Art Here and Now
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A New Wave for Japanese Art

International art collectors are warming up to a new breed of daring Japanese artists that are no longer beholden to Western styles.

Mentioned in the article is a Contemporary Arts Fund. I’m not sure how well known this is, but there are funds (like mutual funds) created by financial organizations that own artwork instead of stock. A curator or someone else purchases paintings, sculptures or other physical artworks based on their likelihood to increase in value, just like a mutual fund manager might decide what stocks to buy. The artwork is usually purchased across different artists and styles, in a diversification tactic that’s also similar to stocks. When all this is over, the fund is listed on the stock exchange, and prices go up when the artwork value goes up, and they go down when the value goes down. The idea for funds like these came about because when looking at some segments of artwork value, art ownership out performs stock ownership by a wide margin. Of course this is also very risky.

I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, you have banks and other large financial institutions actually admitting art has great value, and is willing to pay for the work (hopefully paying some artists along the way). On the other hand, except for the curators involved, the people buying into the funds care strictly about the monetary value, and nothing about the aesthetic or cultural value.

Article from Business Week.

New York Sun and Slate on art funds.

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posted by Trout Monfalco