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Has the art marketplace hit a proverbial wall in the Internet conundrum?

What is being proposed is that the contemporary art markets need an “essential tension” between marketplace practice and creative innovation.

This so-called “normal-market convention” is chronological and continues along one path until it is interrupted by a paradigm shift. An example:

When Nicolaus Copernicus first proposed heliocentrism — the idea that planets revolved around the sun rather than the Earth —

he was not taken seriously.


Today as art museums take a high perch and bequeath validity, as art auctions, art fairs and art galleries abdicate to a self-perceived moral high ground, and the Internet bestows legitimacy to a morass of hodge-podge art indifference.

The lowly artists have become a commodity, purveyors of fine art practice, wonder and amusement.

All one needs is to review auction and gallery catalogs from a decade ago to identify the then new, original, unique, and valuable market trends-setters who (in hindsight) are nowhere to be seen or heard from today. 

The new job of art is to sit on the wall and get more expensive.

– Robert Hughes

In today’s world of alternative-fact art sales, guarantee wish lists and questionable monetary sources, the underlying story is that the art market is nothing but varied stories told by people who already have a stake in it.

As art auctions and markets become worldwide, as regional fairs and territorial art markets aspire and seek international attention, the emphasis and the result is a polyglot of Global Culture. And that is not necessarily a good thing for the art marketplace. 

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About the Author

Lawrence Klepper

Lawrence Klepper

As an artist, Gallery Management Instructor, Gallery Director, Independent Curator, and Special Exhibitions Coordinator for City art museums, college art galleries, and commercial galleries in Califor...