The Price of Everything

I believe this film intersects with John Berger’s essay, Ways of Seeing, through its first section about “Seeing It”. The privatization of the artwork and its value go hand in hand when explaining this because these notions revolve around art being seen as only prosperity-oriented, degrading the authenticity on the surface and behind the scenes of such works. You’re making the buyer look rich and boast while you receive only a blimp of credit, such as it comes and then goes. From the film, Amy Cappellazzo, a Sotheby’s executive, clearly exemplifies this economical strategy by referring to these art pieces as assets every time she mentions them. Her point of view appears to be more concerned with the collectors to whom she can sell the pieces than with the artists and their artworks. One of the filmmakers challenges her viewpoint by stating that Gerhard Richter does not want his work to be displayed in affluent people’s homes or sold for the price of homes because he wants these to be displayed in museums. She claims that museums are like cemeteries. But on the contrary, museums make for a decent socialist democratic mechanism to avoid dealing with these affluent people who want them. The worry here is that these artworks when inside these rich homes, may never be seen again by the artist or the common people if you will. Another disservice here is how these pieces become replicated from the original and then anyone can have them. Therefore, it’s almost hard to win. The biggest disadvantage of art exhibitions is that the artists aren’t the ones who get offered career-high amounts for their creation. They are only compensated for the original purchase.

Art should be held ethically accountable whilst it took a pea size effort in creating it, having ill productivity in meaning, or even poetry or ponder, as it accumulates tons of money, more than I or many would make in a lifetime. Thankfully, this is not usually the case especially behind the artists presented during this film. The mystification of art should be held on all accounts because it is transparently unethical. Why is this the case? Berger claims that the art establishment values paintings based on their originality rather than their technical virtuosity. Paintings can be replicated endlessly in magazines, posters, and T-shirts. Therefore, what makes a work of art worthwhile if anyone can own it? Whereas only a few people can own a “genuine” painting, the ruling class art establishment embellishes one-of-a-kind items with enormous monetary and cultural worth. In this context, the artist’s expertise is overshadowed by the prominence of the image itself. This weighs down on the pendulum in unfair terms. Furthermore, the co-mingling of art and capital should be fostered to the extent that artists are entitled to the rewards of their labor.

Finally, I agree with the argument that art preservation has evolved from a sacrosanct to a more societal endeavor. My perspective on the transition and needed improvement corresponds to my answers in the previous paragraph by carefully subjecting the art market to the same requirements it seeks to keep within the development of art. Whenever it comes to the artists, they are pushed to the margins while the art world’s attention is on what has been bought by whom, giving value to the supply chain instead of the assembly process that the artists go through while creating their valuable works with undoublful and countless amounts of effort.



  1. hollypracht says:

    “Museums are like cemetaries”. That just struck me as so out of touch, that something that will touch the lives of the visitors is determined as less-than because it won’t sell to one person alone for a huge amount of money…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. alexarushnova says:

      You’re completely right. This interpretation has hit me differently a well. Just because someone with plenty of money is willing to buy your art but only they will ever see it, and then the effect is for no one else, that is only heartbreaking to me. It should be for the world to see, not just one pair of eyes.


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