Sunday, March 6, 2016

Crap Art: Prices Go Plop

 Picasso: off £10 million since previous sale
Sale prices for modern art are in the crapper, so the Daily Mail reports. Picasso's Tete de Femme oil painting (right) was sold in January for just £18.9 million, almost 10 million less than was paid by the seller in 2013.

And it's the same, apparently, for much other modern "art," including Matisse, whose "Piano Lesson", which was expected to realize from £12 million to £18 million, was just knocked down by Sotheby's for a measly £10.8 million.

CanSpeccy: 20-Second Full Frontal Nude. Is this
not worth as much as a Picasso? Who can really say?
For which reason, I'm getting outa the market while I can, and invite offers over $10 million (Canadian) for my 20-Second Full-Frontal Nude (left).

Some may say that ten millies is too much for 20 seconds' work — if you can call it work. But, as Picasso would have said, you are paying, not for 20 seconds' work, but for a life-time's experience.

All of which suggests the prescience of my December 2013 piece over at Wordpress, entitled: "Crap Art":

Crap Art:, December 16, 2013: What’s with the art market? Van Gogh was surely a genius. Still, why pay over $100 million for a painting of a bunch of irises when you can buy a bunch of real ones for a coupla bucks. Same with sunflowers. Just buy seeds and grow your own.

Three Studies for a Portrait of Lucian Freud. Source

As for the nudes, surely they come cheaper in real life and may be cuter than a Modliani (last sale $73 million).
But now this: Francis Bacon’s portrait of Lucian Freud (at right). I don’t know if it’s a true likeness, but it makes Freud’s face look like a pile of dog shit. I mean, would you want that to adorn your dining room wall? And if so, why pay $142 million? Why not just scoop a poop and pop it on a silver tray as a dining-table center-piece?
Rubens: Massacre of the Innocents
But is that the point? Is that the intended message? I’m so goddamn rich I can piss away $142 million on a load of crap? Perhaps, but that theory would surely make the late Kenneth Thomson, second Baron Thomson of Fleet, turn in his grave. He paid 49.5 million quid for the delicious throat-cutting, belly slitting, Massacre of the Innocents (snuff porn for the plutocracy), which was a lotta dough at the time. But the work is not crap. It’s by Rubens, who could certainly paint. Still, you gotta think it was the price that was intended to inspire awe, not the art.

Perhaps, though, there is something else going on here. Are we seeing the monetization of art? Like BitCoin for the hyper rich? A sort of invisible money beyond the purview of the taxman or Homeland Security, and lighter by far than gold — just roll it up, tuck it under your arm and take it with you wherever you want. And as a display of conspicuous consumption it’s better than stacking 100-ounce gold bars about the house, which would be crass — speaking comparatively, that is.

Does the canvas money theory explain the extraordinary price paid for the Freud portrait? It’s a triptych (or should that be tripshit?) Think how handy that could be: need some cash but not all $142 million or billion or whatever the thing’s worth today? No prob. Just clip off a panel (leaving you with a dipshit) and redeem one-third the value.


Crazy: Bacon's portrait of shit-faced Lucien Freud stolen

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