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Guardian Web Site, Politics and the Art Market 3rd June 2009

From:     Sexia
Category: Art
Date:     03 June 2009
Time:     08:46 AM


My dear friend has recently commented on Guardian web site he says:

I think Brown is a decent politician all the nasty calls for him to leave and generally negative press are 
unwarranted. Has he been swindling money? No. I think his governance of the economy should be 
remembered. The world recession he's met with with a cool head. I still think Labour is a better party 
than the Conservatives. If anybody thinks they will improve the distribution of wealth in this country they 
are mistaken. What choice did Blair have working with a confused mind like Bush? We are no longer 
an Empire with the financial muscle to get things done.

Brown has made the best of a bad situation and Brown came along at a difficult time. I think we need 
to inject more enthusiasm in our political figures. The expenses situation is trivial compared to other 
countries where corruption is expected. So what if a Minister claimed for a golf ball. Let us get this in 
perspective. We are a crowded country but free travel for the over sixties, hospitals that at least have 
access for all. We are also a country more welcoming to strangers than others. 

He also adds that I would probably say "darling get real the Tories are supported by the art 

Actually you are mistaken on my feeling on politics and the art market - I think the art market is self 
interested - it's a microscopic community unregulated and unlawful but hardly effecting world politics 
or the world economy it just effect our world as we have chosen to play a part or take interest in this 
market.  I watched a ridiculous documentary on the art market by a journalist determined to expose 
the corruption in the art world - well it was hardly a scoop... Dealers bidding on their own artists work 
to keep the prices high, Museums serving only to inflate prices of the artist they exhibit, dealers and 
other extremely rich people owning majority percentages of art by certain artists like Warhol to ensure 
that these artists' work retains investment prices - really this journalist was implying that these 
practices affected all of us as we as tax payers were having our money abused to purchase over 
priced works for museums and helping to keep art prices artificially high.  If someone owns 10% of 
the oil market or copper market yes that will affect everyone in the world at every level but a majority 
share of Andy Warhols is hardly going to put up the price of mobile phones!

We as tax payers also pay for arms, politicians expenses; though hardly warranting the corruption 
scandal line being pursued by the press and unpopular and unnecessary wars.  What this 
documentary failed to comment on was the majority of people will never be able to afford a Warhol, 
Hirst or Old Master inflated prices or not.  It's world inhabited by the extremely rich who have this type 
of disposable income and really who cares if some idiot jumps on the band wagon of buying 
contemporary art at the height of the market and gets stung.  What did this journalist think that if Hirst 
wasn't so valuable that someone with a large disposable income would buy an artist no one had 
heard of - let's face it at this level art is a luxury item.  Plenty of people buy a Prada handbag they can't 
afford which would buy them a work of art by an emerging artist but they choose not to spend their 
money on art, why?, perhaps they are not interested and so what we can't force people to buy art.

I admire Damien Hirst for forcing the hand of Larry Gagosian and Jay Joplin to support his venture 
and bid for works when he auctioned his work at Sothebys.  He gambled that they would be forced to 
make his sale a success in order that the vast collection of Hirsts they owned would retain their 
market value.  Yes its sad that our tax payers money doesn't go to support emerging artists and that 
no one looks at art for its intrinsic value only at the price tag  - the Frieze art fair is effectively a huge 
tent of greed.  Museums have investors too and unfortunately investors want to see their money used 
to support artists they have heard of - its the private gallery that breaks new artists and takes all the 
risks so yes they do need to make a return on their investments via the art market.

Anyway whether the Conservatives or Labour get in at the next election is hardly going to change to 
art market but it will affect all the struggling artists I know whose grants and benefits will be subject to 
policy.  To be honest things couldn't get any worse as the arts council are under strict orders only to 
give grants to artists willing to perform some type of care in the community in exchange for funds - yes 
it the new culture of value for money.  As my friend Jasper has said artists have two choices these 
days to suck up to the arts council or to dealers neither of which is preferable.  Hirst is to be admired 
to be able to stick two fingers up to the whole system...........

As far as the upcoming elections go Gordon Brown has tried hard but it's too late and no, I don't feel 
sorry for him, he wanted the power and its bitten him on the arse. It's all us little people who will bear 
the brunt of political squabbling and policy change.............

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