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The Art Game & Discrimination in the Art World


zentao.com logo and trademark since 197Over on a forum I frequent, a question appeared about discrimination in art.  Opinions vary, of course, and there is evidence pro and con to every side.  Yes, of course there is discrimination, but it isn’t what it seems.  Here’s what I know:

The whole question of whether an artist is picked up as potentially being able to “go big,” comes about because someone who holds the ability and sees profit potential for themselves decides to risk a gamble.  Bottom line, in my opinion, the only discrimination is based on a decision on whether the gallery, agent, dealer, investor, can make money off of your work.  Can your artwork stir controversy, create a media event, or convincingly “catch on” where it needs to for it to sell well for very high prices to collectors, and/or generate enough mass-market appeal to create a successful product line?

Here’s a trick that was used to drive a career of an old friend back in the 20th century (Yes, I’m older than eight.): 

Gallery scheduled a showing (NYC gallery). Previously, however, a list of “persons of name” were asked to attend by people of influence.  Friends called in friends and associates.  People called in markers.  Some people invited to attend were other name artists known to the media.  Buyers were prearranged to purchase every painting for a very trend-setting price.  Art critics were invited, with the list of who would attend leaked.  The event was promoted. A LOT of money was spent on preparing and promoting this gala event  And, yes, that event launched a very successful career run.  The returns for the initial investors who had been tapped for the prearranged buys? Ten-fold and up.  They made their money back by turning the paintings after “the name” was made “a name.”  Everybody won.

Of course, everybody knows this gimmick, but it bears reminding, because, while the frustration of fighting for notice will get an artist swearing that they are the victim of discrimination, the fact is, the only discrimination occurring is based on analysis experts calculating market trends and investment potentials.  It doesn’t matter if you are black, white, brown, yellow, purple, or pink.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian or an Atheist.  Not at all.  Whatever you happen to be will be mined to drive more media frenzy.  What matters is not your art, but whether it can be successfully promoted to turn a fast, lucrative buck for the effort and money required to make your “name.”


Originally posted by DLKeur on her art blog on June 6, 2007. Copyright inheres.



Copyright 2007 D.L.Keur &/or F.W.Lineberry, http://www.zentao.com . All rights reserved. Reprint rights granted ONLY if linked and credited.




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