Trying to understand the meaning of value.
Welcome to what Christies calls an artwork that “reflects the ambiguity and irony of society.” Brillo 5 – a bronze replica of an empty cardboard box made by famed artist Gavin Turk is worth a cool $30 000. Turk coincidentally comes from the English ensemble backed by the famed Charles Saatchi gallery whose other artists also include Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst.
This all begs the question in some circles why is it that a replica of an empty cardboard box is worth so much ? One could also ask in the same breath why is that some canvas boards with an assortment of paint applied to them sometimes go for $30 million.
Is it the legacy of the artist, the way that piece of art makes us feel, the name of the artist, or the fact that it may be one of a few of it’s kind surviving? This of course may provide little comfort to all the art galleries that were forced out of business as a consequence of the recession and all the artists themselves trying to create a piece of work that they hope some individual may perceive as valuable and desirable.
This of course sheds light into the idea as Dadaist artist Marchel Duchamp once stated art is anything you choose it to be- even in his case a porcelain urinal (itself quite valuable today).
In the end is art worth more or less because of its associations and thus it’s assumed higher value (assuming those associations are perceived to be more prestigious), it’s usefulness or as Duchamp claimed ultimately it’s all just arbitrary.
Art – when an empty box is suddenly ascribed an arbitrary value into the stratosphere.