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March 3, 2010 1:57 PM   Subscribe

Why You Should Buy Art. "The world is a vast wasteland of garbage:" Twenty-six reasons by artist William Powhida on a piece of actual art that you can buy. (previously)
posted by longsleeves (35 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'd love to buy more art. My last/only art purchase was from Mr. Let's Paint TV, John Kilduff. It's awesome. Got it for pretty cheap on an ebay auction. It's a birthday cake.

Wish I could afford more.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 2:09 PM on March 3, 2010


I don't know the technical term for this kind of art, but it is epidemic. Every craft show and street fair (in New York City) now has row upon row of 30 year olds selling posters and t-shirts featuring "clever" word play and faux-vintage clip-art nostalgia.

If that's contempary art that I can actually buy: pass.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:21 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I believe that it's a matter of scale; prices leap from hundreds to hundreds of thousands based on branding and marketing. I hope that established artists who command hundreds of thousands of dollars for their art will consider what it means to sell to a very small collector class. Are they really reflecting their own creative expression or the tastes of the ruling class? I don't begrudge their wealth or values, but I do believe that art is made freely and for more than those who can afford to own it.

If he wasn't a hypocrite hanging out with millionaires at Art Basel, he'd be giving this away for free. So nyah.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:36 PM on March 3, 2010


The concept of the 20x200 project is good, but I don't think that this particular piece is.
posted by djgh at 2:44 PM on March 3, 2010


Nothing says 'culture' like bigass painting?

Uh... pass.
posted by tybeet at 2:51 PM on March 3, 2010


I buy art. I buy it at student art fairs, directly from artists themselves, and occasionally from sellers I trust. I don't spend stupid amounts of money on individual pieces, but I know how much time went into each of the pieces I buy and pay fairly. As a result, I tend to stick to the artforms I know well, printmaking and ceramics, so I at least have an idea of the quality of what I'm getting. Fortunately, those are also two artistic mediums that cover a wide range of prices and offer good, affordable pieces while not ripping off artists.

It has always seemed a little silly to buy art as an investment, at least for people without millions of dollars available for speculation. Art is a lot more pleasurable if you stick to what you like and not what you think other people will pay for in the future. If you only buy things that you love you never lose over the long-term.
posted by Alison at 2:52 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Maybe I'm a snob or something, but if your art depends on people finding your words clever and insightful, you should probably know that "a lot" is two words. TWO of them, William.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:59 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


You can also buy nonmaterial art: go to the theater. To the ballet. To the opera. To the rock concert. To the Juggalo Gathering.
posted by Skot at 3:02 PM on March 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Buy art? I keep getting told by various people here that artists should work for free. I'm confused.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:03 PM on March 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


We should buy art because it keeps trying to sell itself on eBay.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:04 PM on March 3, 2010


In fact, that is now my generic meaningless rallying cry. TO THE JUGGALO GATHERING! I will now go try it out on Camille, the 63-year-old woman in the next office.
posted by Skot at 3:04 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know the technical term for this kind of art, but it is epidemic. Every craft show and street fair (in New York City) now has row upon row of 30 year olds selling posters and t-shirts featuring "clever" word play and faux-vintage clip-art nostalgia.

That's not what this piece is at all. Not even close, really. One technical term that applies here is trompe l'oeil.
posted by longsleeves at 3:05 PM on March 3, 2010


"A LOT" is one word.
posted by clarknova at 3:12 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


The world is indeed a vast wasteland of garbage, but I'm not necessarily real crazy about this print. Reminds me of that Sark stuff.
posted by box at 3:30 PM on March 3, 2010


Why You Should Buy Art.

Few things could lose value faster than the computer gear I've purchased over the years. Anybody need a $3,000 720 megabyte SCSI disk drive?
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:47 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


The world is a vast wasteland of garbage

Is a valid observation, however, if you are an artist, and this is your conviction, and your work relies on:

lazy cynicism
misdirected anger and contempt
poor craftsmanship
trends that have less than a decade life expectancy

...then you are probably just adding to the pile.
posted by Benjamin Nushmutt at 4:06 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Lindsay Pollock's (of The Art Market Views) take on 20x200: Jen Bekman Sells $100K in Wegmans in One Day.... Today she sold 220 prints by artist William Powhida–in two hours...
posted by R. Mutt at 4:20 PM on March 3, 2010


All our editions are supervised by the artist and are paired with a signed certificate of authenticity.

Sorta like the Franklin Mint?
posted by R. Mutt at 4:28 PM on March 3, 2010


Art arouses and titillates the youth.
posted by Dick Laurent is Dead at 5:00 PM on March 3, 2010


"William Powhida (b. 1976, New York) is a GENIUS artist and reformed critic working in Brooklyn." Oh, please.

We have a pretty bitchen art scene here in San Diego, but sadly it's the scene that's cool, not the art so much.

Having been to many shows both in house and sidewalk or fair style, most of what I've seen has been gimmicky, touristy or a play on "dogs playing poker" and velvet Elvis. It's pretty sad.

The few things that I have found and fucking adore, I can't afford. We have a couple of sculptors down here who are amazing. I'm saving up to get at least one of their pieces.
posted by snsranch at 5:44 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


My bare, off-white walls are art.
posted by planet at 7:14 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


My mom just had a show with a couple pieces that I collaborated on with her, and I don't think anything has sold. Part of the problem is that decent materials, even good materials, are pretty expensive. Anything archival, and you're talking solid money. Then there's the number of hours that most art takes—there are $1000 hand-colored mural prints that she's got which after materials, I know she'd make less than $5 an hour on. Even the stuff I did that had the most minimal processing, roughly 24" x 24" digital c-prints, I put up a price of $150 per, because they were framed. The frames cost around $50 including the materials and labor, in part because I had a friend do it. Roughly an hour per image in taking the shots, roughly four hours in scanning and color correction (shot from a Holga). Knocking aside the incidental costs of paper, including ruined prints, that's about $10 an hour, which isn't particularly rich. And I'd be more than happy to cut deals for friends.

But seen from the other side, that $150 is a hella lotta money, even if the images are pretty strong (if I do say so myself). And it's not like I've got any sort of name or hope of appreciation or anything—that $150 is not an investment in anything more than having a piece of art to look at for years.

Which is why most of the art on my walls is either mine or trades. It sucks that doing that doesn't really allow for the reinvestment of profits into more art, but capitalism's always been a bad fit for art anyway, Koons excepted.
posted by klangklangston at 7:41 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Powhida Blue?
posted by MikeMc at 7:45 PM on March 3, 2010


Most folks don't buy material art because they are not convinced they'll still love it in ten years. Also, they can see it for free (unlike a concert) at the gallery; if it doesn't make you multi-orgasmic, why the hell would you buy something that does nothing?

I say this as a practicing professional artist.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:24 PM on March 3, 2010


Well, I bought a "vast wasteland of garbage", which I consider to be art, and I love it. Close enough?
posted by pfarner at 9:53 PM on March 3, 2010


> Jen Bekman Sells $100K in Wegmans in One Day

I was really excited about this article before I realized it wasn't talking about selling photographs in a grocery store.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:02 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh, cool! I helped this guy's high school art classes publish a book a couple years ago in Brooklyn.

He's very cool and down-to-earth despite the necessarily showy public persona. He also predicted which contemporary artists will matter in ten years for New York magazine.
posted by themadjuggler at 10:17 PM on March 3, 2010


For the interested there is a really interesting article titled "the art bubble" in the recent "New Criterion", currently only available in physical copy.

Contained many interesting insights (perspectives?) regarding the "contemporary art market" for the uninitiated.
posted by infinite intimation at 11:05 PM on March 3, 2010


I think everyone should buy art, if they can afford it. With just a bit of leg work, you can find great emerging artists in any town.

Buying art for the sake of investment, i.e. expecting a return in 5 to 20 years, is fine but you are generally looking at "hot" and published artists and can expect to spend $3k to $10k for a major work.

If you go a tier down, you can get great larger pieces for your wall for $3k or less, and small pieces for just a few hundred.

Either way, it's best we all take down our University-era movie posters from our wall, regardless of how much you liked Pulp Fiction and The Crow.
posted by Theta States at 6:36 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


In addition: The New York art world is a whole other beast entirely. Yikes.

Art is always a great investment if you love the piece and can display it safely and properly.

Treating art like Intrade is certainly a viable option, but meh, do you really want to be scrutinizing your paintings in that way?
posted by Theta States at 7:04 AM on March 4, 2010


To hell with buying art that other people tell you has value, MAKE art that has meaning to YOU.

Years ago after I earned a BA in studio art, I did an apprenticeship at an auction house and worked in an art gallery on Rodeo Drive. I found simply don't have the stomach for it...the whole "scene" made me so sick I could just puke. It was a colossal con game from start to finish: when it wasn't being approached as a 100% pure transactional investment, we were expected to exploit rich people's insecurities and basically sell them self-esteem: "I bought x, therefore I am a good person." It's complete bullshit. The first time I saw the corporate sponsors' names plastered all over the Tate, I thought it was somebody doing some kind of ironic social commentary. It wasn't. It was "We buy x so we're a good company and you should buy our product and be a good person too". The performing arts are no different. I worked in development in a couple of major institutions...don't EVEN get me started on the whole "Diamond Donors and the commissioning process" rant.

I have to say I was infinitely happier after I moved to Brooklyn to do my own thing in a shitty $325-a month-with-roommates dump. When you hate capitalism, maybe good honest poverty is the only thing that feels right.
posted by aquafortis at 7:16 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


New Criterion? Definitely ( reactionary conservative) perspective rather than insight in regards to their art criticism.

Powhida and Jen Dalton have a great project going on right now: #class. Personally I think he's been doing a lot of inventive and interesting things, particularly by giving artists who aren't primarily making art as a bid to bring in bucks (and 99.9% of any decent artist falls in this category) a chance to assemble in one place and dissect art, commerce, and the culture machine.

There are uncomfortable and murky ethical questions about whether (or how) art that challenges the cultural status quo can still engage with art markets of any kind. Artists are complicit with the art market and cultural institutions from the moment they choose to make any body of work that might eventually end up outside of their own studios, unless they have unlimited supplies of money to underwrite both their studio practices and the spaces necessary to present their work.
posted by stagewhisper at 8:56 AM on March 4, 2010


How to buy art that may become valuable: Near graduation, Yale, RISD, etc, recent notable MFA in painting is packing up the on-campus residence. Her thesis paintings, 3 x 4 feet or bigger, are being packed for the move. Buy one for $800 or so.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:31 PM on March 4, 2010


...fine but you are generally looking at "hot" and published artists and can expect to spend $3k to $10k for a major work.

It doesn't matter how rich the buyer is, anything above a $5000 impulse purchase will almost always be evaluated by a professional art consultant specializing in numerical valuation and the expected growth according to documented sales and resell history.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:42 PM on March 4, 2010


Alison: It has always seemed a little silly to buy art as an investment, at least for people without millions of dollars available for speculation. Art is a lot more pleasurable if you stick to what you like and not what you think other people will pay for in the future. If you only buy things that you love you never lose over the long-term.

The two concepts aren't mutually exclusive. My parents have a number of art objects (collected over the thirty years of their marriage, plus a few inherited) that probably qualify as investments, but they love each and every piece.

Theta States: Either way, it's best we all take down our University-era movie posters from our wall, regardless of how much you liked Pulp Fiction and The Crow.

Hey, movie posters are art in their own right (yes, not necessarily good art, see also Sturgeon's Law). If people can put vintage travel posters up on their walls, why not movie posters?

(That said, I agree that just tacking posters up there rarely looks good -- pick a couple you like and buy frames for them.)
posted by bettafish at 3:03 PM on March 4, 2010


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