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]

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?

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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.