Friday, September 19, 2014

The Business of Art Master Class

Maybe like me, you have had the experience of walking into an prestigious art gallery and and whilst you walk through an exhibition, you see a piece of art that is clearly bad and you look at the price sticker next to it and it is priced at R80 000. You feel that your work is much better than that piece, you say to yourself, “My work is so much better, why are they getting R80,000 for that? And how did they get in such a prestigious gallery?” Those are the questions to explore, because the reason they are getting that much money, or at least asking for it, is not necessarily because the work is of high quality. The idea of objective value or objective quality is clearly slippery in the arts. There are no standards or review procedures the way there are for cars, for example. By reading enough reviews, we can get a sense of a car or almost any product, but art is very different. Since we know this already, then the question of why some art in galleries is priced so high even though it may not be very good is the right question to ask, as well as why it is there in the first place. One answer is that it clearly has nothing to do with its quality! And since, as an artist, you have a sense of quality, then you know that there is truly something else at work. The simplest answer is that a big part of what is going on is how art is talked about, presented, and, more importantly, written about. Similar to the marketing of other products in our lives, art, at most levels, has a story with it of some kind to help sell it. **

Image courtesy of African Art Institute

Be part of the visual art component Business of Art Master Class  (20 - 22 October 2014, Greatmore Studios, Cape Town) facilitated by myself and fellow artist/curator Khanyisile Mbongwa and presented by the African Arts Institute  and learn more on how to navigate and make it in the art world.

** adopted from Carey, Brainard (2011). Making It in the Art World: New Approaches to Galleries, Shows, and Raising Money. Allworth Press.

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