Daniel Barnes
The Value Industry
Reflections on Art, Money and Celebrity
For many years now, I have been floating around the art market, thinking about the relationship between art and money. I realised that nobody really knows what value is, but thought I could construct a theory of it in terms of the commercial artworld. And so began this book project. The project is ongoing. I might post chapters as and when I finish them. Let me know if you want to publish this book.
Art, like or not, is embedded in mass culture and is a commodity on a market. The Value Industry explores the idea that although there often seems to be a mismatch between the price of art and its cultural worth, the contemporary artworld still preserves what we think is centrally valuable and worthwhile about art. Through a heady mixture of art market news, celebrity gossip and philosophy, Daniel Barnes demonstrates that, despite all the money and headlines, the true value of art is as an aesthetic experience. High auction prices, billionaire collectors, celebrity endorsements and headline-grabbing publicity stunts are all accepted and even celebrated as elements of contemporary art, but at what cost to art?
The value of art is analysed through a constellation of stories from the everyday madness of the contemporary artworld. Damien Hirst commanding the destruction of a Spot Painting shows how the true value of conceptual art is in the idea, while celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Snoop Dogg and James Franco attempting to be artists reveals a definition of art and the artworld. Jeff Koons selling an idea rather than an artwork provides insight into the power of an artist’s brand, and the sale of Tracey Emin’s infamous bed demonstrates how the business of art threatens cultural legacy. Together, these reflections on art, money and celebrity reveal an intimate, and provocative, glimpse into the inner workings of the art market, where some artworks are expensive because they are good, and others are good because they are expensive.
2. The Expensive and the Good
.3. The Power of Myth
4. Authenticity and History
5. Manufacturing Wonder
6. Celebrity Artists
7. Aesthetic Distinctins
8. Gazing into the Abyss
Cover design by Jon Christopher