I came across a funny, smart article called “A guide to the market oligopoly system”, which is a piece by Felix Salmon that uses a drawing by the artist William Powhida to deconstruct the complexities of the American art market.
It makes interesting reading, particularly the part of the pyramid where locales are listed on a scale from Topeka to New York, where he notes “the value of a work of art is to a very large degree a function of the city where it’s being sold. New York’s at the top of the heap (or, to be precise, Manhattan); Berlin punches well above its weight; Paris, the erstwhile center of the art world, is conspicuous by its absence.”
It suggests that Toronto, which I would put on par with Philadelphia or Seattle at the lower end of the scale, is a small market that determines the fate of its artists. It’s a bit of a double-edge sword for artists: Do they wallow in relative obscurity in a small going-nowhere market like Toronto (or all of Canada, for that matter), but where they can teach and have the support of government grants and artist-run centres and have a decent quality of life, or do they dive into the overpopulated, over-competitive waters in New York or London, where they also risk obscurity (and, likely, poverty)?
I’m thankful for the excellent, world-class artists who have decided to remain in Canada. Though they may never achieve super-star status, we need and appreciate them.
Read the full article, HERE.
Oh, and Happy New Year! See you in 2011.