Value of art – for free?

Today I read an article in the local Swiss newspaper NZZ about an exhibition in Milano ‘Take me (I’m Yours)  that started in 1995. In that show small giveaways as art are pushed towards the visitors to take with them in bags provided at the entrance.

Stefan513593 - newspaper NZZ - log

Fig. 1: Stefan513593 – newspaper NZZ – log

Behavior as during Sales (especially the Black Friday sales after Thanksgiving in USA is an good example and will be next week) can be noticed, but which is part of the work «Dispersion» (1991/2017) of Christian Boltanski.

The essence of the article is about value of art. The same time today the news are circulated that a Leonardo da Vinci painting exchanged ownership for $400 Mio. And the comments on that can be read on Instagram. One main comment here was that the authenticity and orginality of that painting is not even confirmed. Would a fake matter?  Or is value in between original and pretense?

The author Detterer is questioning whether the opposition of commerical exchange value of art would be a left-over from Post-Fluxus movement or whether it is a new articulation of current sharing attitude (Uber, AirBnB, mobility), what is not always free and is still restricted to neo-liberalism and the power of the market.  She also challenges the value of the Milano exhibition today and considered it rather outdated, as the initial irony of a community happening in 1995 has changed today, as society has changed.

What has changed, is a new sensibibilty of experience, a new ‘Zeitgeist’ that institutions can not ignore. Not collecting material values, but moments. This is embraced in the show through invitation of participating to visitors to draw them as nude model. Detteres compares this kind of happening with entertainment and ‘talent’ shows. A new form of participatory and community performance.  What matters is the moment of being part of it. The BBC show ‘The Big Challenge’ is just another confirmation of that social excitement.

Museums are places of happenings. But contrasting to Fluxus, these happenings are well organized in a full flesh commercial environment. And the funding comes also from those collectors who can afford to pay $400 Mio for one painting.



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