sabato, novembre 23, 2013

Bringing home the hauntingly painted bacon

The F-word's exhibition opened really strong out of the gate - sold seven paintings during the wine-and-cheese do. SEVEN. My hope had been four - maybe eventually seven during the full three weeks it's running to cover the cost of the exhibition - what with the economy being what it is. Instead he covered his costs in the first two hours. That is a fucking awesome result. Remind me to be nicer to him from now on since he might outearn me someday. Maybe let him put some shoes on from time to time and get out of the kitchen. He'd sold a couple of things already up in NSW but they were at mixed galleries - to get such a result out of his first dedicated show - I'm very pleased for him.

It was an interesting experience as I'd never actually been to an art show opening before. It's a social occasion to a large extent, yes, but there are some people who are really there to buy. Mailing list types, I guess, who go in there with a buddy and shop hard, like normal people shop for shoes or clothes, or, you know, whatever it is guys shop for now that people don't use CDs anymore. Whisks? Aprons?

I can see it. If you are actually into your house being an interesting space with walls that do more than keep the cold out (not me) and if you aren't already an artist producing enough to cover your own damn walls (not the F-word) it'd be a really fun thing to shop for. It seems like an expensive habit but if you're earning a decent wage and just buying one painting every other month (you'd need a hell of a house and store-room for more than that) it's cheaper than many other shopping habits.

And in the case of first-time exhibitions before an artist has established a market and before the artist and the gallery owner has really figured out how to price things, it'd be such a ripe and exciting way to find bargains. There was one painting the F-word sold that I think was underpriced by at least $200, probably closer to $400, even by the standards of an artist's first show. It was a little below mid-size and priced more for size than for content, as it was one of the more accomplished paintings - probably the third-best painting in the exhibition. I know the people who bought it and they aren't bargain hunters; they would have bought it just for its looks. Which is nice.

But my mercantile mind goes where it goes. It's not even a question of buying something for its potential to appreciate; it's just I know this painting as a work of craftsmanship is worth a good bit more than it was priced at. Which sort of mindset is right and fitting for the wife of an artist - anybody who thinks that mercantilism and painting don't go together has not been paying attention to the last 4,000 years.