theartsdesk at the London Art Fair: Debate | Visual arts reviews, news & interviews
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.
We at The Arts Desk hope that you have been enjoying our coverage of the arts. If you like what you’re reading, do please consider making a donation. A contribution from you will help us to continue providing the high-quality arts writing that won us the Best Specialist Journalism Website award at the 2012 Online Media Awards. To make a one-off contribution click Donate or to set up a regular standing order click Subscribe.
With thanks and best wishes from all at The Arts Desk
more Visual arts
Her obsession with death and decay was leavened by a wicked sense of humour
On the eve of a new exhibition of his kinetic saints, the artist talks about death, destruction and turning 50
The welcome return of the legacy of photographer Erwin Blumenfeld
Although only 7,500 Jews live in Poland, a space dedicated to their history has opened in the old Ghetto
The German artist plays with notions of the Romantic sublime
A thought-provoking exhibition looking at ways in which the state seeks to wield its influence
theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top exhibitions
A deeply affecting survey of an artist who captures a sense of London as a living, breathing organism
The BBC tries to cover up its own history of uptight, anti avant-garde conservatism
Beguiling, mysterious and very Nordic: two Swedish painters in two knock-out solo shows
The great Czech pioneer of art nouveau has a pair of shows, one of them curated by Andy Murray's coach
The centenary of the British artist is marked with an array of his lesser-known and blandly genteel nudes