Whilst the debate about what constitutes art rumbles inexorably on, what it means to be an artist has undeniably changed in our contemporary materialistic world. Although artists have always had patrons, the relationship between art, money and collectors has undoubtedly shifted. Today, art has become a commodity. To be bought, sold and invested in. Pieces change hands for extraordinary figures but their value has more to do with reputation than craft.
In his new documentary, The Price of Everything, Nathaniel Kahn investigates the relationship between art and money. Whilst the work of Jeff Koons, which he doesn’t physically make himself nowadays, sells for tens of millions at auction, most other artists are not so lucky. Larry Poons is a prime example. As Kahn follows the one-time star, contrasting his fortunes against a conveyor belt of supply and demand driven creation. A world which prizes reputation over beauty.
The Price of Everything is an incisive and amusing look at a thriving multi-billion-dollar industry. Kahn focuses on the drivers behind these mind-boggling valuations and what motivates artists and collectors. Investment potential has overtaken aesthetic appreciation. Whilst the rich make money, often the artists see scant rewards for their work. The Price of Everything takes a long hard look at the value of art in the modern world.
The Price of Everything is in cinemas and on demand from 16 November.