Monday 28 July 2008

So, when you say 'affordable', you mean ... what, exactly?

Driving home last night I noticed the banner on the overbridge advertising the Affordable Art Show. Every year when this event rolls around my blood boils a little bit. I find myself wanting to picket the venue with a sign that says For crying out loud, for $5000 you can buy proper art from a proper art dealer. In fact, you could probably buy 2 or 3 pieces of proper art. Maybe more. Sheesh.

But that's where I guess I get mixed up between what I feel it's appropriate to spend a couple of thousand dollars on, and what other people believe. An article in the Guardian by Jonathan Jones about collectors of unrespectable art illustrates this point nicely:

Rolf Harris is the Del Boy of the art world. He's lovable, people know him.

I saved up from my acting work to buy this - I won't tell how much I paid for it; it's sort of irrelevant, isn't it? There's a sense of pride, too. It was done by a bloke who painted the Queen. That's an honour. At the end of the day you'll always get critics saying what they say, but the Queen adored her picture and that, to me, says everything.


Anonymous said...

So what would you purchase with $5000?

David Cauchi said...

I wrote a letter to the editor of the DomPost making this point (and that proper dealers support artists rather than exploit them and deceive the public) last year or the year before. I found it telling that they waited two weeks, until after it had finished, before publishing it.

A plague on both their houses.

Courtney Johnston said...

Right now, I'd put the $5K under my mattress and bring it out again in December, when Rose Nolan has a show lined up at Hamish McKay's (I think).

But here are 10 artists I enjoy whose work you can buy on the primary market (because as DC points, dealers are supporting their artists) for under $5000. In fact in many cases, you'd be able to buy a couple of pieces for that amount.

- Yvonne Todd
- Zina Swanson
- Michael Stevenson
- Ronnie van Hout
- Julian Dashper
- Michael Harrison
- Jeena Shin
- Seraphine Pick
- Gavin Hipkins
- Dan du Bern /Marnie Slater / Benjamin Buchanan (okay - they're not hooked up with regular dealers as far as I'm aware, but when you like the work, sometimes you just have to swallow that awkward feeling and flat-out ask an artist if they'll sell you something).

I know it's vulgar to talk about money and that some in the art world see collecting art as too middle class for words. But I've yet to find a more satisfying way of spending money than buying art I love. And there's certainly no need to go to the AAS to do it.