Art and money: experience destruction exposure

O'Neill, Mary (2007) Art and money: experience destruction exposure. In: Money and Culture. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main, pp. 333-342. ISBN 9783631567906

Art and Money: Experience Destruction Exposure
This chapter explores the relationship between art and money through a discussion of the work of three artists, Lygia Clark, Gustav Metzger and Hans Haacke. All three commented upon the relationship between power and money, and the impact that relationship has on the kind of art exhibited and collected.
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In no other area of human activity is the relationship between production and money as perverse as in the art world. The peculiarity of this relationship may be responsible for the appreciative failure of much of contemporary art and in particular conceptual art. If value is attached to ‘intrinsic’ qualities of an object it would be hard to justify the high prices attached to contemporary artwork. This however raises interesting questions as to the extent to which it is possible to separate economic from other values in art. There have been numerous attempts to break the link between art and money - Roger Fry’s Omega Workshop experiment, offered participants a guaranteed minimum income to free them from economic pressure. Commencing with Art and Commerce in 1926 Fry explored this relationship in a series of publication. In 1971, the Art Workers’ Coalition produced a statement of demands which asked for a small measure of what Fry had offered artist fifty years earlier. In the 1960s and 70s, there was a proliferation of highly politicized work challenging the art/commerce relationship, focusing on the dematerialisation of the artwork as a decommodification strategy. In this paper I will explore these strategies, concentrating mainly on the work of three artist:- Lygia Clark, whose ephemeral artwork, made of easily available cheap material, questioned notions of value and the interaction between the object, the spectator and the artist: Hans Haacke whose 1971 exhibition highlighting the hidden relationship between the art world and commerce, was cancelled by the Guggenheim for fear of offending the museum’s patrons: and the auto destructive work of Gustav Metzger. I will analyze the success or failure of the strategies employed by these artists in light of the art world’s tendency to turn anything into a commodity.

Keywords:art and money, Commodification, Lygia Clark, Gustav Metzger, Hans Haacke, auto destructive art
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V350 History of Art
W Creative Arts and Design > W190 Fine Art not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Fine Arts)
ID Code:1840
Deposited On:16 Mar 2009 12:22

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