Hva sier salget av Skrik om kunstmarkedet?

The Scream

Som alle nordmenn har fått med seg, ‘Skrik’ av Edward Munch ble auksjonert bort til den medium stive priselappen på $120 millioner. Kunstmarkedet er litt annerledes en markeder flest. Tilbud og etterspørsel oppfører seg litt annerledes i denne arenaen. For det første er det et fast antall bilder tilbudt. Det finnes fire ‘Skrik’, fem ‘Kortspillere’ av Cèzanne og fire ‘Kanin’ av Koons. Oh Munch maler ikke lenger.

Så det er etterspørselen som driver prisen. Men hva kjøper man? ‘Skrik’ er ikke verdens beste kunstverk. Men det finnes kopper, t-skjorter og Macaulay Culkin-plakater sier Felix Salmon i Reuters:

That’s because what people are buying, when they buy one of these pieces, is a cultural icon, something instantly recognizable. As Clyde Haberman says of the Scream, “if you’ve never seen a tacky facsimile of it, there’s a chance that you have also never seen a coffee mug, a T-shirt or a Macaulay Culkin poster”. And truth be told, it’s not exactly Good Art. Edvard Munch is a decent Norwegian symbolist, but to give you an example of what we’re talking about here, the painting on the right, Vampire, is the one which held the previous auction record for the artist, at $38 million. It’s really not all that far from what you find in any art class of tortured adolescents.

The real value of the Scream, then, the reason that a pastel on cardboard sold for $82 million more than the price of the oil-on-canvas Vampire, lies precisely in all those mugs and t-shirts and Home Alone one-sheets. Whatever was being bought, here, it wasn’t really art, in any pure sense. It was more the result of a century’s worth of marketing and hype.

Det der derfor ingen boble i kunstmarkedet, selv etter et rekordsalg som skrik. Maleriet skal ikke selges for profitt igjen. Det skal hvile på en loddrett flate til eieren dør, eller tvinges til å selge.

Og som kritiker i NY Times, Clyde Haberman, sier:

Of course, the same could be asked about many other endeavors. Is a man who swings a stick at a ball truly worth $275 million, which is what Alex Rodriguez was assured (potential bonuses not included) in his deal with the Yankees? Is any meal worth $585 a head, which is what Zagat’s says the tab can run at Masa? Was Newt Gingrich worth the $20 million that the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, poured into a hapless presidential campaign?

At least if you own “The Scream,” you have something that is bound to last, unless someone steals it, which is what has twice happened with other versions of the painting. They were later recovered.

You have to give Munch this: He put his soul into his work. This was no happy camper. “From the moment of my birth, the angels of anxiety, worry and death stood at my side,” he said.

The closest he may have come to optimism was an observation that, after his death, “from my rotting body, flowers shall grow, and I am in them, and that is eternity.”

The imagery may not be the loveliest. But being in flowers for eternity sounds even better than selling for nearly $120 million. Besides, it’s something all of us can aspire to.

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