Tag: economics

SEVERE CORRECTION

SEVERE CORRECTION

CAREER SUICIDE

… of the art market. What were you thinking of, you dirty wee puppy? I’ll deal with you later. No, according to a University of Luxembourg study, the international art market is in a “mania phase” and the bubble is going to pop any time soon, leading to a “severe correction”. Countdown starting right now to an art exhibition called either Severe Correction or Mania Phase.

The contemporary art market has been a very bad, bad, dirty, disobedient and thoughtless pig.

The “zombie formalist” artists (i.e. makers of art as an asset class, devoid of narrative, representation, politics, ideology, etc.) and their handlers are partly to blame, but as the gentleman who created the term rightly says, and as I have also said in a various ways over the past few years about a hundred bloody times: “Since the entire market is entirely irrational, it can’t be rationally…

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NOBLESSE OBLIGE

NOBLESSE OBLIGE

CAREER SUICIDE

Chatterton 1856 by Henry Wallis 1830-1916 “Unfortunately we have no budget to pay fees or expenses.”

a-n the artists information company have just published their draft recommendations and guidance on the payments and fees that should be due from publicly funded galleries to artists. FYI I’ve worked on the Paying Artists campaign and I work for a-n sometimes. I also think artists based in the UK should have their own look at it, so I won’t offer too much commentary except to pull out:

NOBODY IS ASKING FOR MUCH

Despite stiff resistance from an insignificant and usually bonkers minority of the public and a significant minority of people who work for public arts organisations, all of whom are baffled or bitter (or both) that an artist should get paid anything… the suggested fees for artists are far from outrageous and usually amount to no more than a few thousand or even a few hundred pounds…

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Hell Money

Hell Money

ADOXOBLOG

HellMoneyFrontA recent visit to a Chinese supermarket led to a number of somewhat less than pragmatic purchases, including a pack of Hell Money. Alternatively known as joss money, it’s intended to be burned or otherwise offered to people and deities in the afterworld. Hence also the term joss sticks, AKA the incense burned before a shrine or altar. I guess the underlying idea is that the smoke carries the prayers up to the afterlife, and so by extension the burned money also travels the same way. You can get Hell (or joss) clothes, cars, and household appliances although they’re frowned upon by the authorities in mainland China as “vulgar” and “feudal”. You see loads of this kind of thing in places like Hong Kong, though. Fifty million HK$ is worth about four million British Pounds, nearly five million Euros or about $6.5 million US… and one typically offers them in…

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“ART IS AN OBJECT WITH NO UTILITY”

“ART IS AN OBJECT WITH NO UTILITY”

CAREER SUICIDE

500Monopoly

Some more quotes from the book Collecting Contemporary Art, published by Taschen. All by Marcus Glimcher, at the time of the book’s publication an art dealer at PaceWildenstein, New York (now the Pace Gallery). It’s all interesting stuff, but there’s something about his explication and grammar that makes me think of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, patiently lecturing the back of a guest’s head as a preface to suddenly embedding a fire axe in it.

“The art market is not really a market; it’s too small to qualify as one. Furthermore, if it is a market, it’s a market of uniques. Therefore, there is no true comparability between prices. Finally, it’s a market of Geffen goods which is what gives it such strange characteristics. Geffen was a nineteenth century economist who said that there are certain goods that will disobey the basic laws of supply and demand that…

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THE PONZI SCHEME

THE PONZI SCHEME

CAREER SUICIDE

Named for the Italian con artist Carlo (or Charles) Ponzi, who in the 1920s relieved investors of about $420,000 (equivalent to about $4.5 million if he’d done something similar in the 21st century). The main characteristics of what’s now called a Ponzi Scheme is that it pays “profits” to investors from their own money, or from the money provided by subsequent investors. They rarely make any legitimate profits. They’re often based on vague promises and unrealistic projections, as indeed are many of the originally legal schemes like hedge funds; hedge funds can also very easily degenerate into illegal Ponzi schemes when they go wrong, and this has happened with particular frequency since the turn of the last century. Ponzi Schemes inevitably collapse either on purpose– because the fraudster makes off with all the money, as they always intended to– or when investment stalls.

Of course Ponzi was neither the first…

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PARKER HARRIS MATHS

PARKER HARRIS MATHS

CAREER SUICIDE

Parker Harris is “one of the leading visual arts consultancies in the UK“, responsible for a number of well-known schemes or competitions including the Jerwood Drawing Prize and, er… the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition. Most of them require an entry fee, and the fact that these competitions proliferate and stick around is de facto proof that they’re a nice little earner. So for the next few minutes let me be your Countdown-era Carol Vorderman (minus the sketchy ads for predatory debt consolidation companies who put people’s homes at risk, the sketchy ads for fish oil, etc, ad nauseum) as we do the maths on the “opportunities for artists” currently on offer.

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