Roberta Smith’s “Art Is Hard to See Through the Clutter of Dollar Signs” I suggest you only have to look.
“As our troubled age becomes ever more gilded, art auction prices soar with bone-numbing regularity.” Troubled more so than at any other time in history? Doubtful.
“These events are painful to watch yet impossible to ignore and deeply alienating if you actually love art for its own sake.” Why not take a Ghandi-esque approach and turn the other cheek? One can still chose to take the high road, there is much less traffic nowadays.
“It is a kind of fiction that has almost nothing to do with anything real — not new art, museums or historical importance.” Seems pretty real to me, and some of it is actually spurred by new art like Wade Guyton, Tauba Auerbach, Nate Lowman and the like.
“(High end sales) are becoming almost as irrelevant as the work, reputation and market of the kitsch painter Thomas Kinkade.” Hey, just because you don’t dig frenetic market activity no need to pigeonhole it into the realm of shopping mall art. Throwing stones will get you nowhere.
“Some have tried to put things into perspective, lamenting that the Bacon price almost equaled the $154 million that President Obama requested for the National Endowment for the Arts for fiscal year 2013 — and more than the $138 million that the endowment actually received, with cuts.” You can’t confuse public vs. private sectors; at the same time, you could argue these amounts would go far to feed the hungry and cure cancer, but its futile and irrelevant to do so in a non-planned economy.
Citing a Sotheby’s exec: “This isn’t a bubble,” he said. “It’s the beginning of something new.” A new level of kvetching about the market more like it.
“Three Studies of Lucian Freud,” might also be termed a portrait of a middlebrow artist by another middlebrow artist.” Ouch! Case of sour grapes on critic salary?
“Yes, the work is beautifully painted with a fetching yellow background, yet if its subject were someone else, or if it simply had an unfamiliar name in its title, it probably would have gone for quite a bit less.” If that wasn’t a self-negating tautology I don’t know what is. By default, she is agreeing its beauty and arguing for its value.
“But since the buyer is currently a mystery, it’s anyone’s guess whether we will see it again anytime soon.” BUT IT’S BEEN PRIVATELY OWNED SINCE IT WAS MADE, NOW WE GOT TO SEE IT TOGETHER FOR FIRST TIME, if we bothered to look-and for FREE as opposed to $87.00 to go to a museum today. Not to mention the original gallery that sold it wrongfully broke the triptych against the will of the artist. It was only the love of a private collector and market forces that brought these separated siblings back together! And, who’s to say it won’t end up on public view? And isn’t that a byproduct of the quasi-free economy we subscribe to? Sheesh.