Searching for the Gross Domestic Art index; Florence and Herbert Irving Strike AgainThis commentary by Marion Maneker is available to AMMpro subscribers. (The first month of AMMpro is free and subscribers are welcome to sign up for the first month and cancel before they are billed.) Artnet released it semi-annual market report this week with the cover line, “the art world is over, welcome to the age of the art industry.” The pitch continued with the sort of statement only a straw man could love: “Once the modestly sized province of passion-driven dealers and connoisseurs, the art market today exists as an interconnected global network dominated by multibillion-dollar corporations and profit-minded investors.” The idea that art has become overrun by vandals looting the sanctuary for its economic, not spiritual, value isn’t a new one. Everyone wants to believe that they are the aesthete and the other guy, usually the one who bought the aesthete’s painting, is the vulgarian looking to make a buck. At the peak of the pre-crash market, dealer Jeffrey Deitch had begun to talk about the art business evolving from a community into an industry. Community brings to mind caring. Industry, as depicted by a smokestack on the cover of Artnet’s report, harkens to soulless dystopian capitalism. Industry evokes either the vertical integration of production from raw materials to finished goods and even finance or a broad supply-chain of cooperating and competitive sectors that unite in a dance guided by the unseen hand of the market.
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