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Thread: Levels of Success - High End Art

  1. #1

    Levels of Success - High End Art

    Hello,

    There's something I've been thinking about and I'm wondering if you lovely people would share your opinions and ideas. It's in regards to levels of success that certain fine art photographers have garnered.

    On one hand you have the likes of Thomas Struth, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Taryn Simon, Edward Burtynsky et al. who seem to have struck the photography lottery and their work sells for millions. On the other hand, you have photographers like Alec Soth, Bryan Schutmaat, Jack Latham etc. These people no doubt have well deserved success and accolades and are probably making a good living selling their work, but I'm guessing their prints aren't creating bidding wars for high end collectors looking for an investment opportunity.

    I guess my question is what separates these two kinds of success in the art world? Why does work by Struth, Sugimoto and others go for such grand prices? Is it the clarity/ universality of their concepts? Is it about scale/ production value? Or is it that, at that high level of art, the artist becomes more important than the work itself?

    I don't know if my thoughts are getting across but if anyone has any insight or thoughts I'd love to hear them! To be clear, I'm not trying to put down any of the work from photographers that I've mentioned but it's just out of sheer curiosity regarding the world of fine art and photography's place in it that I' asking!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Levels of Success - High End Art

    So I think if there were a simple answer that the art market would be a predictable investment. It is not unless maybe you are buying Da Vinci's. And also grand prices today do not guarantee grand prices in the future. Soth's work From Sleeping by the Mississippi was going for nearly 40k (I think I saw that in 2005 at Christies) in the early 2000's but now goes for 6 to 10k.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  3. #3
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Levels of Success - High End Art

    A photographer wishing to promote his work in the large market must make him/herself known to the people who make it happen - gatekeepers such as critics, curators, major gallery owners, and historians who are unfortunately subject to the aforementioned.

    Good luck

    Being famous has a special burden.

  4. #4

    Re: Levels of Success - High End Art

    To be clear, I have no personal aspirations for fame and fortune, rather I'm curious about how the art market functions with regards to placing such high value on certain artists. Is it about trends? Technical skill? Subject matter? Or is it simply a matter of who has the best connections (a depressing thought!).

  5. #5
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Levels of Success - High End Art

    Quote Originally Posted by Shutter20 View Post
    To be clear, I have no personal aspirations for fame and fortune, rather I'm curious about how the art market functions with regards to placing such high value on certain artists. Is it about trends? Technical skill? Subject matter? Or is it simply a matter of who has the best connections (a depressing thought!).
    It is all about the value the gatekeepers, a tight, complex group place upon artists. The dynamics are in their social networks. Look to any untalented photographer raised to a superior level to determine just how impoverished the critics and curator have become.

    It is time for another Dada revolution.

  6. #6
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: Levels of Success - High End Art

    Turn off. Tune out. Drop in.

  7. #7
    multi format
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    Re: Levels of Success - High End Art

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    It is time for another Dada revolution.
    there isnt' enough contempt for materials / process anymore
    everyone does the same olde stuff ...
    ( some is good, some is good-grief!)

    i was just reading some duchamps this afternoon.
    i couldn't agree more ..

  8. #8

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    Re: Levels of Success - High End Art

    When I was a kid I was sent cross country on a Greyhound bus. I insisted on taking my SLR along.
    My dad asked me if I knew how to make money photographing on my trip.
    I didn't have the foggiest idea.
    He told me to take pictures of the worst public lavatories I could find at the bus stations and send them to Greyhound,
    then see how much they'd pay for the negatives
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  9. #9
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Levels of Success - High End Art

    Quote Originally Posted by Shutter20 View Post

    I guess my question is what separates these two kinds of success in the art world? Why does work by Struth, Sugimoto and others go for such grand prices? Is it the clarity/ universality of their concepts? Is it about scale/ production value? Or is it that, at that high level of art, the artist becomes more important than the work itself?
    Just your basic combination of bullshit, hype, image, personality, speculation and marketing.
    Some good, hard-working people are at the top, and some genuine con-men are there, too.

  10. #10
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Levels of Success - High End Art

    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    i was just reading some duchamps this afternoon.
    i couldn't agree more ..
    You might appreciate my brother Andrew's work on Duchamp...

    https://www.understandingduchamp.com/text.html

    I apologize that his visuals, animations have been deleted. I will write back here if I find the authoritative URL.

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