Raising Prices

How brand name artists are created.

Some of the major things critics, museum curators and top of the line gallery owners must do in order to maintain the high prices of brand name Bluechip Modern Artists are:

to make sure that their artists don’t lower prices by flooding the market. Any Bluechip minimalist can usually knock out works at a furious rate and might have a strong desire to do this.
to make sure that imitators are denigrated and ignored. That’s why Mondrian imitators are banned.
to make sure that all aesthetic competition is carefully kept out of sight. That’s why you rarely see paintings by illustrators like Norman Rockwell and the finest realism and surrealism in major art museums. This is so the holy sites which house Modern Academic Art must be kept pure.

What is kept off the market is as important as what goes on the market.

Did you ever wonder how all that incompetent minimal practically-nothing-artwork and no-skill-realism gets into the modern art sections of museums and those richy collections or, why artworks which look worthy of little more than a passing glance attained that astronomical price range you read about?

Here are some of the reasons why brand-name creators of Blue Chip Modern Art get all that attention, while thousands of others who create much the same thing rarely sell anything. The brand name modern artist is not really the result of any public consensus. He is more often then not the creation of art dealers, critics, and museum curators working together much like stock market insiders. Raising art market prices often requires little more than quiet agreements among small groups representing these professions who own and speculate in modern art and profit from it. Essentially all it takes is few insiders getting together; each agreeing to do his part in order to push a particular artist. The museum curator agrees to exhibit or purchase while the critic agrees to do his bit of complimenting and the dealer agrees to show and publicize. This allows all for all kinds of deals. It can involve pooling money in order to invest in an artist they plan to push or marketing what they already own.

Anyone interested has often read newspaper articles about the sale of some now famous modern work that fetched some millions in auction. These articles usually mention the price, the artist, and the auction house very prominently in the headline. They also describe the sensational bidding by buyers and mention former prices in comparison with the latest. However they rarely mention auction pooling, shill bids, auction house extended credit and fake sales.

One of the best price indicators for Modern Art is revealed at those highly publicized Bluechip Modern auctions. Here those who own works by a particular artist will contact one another and form a biding pool. These can be large or small. The pool members will agree to bid up the auction price of a particular work to a certain high value. The obvious intention here is to raise the selling price of their inventory. If their bidding is successful each pays an agreed percentage of the bid price. Should someone other than the dealer surpass the pool bid price so much the better for the dealers who have inventory. The higher the final bid price for an artwork the better for all those who hold that artists work.

I’m sure any intelligent reader can figure out other variations. The point here is that the exhibition, the praise and the prices for brand name Blue Chip artwork is to a very high degree controlled by insiders with the right connections. The public is only allowed to hear about and see only certain works in those places which are acclaimed to exhibit Great Art. The actual works of these artists rarely represent any consensus of public taste.

Little does the public realize that by this ruse they are also more or less being told what to like by those in control of the brand name modern Art market.

 

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Before the advent of the Internet this kind of criticism was impossible.

Copyright 1997-2002 Mani de Li
2005-09-04
Modern Art, Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian, Pollock, de Kooning, Johns, Rothko, Miro, Warhol, Cezanne, Kline, Chagall, Dali, Greenberg, Bauhaus, Barnet Newman, Calder, Castelli, Dubuffet, Duchamp, Gorkey, Guston, Kandinsky, Hans Hofmann, Clement Greenberg, Paul Klee, Motherwell