generations.

Thus, the first sign that can justify the cost of works of art (in the eyes of an inexperienced or unconvinced audience) - a the apparent perfection of execution, which means simply "I so can not do that!" .

But is that enough? We'll have to admit that no, because even with the Renaissance artist is increasingly different from the artisan. One skill is not enough.

We must also take it into account something new that the artist brings to the art. For example, Rembrandt and Poussin were contemporaries, and mastery of both can not be doubted, but each of them left their own mapping of his age, that is, they are not equivalent.

Likewise, no one can deny evidence of excellent performance skills Gerhard Dow, but it is difficult to imagine that it can be put on Vermeer. The hierarchy of these artists in the history of art has already been established, although not too long ago, and, consequently, and prices vary - with a difference that is hard to disagree.

On the other hand, have always been artists who have enjoyed more than others. Some of them became fashionable, other spectators were carried away less, and some do not get carried away. This phenomenon can also be a justification for the difference in price for their product, and evaluation of their art historians in this case is irrelevant. However, one must take into account the fact that, when he goes out of fashion, his quote is reduced and reflects his true place in art history. Sometimes, this former "fashion artist" completely disappears without leaving any trace the history of art.

The fate of the most famous artists of the 19 th century is well known - in the next century, they were completely forgotten. For example, William Bouguereau (in life - a real monument uvesheshivaemy all sorts of awards and showered with gold to a and me his death in 1905), Alexander Cabanel, Leon Gerome and others . - were surrounded by a glory, like Jeff Koons, Maurizio Kattelanu and Daniel Hirst today.
Since then nothing has changed - just look through the catalogs of art fairs over the past 30 years to find the names of the most promoted in a while, but had forgotten - and not always fairly - artists.

The criteria for judgments, beginning with the 20 th century

The cost of Marcel Duchamp's urinal, not executed by the artist himself, in fact, signed the name of a wholesale manufacturer of plumbing Myutta was invaluable - despite the fact that the original of this work, created in 1917, has long been lost. It is very strange, but nevertheless this is the case (it came before that, when the artist Pierre Pinonchelli deliberately broke one of the author's remarks, made Duchamp, purchase a new urinal in 1964 in limited quantities, and its estimated 3 million euros) .

It must be said that abstract art is also a source of confusion as the public and among artists. Like Impressionism, Cubism, Fauvism ... But all of these artists and innovators could quickly convince the world of art on its side ("The Legend of the fact that artists of the late 19 th century lived in terrible poverty, and incomprehension among his contemporaries, is absolutely untrue," - writes art historian Christina Surzha in his book, "Mirages of contemporary art." She recalls the social origins of most of the Impressionists, including Van Gogh, and the rapid growth of prices for their products). Of course, these are very significant art movement first evoked a strong reaction of rejection, because they broke with tradition. But soon they fit into the history of art, because the gap is much less radical than it first seems - in the end they too were engaged in painting and sculpture ...

However, with Duchamp, until the beginning of the second half of the 20 th century, better known in the U.S. than in Europe, the situation is quite different. This is not a gap, it is a revolution. This is - a complete rejection of the past, from history, from the traditions of craftsmanship, relayed to have for many centuries from one generation to another, and the development of a new world, a world of Modernity, the world's science, progress. This - the development of a new art history. Disclaimer This had important consequences for hudozhestvennoogo training in the late 20 th century. (The historian Jacques Tyuile wrote: "One of the characteristics of this time was the sudden failure of traditional techniques. Of course, the architects have continued to teach construction skills, and, frankly, difficult to imagine that they will ever be able to do without it. But in other areas of the arts traditions, continuously transmitted from the Carolingian era, the last 30 years simply disappeared. Today's architect is not able to mold a knee or arm. The artist can not draw a shoulder or torso. In almost all institutions of higher education that are no longer taught. amazing speed with which this occurred process. This situation has spread to Japan, and China, where only a small part of the artists follows the traditions, all the rest imitate the western model ").

The fact is that, while Marcel Duchamp had lived in the 20 th century, one could argue that in fact his age /time starts in 60-ies., Together with the new history of art, which he opened the door.

What is this new art? In the end - the creation of concepts applicable to the visual arts with the development of new materials (video, performance, photography, installation, digital art, etc.), is transformed into visual art.

If people are legitimizing the taste of time (critics, museum professionals, gallery owners) are taking the concept of the artist, despite the fact that the material realization of this concept can be quite mediocre (actually, often the artist does not take in the implementation of any part - as in Jeff Koons United States or France's Fabrice Ibert), the price of the product will reflect the novelty of this concept in relation to other developed since Marcel Duchamp.
This means that the person issuing the official label of modernity in art, valid for both the world of formal organizations associated with art, and for the art market, judging artists and sculptors, along with installers, photographers, Video Producer, using conceptual filter .

In this situation, interest is not mastery of the artist - though it may be noted that Duchamp and his followers have a new skill - attracted the attention not the culture of the artist, his knowledge of the history of painting, from cave paintings of Lascaux. The subject of evaluation is its ability to "portray the idea" to illustrate the concept, using any means of expression - any basis, the size, type and scope of the material, etc. This tool can become their own audience, or a value for the spectators of a gesture or a sign, especially if the meaning of work for the artist is to provoke - but this tool can be, and a tube of paint on canvas or jute.

From this perspective, it does not matter, it is figurative or abstract painting, she left the world of images, to penetrate the world of pure concept, it is subject to this concept, under which - and only on this basis - it is estimated.

The idea of the artist to replace the traditional skills and created a new skill, which is entirely made in the ability to make their artistic choices that viewers must decipher (the entire history of art of the 20 th century, consists of declarations, manifestos, concepts and ideological struggle - See the anthology ed. Charles Harrison and Paul Wood, Art in theory. 1900-1990 ", which shows the creative force, but sometimes naive, cause only confusion, and artists of the time). This explains the confusion of many of our contemporaries, who continue to look at the painting of our time, as if they viewed paintings of 18 th century, or to perceive the installation Nam June Paik, as if it were a sculpture of Rodin.

Considering the "Thinker", do not need the instructions for use, even if the viewer can not catch everything that Rodin expressed in his sculpture. Here, the viewer - an erudite or unsophisticated audience - is dealing with embodied reality, which can be felt. But can we say the same thing at the sight of existing televisions and radios, harmoniously arranged Nam June Paik, who called his work "Voltaire? It is necessary to understand the lack of understanding of the audience and, consequently, the need to explain to those who are not satisfied with the opportunity to respond to this job ridicule or treat it with indifference - and already understood, the audience may laugh, if the explanation of his amusement.

Based on the foregoing, it is necessary to conclude that there are two categories of works and, accordingly, the artists who must be distinguished from each other: those who remain faithful to the history of art, from paintings of Lascaux (as Balthus and Bacon), and those who fit into the new art history leading from the beginning Duchamp. Of course, this division is sketchy, but this distinction is indeed crucial for the so-called modern art.

The market assessment is the predominant

To understand how to calculate the price on the art of our days, need to put artwork in "his" context . But it's not all. What else?

Next, we must take into account the assessment of experts - we have already said, but will return to it again, as she eventually lets hang out or that the price for a certain piece of art. And since it comes to trading costs, the first experts are gallery owners.

These "most important traders" are always present and on the "historical" art fairs (Art Basel in Basel and Miami, Fiac in Paris, Art Köln in Cologne, Arco in Madrid), and their young rival (Frieze in London, Armory Show in New York, Art Bruxelles in Brussels, Art Forum Berlin, Artissima in Turin). All of these fairs are fighting for maximum visibility and readability of the international market, which should attract the most influential buyers, including representatives of government organizations, purchasing works of art (there is a fair, not oriented to the market, the laws which they consider to be absurd - this is Europ'ART in Geneva, which represents brokers and artists in a different way, and, more importantly, representing the other intermediaries and artists - which is becoming the most influential alternative fair in Europe).

If the views of those dominant professionals agree with the opinion of critics and representatives of the official art world, quoting the artist will be gradually adopted at public sales. For the artist will closely monitor the major collectors, such as Francois Pinault in France, as well as collectors, dealers, such as Charles Saatchi in London, the real creator of flavors, whose choice of artists does not leave anyone indifferent, let alone art dealers watch each his gesture.

Thus, prices for works of a small part of rising artists, and sometimes literally take off the market, while the other artists on it completely absent. These artists are trying to find themselves without the help of an enlightened public opinion of the market. But what about the price of their work? Based on what criteria they evaluate their work?

Price of independence

Artists who chose to remain independent from the market or have not found a place for the reasons described above, can decide the prices of their work.

Without any claim to the universality of our model, there are several data, we believe, fundamental.

First of all, any experience of the artist has a price: the price of the work of novice artist, regardless of whether he graduated from art school or university is a self-taught, there will always be lower than in the artist's works with the B of more experience. The buyer should also take into account the number and especially the quality of exhibitions in which the artist participated. All that matters, and received an artist award, even if he does not have a quoted market price, but should be excluded awards for which the artist had to pay - unfortunately, the situation is still present.

We're going against the trend of the times, and advise the buyer to be attentive to the execution of the proposed works. In addition, we must compare them with the works of this kind traded on the market, and with the works of the past, already listed in the history of art. That is why the opportunity to meet with the artist and talk with him very useful - it helps to understand his creative process and assess its contribution to the art.

Some brokers, realizing how difficult it is both the public and artists to gather independent of the art market information to determine prices for works of art, have developed tools to assist the classification of works of art, not recorded on the market. However, no one can guarantee you the validity of the asking price, as in the arts are all very subjective, and therefore "normal" price is the one that agrees to pay the buyer.
Prices for contemporary art
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