A one percentage point increase in the share of total income earned by the top 0.1 percent triggers an increase in art prices of about 14 percent… It is indeed the money of the wealthy that drives art prices. This implies that we can expect art booms whenever income inequality rises quickly. This seems exactly what we witnessed during the last period of strong art price appreciation, 2002-2007.
Goetz-mann et. al., „Art and Money”, in: Yale School of Management Working Paper, No. –, Yale School of Management, April 28,2010.
Contemporary art is an easy thing to hate. All the meaningless hype, the identikit openings in cities that blur into one long, banal, Beck’s beer fuelled anxiety dream from which there is no escape. The seemingly endless proliferation of biennials—the biennialization or banalization of the world.
Perversely perhaps, what I admire about much contemporary art is the negotiation of its own relentless commodification, the consciousness of its capture by the circuits of casino capitalism. To work in a university is to be aware that money is changing hands, but the money is hidden and professors like myself can still give themselves the illusion that they are clean-handed, authentic educators and not money-laundering knowledge pimps. But artists do not have that luxury, which gives them a certain honest edginess and less chronic institutional dependency than academics.
Simon Critchley – Absolutely-Too-Much
How are they[artists] going to support themselves, when the visual arts are so marginalized in this country[US]?
Basically, the only time you hear about the art world is when you hear about some sort of secondary market or auction price that’s out of this world. A very small percentage of artists can support themselves through their work. That was certainly true when I was coming up. I never thought that I’d sell my work, because there was barely an art market then. Now, there’s a huge art market, but unfortunately, many people buy not because they love a work, but because it’s the only speculative bubble left, now that real estate’s not so great.
These are real contradictions. Young people want to be artists, because they want to make commentary and make meaning. On the other end, people want to buy it and sell it, because they can turn a quick profit.
But art will continue to be made, whether it’s textured, musical, movies, visual arts, or buildings. Great work will continue, but how the people who make it can support themselves, that’s a different question.
Interviewer: Belief+Doubt includes the Malcolm X quote, „Give your brain as much attention as you do your hair and you’ll be a thousand times better off.” You included the same quote on a bus wrap in 1997 in New York City. What about its message resonates with this installation, fifteen years later?
Barbara Kruger: Well, I love that quote, because it’s both serious and funny. It’s both critical and pleasurable. I think that’s a great way of making meaning.
‘Though he was a dissident to the end, Vonnegut held a bleak view on the power of artists to effect change. „During the Vietnam War,” he told an interviewer in 2003, „every respectable artist in this country was against the war. It was like a laser beam. We were all aimed in the same direction. The power of this weapon turns out to be that of a custard pie dropped from a stepladder six feet high.”