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.
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more Visual arts
An affectionate but not entirely satisfactory portrait of the artist
From politicians to polar bears, unexpected insights behind the scenes
A recent body of work tells of the painter's craft and the stormy Suffolk coast
A powerful exhibition that takes the long view on the aftermath of war
The writer was profoundly influenced by art and in turn influenced artists
Randall Wright's documentary reveals the sadness in Bradford's iconic blond
A Russian artist who casts an affectionate eye over people going about their business
On the men and women who spent their lives researching sex
Entertaining but two-dimensional, Alan Yentob's account glosses over the artist's flaws
One was driven by a sense of social injustice, the other by a fascination with stories that hint at psychological disturbance
Affectionate family portraits, subtle references to the history of art, and a worthy winner
A brilliant painter derailed by an unfortunate obsession