Contemporary Art Bubble

Contemporary Art Bubble – Video Presentation

The Shocking Truth About Contemporary Art Marketplace

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Contemporary Art Bubble

By Vladimir London

The emperor has no clothes! This emperor is called the Contemporary Art Marketplace and his court is shouting how beautiful his dress is.

Who am I to make such a statement and what qualifies me to talk on this subject?

My name is Vladimir London and for the last 35 years, I was deeply involved in fine art. I’ve received traditional, intense, no-nonsense classical art education that hardly exists today in the western world, graduating as the fine artist and art teacher.

I believe in the true quality of fine art-working, and my clients and collectors responded with mutual beliefs, sometimes purchasing almost an entire exhibition in the opening evening. My fine artworks ended up in collections of private art lovers in Northern America and Western Europe.

Settling down in the UK allowed me to study and reflect on the contemporary art market. My discovery was shocking. Today, the art business is the most profitable, yet completely unregulated market in the world!

How did it happen? What lead to this situation? We need to make a short excursion into the history of art to see when it all went so wrong.

Until the 15th century, fine art had sacral and utilitarian purpose. No artist was producing paintings for the pure aim of being admired as a subject itself. The church was the main and only client able to afford marvelous masterpieces intended to glorify the commissioner and religious faith. It was a status quo up to the time when Italian bankers and republic rulers came into play. With new money came a new agenda for fine art. No longer was art to be sacral, it was liberated to fulfill another meaning – to become an object of admiration, the measure of status.

Fine artists obliged with readiness. Before that, no artwork was created because an artist wanted to simply express himself, all works were commissioned and the client had his say on what and how to paint.

The Renaissance brought something new to the art marketplace. Sacral art turned into fine art. It became an object that could be valued accordingly to the fine artist’s talent. The value of the artwork stopped being measured by its size, amount of and price of art materials, and time spent by the artist.

The art became a commodity fetishism, it was idolized as the object itself, it was worshiped for the ‘power’ people assigned to it. Art workshops, run by professional fine artists, with the help of numerous apprentices, started to produce artworks that could be purchased not only by kings and church officials, but also by the middle class. The demand of those private citizens shaped the fine art market for the next 500 years. Art styles came and went, fashion was being changed from generation to generation by new consumers, but art managed to stay civilized and fulfill its primary purpose – to be a beautiful object that deserved to be admired, loved and worshiped.

There has been always progress in fine art. New generations of fine artists were coming and competing for the attention of clients. Those who were brave enough to reject old styles and create new ones left many ‘isms’ in the history of modern art: impressionist, cubism, modernism, supermatism, and so on. Seeking awareness by any means and making bold and revolutionary statements, brought many artists into the spotlight of the media. Somehow traditional art skills started to be replaced with creativity.

After the Second World War, art had entered its contemporary phase. The market ideology was masterminded and financially fueled by those whose intention it was to use contemporary art as Cold War undercover propaganda weapon. Billions of dollars were invested into the promotion of contemporary art. Multiple private foundations became subsidized, funded and ruled by one governor – The Central Intelligence Agency of the United States federal government. These foundations were and still are actively advocating and pushing contemporary art to the public. The main objective of this activity is to destroy traditional ideals of fine art and superimpose new values and morals of life. The main strategy of achieving this goal is brainwashing the public via mass media and cultural events.

If they say long enough that a piece of garbage is art, then gradually people will start believing it. If someone buys that garbage for an insane sum of money, then it becomes officially confirmed as the greatest art ever created.

The price of artwork was no longer linked to the talents or skills an artist displayed. The price was created by inflated demand, fueled by PR and marketing efforts invested in the promotion of a particular artist. The contemporary art marketplace had shifted the focus of attention from a particular masterpiece to an artist’s name. The painting, drawing or sculpture itself becomes less important as the name of its creator.

In the 1970s, various art communities started to form because art didn’t matter – artists’ names were “it”. Art communities competed for the attention of the media; members of those communities competed between each other. Creativity went into overdrive. It was not enough to make a creative work of art; only the most shocking works stood a chance to be talked about. The capital followed as rich investors recognized an opportunity. Art started to yield the highest return on investment legally possible.

This, in turn, encouraged new waves of young people to join the movement. They wanted a piece of fame and fortune. The fastest way to get it was to become a contemporary fine artist. No education, skills nor previous experience were necessary; anyone with a pulse was qualified. The number of fine artists exploded. It was reported that there were about 2.3 million professional fine artists in the USA in 2005 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is about 1.4% of the entire US workforce. In the UK, 60,000 fine art students graduate each year and every single of them wants to be remarkable – but this wish cannot be fulfilled by studying and mastering the traditional skills of fine art. Today, financial success and celebrity status is awarded to an artist with little regard to how skilful he or she is, creativity and talent are optional.

The main enemy in the Cold War was the Soviet Union. However, far greater collateral damage was done to Western Europe. Ex-soviet states still retain their cultural identity and keep their cultural roots through the ideals of established fine art. These states, to this day, have solid classical fine art education, based on the best traditions of realistic art as it was developed in the time of the Old Masters. At the same time, the art education of Western Europe was severely hurt by American propaganda. Contemporary artists in Europe were deprived of conventional fine art education – the vast majority of art students graduate having no classical drawing skills, whatsoever. Today, there is only handful of fine artists around Europe, who’ve developed their skills to the level equal or greater than a mediocre fine artist of the Renaissance. In fact, a new saying has developed: “He is not a contemporary artist, he can draw.”

There is a reason why new artists cannot draw. Their teachers have graduated a decade ago; they are not able to teach what they have not learned from their teachers who graduated two decades ago. Instead, they lecture how to be creative. Five years of such an education can be compressed in the two-word phrase: “express yourself.” All they can teach is how to paint polka dots or downward- running, multi-color lines.

Many centuries of old traditions of fine art that inspired, glorified and depicted the beauty of life abruptly were replaced by destructive ugliness. The criterion of investing in art by new money was simple: “I hate it, I want it.” The rest of us were made to believe that if we do not like some ‘masterpieces’ of contemporary art, then we do not understand it. No one wanted to look stupid; the crowd followed the art market manipulators.

In 2008, contemporary art sales estimated around 80 billion dollars a year. From 2006 to 2009, the contemporary art market experienced growth of 800%, with works by Andy Warhol reaching £48 million, Francis Bacon – £57 million, and a one-day sale of Damien Hirst for more than £70 million. The art is admired according to its price. The valuation has no correlation with the art’s quality. The price is the objective and the tool at the same time. It blinds art collectors; it makes them believe that what is expensive is worth buying.

More and more art investors were chasing the ‘new hot name’ in art. It didn’t matter what such artists did – canned excrements, preserved in formaldehyde corps of animals, or not preserved and therefore rotting corps, mono-colored canvas or a plastic bag filled with litter – all these could be called ‘art’ if someone is prepared to display it.

There is no shortage of those whose primary business it is to display contemporary art. Today we have five times more space occupied by contemporary galleries dedicated to art produced in the last 60 years than for all the museums and traditional galleries displaying fine art collected in the last 4,000 years.

Art organizations, societies, contemporary galleries, and artist awards committees popped up like mushrooms after the rain. The vast proportion of art patrons came from great fortunes, being indirectly ruled by the ‘three-letter agency’, they run private museums and collections of art.

Those institutions, together with their sponsors, decide and dictate who the good artists in every nomination are; they are controlling what is art today. They influence our opinion.

The system of art awards nominations is flawed by default; art people never vote for an artist who is better than them. Allow this system to develop though several generations of art members, and the quality of awarded art is destined to decline. Every year millions of people follow the news of who is nominated for the Turner Prize Award in the UK. When the prize is awarded, we could not believe it was not a sick joke. Kim Howells, the Culture Minister in 2002, commented, “If this is the best British artists can produce, then British art is lost. It is cold mechanical, conceptual bullshit.”

The art marketplace is the only place where ‘cornering the market’ or manipulating it by owning a significant portion of a particular artist’s artworks is perfectly legal. The wealthy art collectors, auction houses, gallery owners and art dealers fix monetary prices for art.

The prices on a contemporary art, as on any other commodity, are based on supply and demand. There is no shortage of supply while contemporary artists are still alive. The workshops are up to 150 people strong and are producing ‘masterpieces’ on an industrial scale. The demand is driven by two human factors – greed and fear. Greed is cultivated. As long as prices are climbing higher, there will be people who want to benefit from this growth. Gallery owners openly admit that they are participating in auction bidding ‘on behalf of their clients’. This is done to make sure that the artwork is sold at a higher price. Auction houses play a similar game – ensuring the artwork meets its estimated price. They also lend finances on very generous terms to prospective buyers, thus leveraging their buying capabilities. In addition, auction houses offer a ‘guarantee’ to the seller, when they are prepared to pay estimated price – whether artwork has been sold or not.

Should contemporary artists be blamed for the deterioration of the quality of art? The art world is much wider than a circle of artists; it is formed by millions of people who exhibit, market, sell, buy, write, think and talk about art. Just a handful of artists make a decent living out of their art, so who is making all the money? Savvy investors, auction houses, galleries, university professors teaching the army of upcoming artists, real estate agents lending space for galleries and art studio places, art suppliers, art dealers – there is a big industry feeding off of contemporary art.

Is contemporary art a “real deal” or another bubble destined to burst? Inflated prices will continue to rise as long as art buyers are willing to pay stupid money for stupid artworks. The moment investors and dealers decide a particular artist is not worth the price, this artist is finished. Art critic and former curator, Julian Spalding, is convinced that the works of artists like, Damien Hirst, are worthless and investors must sell those ‘toxic assets’ as soon as possible. There are others like, Simon Todd, who disagrees and insists that the contemporary art market is very strong and still growing.

Every bubble in history did burst, so, it is not a question of ‘if’, it is a question of ‘when’. When common sense prevails and rich art collectors see that emperor has no clothes on, it is all going to collapse. So we might witness a colossal decline in ‘sub-prime’ art dealing in our life times. Contemporary art sales have already started to contract – falling by 80% from 2008 to 2009, and are still going down today.

So, what will happen after contemporary art? Fine art is still in demand, art that people can understand, trust and admire; art that has been skilfully made with love and ideas. It is surprising how – with so many artists out there – so few of them have the necessary fine art skills to produce such art. Half a millennium before there was fine artists whom we are now calling ‘The Old Masters’. They were able to create masterpieces no living artist is capable to outperform.

In a very short period of time, the contemporary art education system has been replaced by a school of skills and craftsmanship offered by institutions that are practicing an ‘express yourself’ art curriculum. There are only a few places in the world left where true skills and traditional art techniques still can be learned.

Fine art is not lost as long as someone has skills to create artworks that are beautiful and serve the purpose of inspiring and portraying all good things human kind has.

It gives a real sense of satisfaction that fine art is very much alive. It is under attack and speculation by contemporary art market manipulators. They are trying to persuade us, by immense price tags, that only revolting and shocking art is to be called art. It is fated to change. Hundreds of years from now, no one will remember rotted animals by Damien Hirst, otherwise known as, an outstanding idiocy to the visual arts of the 21st century.

Great works of art are still being created in the shadow of the inflated contemporary art bubble. The bubble will go down in the history as the embodiment of silly money craziness. Vanishing from our horizon, this bubble will give a space for real quality art that grows from the magnificence of the Old Masters’ traditions.

Classical fine art is not dead as long as someone is willing to pass time-proven techniques of drawing on to other fine artists.

The Drawing Art Academy is the online course that teaches solid skills of classical drawing. The academy founders, Vladimir London and Natalie Richy, created a series of video lessons, which reveal secrets of traditional drawing techniques. Academy tutors will show you, by their own example, how to draw as they create artworks right in front of your eyes from beginning to end – all while explaining, step-by-step, everything you need to know about drawing.

This course delivers no-nonsense information on how to draw proficiently. It is designed for students of all ages and levels. Beginners will find this course extremely beneficial to starting their creative career, while advanced art students will benefit from the deep experience of the academy tutors and can take their drawing skills to the next level.

It is never too late to learn how to draw. Even if you haven’t drawn since childhood, you can still improve your drawing skills by discovering the traditional drawing techniques found in the Drawing Art Academy course. Drawing is just a skill, not an inborn talent. Everyone can learn how to draw, whatever their age.

Every person is creative and every creative person must be able to draw. There are no excuses! By drawing, you can express your ideas, share your feelings, and communicate with your imagination. This is one of the necessary skills every culturally developed person must have. And we can help you to achieve your creative desires!

Through the Drawing Art Academy, we develop your drawing skills in such a way that you will be able to depict anything you want, any person or object you can see or imagine.

Here is what you will get with the Drawing Art Academy course:

– 45 “How To Draw” video lessons presented online
– Multiple fine art bonus books
– Personal academic support from the academy tutors via email
– Postgraduate, free, lifetime access to all video lessons and bonuses
– Diploma of Excellence in your name

The 45 multi-part video lessons are streamed online. Every month you will get 15 new lessons.

Drawing Video Lessons – Month 1:

1. Drawing materials and equipment.
2. How to use pencils and hatching techniques.
3. Theory of drawing in perspective.
4. Drawing geometrical objects.
5. How to draw facial features – the eyes, the mouth, the nose, the ears, etc.
6. How to draw a head – antique bust of the hero, Meleager.
7. How to draw a head – antique bust of the Amazon Woman.
8. How to draw a head – antique bust of Asklepios.
9. How to draw a girl’s portrait – copied after Leonardo da Vinci.
10. Architectural detail drawing.
11. Live portrait in red pencil.
12. Exterior drawings in one- and two-point perspective.
13. Anatomy of the human head – the bones of the skull and head muscles.
14. Creative drawing – portrait of Shakespeare.
15. The Old Masters’ study – The National Gallery sketchbooks.

Drawing Video Lessons – Month 2:

16. Human anatomy – the skeletal structure of human body.
17. Female portrait – Thalia.
18. Creative portrait – La Bella Principessa.
19. How to draw eyes in a realistic manner.
20. Drawing of antique figure – Belvedere torso.
21. How to draw hands – anatomy of the hands and gesture drawings.
22. Creative drawing techniques – drawing of the top model, Vodianova.
23. Architectural details – drawing Corinthian capitals of St. Paul Cathedral.
24. The secrets of Golden Proportions.
25. Pen and ink drawing techniques.
26. Landscape drawings in pen and ink.
27. Drawing of the horse’s head from the Parthenon.
28. Botanical drawings – How to draw maple leaves.
29. Botanical drawings – How to draw roses.
30. Silverpoint technique – Life portrait of a female model.

Drawing Video Lessons – Month 3:

31. Anatomy for fine artists – the muscles of the human body.
32. How to draw hands – gesture drawings in pen and ink.
33. Classical human figure proportions.
34. Female figure drawing in silverpoint.
35. Discobolus statue drawing in silverpoint.
36. Female model – life drawing in red pencil.
37. Life female figure drawing in red pencil.
38. How to draw a girl’s portrait in charcoal.
39. How to draw animal – birds.
40. How to draw animals – squirrels.
41. How to draw animals – horse.
42. How to draw animals – dog.
43. Rome – Cityscape drawing in black ink and wash.
44. Figurative calligraphy drawing.
45. Creative composition – unique drawing technique.

In addition to the video lessons, you will also receive bonus books, which you can download in PDF format to your computer or read them online.

The Drawing Art Academy course is greatly subsidized, so you can learn everything you need to become a skilful artist in just three months for a miniscule price. This course will cost you as little as one cup of coffee per day. It will give you a much better value than you would get from a contemporary art college or university.

Here is how you will benefit from the Drawing Art Academy course:

1. You will get access to 45 video lessons, showing you step-by-step how to draw, so you can use this knowledge to improve your drawing skills;
2. You will receive advice and demonstrations on various drawing materials and methods, so you can avoid many amateurish mistakes;
3. You will discover the secrets of Golden Proportions, so you can use this knowledge to improve compositions of your creative works;
4. Multiple anatomy lessons will reveal all you need to know about the bones and muscles of the human body, so you can draw figures and models realistically;
5. Numerous portrait drawing lessons will present you step-by-step know how of head and face drawing, so you can greatly improve your portrait drawing skills;
6. Life drawing lessons will equip you with the necessary knowledge of model drawing, so you can draw confidently from life;
7. Multiple lessons on how to draw animals and botanical objects will help you grow your skills in depicting wild life;
8. Video lessons based on the drawing of antique busts and statues will help you form good taste in classical art;
9. You will discover classical and time-proven drawing techniques, used since the times of the Old Masters, so you can use them to improve your drawing style;
10. In multiple our fine art bonus books, you will get invaluable information, so you can build a knowledge base of many aspects of fine art;
11. The Drawing Art Academy materials will be available for you 24/7/365 days a year, so you can benefit from them at any time convenient for you;
12. You will have the full support of the Academy tutors, so all your fine art related questions will be answered;
13. Your fine art education will be hugely subsidized, so you can enjoy the course for a price that is less than a cup of coffee per day;
14. Your membership will become free of charge after three months, so you will get lifetime access to all videos and books at no cost;
15. All additional video lessons and bonuses to be added in the future will be provided to you free of charge, so you will enjoy great savings on upgrades and updates;
16. After three months, you will receive the Drawing Art Academy Diploma of Excellence in your name, so it will commemorate your achievements;
17. You will get the Drawing Art Academy’s newsletter subscription at no cost, so you can stay up-to-date with all the latest news and updates.

When it comes to the course cost, consider this.

A contemporary art education will cost you at least $20,000 and take 4 years to complete without any guarantee that you will learn to draw skilfully.

Through the Drawing Art Academy, you will discover time-proven, traditional drawing techniques that will give you necessary knowledge and practical advice, so you can discover how to draw skilfully from the comfort of your own home.

The total value of the 45 video lessons presented in the Drawing Art Academy course is $4,455 (45 lessons at $99 each).

However, we will subsidize your education, so the course will cost you as little as one cup of coffee per day.

You can enroll on a monthly basis making 3 easy installments of $97 per month over three months. This gives you a total discount of $4,164. After those 3 months are over, no more payments will be due. You will continue to enjoy free lifetime access to all video lessons and bonuses. This includes all future updates and upgrades at no cost.

If you want to save even more, get all the video lessons and bonus books for a one time payment of only $257. This gives you an additional discount of $34. You will receive immediate access to all academy materials. Your subscription will become free of charge for a lifetime, thereafter.

In both cases, you will receive the Drawing Art Academy Diploma of Excellence in your name after 3 months.

Enroll in the Drawing Academy Course:
Three Monthly Installments
Pay for the course in 3 easy installments
  • Receive 15 new videos monthly (45 in total)
  • Incredible discount – $4,164
  • Bonuses - Fine Art eBooks and Videos
  • Drawing Academy Diploma of Excellence after course completion in 3 months
  • Personal coaching by Drawing Academy Tutors
  • Lifetime membership. Free after the 3rd month
Total cost: $291 USD (3 x $97)

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Complete Course - BEST VALUE
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  • Immediate access to all 45 video lessons
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  • Bonuses - Fine Art eBooks and Videos
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  • Personal coaching by Drawing Academy Tutors
  • Lifetime membership. No more payments
Total cost - Only $257 USD

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This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Anastasia Filippova says:

    Fascinating. Hear so many people saying – from various cultures, ages, children to adults, about trash, shapes and random objects laying around art galleries in the name of art! It’s a great conversation to be had, and perhaps this contrast will draw us to appreciate the traditional art more. It needs evolving, and I have a different understanding of what contemporary means.

  2. Agustin Goba says:

    An interesting perspective and opinion. Some of the work sold in local galleries where I live would be considered traditional art. This video essay is concentrated on the upper financial end of the art world spectrum. I agree with much of what he says…

  3. odd Elnerson says:

    I very much like this video and agree with the author, well done!

    With such a great history of art starting from the Chauvet Cave Paintings to the decorative arts of the Romans and Greeks through the the Migration Period Europe, the Bayeux Tapestry, plenty of traditional portraits, manuscripts, so on and so forth we got into this contemporary bullshit.

    This affects not only Europe, but influences Islamic world, China, India, Japan, Southeast Asia, Africa and the Americas. They all made art, and new reality is spouting on all the greatness of the past.

  4. Christine Dion says:

    Thank you so much for this fabulous video. I am a high school art teacher. I have built a teaching website that I use in the classroom since we are not always allowed to show YouTube videos. Could I embed this video into my teacher website for my AP Art History students to view? Thank you.

  5. Mana Keefe says:

    I am a student who chose the wrong school to study under in order to gain a Bachelorette in Visual Art and Design. I went in with little to no skill in drawing or painting. I will leave the same way. But I will have a degree that says I can put rubbish together and call it art!

  6. Валерий says:

    Я – просто любитель, который старается рисовать грамотно. Уроки профессионального и талантливого художника В.Лондона и Натальи Р. очень интересные, познавательные, полезные во всех отношениях. К сожалению, у меня нет для обучения денег. Вам успехов в вашем, очень нужном, и прекрасном ремесле.

    Россия. Пенсионер.

    I’m just a fan who tries to draw competently. Lessons by professional and talented fine artists V.London and Natalia R. are very interesting, informative, useful in all respects. Unfortunately, I have no money for training. I wish you success in this very necessary and beautiful craft.

    Russia. Pensioner.

  7. Terry Mellway says:

    I have never been to fine art school. Every skill I have as an artist is self-taught and I am proud of the fact. It takes me a minimum of 40 hours to complete a piece and many a lot more. Since I work in colored pencil mainly, I work from photographs which contrary to a previous article from this site, you say is like photocopying. I disagree and I think the ability to recreate the world competently and bring my version of it for others to see is a gift. The kind of art you talk about here is as the “Brit” quoted -“bullshit”, may be considered art(and I use that term loosely)but it certainly is not talent. When I walk into a large beautiful gallery (subsidized by our local and federal governments) looking to be inspired and I see a pile of rocks or a ginormous canvas with a dot on it, I am appalled. I’m going to stop here because this is one of my biggest peeves and I could really get going. You have stated it all and I agree with you whoeheartedly.

  8. Ron Weber says:

    That article is very relevant to what is going on with Art world, today. I do appreciate reading this article. I know that from experience. State Universities’
    art education curriculum does leave much to be desired. One university’s art department happened to have excellent curriculum, but it was reserved for those who have proven drawing skills. Thus, I feel that I was locked out. Some of prerequisite drawing courses were substandard. To get around this being locked out, I tranferred to other state university, only to encounter similar substandard teaching in the some of the art courses. That is why I graduated from state university system, feeling so not satisfied and I let my drawing practice go dormant. Online art education like this website is a great blessing and is godsend. I intend to join this online school, after I get enough money saved up.


    Charlie Chaplin said when leaving from USA that “I do not want to participate in the end of civilization” meaning the sophisticated vulgarity that invaded art with the profound funding of secret services in the context of the cold war and the complete stupefaction of the western citizens

  10. Aaron says:

    It is good to hear that the contemporary art bubble is declining maybey more art schools and artist will start to appreciate fine art. Things like this do happen and it might be a good thing depending how you look at it it’s your on judgement if you like it or not.

  11. DannyJoe says:

    I agree with what is said in this Contemporary Art Bubble. It reminds me of an exhibit I attended and one piece of art was about 100 hammers all standing on end. The guide asked those on the tour — why is this art? And I immediately responded you mean, art versus just a lot of hammers from my workshop that someone set around? Because someone said it is, that is why it is art. She did agree, but then people started opining about the hammers, in all sizes and colors, represented the working class, struggling, or hammering their way through life, etc. All that was going through my mind was GMAFB.

  12. tometeacher says:

    Simply stunning. I wish I could add more to this as myself personally I have believed that the contemporary art has been nothing more nor less than bull shit creativity. You cannot deny the fact of creativity for it is clearly there but beyond that NOPE. Nothing else.

    In the video there was a mention that the professors perspective was “go be creative” and that was exactly what I was given in my four year accredited university art courses. Four years of fundamental bull shit.
    Thank you.

    P.S. I am dying to take this course, literally. Hope I have enough time to getter done.

  13. Lana Lipsett says:

    I think much of modern art is garbage. Splashes of paint, dribbles of paint, a two year old painting with a large paint brush, galleries hanging many different colours of silk; none of this is art. The value of something depends only on what you can get someone to pay. Otherwise it has no intrinsic value. It is merely paint, canvas, paper and a frame. The actual worth of that is probably $50.00. So if you are conned into paying hundreds of thousands for splotches, more fool you. The bubble will burst. Capitalism at its worst.

  14. Chez Watts says:

    If this presentation does not convince you, I suggest you read the Tom Wolfe books ‘The Painted Word’, which charts the CIA and US gallery owners plan to move the centre of the Art world from Europe to the USA by the simple expedient of making the manifesto of the artist more important than the artwork it generates, and ‘Bauhaus to Our House’ (both available free on line) and Brian Sewell’s book ‘Naked Emperors’.

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