Contemporary art has become a global currency. Money has gained a new importance in the positioning and the evaluation of art, to such an extent that one may speak of a new chapter in the history of the art market. The turning point occured in the mid–1960s, when a class of nouveau riche emerged on the horizon of economic change. Peter Wilson, the farsighted chairman of Sotheby’s auction house, spotted them as potential art buyers.
The question was how to win over this group of people, who had the financial means to acquire art but no appreciation for it? His answer was straightforward: by positioning art as both a status symbol and a profitable investment. In 1967, Wilson devised the Times-Sotheby’s Index, which though it is forgotten today, was an early attempt to chart the cost of fine art just like any other commodity. With this index, the rising prices of art became visible and its future profitability plausible.
A mere six years later, in 1973, the transformation of the art market into an investment market was completed with Pop and other contemporary artworks, for millions. Art is often lumped in together with gold as a safe haven from inflation.
Across the board, the art market is showing exceptional confidence these days and it is viewed by the very rich as an alternative currency. Rather than the art market freezing amid doubts about the global economy, we see the art market thriving with the potential to become an alternative economy all of its own. The art market is totally unregulated and could put Wall Street to shame.
Art no longer has any spiritual or soul value and artists, to survive, are obliging the market place. Very sad. People don't love what they buy anymore, the art piece that fulfills them and will become a new member of their family, Instead they just look at what they can sell it in the future. In fact they will have no feelings for it at all. Relating to their art is of no relevance to them, their sole motivation is to make more money.
Artists are valued according to how much money they make with their work and NOT the actual value of the work, so Hirst is a great 21st century artist now, something which could have never happened in the 20th century.