There could be no better statement on the status-driven nature of collecting art than use of the term “affordable’ in describing the art for sale at the 20th annual Affordable Art Fair, running this weekend at The Metropolitan Pavilion. Affordable is defined as something “reasonably priced.” In this particular instance, that means art with a price tag ranging between $100 and $10,000, which begs the question (as it pertains to contemporary art), what the fuck even is “reasonable”?
Is it the price tag in relation to the cost of the materials (srsly, there ain’t enough gold leaf in the world)? Perhaps, it relates to the creative originality of the work, which is a whole different kettle of fish. More likely, it’s something closer to the economic value attached to an artist’s name. This is nothing new. The intersection of art and commerce has long been a topic of heated debate. Yet still, adding insult to injury, this word – affordable. More →
“The $20 Art Show” at Con Artist Gallery (Photo: Nicole Disser)
I’d never seen art move so quickly off the walls as I did last night at Con Artist Collective‘s Lower East Side gallery. Things were so hectic that it was difficult even to talk to founder Brian Shevlin about the unusual exhibition. His eyes were too busy darting to and from the small, rectangular pieces of art as they were gently taken off the walls, wrapped in red plastic bags, and quickly replaced by more art works. It felt like a feeding frenzy, and I couldn’t help but join in. Snagging some art myself, I realized I’d never even considered buying art in a gallery before this. I mean, definitely the $20 price tag had something, a lot, to do with making an already appealing piece of work feel accessible. “We did this based on Bread & Puppet Theater’s Why Cheap Art? Manifesto,” Shevlin explained. “Basically, we believe that artists should be required to make cheap art.”