thu 05/12/2019

theartsdesk at the London Art Fair: Debate | reviews, news & interviews

theartsdesk at the London Art Fair: Debate

theartsdesk at the London Art Fair: Debate

A topical debate about the real value of art

“The new job of art is to sit on a wall and get more expensive,” the late Robert Hughes once said. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, gallerist and dealer Larry Gagosian was particularly revealing. “I wish I was in luxury goods,” he confessed, “because then I could just call the factory and say, ‘I need 10,000 more of whatever’” – though he did add that he couldn’t, because “then it’s not art, it’s something else.”

Meanwhile, the influential American critic Dave Hickey recently announced that he was walking away from the art world because editors and critics had become a “courtier class” to hedge-fund collectors who, he claimed, knew nothing about art.

But how much has art as commodity taken over from art as art? And how do the crazy prices at auction houses affect our relationship to art and change our viewing experience? What has happened to connoisseurship? And are critics really the “courtier class” to taste-makers who know nothing of what they put on their walls?

With me to discuss these questions are critic, broadcaster and author of Art Crazy Nation Matthew Collings, theartsdesk critic Mark Hudson and The Art Newpaper’s markets expert Melanie Gerlis. The event is free with ticketed entry to the fair.

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How much has art as commodity taken over from art as art?

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