Ok, so by now you’ve probably heard that Edvard Munch’s painting they call “The Scream” just sold for $119.9 Million smackers. I heard all sorts of discussion leading up to the auction from numerous experts but this whole situation leaves me, an artist, feeling a bit flat.
The artist said: “I do not believe in the art which is not the compulsive result of Man’s urge to open his heart.”
His work was exceptional in its time. He made this version of “The Scream” in 1893. You’ll recall that was smack dab in the middle of the more lyrical, buttoned up (literally) Victorian time. So we have to acknowledge this for being an image that came up and out of the artist from a whole new place. So I have nothing against this piece being considered a masterful and highly influential work of creative expression. I think it was. I think it IS.
I am taken aback by the power of money to lay claim to the expression and assign it this weird other value
But I am taken aback by the power of money to lay claim to the expression and assign it this weird other value because simultaneously in the back of my mind is the wondering about current artists right now who are exploring the deep space of human creativity in completely unique ways who remain totally unsupported financially. I think: what if this almost $120 million had gone to 120 artists working today each getting $1,000,000. Imagine the results of something like that!
Oh, and I would like to be one of the recipients, of course, lol. Actually in that case we better cut the grant down to $500,000 – now we can give it to 240 artists – because if we get too much we may rest and stop making our art! You could even halve that once again to $250,000 and support 480 artists and get galleries and museums full of amazing new concepts, pieces and explorations.
But instead we got all these news stories swirling around this one transaction for one angst ridden piece of art that I think probably did as much to confuse the general public about what art is as it may have enlightened them. And that rather sucks.
But like Edvard, we’ll all carry on with our work regardless of public support or comprehension, because for us it is about the inner drive to do it. Money be damned. But when you get the chance, pick up our tab at the restaurant. It’ll help. 🙂