A hundred years ago political prophets were selling the dream of society of equality and prosperity for all. Only their eagerness survived. The grand pose and gesture has been appropriated nowadays by salesmen. The rising global oligarchy of the obscenely rich desperately looks for the ways to secure their quickly increasing wealth. In diversification of investment and ways of compressing it into valuables, - art was always a good choice. That gave a tremendous push to the art trade. The fairs for the rich clientele multiply. For them, art works are the undersigned bills of exchange. In most cases, they do not leave the airports. The freeport storages, outside of the taxation and control of the public institutions, serve not only as fabulous storages but also offer other services: private showrooms (exhibitions!), art advisory, framing, restoration and the banking services. When appropriate moment in the strategy of prices comes, works will find the way to private galleries, private museums, and, due to the influential boards and permissive curators, to public museums. The strategic combination manipulates the prices the same way the shares on stock market change value overnight. The heritage profession does not exist to be able to react. Heritage occupations like museum curators are pushed into “fach idiotism”, servility and opportunism. Does anybody remember having seen a blockbuster “Art as commodity”? Public institutions, at least in Europe, are paid by taxpayer’s money to explain the world and represent public interests.
Mario Tama/Getty Images
Edvard Munch's The Scream (1895), auctioned at Sotheby's Sales of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art on 2 May 2012 in New York City.
The masterpiece is one of four versions created by Munch and the only one that is privately owned. The painting sold for $119,922,500