Art night in the big City
One of my photo blogs mentioned that a favorite photographer of mine was having an opening around here tonight, so I went to see his work. Happily, I stumbled into an enormous art scene with hundreds of people wandering from gallery to gallery.
First, the star of the evening, Mitch Dobrowner at the Kopeiking Gallery . He works with a large format film camera, chasing storms throughout the southwest to make incredibly dramatic landscapes.
His photos are fabulous, but I don’t have a spare $5-10,000 this month, so it was off to see what else there was.
Art galleries are fun, but that doesn’t mean you have to like, or understand, everything you see.
Wandering around was pretty interesting in itself. The crowd was all young and hip, and I moved through them like a wraith, unseen, unnoticed, irrelevant. The old white guy with no tattoos in boring clothes just blends into the walls at these events.
Except, sometimes, to the gallery owners (now knows as “gallerists” to the hip, slick and cool). They have learned that art collectors don’t always fit the picture, and us older guys are slightly more probable to have the money to actually buy something instead of just looking.
So it was that the owner of the Bruce Lurie Gallery found me gazing at this piece by Nelson de la Nuez:
Mr. de la Nuez has other pieces that look remarkably like the work of Andy Warhol. He has so successfully appropriated the style and manner of these famous artists that I’d love to talk with an intellectual property lawyer to understand why this isn’t arrant plagiarism.
But I’m more of a sculpture guy anyway, so we went off to look at a piece I really liked. It is a set of 7 tiny busts in bronze, mounted individually on long stalks. The artist is from Argentina, his name is Ari Hirschman, and he doesn’t show up on the gallery website.
Then the gallery owner did something strange. He quoted me a price, then immediately dropped it my almost a third. He also said this was the last set of 12 cast–and usually the last item in a series carries a higher price, not a discount. This makes me very suspicious and leery of the whole affair, although I still really like the work. Something is not right here–which may explain Hirschman’s absence from the list of artists on the website.
Gail probably won’t like my little congress of bronze busts, so it doesn’t really matter. Just another reminder that there is absolutely no intrinsic value in a work of art, it is only worth what you can get someone to pay for it. The supply is almost infinite, so there is always another great work just around the corner. There is also a guy in a mermaid suit in a hammock, but that’s where you have to develop your own taste.
And that’s what I did on Saturday night in the big city, 400 miles away from Gail.