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time for a cull

January 14, 2009

[Times Online] Lucky you. Lucky me. Both of us have ahead of us in 2009 the totally tantalising prospect of watching how the art world responds to the recession. Will the entire house of cards collapse in on itself, leaving the thinnest of messes? Or will some cunning redrawing be embarked on that eventually results in a new version of the tottering edifice? Ask me again in December. What is absolutely certain is that this recession has come in the nick of time, and that we should welcome it with open arms. The art world has spent a decade and a half metamorphosing into something ugly and worthless. That process has been halted. There is hope.

The art world itself will see things differently, of course. It decided long ago that it was a special case, ungoverned by the usual societal rules. I remember, back in the 1980s, interviewing that dramatic German painter Georg Baselitz, the one who specialised in painting figures upside down, and asking him if he felt any guilt about the astronomical prices his pictures were fetching at auction. Baselitz, who lived in a castle at the time, took a big puff on his cigar and actually blew the smoke out in my face, with the words: “What is better than a painting? Nothing.” Conversation over. (Read article…)

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