Sorry about that little break in proceedings. Please consider this a seamless continuation of the last post.
Yesterday, I was pondering exactly what is meant by art. And more specifically, is art a worthwhile pursuit? And when it comes to selling art, who decides what’s good and what isn’t, and how might an art work be assigned a monetary value?
The argument I hoped to convey was that, when considering the value of an art work, there appears to be more to it than just the technical expertise shown in the finished product. That’s why some Johnny-come-lately will never be able to sell a painting for the price of an Old Master, even if it displays all the right technical and aesthetic qualities. But then again, there appears to be more to it than artist pedigree as well. Van Gogh’s Sunflowers might sell for $50 million, but no one is going to pay that much for some scribble he produced as a one-year-old infant.
Consider the works of the famous graffiti artist Banksy. I don’t know really know what he’s all about, but I enjoy looking at his work. His outdoor works are usually spray-painted in public areas. Of course, some would call this vandalism, and have articulated their views on his website. But then again, houses on which Banksy plies his trade see an enormous upward surge in value.
Consider also his painting of two policemen kissing each other, painted onto a wall in Brighton. The local community loved the iconic image, which became a popular attraction. So much so that, when it was subsequently defaced, the perpetrators were hauled before the courts on charges of criminal damage. But was their act so different from that involved in producing the work in the first place? Why is it a good thing to spray-paint a wall in some instances, but a criminal offence in others?
I recommend a visit to his website. For a flavour of what to expect, the picture shows a Banksy work as witnessed during my (not very) recent trip to Bristol.
Let’s look at another of my favourite artists, David Shrigley. He very much falls into the ‘a three-year-old could do that’ category of modern art. Technically, his works appear crudely and hastily thrown together. They rarely ‘make sense’. Sometimes they are just scribbles. So why is a trawl through his website such a treat? I don’t really know.
As I write, I am looking forward to watching The Apprentice tonight (obviously). The candidates will be faced with the task of buying and selling artworks in order to garner the approval of one A. Sugar. I’m looking forward to how the best business minds might grapple with these philosophical quandaries…