The globalization of contemporary art is not the same thing as the globalization of the contemporary art market. You can’t see one from the other, or smell one from the other, or taste one from the other.
Though many commentators have decided that there is an ironclad and inevitable link between the two, this belief is based on a series of famous misunderstandings. The most famous misunderstanding is that Damien Hirst’s diamond-encrusted skull was sold for $100 million. This screaming headline is a perfect example of how to lie with statistics, since it implies with its very wording that the Hirst sale was a typical auction at Sotheby’s, when in fact it was a kind of artist’s-auction-within-an-auction at Phillips de Pury, which specializes in selling to rich clients who don’t want their purchases to be available to anyone else.
The fact that Sotheby’s has been forced to lower its fees in response to Christie’s aggressive pricing doesn’t mean much either because Sotheby’s has never been particularly high anyway. A more meaningful change was Christie’s decision to offer guarantees on consigned works, which has resulted in a drop in sales commissions for galleries but doesn’t do much for the buyers (and may not
“The art world is driven by these big, huge collectors,” says Neil Buchanan, director of the Henry Street Settlement Art Gallery in New York. “They have a lot of money and they are very powerful.”
With the spread of globalization, more and more wealthy individuals are buying contemporary art, and many of them live outside the United States. The result has been an explosive growth in the number and influence of the international art collectors.
“I think it’s a very exciting time for contemporary art,” says Buchanan. “The art world is truly becoming globalized.”
In this blog I will explore how this globalization is affecting thinking about art, collecting art and displaying art. Be forewarned: sometimes I may be critical of this process. But I hope my criticism will help people to recognize the changes that are taking place.”
Last year, Banksy’s “Dismaland” art exhibition in the UK was reported to have made more than $20 million. According to a report in the New York Times, this would make Banksy “the world’s most successful living artist.”
This is a pretty remarkable statistic, given that the only things being sold were tickets to get in and merchandise bought from a gift shop (which also served as an art gallery). It makes one wonder: how much money is currently being made by other artists worldwide? And where is this money going?
I decided to do some research on the boring topic of contemporary art. What I found was a lot more interesting than I expected.
In the last twenty years, globalization has had a dramatic impact on contemporary art. The following are just some of the issues that need to be addressed by anyone interested in understanding what contemporary art means and where it is headed:
The American graffiti artist Banksy has claimed that his work is worth millions, and some of it probably is. The problem is that no one really knows what his work is worth. His pieces are scattered across the globe, in both private and public collections, and they are known only by their location and the stories attached to them.
**His last major work was a series of animatronic exhibits at Dismaland, a seaside amusement park that he transformed into a kind of dystopian theme park in Britain. The park closed in September, but not before it had been visited by 200,000 people who paid as much as $30 each to get in.**
**Who owns this work? The artist? The amusement park? The people who bought tickets and came to see the exhibits? And what about any illicit copies that may be distributed on the Internet?
These are the kinds of questions that inevitably arise when art is globalized. When art was national or regional, it belonged–by definition–to whoever owned the land where it was created or displayed. But as art becomes more international, it becomes harder to define property rights over it. These issues will become even more complicated as 3-D printing technology becomes widespread. What happens if someone prints out an unauthorized
As globalization continues to spread throughout the world, many artists are being influenced by the work of other artists from all over the globe. The result is an increase in the amount of cross culture art that is being produced today.
Are these artists helping or hurting the medium of art? Many people believe that globalization and new technology have taken local art out of context and made it less valuable. Local art has been replaced with homogenized global art that has lost its value as a cultural object.
The globalization of contemporary art has caused a fragmentation of culture and identity. People feel as if their local identity or cultural identity has been lost as a result of this process.
For example, many of the street artists are considered to be graffiti artists. Graffiti was originally used as a tool for gang communication but has now become an important form of artistic expression across the world. The globalization process resulted in graffiti being brought from New York to Europe and then to Japan and China, where it became more popular than ever before. This popularity is not just in those countries but also in North America where graffiti inspired clothing lines are sold at high end department stores such as Macy’s and Nordstroms.
In addition, traditional Chinese painting is still alive and well today despite its integration into modern
The difference between art and graffiti is the difference between a man and a boy. Art is about expression, about communication, about having something to say — not spray-painting your name on a wall. It’s about standing out and speaking up, not fitting in and keeping quiet. But what happens when the voice of an individual is no longer heard?
Art has always been the purview of the few, the wealthy, and the educated. The modern era has narrowed this further, creating audience fragmentation through mass media. Now that anyone can create art, as with any other commodity, it will eventually be sold in Wal-Mart or China. Art will become another good or service, like food or lodging or transportation. The creative impulse that turns into commodity will always be there (and who am I to say that’s a bad thing), but it will be less relevant to those who have to make their living from it.
My generation chooses to do something more — to play an active role in pushing art into a new realm of accessibility. This is unquestionably a good thing for everyone involved: for artists seeking new ways to express themselves; for audiences seeking new ways to experience art; for collectors seeking new ways to appreciate art; for critics seeking new ways to contextualize
I�m saying that although contemporary art isn�t going away, it is evolving in a way that has nothing to do with the classic definition of what art is all about. Contemporary art is becoming more and more a matter of taste, or of branding. This is an inevitability, and one that does not have to be a bad thing.
Taste and branding are important issues for artists to think about. They should be, anyway. I�m not sure if they are right now.