Marta Gnyp - The Shift: Art and the Rise to Power of Contemporary Collectors


The artist Chuck Close once told a story about a collector who was waiting for many years to obtain his work, the collector promised to donate it to a museum in Texas. The day after he received the work, he sold it. When the upset gallery owner called him, he replied: "Well, I may be an art collector, but I am a businessman first. As long as one day I can triple my funds, I will do it."


Are there good and bad collectors? Collectors who sell art to make money are bad collectors. This anecdote illustrates the attitude expressed by many collectors, but few expressed: their interest in art is as real as their rational way of profiting from the assets they own. This juggling logic is also reflected in other aspects of the collection, therefore, opposed to the classification of collectors by passionate art lovers and investors-although it is not necessary to use one person at the same time, it can be one or two people.


However, the art world likes to make this distinction. The ideology of art requires that when making a decision, the "merchants" among the collectors struggle with the "enthusiastic people", which illustrates the contradiction between the good and bad collection motives. It is speculated that today’s collectors often face difficulties when making decisions: whether they choose between independent art and commercial art, between beauty and commerce, or between immortality and profit. The tension between "art" and "business" can be seen in two frequently heard codes of ethics, which aim to regulate the good behavior of collectors: a good collector never sells, or a good one the collector uses his eyes instead of his ears for shopping. The functions of these rules are different, but together they try to regulate the current art distribution and circulation system in a very discrete way.


An important part involves this hypothetical collection ethics. This book explores why these specific codes of ethics are formed. It not only answers the reasons why these codes are so durable, but also answers their function in reality. It also speculates that new possibilities and system interruptions may lead to changes in the art world as we know it.



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