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OUR COLUMNIST SCULPTURESTEPH REFLECTS ON THOSE ‘COLLECTORS’ WHO SPECULATE WITH ART WHILE ‘HELPING’ (WITH A LITTLE BIT OF MONEY) EMERGING ARTIST LIKE THE ZABLUDOWICZ OR THE HORSTS:

‘The clue is in the term ‘art market’. If you accept the idea of an art market- you have to also expect comparisons to other markets, from fruit and veg stalls to the stock market and banking sector. The word market implies ‘trading’ and that is what these people are doing. They trade events, happenings (for PR), an image or a ‘feel good factor’ through art, adding to the housing market, or car market that trade status as defined by the elite’s ‘taste’.

‘Advocacy’ should be replaced with the words ‘manipulation’ and ‘marketing’.

For something like the stock market or the market stall trader, ethics aren’t relevant-as the nature of trade is not about ethics but about making money.

Art, education, health and the environment however are what defines a community’s, society’s and culture’s ethical values and belief systems, which therefore are intangible (other than a house, car, apple or turnip). Many of these works have often a low material (tangible) value and an idea or concept (intangible) doesn’t really have any monetary value.

What has happened in the last decades (in the Western societies) is that the intangible has become marketable. Education, health, environment and Art (and Music) have been ‘branded’, so someone somewhere can make lots of money from it.

Good business sense, maybe. But not a very good approach to Art, as it corrupts and commodifies Art and anything that is intangible into something that is consumed in exchange for money. .

Baring in mind that ‘Art’ is free (apologies for repeating myself with this one again and again…) the price tag and ‘hot talk’ might not necessarily be an indication of quality; and I do recommend to read the short tale of ‘the Emperor’s New Clothes’, by Hans Christian Andersen…’