Friday, 21 August 2009

Them vs Us

The Old Masters are outselling the Contemporaries. The first time since 2004. Recession based? Like everything else, yeah. They say people are just discovering the beauty of a classic oil once again but I think people are just downsizing their houses and no longer have room for a suspended shark in formaldehyde.

Contemporary art is a fairly big gamble. A speculative buy. A Da Vinci may be a solid blue chip but would I want one otherwise? Yes. But only for the sake of it. It's really no different asking me to go see Shakespeare. I can't see how anyone going is getting anything out of it besides the novelty factor and having an excuse to pretty up for the night. Back then I wouldn't have had a rant about it, it was the only way to entertain. I just can't see why anyone bothers with it now we have come such a long way with the telly. The same applies to watching sport. You have no idea what's going on with that WR line if you're actually at the swimming event. Save yourself the hassle.

Back to the finer arts, those old masters are beautiful. But there's places full of them. The National Gallery in London looks like it's been filled by the one artist. Take the plaques off and you can't tell them apart. That's why I love Contemporary art. Creativity is more times than not the intention behind them. They make you think, question, hate or love things. An old master served a purpose and was meaningful to that time. You can't say it's meaningful to this time other than in the context of a historical record. You can admire the skill and beauty but in the end what can it really mean to you? Which is why any purchase of one I see as fairly pretentious or an investment. I guess you could argue they're a genuine match to ones decor. If that's the case, I'll let it slide.

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