Last week I was invited to a blogger event at Ludwiggalerie in Oberhausen on the occasion of the new exhibition “Let’s buy it!” which brings together works from the 16th century until today and sheds light for the first time on the broad field that interconnects art and buying as well as shopping.
Art and buying are two things that are quite interrelated, but nonetheless seem to lie far apart from one another. Over the centuries, fashions in the art market have been manifest in diverse forms. The art and financial markets are linked by big speculative bubbles—such as, for instance, the tulip mania in the Netherlands in the 17th century.
The 20th century turned all traditions upside down: Marcel Duchamp declared industrial goods to be art; Andy Warhol took up supermarket products in his pictures. In his painting “Mutter und Tochter”, the most expensive living painter on the current market, Gerhard Richter, shows Brigitte Bardot shopping with her mother.
I couldn’t resist an event which is about two of my favorite things in life: art and shopping. After arriving at the museum we were given a fictional bank account and were invited to attend an auction during the tour through the exhibition. An interesting idea which brought us a lot of fun and made us think a lot about the differences between value and prize which is a big deal in the art world. It was funny to see how different people see art. I realized again that, as an art historian, I tend to see art in a different way than people who weren’t “ruined” by university. Well, we could still all agree that the art world and especially the auctions are crazy sometimes and that value and price are not necessarily related to each other.
Linda from the museum was the auctioneer of the day. She gave us an introduction to the art works and after that we were free to bid. It’s quite interesting to see what a big amount of money and the rush of several people wanting what you’re trying to get does to you. There were also several surprises. Our whole group was always wrong when it came to the prizing. We were bidding either much higher than the average market price or way below it. But we had a lot fun and much to talk about. I think I’ve never talked so much during a guided tour.
Thanks to Sarah and Linda for the invitation and the great idea. You can find their review and a list of all articles and bloggers here.
And you can visit the exhibtion until May 14, 2017.