Seven Days in the Art World

Asher has no dealer; his work is not generally for sale.  When I ask the artist whether he resists the art market, he says dryly: "I don’t avoid commodity forms.  In 1966 I made these plastic bubbles.  They were shaped like paint blisters that came an inch off the wall.  I sold one of those."

That is from the very fun Seven Days in the Art World, by Sarah Thornton.  Here is Felix Salmon on the book.  How about this part?:

The artist Keith Tyson admits that he had a gambling problem when he was a nominee in 2002.  "I had an intellectual interest in chance as well as a fantasy of beating the laws of mathematics," he said.  "The Turner Prize was my first opportunity to bet when I could have an effect.  My odds were seven to two.  In a four-horse race, that is an insult.  I had absolutely no choice.  I’m sure it is solely because of the bets I put on myself that I went from being the underdog to the favorite.  I won’t say how much I took home, but won more from betting than I did from winning what was then a twenty-thousand pound prize."

In other words, prizes, plus a betting market on the prize winner, create especially strong incentives.


Is there anything more nauseating than the world of contemporary art and art collectors? Other topics, please.

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Oddly Asher's 'bubble forms' are a hot commodity, since most of his art practice doesn't produce objects. Museums like MOCA (which owns the piece described) recognize Asher as an important voice in conceptual art, and they'll snap up anything just so they can have that box ticked in their collection. Sandly, these objects grossly misrepresent the form Asher's work usually takes.

There's more of Thornton's visit to CalArts here:

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