The Independent‘s Emma Love outlines an experiment to take place at August Gallery next month that attempts, yet again, to explore the mystery of art and its value.
It is part of this year’s East Festival of culture in London, and anyone can show work in the exhibition from 5 to 12 March (artists won’t have to go through the usual gallery validation process) and then choose whether to take part in the art swap on 10 March.
The idea is that those submitting a piece of art have to put their own value on it and swap it for another piece they consider to be worth an equal amount or more. The experiment – which is just as much about what artists (or viewers who are submitting pieces of art that they have previously bought) would pay for their own work as it is about what they would consider paying for others – highlights the difference between personal value and the amount of money something is worth. An artist might value a painting because they’ve spent hours perfecting the colour of the sky until it’s exactly the right shade of cobalt blue, but that doesn’t necessarily determine a high price. [ . . . ]
Monetary value and personal value are two very different things and, with no help or advice being offered from the gallery during AUGUST art’s experiment, it will be interesting to see if those taking part in the art swap think with their heads or their hearts.
One wonders whether this experiment is relevant because it only uses artists without established reputations. A far more compelling–but impossible–experiment would be to take a large enough body of work that has achieved market value and offer it to be swapped by a an equally large sample of the collecting universe and then compare relative values. But, wait, isn’t that what the art market already does?
How to Spot a Golden Calf–or Cash Cow (The Independent)