Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Why Is A Jackson Pollack The Most Expensive Painting?

At the risk of sounding like a conservative curmudgeon, we would like to ask the Question: What is it about modern works of Art that have them selling for so much more than the Mannerists, or, say, the Renaissance Masters? One of the aesthetic consequences of this era of the Death of the Judeo-Christian God is that Art now veers towards the representational and away from Form and Beauty. Democracy, also, unfortunately, has lessened the majesty and exclusivity of Art. As magnificent a system of government as democracy is, Art is essentially an aristocratic enterprise embarked upon by private perfectionists (Don't tell that to most post-war painters, though). Wit -- or, in the case of Botero, lack of wit -- nowadays (for further reference see: Damien Hirst), is mistaken for Great Art. Art can now be subjectively interpreted by anyone with an opinion and a way with language.

Granted, one can always add the caveat: Why does Money have to be the final arbiter of the value of a work of Art. Living in a capitalist society, however, and having an inordinate fascination with the idea of Justice, The Corsair cannot help but wonder Why the price of an object does not correlate to the Value of the object? Is it the Russian oligarch billionaires, so lacking in taste, driving up the price of shitty Art? What? The? Fu-u-ck?!

And, granted (The Corsair pours himself a glass of 1998 Chateau de Lavernette Cuvee), Jackson Pollack was a modern genius in pursuit of acutely representing the fuzzy realm of the abstract-expressionist. But Pollack was not remotely as disciplined or as genius in rendering his drip methods as the Old Masters -- Valasquez, Rembrandt van Rijn, Titian, Raphael, El Greco or even Poussin. Is it that our attention spans are now too short to appreciate the astonishing dimensions of the moody genius of a Rembrandt that we award the banality of Andy Warhol's shallow artistic excrement?

Do you know a Jackson Pollack painting is the most expensive painting ever sold? From Bloomberg:

"A Jackson Pollock painting priced at around $8 million became the most expensive work sold so far at Tefaf, the world's largest art and antiques fair, in the Dutch city of Maastricht, which opened on March 7.

"Pollock's 'The Magic Flame,' from about 1946, was bought by a European collector from Hauser & Wirth, based in Zurich and London, said Florian Berktold, one of the gallery's directors, in a telephone interview yesterday."


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