DAILY ART FIX: Connoisseurship – is It Time For A Comeback?

Art world links which caught my eye…

Norman Rockwell “The Connoisseur”

For a century or more, the quality and validity of the art world has been battered by elitist mismanagement. Now some recognize the problem, but it does not seem those people are really willing to take on the corrupt status quo, and call out the actual problems.

Today’s new wave of artists of the moment still use the millennia-old medium of painting, a genre that has always invited qualitative comparison, but this time round the global scale of the auction prices has become its own seal of approval. As in the 2010s, “flippers” can make more than 20 times what they paid for the works in galleries.

“We confuse economic value with historical value,” says the Italian curator Francesco Bonami, who directed the 2003 Venice Biennale. The system is “not really working”, he says. “Nobody’s subverting anything anymore. It’s become extremely self-celebratory.”

Filip Vermeylen, a professor of global art markets at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication in Rotterdam, thinks there is a case for connoisseurship to make an updated comeback. “The market thrives on these hypes, these flavours of the month,” says Vermeylen, the co-author of the 2012 essay The End of the Art Connoisseur? Experts and Knowledge Production in the Visual Arts in the Digital Age. “We’re now in an extreme situation. We’re not allowed to talk about quality anymore. All you need to know about the value of a work of art is its price. I’m concerned about the loss of connoisseurship.”

Read the full article here: THE ART NEWSPAPER – Connoisseurship – is It Time For A Comeback?


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8 thoughts on “DAILY ART FIX: Connoisseurship – is It Time For A Comeback?

  1. To have connoisseurship, you gotta have somebody saying what’s good and what isn’t. Oddly enough it can’t be the artists themselves.

  2. Good article, thanks for sharing it. It is a concern I have as well, when proof of excellence is confirmed simply by what past work has sold for, not the work’s heart lifting value. I bristled at the Mickalene Thomas example for that artist’s work is one in which I early on bought into the hype surrounding its emergence. In my defense it is unrelenting eye candy: attractive models, splashy colors, eye catching graphics and for goodness sakes, glitter- who wouldn’t notice?! But as more and more museums acquired Thomas’ work, the more I have been exposed to the actual work, the more I realized the hype. Much reviled connoisseurship might have seen the glitter for what it is. Take care, LG

  3. You’re right of course. Those who actually critique honestly are deemed cranks. These people chase money like dogs chase cars and therefore are useful ( like dogs) to those behind the scenes.

    Ps. You do have to have someone to decide what’s art and what isn’t. The trick is who?

  4. I didn’t mean to say honest critics are dogs but rather what we have now connected to the galleries and auction houses. I don’t know that much about it except it seems to be a very very old problem.

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