Meanwhile, in the New York art markets

Thursday 19th May, 2022 - Bruce Sterling

I now see two modes of value making: a traditional system, and a new system, where investment value and critical and aesthetic values get separated and the art is lost.

Traditional value making happens over many lifetimes, as an artist goes through a bunch of consensus-making benchmarks: other artists, curators, institutions, academics, collectors. Over time, some artists, and some of their artworks, move up into blue chip.

Today, it’s quite confusing. Certain auction houses are mimicking the collectibles market. Everything is a tchotchke to flip. Evening sales are for stuff that those auction houses know they can profit on this week. You have sneakers, dinosaur bones, some NFTs, 50 artists you’ve never heard of, and then three artists who actually should be in an evening sale.

This is really disturbing. I don’t understand how I can pay $3 million for an artist who’s 30 years old and has no museum shows. I’m terrified about this weird marketplace that is based on nothing but information and chatter….