Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Artworks That Ideas Can Buy

"Artworks that ideas can buy" is the title of an exhibition by Cesare Pietroiusti in the project room at Wilkinson Gallery.  Works by Jeremy Deller, Dara Birnbaum and notable others will be for sale in exchange for visitors' ideas.  Interested?  The exhibition opens on the 29th of May.

Questioning the value of contemporary art and its exchange mechanisms is a thread that has been alive and well, coming high above the surface with conceptual art in the 70's.  It is a subversion of the question "what is art" raised by Duchamp with his "fountain".

The value of art is undergoing quite a bit of analysis these days.  Alongside the value of money and the value of British politicians.  But I digress.  Major collections of contemporary art have historically had the generous support of the financial world.  The Frieze Art fair is sponsored by Deutsche Bank.  UBS has been a generous partner of the Tate Modern.  Fingers crossed for this to continue.

On the exit side, several prominent collections are up for sale as noted in the FT here and here.  It's fairly easy to guess which Spanish bank is in process of raising cash by selling off its collection.

So back to "Artworks that ideas can buy".  What other cultural goods can be "had" by the exchange of ideas?  It is self-referential.  Ideas of course.  And that is art with a capital A, no matter what its form.

Make room for a new storm of conceptualism in the contemporary art world.  The economics are ripe for it.  I can already picture the UBS sponsored Salon of Ideas in the Turbine Hall. 

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