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Article: How do we value art? by Rewa Walia

Article: How do we value art? by Rewa Walia

Article: How do we value art? By Rewa Walia

 

Artists are marketing agents, who keep themselves well informed about the trends in selling. They are no longer patient of the process to let it develop into a career that will give them a name in the field. Yes, so much is the hype of media generated fame that artists are led to believe that they haven’t reached anywhere unless they are featured in magazines or their works are selling for a certain price. Commercialisation of art, is this what is driving the price of art? What about the value of art?

Norman Rockwell's Saying Grace

In this article, we will try to scratch the surface of where art is sinking, and more importantly where artists are sinking.  How many artists are there who will make a mark in history? Who will be remembered decades after their demise? We fail to look at the bigger picture to notice how many artists are left who actually will do ground breaking work.  And who really thinks of blending, implementing the more serious issues that our planet and society faces today with art.

While the world puts the spotlight on artists with personality and an ability to speak their work into glory, there are the real thinkers and movers of the art world, who don’t really approach their art as a pathway to fame. Where are these serious artists and who is the world really focussing on? With diversity on the rise, we could easily be looking at unchartered territories for the next pioneers in the art world. Why is that gender and location has driven the art world to focus on a select few in the past. If art was practised all over the world, surely there were thinkers and cultures including indigenous, that were experiencing life that needed to be documented through art. Yet, history chose to ignore the spiritual aspects of these cultures and highlighted names of those who either benefited a race or a gender.

Christopher Wool, If You, 1992

This raises the question, how do we value art? How will we value art in the future? Of course, in writing this article I have tried to blend varied paths artists are taking, in the hope that all hope for the drifters is not lost and that they will indeed see the short lived road they are taking in making art that will be price driven and not value.Art has been through a long journey of expression of the time that it had been created in. That is the essential reason for it to change constantly. In changing, its primary objective is in freezing time in a visual form. Although, more recent art can be void of visuals and a mere depiction of an essence of space and sound to create the visual in the mind can be enough to stimulate the senses, it is art indeed.

Between medium and scale the value of art is derived by what the collector feels its value is. And in the ever changing economic condition, art investors will pay a price as long as they are in a position to.  Their love affair with their collection risks becoming an investment after a certain point, a piece that sits in their possession until another investor can push its monitory value further up in the ladder of commercialization. And, as soon as there is a discovery of another artist and yet another artwork having been ignored so far in history, all eyes cast their gaze on the new baby of the art world. What filers through to lesser important markets is a reflection of a trend, which confuses the network of the art world, including the creators of art.

Art has its value in the moment of its creation and in the context of the artist’s life and his personal growth as an artist. In saying this, we are giving artists a responsibility of being able to give us an idea, a new thought process or an aesthetic quality which has never been seen before and which gives the world we live in a lift in the direction of progress.  As an example, in the current scenario, the value of art will lie in its ability to merge with the environmental issues our planet faces. The artists/ thinkers who will focus their area of thought to guide us in the direction of saving our resources will be of great value to our society and the future of our existence as a human race.

In coming to this conclusion, we are still faced with the huge number of artists who create to save the heritage and culture of the land they live in. And, there are those who struggle in their day to day existence of living as artists in our commercial world, saving their values at the cost of their family lives.  These struggles are worth documenting, even if they are not success stories in the eyes of auction houses or prestigious art museums.  Then, there are those who face issues of identity in the fast changing face of our planet, and its global nature.

We are hence looking at art of the future to be more of a unification of ideas, a merging of thoughts, a collective programme which will stand tall to give our future a new direction, and which will have its origin from our past. Its value will be in the unity and acceptance of differing principles of life as we know them. 


mona lisa

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