The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones has a muddled post both castigating the London sales of Contemporary art as examples of heartless excess on the part of the rich and defending the value of art as popularly validated by ordinary Britons.
The market in modern art is truly offensive. It is becoming more sickening by the day. This week saw businesses go bust and an entire nation on the edge of the economic abyss. In Britain, famous high street names such as Thorntons and Habitat hit the buffers. In Greece, riot police held back protesters as punitive austerity measures were imposed by parliament.
[…] One thing is certain – the big-time buyers of art are people in the financial sector who are weathering our troubled times a lot better than high street businesses, nations picked on by Standard & Poor’s, or public sector workers.
And yet, for the last couple of decades, contemporary art has flourished through an alliance of the rich and the not-so-rich. It is the same educated, probably public-sector-employed middle class (many of whom marched this week) that enthusiastically visit galleries and art fairs. It is these fans of modern art who have helped, by their acclaim, to generate the charisma that makes it apparently worth so many millions. […] How will the growing, grotesque disparity between our belief that we “own” modern art and the glaring reality that it is bought and sold by the super-rich, survive these times?
We Don’t Own Art—The Super-Rich Do (Jonathan Jones Blog/Guardian)