At the Affordable Art Fair down in Battersea Park, it struck me how mundane the idea of ‘affordable’ is. Even more so, how money equates to ‘good’ art. We constantly hear in the news of another record-breaking work, the squillions at auction for a Klimt, the fact that the gut-wrenching depression of Francis Bacon’s mind bulldozed the competition in an all-out art war, a bank acquiring Tracey Emin for their corporate boardroom. Art has become as much about money as the very design on a fifty pound bill.
We hear of the struggling artist – and the very sad fact is that most artists do struggle. It’s almost mind-boggling how little some artists earn to survive and it’s more mind-boggling how major media organisations will use artists’ work with little concern for reproduction rights. Just last week, Getty announced it would allow some of its images to be used for free and this will only affect the photographers’ bottom line.
Then the Affordable Art Fair. Talk about lowering the tone. Because – just to add to an artists’ woe – ‘affordable’ now means junk. It’s no wonder serious artists must walk with heavy hearts, a public that has been bamboozled by record-breaking auctions of the select few and, at the other end of the spectrum, the end where artists could be selling work to the public, the option is the Affordable Art Fair of uninspired pieces, rip-offs of other artists’ work, generally one cliché after another.
On Chelsea Bridge on our walk back to the bus, the sky challenges us with a blue that seems out-of-character for this time of year. Nature can surprise.
It has the ability to defy art and the human mind, shattering expectation and producing the most amazing results. There can be no price on that!