Time for a Reset in the Art Market

I just finished reading and excerpt from Tim Schnieder’s new book The Great Reframing. You can read it here

The author speaks about why the internet will not change the game for unrepresented artists. He sites the concept of too much choice or as I call it the infinite bookshelf.  Buyers have way too many options from art, music to books. So what do they do?  They buy what is popular.  They buy what is curated whether it be in a gallery or on the internet.

Most people buy Toyota’s if they want a car to last. They buy Mercedes if they want to feel good about themselves and show their neighbors what they own. Imagine for a moment that all cars were mandated to look the same. They all performed differently but by outward appearances they looked identical.  How many people would then buy that Mercedes or Lamborghini?  If the Ferrari looked exactly like the Volkswagen I think Ferrari may go out of business.  (There are some car buyers who really know the differences but I am referring to the general public)

My point is that like the car world, the art world doesn’t know what it is buying. They have to rely on what other people think to make a decision. If the world thinks Andy Warhol is great then I want a Andy Warhol painting.  If you remember,  Andy Warhol was the laughing stock after his first show.  The gallery owner was the ONLY person who believed in him and gave Andy $1000 for his works.  He later sold them for $15 million.  Where was the intelligent buying public here?  How did they all miss this artist?

the price of art andy warhol's soup can
What is art worth?

So what is an Andy Warhol or Picasso or Van Gogh really worth?  I think the price of fine art is artificially inflated and for good reason.  The rich have gotten richer in this world and they need a place to park their money.  They are not buying the work because they want to hang it on their wall.  They are buying the work because it is a good investment.

Right now there are hundreds of unknown artists who cannot sell a piece.  If one of those artists were taken into a gallery and the buying public were told it is  great art then the value of the artist dramatically increases.  What is the difference between one week before the showing and one week after?  The art is still the same art.  It’s value only escalates because someone else told you it was valuable.

I think what I want you to take away from this is to buy art for the sake of the art.  If you like it and you can afford it then buy it.  Don’t worry about if there is too much choice.  Don’t worry if a critic likes it.  Don’t worry if your friends like it.  If you are the artist then make art that represents an inner dimension of you.  If you are buyer then buy art that resonates with you.

If you buy or create art from an honest place maybe one day you will create or purchase a Warhol or Van Gogh before anyone else has a clue.