Art Auctions Officially Over?

Over at Hrag Vartanian's blogazine, Hyperallergic, there's an amusing post called Best of the Aughts: The 11 Best Headlines for a Delusional Decade, which announces everything from a 1000% increase in arts funding to Frank Gehry's admission that he never intended for his art museums to actually display art. (Image from Hyperallergic)
In the comment section, I've proposed a 12th headline story:
Art Auctions Officially Over!!
Organizers of charity events say they finally understand the essential unfairness of asking artists, many of whom earn less than zero in any fiscal year, to give away work, which is then typically picked up by fledgling collectors for pennies on the dollar.
In a bold move, the organizers have announced a massive reeducation program to help artists learn to say no, and to reacquaint collectors with the gallery system for the acquisition of art.
Artists have been asked to donate work to help fund the program.


lori landis said...

Funny but true. I've beeen on that slippery slope myself. I now give money to my favorite charity and my stomach feels so much better.

Caio Fernandes said...

hi Joanne !! it is great to have found your blog .
you have a really good work .

see you !

Peggradyart said...

I love it! Donated a piece and was told that it was most likely to sell if I priced it low to begin with. I priced it at less than half of my normal price and received the distinct impression that it should have been priced much lower. Never ever again. Thanks for your post and for letting me rant a bit.

Rayna said...


Cynthia Wenslow said...

Just Say No! ;)

Sandy said...

Thanks so much! I have been feeling guilty for not jumping on the last bandwagon.

I've never sold anything (yet, she says in hope), why am I giving it away?

I may believe in the cause, but in that case, I can give money outright rather than money and time.
Sandy in the UK

Steve Eichenberger said...

Hey Joanne --

Ha! Yep, been there. "They" promised all sorts of things, but after I forked over my art I never heard from them again.

On the flipside, a friend participated in Pulse, where artists were given space to work for a day and patrons watched — she had lots of interested people looking over her shoulder and received a nice private commission as a result. Seems like a more equitable/respectful model.


Barbara Cowlin said...

Wouldn't it be great if the vast numbers of the people who run and/or participate in art auctions could see your post and finally get it! I've been one of the culprits–developed and ran an art auction for several years for Free Arts for Abused Children in Phoenix. I've also been on the other side, as an artist who has donated work for various causes. I completely agree with you. I've had way too many experiences of having my work sold for next to nothing, selling work and never finding out who bought it, contributing work and never being able to find out if it sold or if it got thrown into a trash heap. It seems like the ultimate insult for artists to be asked over and over again to give, when most of us are barely squeaking by financially. Especially when it isn't even appreciated.

Paul said...

My experience has been contrary to most of yours. I have periodically offered inkjet prints (from my orig. paintings) to auctions, over the last decade or so. It's prudent to be selective about which auction you enter. And when I asked, the auction administrators gladly offered me the buyer's name. I have made it a point to enter auctions where there are established artists have also contributed their work. I am not well known, but the excitement of an auction builds if there is a noteworthy artist involved. Although not all of my contributed works sold, at least half of them did, and for a decent price.

Barbara Cowlin said...

I think Paul is missing the point. For one thing, giving a giclee print to an auction is different from giving the original artwork.

But the main point is, why should artist's be expected to give their work away?