Home » The Recession: Best or Worst for Art?

The Recession: Best or Worst for Art?

In the current issue of VoCA’s favorite magazine, Art + Auction, Jori Finkel tries – without success – to present an opposing argument to what we have been saying for months (along with other critics, including the fabulous New Yorkers Holland Cotter and Jerry Saltz):

That the economic shakedown is the best thing that could have happened to the art world.


Will Kent Monkman, one of Canada’s most overrated artists (we think), survive the recession?
Si je t’aime prends garde à toi, 2007. Image: canadianart.ca

Finkel writes: “For the past six months, several critics and curators and the occasional artist have been celebrating the fall of the art market as though it were something separate from the art world, stuck on a painting like a bogus price tag….”

“There are countless flaws with this line of thinking, but I will just point out a few of the most dangerous.”


We couldn’t resist this image of ‘art star’ Terence Koh. Fabulous. Will his work survive? We wonder…
Image: nymag.com

Read the full article HERE and let VoCA know your thoughts, below.

3 Responses to “The Recession: Best or Worst for Art?”

  1. AA Bronson says:

    Terence is a survivor.

  2. Tracey Capes says:

    I think Jorgi Finkle makes a valid point – with growth – things may move and expand where you may not or cannot effect them, but growth and exposure for the art community is a good thing and the gems will stand out regardless.

  3. Leah Sandals says:

    I think any writer who says a recession is good for the art industry should also be willing to say a recession is good for the writing industry.

    Somehow I feel most writers would not agree to the latter–even if they agree with the former.

    Usually the argument for recessions improving the art world goes like this — less money motive for artmaking means that artists can get back to what inspired them to make art in the first place. Art supposedly gets “purer” this way.

    If this is the case — that economic downturns lead to better art — then why haven’t those writers moved to places with persistently smaller/poorer art markets, places where, presumably by their logic, the continually poor art market keeps art great?

    For my part, I agree with the tenet that an increased market in anything–be it art, autos, toys, baseball or writing–will bring more crap to light. But it will also bring more good stuff to light, because you need the crap to get to the good stuff, generally. Sometimes it’s a game of percentages.

    Obviously, I also support government funding for artists and writers because it may more easily allow them to pursue directions the market doesn’t. But many artists and writers can also use the market as their own funding program–selling some more marketable work to fund the less marketable stuff.

    Essentially, the more ways there are for people to make a living from creative activity, the more creative activity will thrive–in both its “good” and “bad” forms.

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