How is art marketable?
Our project is a product of general social conditions, the constituent moment of which is the market. Basically, the prerequisite for the marketability of any commodity is its exchangeability, and this in turn is linked to the recognition of its use value. Art as a commodity is often not given this recognition as quickly as other commodities on the market. Just like with a new brand, you first have to build trust in the work of an unknown artist. The surest way to get this recognition on the market is to sell at least one work at a market price. This signals to prospective buyers that the artist is fundamentally marketable. In addition, this purchase must be made public so that the desired confidence-building effect can unfold. This is one of the central tasks that SHRED D 'ART takes on: We are a catalyst - we award the seal
the marketability through the purchase in a specially designed, public exhibition and attest to the participants through the expertise of our jury their artistic and financial relevance. Collectors or art dealers, of course, behave very similarly on this point. However, SHRED D 'ART differs fundamentally from these usual market participants, because we see it as our task not only to promote the marketability of an artist and her works, but also to reduce the pressure of the constantly growing amount of art on the market. We therefore see it as a pure, non-judgmental necessity to devalue the works we have bought: Sustainable promotion of artists through the purchase of their works can only be successful if the general supply is reduced at the same time.
The Emotional Power of the Destruction Ceremony *
When a work of art is exhibited one last time, it creates a special moment for those present. You become part of a community that took part in a non-repeatable event and can exclusively report on it. The work of art only lives on in the narrative and in fragmentary images of memory and thus emerges from general exhibition practice. The "You weren't there" effect, in which only the few present have the monopoly on the description of a special event, creates the basis for myth. The work of art receives an extraordinary level of attention and seriousness, which is rarely achieved in a regular exhibition context. The certainty of being the last witness to this work of art provokes one
more focused engagement with work. In addition, this moment can create a strong bond between the recipient and the artistic position and direct his attention to the artist's future works.
The farewell ceremony for the works of art works like an “other market”. Free of the logic of exploitation, what counts here is the moment of participation and then the memory of the works. The participating artist is enhanced by the exclusivity of the action and the glorification of the work of art created from memory. This grants the artist's future works an ideal and, in the best case, financial credit.
The problem of a model without devaluation
Let’s imagine we’re just buying an artist’s work. The artist would get paid the price she wanted and could thus finance herself and her work. We went a step further and sold the work to a third party. We would either give the proceeds back to the artist or use them to buy another work from her. In this way we would help him and at the same time assert his market value and that of his work. So we'd take on the job of an average art dealer, only we wouldn't make a profit for ourselves. But already in the next sales step nothing is left for the artist. If the third party were to resell the work of art, the artist would no longer be involved. That is the much criticized crux of the so-called second art market. If the artist wanted to sell another work, she would inevitably have to compete with her first work. That's because the value of its
subsequent work would be measured on the price development of the first work. If the price of his first work of art fell, this would be understood as a signal that his next work could also suffer a price decline. Confidence decreased and with it the market value. Even if the pricing for the artist developed positively, our naive charity behavior (the proceeds from sales are used to refinance more and more new purchases) would continue to ensure that more and more works were competing for the mass of money on the art market. So there is no other way: it is imperative to break the chain that leads to market oversaturation and to reduce the amount of works of art through controlled and curated devaluation. The unique concept of SHRED D 'ART is that nobody suffers financial damage, but on the contrary, the income of art producers is promoted.
Destruction is not arbitrary but a necessity
The capitalist market, in which the art market is a dazzling variant, is basically designed for the consumption and destruction of goods. If use values were to be produced with a claim to eternity, sooner or later the market would paralyze itself. The market forces every commodity to have a half-life in order to make room for something new. While it is accepted that, for example, electric toothbrushes are inoperable after two years, the mere suspicion that an artistic work “of value” might deteriorate in some way (chemical-technical or content-wise) is a serious problem for its appreciation - both artistically and financially Senses.
Overproduction is also a problem in art. The fast pace of the art world, the desire for the new and the current, fuels the productive hysteria in every individual artist. In terms of its productive fever, it is comparable to a conventional company that wants to stand out from competing market participants. Works from the past few years quickly appear out of date or only as a forerunner of the
latest work. The artist must produce topicality through “timely” output (continuous creation and regular participation in exhibitions) in order to attract attention through activity. (The fact that application criteria for scholarships or the like often allow a maximum of work from the previous year is either a direct expression of this or a necessary reaction in view of the expected mass of submissions.) Art as a commodity is not viewed from the same cool, calculating point of view as other commodities . Full warehouses, archives and stocks or the saturated market are not met with wear and tear, predetermined breaking points and subsidized disposal (scrap bonus, etc.), because in art, despite its obvious commodity form, a 'more' is seen. And that is the problem: it is really not just a commodity - it is actually 'more'. But at the moment when artists or gallery owners want to make a living by selling art, they cannot help but treat art as a commodity. You have to sell them as such in the market. And therefore, in general and for us in particular, it is only logical to treat them as such.
(Money eats art, art eats money, Markus Metz, Georg Seeßlen, page 79, 2nd paragraph, 2nd edition 2015, Suhrkamp)
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