• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Art as Commodities

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Art as Commodities Trading in art is similar in some ways to dealing in other commodities; one is subject to the market pressures of supply and demand. Although art prices often vary more then commodities according to arbitrary, factors such as aesthetics, authenticity, condition, rarity and provenance.1 Yet even with such variances in value the popularity of art as a commodity remains. In all realms whether it is the artists, the dealers, the auction house or the collector's the art market is clearly flourishing. From 1987 through 1991, Japanese buyers alone spent more than $8.7 billion on art, and these are only the official trade figures.2 Nevertheless even with such vast amounts being spent on art there remains an uneasy relationship between art and money. The controversy laying in the question of what makes one piece more valuable than another and who decides such a value. This insistent need to reconcile both art and money is made apparent by Paul Alexander in his article Murky Image: The Question of Warhol's Photographs. The author describes a battle between two parties each placing their own value on artistic pieces of works. The works in question include over 60,000 photographs produced by Andy Warhol, considered by many to be one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. The two parties involved in this legal dispute include the Andy Warhol Foundation and Edward W. Hayes the former attorney for both the foundation and the estate of Andy Warhol. Hayes is entitled to 2% of the Warhol estate according to a legal contract between Hayes and Warhol's business manager and executor. The two opposing sides agree on the value of non-art assets but differ on the value of Andy's art in specific Andy's vast collection of photographs. The foundation assessed the works at a price of $4 million based on a Christie's appraisal, the defendant using an independent dealer placed the value at over $80 million. ...read more.

Middle

Under such laws an artists work, logo, signature, and persona can be protected. Through the publics increased association between popular celebrities and consumer products, services, businesses or institutions character merchandising has become very popular.6 For example the estates of Warhol and Picasso could market products under their personas due to their celebrity status. The article Character Merchandising: The Marketing Potential Attaching to a Name, Image, Persona or Copyright by Robert G. Howell narrates the detailed means of protection available to a celebrity in protecting their persona from being exploited unjustly. Such laws include copyright law which protect the celebrity. The aspects of a celebrity's persona that are covered under the law are human, non-fictitious persons, human fictitious characters, and non-human fictitious characters The term celebrity in this context consists of athletes, actors, entertainers and other well known figures in the public sphere.7 The only individuals who are excluded from protection under copyright law are political celebrities as they raise their own special considerations. Howell's article uses the term celebrity broadly encompassing all the figures mentioned above but we will use the term celebrity and artist interchangedly as this will provide a better illustration of the concepts and arguments already presented in this essay. Under copyright law if an artist's work is used without permission relief can be sought under the law. Ultimately the artist has a moral right to the integrity of their work. Such a right is infringed if there is damage to the honour or reputation of the artist. Such an infringement may include distorted, mutilated, or other modified versions of the artists work, and/or the work being used in association with a product, service, cause or institution without the artist's permission.8 Such an infringement of the integrity of the artists work could have been cited by Picasso's heirs against the boutique at the Guggenheim Museum. The boutique had for sale products derived from the artist that didn't respect his original work. ...read more.

Conclusion

The flood of Picasso related products will make his work available to the common person decreasing the value and popularity. The estates of such influential artists such as Picasso should be guided by experts instead of being left in the hands of novices. Such individuals in the attempt to uphold the traditional of the art will end up destroying it. Protection of art is overseen by copyright law which upholds the artist's integrity to his work. This protects work from being copied and provides a remedy if such a thing occurs. Sometimes though copyright protects thieves as it did in the late 19th century in America. It was here that trademarks were stolen from the identities of others and claimed by manufacturers as their own. Throughout these four articles you see how art has become a business. Art is no longer merely for aesthetic beauty instead there are now legal and financial elements to consider alongside the beauty or originality of a work. Art has joined a marketplace where stealing, undervaluation, overvaluation are common occurrences. This is the world of art as a commodity. In closing I leave you with this expert taken from Walter Benjamin's essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction which best captures the essence of this argument. If the concept of 'work of art' can no longer be applied to the thing that emerges once the work is transformed into a commodity, we have to eliminate this concept with cautious care but without fear, lest we liquidate the function of the very thing as well. For it has to go through this phase without mental reservation, and not as noncommittal deviation from the straight path; rather, what happens here with the work of art will change it fundamentally and erase its past to such an extent that should the old concept be taken up again - and it will, why not? - It will no longer stir any memory of the thing it once designated. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Art & Design section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Art & Design essays

  1. Susan Sontag (on photography) has argued that Diane Arbus's photographs suggest "a world in ...

    Yet a lot of the people that Arbus photographed are not in pain of any sort, they are not unhappy, as Sontag contradicts herself by saying "Few of the pictures actually show emotional distress"8. It could then be conceived that Sontag in the former quote is actually remarking that Arbus

  2. Henri Matisse - the green line

    Able to communicate a love of his wife through the precisely chosen arrangement of colours, as well as the different aspects of his wife's personality, Matisse sensitively explores how colour relates to the mood, range of human emotions and sense of aesthetics.

  1. In What Ways Did Art Become More Widely Accessible in England in the Eighteenth ...

    Apprenticed as an engraver, Hogarth made engraving of the majority of his paintings so that prints could be made. These prints were cheaper and thus permitted the lower classes to afford to have art in their homes. After the puritan eradication of holy imagery in churches, the Crown failed to

  2. A DETAILED ANALYSIS OF ANDY WARHOL'S COKE BOTTLES

    Once the composition has finalised, Warhol laid out guidelines for the final image onto the canvas. To do this, he created a basic line drawing of the silkscreen image by tracing the film positive. Warhol then transferred this image onto the canvas by using carbon paper.

  1. How have beauty and the grotesque been portrayed in art?

    His life was a brief one. Born in 1872, he achieved fame early, but was dead by age twenty-five.

  2. Does Religious Art have any Relevance in Today's Society?

    one that covers the six main faiths decided at the time for Glasgow in the 1990's. So, what has been the most popular exhibit in recent years? Sandra- The Salvador Dali painting, 'Jesus of St. John of the Cross' which is no longer with us now.

  1. To what extent may the subjective nature of perception be regarded as an advantage ...

    Although the subjective nature of perception is a bane to a scientist, it is also helpful in developing new theories regarding reality. Theories are essentially educated guesses, some of which are loosely based on some known, observable phenomena, but are very much open ended until the details can be filled in, done so by the scientist's subjective perception.

  2. To what Extent did the System of Patronage Effect Works of Art

    The sacristy of San Lorenzo was largely built by the Medici. A rival family, the Pazzi, followed by building their own chapel in the Franciscan church of Sante Croce. In a world where art was centre, artists were sometimes used as instruments of cultural diplomacy.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work