Thursday, June 25, 2009
Just a very short time ago, it seemed we were at the end of something and the beginning of …well no one quite knew but post crash everything was definitely going to change wasn't it? With the most enormous of financial bubbles burst and the now flaccid little pieces of the balloon stuck to the sides of our mouths we all stood in awe of the devastation and vowed that everything would be different. We shook our heads at our collective foolishness and greed and pondered our debts and how we might possibly repay them.
But the vested interests are not so easily deterred. Having been bailed out by the taxpayer to the tune of billions the city after the briefest of periods of contrition is back to paying out big bonuses. Never mind that a generation has effectively been robbed of its pensions, if the new RBS chairman can get the share price up to 70P then the government can cash in and sell its shares in the bank at a profit and supposedly wipe out some of the enormous public debt that threatens to dog us for the next 50 years. In other words the mechanism that broke the system is being restarted with some vain hope that it can now fix the very problem it caused.
Over in the art world it’s much the same as Tate Britain opens Classified an exhibition featuring the work of some very familiar names: Damien Hirst, the Chapman Brothers, Martin Creed, Tacita Dean etc. Curator Andrew Wilson says of the work, "I sincerely believe that this art is amongst the best work that has been made in the last 15 years or so." Of course Tate has invested heavily in these artists in so many ways and it was highly unlikely that they would leave the pieces mouldering in the Bricklayers Arms depot but have they no new tricks to play, nothing else up their sleeves but the same old fandango? It would seem not, “who knows” they no doubt muse privately perhaps the exhibition will remind us all just how good these artist are and help get the art market bus back on the road as well and the champers will flow again and the bankers and artists can once again mingle at the Frieze art fair tent whilst the poor sucker public pick up the tab.
Update 2012: Well whilst three years on the UK economy continues to be in recession the Art Market after a brief dip has bounced back. Despite the populace loosing their collective shirt the super rich go from strength to strength and these are of course the people who can afford art.