Originally posted by nerbot
I firmly believe that some modern art is sold for huge amounts for the purpose of money-laundering.
This is a very good point. The art market, particularly at the high end, is very susceptible to manipulation. Art "kings and queens" are crowned by
well known taste makers . . . then market forces, manipulated by unknown money makers take over. After that, almost anything goes. I think nerbot's
point is very well taken, particularly given the spectacular prices being paid for some works.
As far as Rothko goes, I'm reminded of something Matisse said when asked what he expected viewers to get out of his work. Words to the effect of,
"Does it please, or does it not please?" That's all.
In making the work, Matisse or any other artist first pleases himself.
If he is lucky, others may be pleased too and appreciate what he does. If he is extremely lucky an influential dealer may see his work and be pleased
and pleased to try to sell the work where it can earn the most. That's what happened to the very lucky (and very talented) Picasso, who traded art for
drinks in bars during his early years, a classic example of the true economic worth of a Picasso at that time.
Matisse's work was originally reviled by critics who called him and his friends "wild beasts" or, in French, fauves
. "Fauvist" works are worth
tens and hundreds of millions of dollars now.
Art is contextual as well. The Rothko paintings quoted by the OP would be evaluated in the context of all of his work and in the context of art and
intellectual history. The casual viewer is not usually up on all of that.The simplicity of these works introduces the intellectual notion of
factorization or reduction of the complex to it's simplest common factors. The real intellectual test of a Rothko is "does he factor correctly?", in
the context of his own work and of the history of his time and of art itself?
thinks so, and thinks that these paintings are worth a lot of money and better yet, somebody is willing to pay that money.
People who see this as just fraud or a mockery of art are very lucky people
because it means that they can cruise the second hand shops looking
for "real art" and get it cheap and enjoy it in their very own homes while those dumb Rothschild's have to endure some piece of crap from Rothko,
looking like it came from an abandoned lot in Detroit, messing up the wallpaper in their salon.
edit on 1-10-2010 by ipsedixit because: Punctuation.