Re: "The Scream" and the "Value" of Art
posted at 5/4/2012 1:15 PM EDT
In Response to Re: "The Scream" and the "Value" of Art
[QUOTE]OK, so I agree this example of a single piece of art is extreme, but again, it's just a launching off point. We make these value judgments all the time, whether or not to purchase a .99 cent song or a 9.99 album. A $50 dollar concert ticket may buy you, what, maybe 12-15 songs in a couple of hours...? So we're saying a song is "worth" 99 cents, but a live performance of said song is "worth" 4-5 bucks (at least)...? How many products have a 500% markup? (Maybe jewelry.) Let's say you bought a record on vinyl, then upgraded to CD, then saw the band live 3 or 4 times. So, maybe $20 for the physical copies, then another $120 for the shows, conservatively. If you listened to the song through these formats 140 times over the years, then that would equal roughly a dollar per listen. See, there's a general sense that music and art are there for everyone, but the artists, publishers, pressers and roadies have to eat, too, so there is indeed a relative price of admission if gained honestly. Back to "The Scream" - let's say the new owner builds a museum, hangs this one painting in it and decides to charge admission. If they charged $10 a head, then they would need at least 12 million people to break even. NY's MOMA might average 2-2.5M visitors per year at about $25 per head, but they have hundreds of works. To see any of the other Scream paintings up close, you would need to travel to Norway. Not cheap. So, does it matter which museum it's in, who bought it, or what he/she does with it? Or, we could be like the guy on yahoo and download a digital version for free. If that was the prevailing wisdom, then all of the museums should take photos of their work, post them online, sell the originals, and close up shop. UNLESS there is an inherent value to the original that we're missing...something that transcends the illusion of money and value...
Posted by MattyScornD[/QUOTE]
Remember the hullaballoo that came about when the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis planned to sell all of their holdings and close? :) -- yeesh, all of a sudden there's this big uprising -- (and yes, I went over there, but not during the upheaval, I waited quite a while -- and it's a very nice, intimate museum, I really liked it). Museums, historical societies, even churches --- they're all selling their holdings / objects / stained glass / etc. because they need the money -- and who can blame them?
But back to the rhetorcal question about the value of an original -- and how it (or if it) transcends monetary value -- and of course, the answer is, that's always going to be in the eye of the beholder and their own value system. However, as it pertains to music, I don't think there's any argument among music lovers that purchasing music, in any format, is still one of the most cost-effective forms of entertainment and soul food. Considering the ability for ownership and use, let alone the pleasure, happiness and comfort it brings as a life enhancing force, the cost containment has actually been remarkable. What it costs in dollars and cents becomes secondary to the consumer (at some point, perhaps) -- so yes, it transcends monetary value, it does. But there's still no greater fun than to find a gem, dirt cheap, and have that feeling of satisfaction, like finding a needle in a haystack, as though it was waiting there, just for you. That's almost like finding a "one of a kind original" , even though you know it's not. :)
Despite all that, however, there are limits to what I, or most of us, can spend, and at some point, you're forced to hold the line. That's the way it is, and that's not a regrettable thing, it's a fair and honest reality. There's a good deal of this conversation that's comes down to basic economics, philosophy, supply and demand. Can't get around it.