Monday, 4 June 2018

Uselessness & Value


Hay's dad mentioned his old friend Rex yesterday. That's a name you don't hear much these days, unless he has a collar round his neck, barks and walks on all fours. That said, it's entirely up to Rex what he does in his spare time.

A comment on the art market that resonates with me.

"The price of a work of art is an index of pure, irrational desire; and nothing is more manipulable than desire. It is no accident that the immense fetishism that sustains the art market should hive reached its present level --a delirium whose only historical parallel was the Dutch tulip mania of the seventeenth century-just at the time when the old purposes of art, the manifestation of myth and the articulation of social meaning, have largely been taken away from painting and sculpture by film, television and photography. Only when an object is truly useless, it seem, can capitalism see it as truly priceless. The desire far all commodities and hence their price are affected in greater or lesser degrees by manipulation - apart from diamonds, art is the only commodity whose price is purely and intrinsically manipulative and has no objective relationship to any social machinery except that of “rarity” and promotion."

That was from a book I'm currently engrossed in, "Nothing If Not Critical" by Robert Hughes, an Australian born art critic with some wonderful turns of phrase. It's an anthology of essays on some 80 artists throughout the ages and very illuminating. 


Hughes has a wonderful way with words and a wit, without being as waspish as Brian Sewell.


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