21 January 2005

The art of commodification

I've just been poring over a bunch of Webb's Fine Art Auction catalogues from the late 90s and early 00s. It's really interesting to see who has 'made it' and who is still deemed to the lowly moniker of 'emerging'.

I've noticed a lot more contemporary work in the recent editions of the catalogues and far far less of the traditional landscape works that defined New Zealand art for a good part of the last century.

Maybe we're moving away from the landscape in our search for a collective national identity, instead looking to our thoughts around, and responses to contemporary art works as they distill not only the landscape, but that elusive 'kiwi' factor.

Although, it could well be that the market has moved to contemporary art as it searches for a higher return on investment than the 'masters', who I suspect by now are all firmly ensconced in the lounges of the baby boomer generation (who are the only ones outside of dot com millionaires who can afford such things) biding their time until the market goes through the roof again.

It's a funny thing buying and selling art.

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