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“CONTEMPORARY” ONCE AGAIN


Recently I wrote a post about reading a stack of the latest books that perport to explain the Contemporary Art Market and the amazing prices that super-rich people are apparently willing to pay for the works of living or recently deceased artists. I noted my realization that 2/3 of the word contemporary is the word temporary. Since it is impossible to invest in the work of a living artist (that’s speculation), the realization was, I thought, a revelation.

OK, so here’s another revelatory realization: The rest of the word contemporary is the word con. Knowing what I do about the art market and writing what I do in Artful Dodgers: Fraud and Foolishness in th Art Market, this seems very appropriate.

It should not be neccessary to further explain my advice to would-be buyers of contemporary art that they pay no attention to the hype of dealers who are selling branded art by branded artists in their branded galleries or auction houses.

Am I saying that the bulk of the contemporary art market is based on con games played by con men and women on unsuspecting buyers using the Six Myths That Drive The Art Market (a central theme of Artful Dodgers)? Absolutely.

If you think this is harsh, unfounded, unkind cryticism or just sour grapes, I challenge you to print out this blog, hold it for twenty years (perhaps ten will be enough) and then test it out by comparing what is selling today with the prices being paid at that time for the works of the same artists. If you believe then that I was wrong now, contact me and we’ll have a fine meal at my expense and discuss how wrong I was in 2012. Don’t worry about my being around. I still have 36 more years to live, I promise.