Sign in  |  Register

The New Criterion

America’s leading review of the arts and intellectual life
- Harry Mount, the London Telegraph

Notes & Comments

January 2009

The art market bubble

On the folly of speculating on contemporary art.

What’s the silliest thing you have heard in the past year or two? Take your time. Our candidate comes from Tobias Meyer, Sotheby’s head of contemporary art, who declared in 2007 that “the best art is the most expensive because the market is so smart.”

Now, we are great admirers of the wisdom of the market. But would even the most doctrinaire free-marketeer—one, anyway, not dazzled by the glitter of the contemporary art world—argue that market price determined aesthetic value? The philosopher David Hume famously argued that “durable appreciation,” not any intrinsic quality, ultimately provided the measure of artistic value. Whether Hume was correct is a matter of dispute. But at least he placed the locus of value in long-term public judgment and delectation, not sticker price.

We came across that quotation from Mr. Meyer in “A Second Tulip Mania,” an artic ...

This article is available to subscribers and for individual purchase

Subscribe to TNC (Print and Online editions)

Subscribe to TNC (Online only)

Purchase article credit and clip this article

If you already have an account login first

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 27 January 2009, on page 2

Copyright © 2014 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com

http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/The-art-market-bubble-3978

E-mail to friend


The New Criterion

You might also enjoy

The New Criterion on poetry

On the current state of poetry

Soft power meets hard fact

The failings of a soft power approach to Russia

But is it art?

On art: context, meaning, and vandalism

Most popular

view more >

Subscribe to our newsletter!

* indicates required

Webcasts

Introduction to The Kennedy Phenomenon
Roger Kimball introduces The Kennedy Phenomenon, a conference presented by The New Criterion on Tuesday, November 19.


The Kennedy Phenomenon: "Watching the Kennedy Train-Wreck"
Roger Kimball reads Peter Collier’s paper on oft-overlooked unsavory details of the Kennedys' lives. Much of the paper is drawn from Collier’s book, coauthored with David Horowitz, The Kennedys: An American Drama.


The Kennedy Phenomenon: "The Many Misjudgments of Richard Hofstadter"
Fred Siegel discusses his new book The Revolt against the Masses and the myriad oversights of the historian Richard Hofstadter.

Weblog