I do not usually interest myself in the financial maneuverings of the art world but this latest sale harkened me back to my salad days and the book by Jean Baudrillard, “The Mirror of Production.” Read chapter four, Gesture and Signature; “Modern art, midway between critical terrorism (ideological) and de facto structural integration, is quite exactly an art of collusion vis-à-vis this contemporary world. It plays with it, and is included in the game.” (p.110)
On Friday October 12th, 2012 Gerhard Richter’s Abstract Painting (809-4) sold at Christie’s auction house for $34.2 million, breaking the $28.6 million “living-artist” record set in 2010 for one of Jasper Johns Flag paintings from 1960. But if you are to look at these modern masterpieces as investments, “simulated real estate” as Baudrilliard would have put it, then Jasper Johns piece which is much smaller in scale, approx. 26” x 40” still retains the per square inch painting record for a living artist. Richter’s painting at approx. 90” x 80” is about $4722.22 per square inch while Johns’ Flag painting is approximately $27,884.61 per square at the time of it’s sale.
This would be a rare case of smaller is better and an opportunity to ponder the perceived value of painting and it’s legitimate worth in the art world’s “logocentric” tradition, a closed system where no singular truth exist outside the manufactured construction. I miss my dash of “end of art pessimism” with a garnish of “materialization of aesthetics.”