Contemplation Of Art Appreciation: Update

Christie’s Contemporary Art Auction Sets Record at $495 Million

“Record prices for 12 contemporary artists including Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein and Jean-Michel Basquiat made history on Wednesday night. The sale of postwar and contemporary art at Christie’s in Rockefeller Center totaled $495 million, the highest sales figure at any art auction.” New York Times, from the article hyperlinked above.


I‘m curious why whoever paid for Pollock opted to remain anonymous. It happens more often than not: anonymous buyers paying unaccountable millions to anonymous sellers for paintings that are famous because millions are being paid to acquire them. 

Nameless he/she/they or, god forbid, it paid all this money for Pollock, perhaps to hold on to it for a few years and, just as anonymously, sell No. 19, 1948 to someone-anonymous-else for a huge profit. In 10 years, the painting appreciated its dollar value from 2.4 to 58.3 million.

The artistic value and merit of the 19th drippy “masterpiece” is irrelevant, although sometimes I forget about it and have to remind myself  that Christie’s and Sotheby’s auction houses have very little, if anything, to do with art, and everything to do with moving objets d’art, creating myths and making money off and for people who have money, preferably, in obscene quantities. Ah, we sigh in awe, games people are playing in their exclusive sandboxes…  

There are as many definitions of art as there are art lovers, art haters, artists, artisans and others who have an opinion about all the above.  However high or low is your estimation  of No. 19, 1948 or Pollock’s entire body of work, one thing is undeniable, though  — Jackson Pollock worshiped Techne (Τέχνη), goddess of art and skill.

My idle, unsubstantiated  guess is that those who operate a mysterious perpetuum mobile,  turning artists into “artistic giants” and their artwork into an expensive commodity, worship altogether  different gods.

Most art museums these days cannot outbid anonymous deep-pocketed buyers at Christie’s. Thus, take a good look at the subtle droplets of delicate paint on No. 19, 1948, Pollock lovers. I suspect that the likelihood of this painting to ever be loaned to a museum and exhibited to the public is zilch. Anonymous he/she/they aren’t in a habit of donating or bequesting anything to museums as of late. 

Personally, I am not overly upset that some great museum won’t add Pollock’s drippy mess to its collection. I wouldn’t miss the pleasure of admiring it, truth be told. Someone else, however, might… Ah, well, enough of it.

Life is  so ridiculous at times that it’s hard to decide what should be a more sensible thing to do — to laugh, to cry or to drip-paint like Jackson Pollock. Some of us can do both — smile while not looking stupid  and drip-paint No 4535, 2013. Some cry afterwards.  

Speaking of museums… Instead of suggesting you to visit my Smile page…

Warning! Nuda ars (nude art) ahead. Avert your eyes if you deem the sight of bare ass offensive. If not — then smile away!

In a museum


4 comments on “Contemplation Of Art Appreciation: Update

  1. Ciao! Vorrei solo dire un grazie enorme per le informazioni che avete condiviso in questo blog! Di sicuro’ diverro’ un vostro fa accanito!

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