Just reading through Sylvia White’s blog article about the difference between LA and New York. She is very clear and the answer is very simple. Art is valued in New York, and the reasoning is because of awareness, attitude and education. Seems simple enough. Here is the full article: Apples and Oranges: The L.A. vs. New York Question
Even though this article was written in 1995, I find that the problems and the solutions! are still pertinent today:
This is not necessarily our fault, of course, but we do suffer the cumulative
effects of our indifference to the sagging (non-existent) state of the current
art market. We have not properly educated our collectors, for example. Therefore,
when the investment value of art is gone, the market evaporates because
no real foundation exists to sustain it. ….
Artists must assume the responsibility for education their dealers and collectors by speaking
intelligently about their own work. One of the great advantages of collecting
contemporary art, after all, is that artist is still alive, available for
discussion. Artists can no longer sit back and take the attitude that the
work speaks for itself Take the time to articulate your reasons for working,
your influences, your sources, and so on. Develop a firm foundation in art
history so that you can realistically assess the ways in which your work
fits in the current scene. Create dialogues with other artists in order
to hone your skills at expressing yourself. If you feel incapable of doing
this, hire a writer to spend time with you in your studio, developing an
I read this with interest. I had always firmly avoided doing an artist statement, and while I do understand that the artist statement in itself is a method of education, I had always been turned off by those who write statements that require the average person a dictionary in order to read it. I think that has also contributed to the lack of education of collectors. I think the assumption could have been that the art is good if the statement is high minded. I would rather be read and confirmed intelligent, than be read and assumed so.
In our own area, the Okanagan, the local artists give away so much work (it seems to me) that I do not wonder about the lack of investment value for the local population. Artists, if you are reading this, consider cutting down the amount you give away, or else, consider doing gift certificates or very small pieces max retail value of $300 such as I am doing now. If people can no longer get your work for free, you will have contributed to the education and awareness of collectors understanding that art costs to make – in skill, time and money and each piece is the culmination of your life experience. Could you have done that same piece 5 years ago? If you value your work, others will too.