The Myth of Modern Art Markets

TLDR: The majority of people hate the style. Justly.

http://drawingacademy.com/contemporary-art-bubble?awt_l=9WmjM&awt_m=3vdcDndjTdpSnqq

Until the 15th century, fine art had sacral and utilitarian purpose. No artist was producing paintings for the pure aim of being admired as a subject itself. The church was the main and only client able to afford marvelous masterpieces intended to glorify the commissioner and religious faith. It was a status quo up to the time when Italian bankers and republic rulers came into play. With new money came a new agenda for fine art. No longer was art to be sacral, it was liberated to fulfill another meaning – to become an object of admiration, the measure of status.

Fine artists obliged with readiness. Before that, no artwork was created because an artist wanted to simply express himself, all works were commissioned and the client had his say on what and how to paint.

The Renaissance brought something new to the art marketplace. Sacral art turned into fine art. It became an object that could be valued accordingly to the fine artist’s talent. The value of the artwork stopped being measured by its size, amount of and price of art materials, and time spent by the artist.

The art became a commodity fetishism, it was idolized as the object itself, it was worshiped for the ‘power’ people assigned to it. Art workshops, run by professional fine artists, with the help of numerous apprentices, started to produce artworks that could be purchased not only by kings and church officials, but also by the middle class.

who ruin literally everything pure

The demand of those private citizens shaped the fine art market for the next 500 years. Art styles came and went, fashion was being changed from generation to generation by new consumers, but art managed to stay civilized and fulfill its primary purpose – to be a beautiful object that deserved to be admired, loved and worshiped.

There has been always progress in fine art. New generations of fine artists were coming and competing for the attention of clients. Those who were brave enough to reject old styles and create new ones left many ‘isms’ in the history of modern art: impressionist, cubism, modernism, supermatism, and so on. Seeking awareness by any means and making bold and revolutionary statements, brought many artists into the spotlight of the media. Somehow traditional art skills started to be replaced with creativity.

talent is equal, an overturned chair is equal to the Mona Lisa

After the Second World War, art had entered its contemporary phase. The market ideology was masterminded and financially fueled by those whose intention it was to use contemporary art as Cold War undercover propaganda weapon. Billions of dollars were invested into the promotion of contemporary art. Multiple private foundations became subsidized, funded and ruled by one governor – The Central Intelligence Agency of the United States federal government.

confirmed

These foundations were and still are actively advocating and pushing contemporary art to the public. The main objective of this activity is to destroy traditional ideals of fine art and superimpose new values and morals of life. The main strategy of achieving this goal is brainwashing the public via mass media and cultural events.

If they say long enough that a piece of garbage is art, then gradually people will start believing it. If someone buys that garbage for an insane sum of money, then it becomes officially confirmed as the greatest art ever created.

The price of artwork was no longer linked to the talents or skills an artist displayed. The price was created by inflated demand, fueled by PR and marketing efforts invested in the promotion of a particular artist. The contemporary art marketplace had shifted the focus of attention from a particular masterpiece to an artist’s name. The painting, drawing or sculpture itself becomes less important as the name of its creator….

cultural QE, reducing the value of real art

Contemporary artists in Europe were deprived of conventional fine art education – the vast majority of art students graduate having no classical drawing skills, whatsoever. Today, there is only handful of fine artists around Europe, who’ve developed their skills to the level equal or greater than a mediocre fine artist of the Renaissance.

a single tear michael fassbender crying

In fact, a new saying has developed: “He is not a contemporary artist, he can draw.”

There is a reason why new artists cannot draw. Their teachers have graduated a decade ago; they are not able to teach what they have not learned from their teachers who graduated two decades ago. Instead, they lecture how to be creative.

I cannot cover any more of this wonderful article, it’s too distressing.

The 19th century was the one where art began to run downhill into a pretentious market

Into the abstract abyss.

http://www.spectator.co.uk/books/books-feature/9269031/a-strange-business-by-james-hamilton-review/

There are very many familiar things here, and it is not hard to suggest modern-day equivalents to the hard-nosed dealer, the artist with more of an eye on capitalising his talent than developing his skill, the collector who buys and sells with such rapidity that he could really best be regarded as a species of dealer.

One thing that does differentiate the 19th-century art market from the present day, however, is the greater danger of a crash in value, of the money underpinning an artist’s career simply vanishing. That seems much less likely to happen to an artist now. [DS: cocks an eyebrow] The difficulty is in succeeding in the first place, not in hanging on to an income once success has been attained. It is quite hard to think of a school of art, or an individual artist, that was once considered excellent and valuable whose prices have collapsed utterly. The reason, I guess, is the creation in recent years of art-market indices, which purport to show collector/investors that the price of this artist has gone up and up, and must therefore hold. [faith holds it]

The 19th century, which at a certain point looked at the painting on the gallery wall and thought ‘I just don’t like it any more’ before walking off to buy something more fashionable, was a much more precarious period for an artist to exist within. To a large extent, these artists and dealers were still learning how to rig the market, and were not very good at it.

This is a brilliant account of learning, or failing, to survive in a market of extraordinary brutality. The interesting question is how far this market also succeeded in creating artists of the highest quality and innovative power. [it hasn’t, it failed completely]

Get over it, Genius is genetic (mostly at least)

article

But what exactly is it that makes great artists?

Painting something real?

Exceptional individuals are made, not born. At least, one could be forgiven for thinking this was the case given the statements made by K. Anders Ericsson and colleagues. …

The “10,000 hours” theory propagated by these authors and others—in which it was claimed that expert performers only really differ from non-experts in the total number of hours for which they have practiced (and to be exceptional, 10,000 hours is minimal)—has captured the imagination not only of the public, but also the scientific community. The paper in which the claims were originally made has been cited over 1,500 times. Many otherwise clear-thinking scientists have cited the theory without reference to the myriad criticisms that have appeared since.

Such criticisms have come to a head recently, in what is a clear swing of the proverbial pendulum away from “10,000 hours” and back towards “hereditary genius. A special issue of the journal Intelligence was recently dedicated to discussion of talent and practice, and in particular, to consideration of Ericsson and colleagues’ claims (Ericsson has written a response). Particularly damning evidence against “10,000 hours” comes from one paper in the special issue, on the study of child prodigies who cannot possibly have practiced for such extended periods, but nonetheless show incredible feats of, for example, musical ability. …

A beautiful recent paper by Zach Hambrick and Elliot Tucker-Drob shed even more light on the genetic and environmental origins of talent. Examining musical talent in a sample of twins, they showed, first, that musical accomplishments (including winning prizes for musical ability or performing in a professional orchestra) were, on average, 26 percent heritable (that is, 26 percent of the variation in accomplishments in the sample was explained by genetic differences). Second, they showed that the frequency of engaging in music practice was even more strongly influenced by genes: it was 38 percent heritable. Most interestingly, though, they found evidence for gene-by-environment interaction. Splitting the sample into those who did and did not practice, they showed that there was a far larger genetic contribution to the variance (59 percent) in accomplishment among those who regularly practiced than those who did not (1 percent). The practice, then, was the canvas on which the genes were painted.

In a world in which everyone had the same instruction, the same practice, and the same experiences, we should still expect large, genetically-influenced differences in achievement.

I may appear smug, in fact that's just the sound of maths rushing through my mind

Admittedly, the psychological literature contains few studies of the type discussed here that address playwrights or painters. Nor, naturally, can it study individual masters such as Shakespeare or Vermeer, preferring to focus on garden-variety experts and exceptional performers rather than true one-offs. [DS: real work] Nevertheless, since the “10,000 hours” theory turns out to be an extraordinary popular delusion for each of the domains yet studied, there is good reason to give short shrift to accounts that glibly emphasize the making of expertise at the expense of its inherited nature.

Conclusion

The public fascination with ideas like the Shakespeare Authorship Question, the Hockney-Falco thesis and the “10,000 hours” theory is evidence of a strange doublethink: even as we lionize the achievements and creativity of great geniuses, we secretly wish them brought down to our level, and revel in sublunary theories that purport to expose their secrets and crutches. But the psychological literature shows that to write off genius as only experience, trickery, or hard graft is to miss the critical—though still largely mysterious—contribution of innate talent, acting via one’s genetic endowment, to creative achievement. One can only hope that the new wave of psychological research on talent, pushing back as it does against “practice-only” accounts, will allow us to make real progress in understanding this most mercurial of human faculties.

The entire article is good, I just quoted the research dense parts.

The Fight for Realism and Natural Beauty

Abstractions can be wonderful, if taken in small doses. What happens to a craft (as artistry, once named for years of technical skill) when All is Art, and abstraction is an excuse for commercial quick buck shock value?

How many pieces in a modern gallery will be valuable in a century? How many will be considered pretentious scrap metal?

Image

When the shock value of the most gasp-inducing pieces (some politicized, crass and immoral to every normal person, it is no coincidence artists have high sexual deviance rates) have subsided completely, what shall be considered artful? I bet 99% of the contents of these so-called galleries will be giving them away. I realized we have devolved our own former Arts, worthy of the name, to the plain, crude tat of primitive cultures. It’s an outcome of multiculturalism, that Europe has diminished its own standards to random “found” objet.

You may well accuse me of speaking in abstractions on this, but the enemy has defined the terms. Part of my process is to meet their home ground and entice it back into reality. For context, I was reading this article about gallery purchases and am frankly alarmed at the still-increasing exponential amounts being poured into “Modern” “Art”. What could be causing this now? I looked around and found a truly beautiful article about the Art Market I would recommend anyone with a passing interest study closely.

Short version: The transferal of global wealth from the ailing Western economy to expanding Asia (core China) is causing a flurry of demand in the art market because of taxes/status/longevity et cetera. They have a preservationist mentality and strategize for a store of value with flexibility and versatility of easy sale, profit potential and aforementioned, status of ownership, Special Snowflake in sculpture. I understand this perspective entirely, truly I do. Yet their entire plan and billions in the market swishing about have one egregious and a second minor flaw.

1. The valuation at purchase is true, let alone increasing. This is patently false, anyone with eyes to look can see a bubble has been forming over the decades of prattle but the unique properties of art have kept it at bay for this long.

2. When you wish to sell, there will be a buyer. Assumes a good economy where buyers have interest to keep the bidding high and pay its appreciated value.

There is absolutely no reason to believe either of these, connected priors, have the slightest semblance of truth or reason. They are pure faith. I don’t exaggerate, it is a literal logic problem. High intelligence people should KNOW this and its singular Achilles Heel of the Art Market (the fact we have a market maintains we handle it as such).

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Relevant: Dying Achilles, Achilles thniskon

This shall be the fate of the present Art Market, a cataclysmic correction, unless a miracle from Olympus occurs and they fall back on the Art Tradition (remember that? me neither) and Realism, sworn enemy of frauds.

You may think I am bitter. However, I can paint to the highest standard (were this the Renaissance, I’d apprentice at a studio easily), and find abstract pieces too cheap to produce to be worthy of my talents. My last canvas, an abstract, took under an hour and in spite of my efforts to draw out the production time. I speak from a bounty of experience.

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Famous Example? Picasso was a hack. It is an open secret that he used to paint normally i.e. well, until he found his works didn’t sell (no one cared). He painted/designed random shit in frustration after his love of African savagery (see above) and Communism’s epic lowering of standards, it became famous and sold handsomely and now we’re lumbered with Cubism. He was a known prick during his life, stating the likes of “The academic teaching on beauty is false…”, “It is not what the artist does that counts, but what he is” and bitterly complaining repeatedly “Everyone wants to understand painting” – gee, almost as if it’s an artform, Pablo??

“Art is not made to decorate rooms. It is an offensive weapon in the defense against the enemy.” Hello, Cultural Marxism, nice to see you at the heart of cultural desecration and promotion of mediocrity.

A Happy Ending

You disagree with any of this? Wait. I’ll be proven correct on the market and in taste. Galleries find their “Traditional” wings most popular for a reason – regular people aren’t falling for it. Backlashes are forming. In California, Nouveau Realism is an ever-growing style. You see, talent and craftsmanship do not simply disappear, however much they are suppressed. There will always be artists, true to their ideals who produce beautiful work. As Wilde said in his glorious novel, “An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them.” That includes politics, economics and moralizing, pretentious twaddle.

How many artists need to be learned to be loved? The description beside a work has become a substitute for the philosophy which should be clear in the piece itself.