The Artist, the Art Object and the Market
Deutsche Bank has a collection of around 60,000 works of modern and contemporary art, bought for long term investment, only 10,000 pieces less than the Tate’s collection. UBS has a collection of around 35,000 works and JP Morgan around 30,000 works. The British Rail Pension Fund in the 1970’s bought, for long term investment, over $100 million worth of art which over the years has given the fund a 11.3% yield and international contemporary art auctions sell in excess of $5 billion worth of art per year. All of these art market activities turn artworks into a pure commodity and thus devalue the arts symbolic capital (or l’art pour l’art) that is bestowed on the artworks by the artist, but how do artists feel about the commoditisation of their art?
What this research aims to achieve is twofold; firstly to gain a better understanding of how art moves through the market and secondly to understand how artists feel about their work being traded as a commodity or investment product. Thus by undertaking this study a deeper understanding of the interrelationships between artists, the art object and the market will become more transparent.