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Collectors beware

Andreas Gursky, Chicago Board of Trade II, 1999. Image: matthewmarks.com

Jerry Saltz’s recent article on German photographer Andreas Gursky in New York magazine (Read it HERE) illustrates a few issues that VoCA has been musing over lately:

1. Art as investment is extremely vulnerable to fashion. Gursky was (is) an extremely popular artist – his work photograph 99 Cent II Diptychon, a digitally-enhanced God’s-eye view of a discount store, was made is 2001 and sold last year for almost three million dollars, the highest price paid for a work by a living photographer. It was one from an edition of six. But with this article – by one of America’s most influential critics – casting doubt on his work, he may well come to be perceived as ‘boring’ by collectors.

Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent II Diptychon, 2001. Image: photofacts.nl

99 Cent II Diptychon, at auction. Image: thecityreview.com

2. It is often said (by many, including VoCA) that art holds little intrinsic value. And yet the best art reveals layers of meaning and ultimately gets at a universal concern. In other words, great art is about humanity. Artists from Michelangelo to Warhol have – consciously or not – addressed issues that all viewers can – consciously or not – relate to.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype surrounding contemporary art. In retrospect, advances in printing and digital photography have produced a glut of mediocre large format colour photography. Bigger is not necessarily better, in fact it now looks rather dated.

All the more reason to:

1. Buy what you love
2. Do your due diligence and research
3. Get to know a consultant whom you trust – before buying art.

2 Responses to “Collectors beware”

  1. Francisco Vizcarra says:

    The poster at the 99 cent only stores dives me crazy since I first saw myself, and as confirmation my mother, now deceased, giving her back to the photographer. We can be seen on the center right of the poster. Many family members can confirm this is indeed us. I just found out it was taken in 2001. I really want to know what store it was taken at. I haven’t been able to figure it out. I know that the artist takes pictures with random people who are unidentifiable but I need to get this off my mind so I won’t be the guy staring at the poster and trying to figure out if the store I’m at is the one the picture was taken at. Where can I get this information. Please help. Thank you, Frank

  2. Joey Jojo Junior Shabadoo says:

    I know this is a late response to Francisco, but if that is indeed you in the picture, how could you not know where the picture was taken? How about starting with the 99 cent stores that you went to? Think about it!

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