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Thread: Fine Art II

  1. #1
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    Default Fine Art II

    Steve Hynes, editor of Professional Photographer, wrote an excellent article in the March 2002 issue which makes a good point about this fine art issue.

    "A quick look around at some of the paintings first. I knew I was out of my depth when I came across a canvas, about 4x4ft, painted entirely in a single shade of blue. Price 6500 to you, sir. Plus VAT. I'd never heard of the artist, but he's probably extremely famous.

    The sculpture proved equally educational. A piece of wood, more or less as it came off the tree, mounted on a perspex base, 4500. Er... let's move on to the photography."


    Several issues are raised that I can see.

    (1) Would you pay 6500 (approx S$17500) for a canvas painted in a single shade of blue? If so, why?
    (2) Would you pay the same for a photograph of a single shade of blue?
    (3) Does the person who painted it influence your decision? If so, why? Should it?

    (4) Would you pay the same amount for an out of focus, blurred shot because it was taken by someone famous?
    (5) If so, why?
    (6) Would it matter who the photographer was? Why, should it matter?

    (7) Is that sculpture any less valuable than a picture of the tree? Are they really much different if you think about it?
    (8) Should that sculpture of a tree be worth less than a real sculpture of a tree fashioned painstaking from a medium like clay?
    (9) Put another way, should you pay more for effort?
    (10) Doesn't all photography require considerably less effort than other art forms? Should photographs be worth less than other art forms like paintings and sculptures?

    Just food for thought folks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fine Art II

    Originally posted by Jed

    Just food for thought folks.
    ..........
    ...........
    I still hungry................

  3. #3
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    Hi,

    It's a VERY special shade of blue. It reflects exactly 18% of the light falling on it (a 13% rendition is also available). The 4' x 4' size perfectly fills the frame of a 6x6 camera with the appropriate lens and distance. If you buy 4 pieces, it makes a damned good chroma-keying screen.

    Regards
    CK

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    Oh yes, I have a similar piece for sale. I'll take just US$1000, complete with frame.

    Regards
    CK

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    Ok, jokes aside.

    That blue piece is titled IKB 65 (don't ask me what it means) by Yves Klein, painted in 1960.



    Available now at all fine art stores (go for the paper department).

    Regards
    CK

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    Default

    Another extract from Mr Hyne's article:

    "Size isn't everything, of course. Some Andy Warhol Polaroids at 5000 apiece were clear leaders in the less-for-more stakes."

    There you go... who needs megapixels when a Polaroid can fetch 5000...

  7. #7
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    Coming soon to a gallery near you.

    My masterpiece : 18% and 13%

    Available as 30x20" and 16"x24" framed or unframed.

    Doubles as a gray card for spot-on exposure readings.

    All for a low, low price of $1,000.

    Your choice of Ilford Galerie or Ilford Multigrade paper, matte, glossy or pearl finish.

    Place your orders now.

    Regards
    CK

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by ckiang
    Ok, jokes aside.

    That blue piece is titled IKB 65 (don't ask me what it means) by Yves Klein, painted in 1960.



    Available now at all fine art stores (go for the paper department).

    while the style is not exactly reminiscent of the 1960s, the tonality of the blue suggests uncertainty - not light enough for that soothing feeling yet not a totally forebrooding dark shade, reflecting a time of self discovery. The world is on the rebound after the second world war, the shackles are loose and many are rediscovering the joys of life (many in later generations would refer to that as the decadent period).

    the stark simplicity of the piece is a pleasing contrast to the often many convoluted intepretations and ideas put forward by more contemporary artists of the day. The clean approach defies conventional wisdom - it neither seeks nor ask for a definition, yet it intrigues enough for viewers to seek out the true meaning of the work of art, and hopefully in the process, discover something about their themselves they never knew.

    brilliant!
    David Teo
    View my work and blog at http://www.5stonesphoto.com/blog

  9. #9

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    I think the question of whether one is willing to pay money for it is unimportant. The question is should whether the artistic work has an emotional impact.

    Viewing such pieces, I would say yes. Size and texture do play a part. (I can't recall seeing Klein, but I've seen a few in that style - particularly Mark Rothko who at least uses more colours/ also, if you consider Piet Mondrian in that school as well).

    As for Warhol's polaroids, this could simply be a case of people not being able to afford his real pieces and thus trying to 'get in' on it by buying something lesser.

    Re: photographs/art - have you guys seen David Hockney's photo montages/collages? Some are pretty nice, but he's in a weird phase at the moment

  10. #10
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    I would argue whether someone will pay for it or not is crucially important. It measures what someone thinks of your work. All this emotional thing is nice and Romantic, but it's not what counts. If I painted that blue thing on canvas (and I'm sure I could do that!) nobody, and I mean nobody, would pay me 65 for it let alone 6500. What makes my blue canvas any materially different from Klein's blue canvas? The only difference is in the price! And the name. So you're effectively paying 6500 of his name and reputation. Question here is, why? Doesn't this give the license to those who've had one or two good/great pieces of work to churn out rubbish and not worry about their standards anymore since it doesn't matter what they churn out, people will still pay top dollar for it?

    And as for the blue canvas and the stump of wood... personally, I see no emotional interest in them whatsoever. If you saw emotional impact in those Polaroids, then I applaud even more because I haven't even described their content, and any judgement you make based on that can only be because of Wahol's reputation. Which makes my point above nicely.

    If you can indeed find emotional impact in the blue thing, the wood thing or the Polaroids, congratulations there must be something both myself and Mr Hynes are missing; you should consider being a fine art dealer, I believe there is a good market there.

    And as for Andy Warhol's Polaroids, again why? Someone explain to me why one of Warhol's Polaroids are worth 5000, and far more than any shot I've ever taken on any format? Am I really that bad, is he really that good, or is it all a name thing? Chances are it's a combination of all three, but I suspect more of the latter than the other two.

  11. #11

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    Why are Rolexes more expensive than Casios, even though you can create a real good imitation of a Rolex at a tiny fraction of the cost? Why do people drink Coke and not Virgin Cola? Why do I buy a Dell computer? Why do some people pay twice as much for a Mercedes as for a comparable (and more reliable) Japanese car? Why does Jed prefer Canon or Nikon lenses to Sigma?

    What's in a name? Lots. But it depends what merchandise (and that's what it boils down to - merchandising) you associate with that name. I don't think I'd pay more than a buck for LKY's used underwear, but I might fork out a bit more for an autographed copy of his book. Even more for a personally handwritten copy of, say, his first love letter to his wife. But then he's not an artist.

    OK let's stick to photography. Assuming Ansel Adams was alive, how much could he charge for a (presumably) hand-developed print of one of his pictures? I'm sure he could sell a couple million of these "hand-printed" photos, although he would probably not be spending all his time printing them (get the hint?). Quite a bit, don't you think? Have you seen an Ansel Adams print? You may or may not have. I heard his name first before I saw his pictures. Truth to tell, I was not terribly impressed. But hey, who's gonna tell the emperor he's not wearing any clothes?

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by StreetShooter
    Why are Rolexes more expensive than Casios, even though you can create a real good imitation of a Rolex at a tiny fraction of the cost? Why do people drink Coke and not Virgin Cola? Why do I buy a Dell computer? Why do some people pay twice as much for a Mercedes as for a comparable (and more reliable) Japanese car? Why does Jed prefer Canon or Nikon lenses to Sigma?
    Hoi... what gives you the idea I prefer Canon or Nikon lenses to Sigma? That's utter rubbish. I prefer Nikon lenses to Canon and Sigma

    Seriously though, I have reasons for not using Sigma. In the same way I acknowledge Canon and Nikon make lemons too. I don't pretend to call these lemons the best lenses because they take out of focus blurred shots, and then sell them for more than the glass that only takes sharp pictures.

    What's in a name? Lots. But it depends what merchandise (and that's what it boils down to - merchandising) you associate with that name.
    That's my whole point. Why is there lots in a name? And the difference is, in terms of branding, there usually is some reason for the high prices in the first place. Fashion, quality, style, whatever. And generally, they keep it up. If the quality drops, people will eventually come to talk about it and stop buying it. Things go out of fashion. I can't see the buying of what is essentially rubbish just because of the name. As above, does having a name give a license to the holder of the goodwill to churn out rubbish and still charge exorbitant prices.

    On the subject of AA, the man knew what he was talking about. I wouldn't know how much I would pay for an AA print, but it would depend on the print in question. I wouldn't pay just because it was an AA print. At least, everything he did took skill and knowledge. I can do you a blue canvas in real little time. Or in about 2s in Photoshop, with outputting to canvas taking another 2min or so.

    Just because everyone's doing it doesn't mean we should (1) follow (2) not question it.
    Last edited by Jed; 26th February 2002 at 08:05 PM.

  13. #13

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    Why is a blue canvas 'rubbish' whereas Piet Mondrians work (can also do Piet Mondrian's work in photoshop) is not? Is there objective criteria for determining rubbish or is it ultimately something 'subjective'?

    Lets try some:

    (1) If I can do it myself just as easily, its rubbish.
    (2) If it (looks like - he may have taken 10 days to choose and mix a shade of blue ) took a minimum of effort to achieve, its rubbish
    (3) ... (help me out here)


    After all, if one is scandalised by Klein's blue canvas costing 6.5k, then you should be equally scandalised by pictures of a series of lines (with colours filled in between - just use photoshop bucket command),waterlilies or sunflowers costing tens of millions.

    I'm sure you can reproduce Piet Mondrian's work in photoshop too (just line drawing and 'fill command'). Does that make it rubbish? Lets say we have a half-decent artist who can reproduce van gogh's sunflowers - would he have a right to be scandalised by the cost of van gogh's sunflowers? (He too can say '10 mil for that painting, thats rubbish - i can paint an identical one just as well as that).

    As people with less money than the people that buy 6.5k blue blobs, we feel something is wrong. But the key thing is whether we have objective criteria to condemn people who buy 6.5k blue blobs or whether we are adopting subjective criteria. If we adopt subjective criteria, what makes our judgment superior to that of some rich person who buys a 6.5k blue blob, a Ferrari, rolex watch, Learjet etc?
    Last edited by erwinx; 26th February 2002 at 11:51 PM.

  14. #14

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    Originally posted by Jed
    I would argue whether someone will pay for it or not is crucially important. It measures what someone thinks of your work. All this emotional thing is nice and Romantic, but it's not what counts. If I painted that blue thing on canvas (and I'm sure I could do that!) nobody, and I mean nobody, would pay me 65 for it let alone 6500. What makes my blue canvas any materially different from Klein's blue canvas? The only difference is in the price! And the name. So you're effectively paying 6500 of his name and reputation. Question here is, why? Doesn't this give the license to those who've had one or two good/great pieces of work to churn out rubbish and not worry about their standards anymore since it doesn't matter what they churn out, people will still pay top dollar for it?

    Jed and people,

    I think you are all missing the picture here. The Fine Arts market is a carefully tended bubble the centeral point at which is (let's face it) rich but foolish folks and the so rich that money does not have the same value to them as for us non monied people , acquire "trpohies" and "investments" they do not be so crass as to buy artworks. After all who cares if you just acquired a pile of dog **** as long as that dog **** came for a recongised and valued artisit. It is about image, status - the acqusisition of and maintence of , pride.

    To a true artists talking about art is as silly as fishes discussing about the waterness of water. But if it keeps you free from mischief then talk on and on and on about art. Doing it and get it done right should be the goal for an artist.

    I am rahter tired of hearing this art thing every time more than 4 photographer sit down and do not have any thing else to pass time with. Especially the chest thump refain of "there is no support for photography as art in Singapore". Perhaps I am being too simplistic here.

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by erwinx
    Why is a blue canvas 'rubbish' whereas Piet Mondrians work (can also do Piet Mondrian's work in photoshop) is not? Is there objective criteria for determining rubbish or is it ultimately something 'subjective'?

    Lets try some:

    (1) If I can do it myself just as easily, its rubbish.
    (2) If it took a minimum of effort to achieve, its rubbish
    (3) ... (help me out here)


    After all, if one is scandalised by Klein's blue canvas costing 6.5k, then you should be equally scandalised by pictures of a series of lines (with colours filled in between - just use photoshop bucket command),waterlilies or sunflowers costing tens of millions.

    I'm sure you can reproduce Piet Mondrian's work in photoshop too (just line drawing and 'fill command'). Does that make it rubbish? Lets say we have a half-decent artist who can reproduce van gogh's sunflowers - would he have a right to be scandalised by the cost of van gogh's sunflowers? (He too can say '10 mil for that painting, thats rubbish - i can paint an identical one just as well as that).

    As people with less money than the people that buy 6.5k blue blobs, we feel something is wrong. But the key thing is whether we have objective criteria to condemn people who buy 6.5k blue blobs or whether we are adopting subjective criteria. If we adopt subjective criteria, what makes our judgment superior to that of some rich person who buys a 6.5k blue blob, a Ferrari, rolex watch, Learjet etc?
    Mondrian's works (according to a Mondrian fan friend) is not just lines and colour. There's balance of the lines and colours which makes it more than just lines and colour. The Mondrian-inspired logo/decor of City Link is just a poor imitation, according to him.

    But a big patch of blue? Might as well just buy construction paper.

    Regards
    CK

  16. #16

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    Perhaps an analogy.

    In the old days of Eniac computers, it happened that the computer crashed. An expert was hired to fix the problem. He spent the whole night in the room checking the machine, and in the morning he replaced one vacuum tube which had blown. His bill for the repair was $5000.

    The management was scandalised, and asked him how come it cost so much to replace just one vacuum tube.

    He broke the bill down for them:

    Cost of replacing one vacuum tube: $5
    Knowing which vacuum tube to replace: $4995

    Another analogy.

    A woman visits a famous hairdresser. He snips here, snips there, and a few minutes later pronounces that he is done. His bill: $500. Again, the woman is scandalized. "You cut so little hair!"

    "Madam," he says, drawing himself up to full height. "I am an artist. I get paid not for what I remove, but for what I leave behind."

    It's not about effort.
    Last edited by StreetShooter; 26th February 2002 at 11:59 PM.

  17. #17

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    So despite the fact that its easy to copy in photoshop, Mondrian's work is not rubbish because he put in effort in choosing the lines and the colours.

    Lets say (assuming), Klein spent several days choosing a mixing a special shade of blue paint that not only is a 'special colour' but has a special texture when you view the original canvas. Would this qualify as sufficient 'effort'?

    If the answer is no, then why not? What is the objective threshold for 'enough effort'?




    Originally posted by ckiang


    Mondrian's works (according to a Mondrian fan friend) is not just lines and colour. There's balance of the lines and colours which makes it more than just lines and colour. The Mondrian-inspired logo/decor of City Link is just a poor imitation, according to him.

    But a big patch of blue? Might as well just buy construction paper.

    Regards
    CK

  18. #18

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    Hey, I'm a digital photographer and I've got art! Let me just check my Recycle Bin and I'll post some straight away....

    OK here we go.

    Last edited by StreetShooter; 27th February 2002 at 12:03 AM.

  19. #19
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    I'm inspired!!! Is this considered art as well?

    Check out my wildlife pics at www.instagram.com/conrad_nature

  20. #20
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    Originally posted by erwinx
    So despite the fact that its easy to copy in photoshop, Mondrian's work is not rubbish because he put in effort in choosing the lines and the colours.

    Lets say (assuming), Klein spent several days choosing a mixing a special shade of blue paint that not only is a 'special colour' but has a special texture when you view the original canvas. Would this qualify as sufficient 'effort'?

    If the answer is no, then why not? What is the objective threshold for 'enough effort'?

    Right. So, if I am famous enough, I can even leave an unpainted canvas as it is and title it "purity" for example, assuming I pick and choose from all the available canvases and pick one which I think is the purest?

    Mondrian's work has colour and harmony, balance between the colours, the thickness of the lines, etc. But the blue thing is just a shade of blue. Unless of course you go by Red Dawn's witty analysis of that piece.

    We might just as well call Kodak 18% gray cards art. Coz that exact reflectivity isn't that easy to obtain.

    Regards
    CK

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