RCA Soc Excessive Optimism Show
As part of the continuing dialogue around art and design practice the RCA Society organised an event which brought together twenty different 'works of art' for presentation and discussion. The invitation stated that the works should be submitted with a "bullish" valuation and publicly presented by their "creator" or "representative". Through the individual presentations the work's true value would be revealed and subsequently accepted or rejected by the gathered audience of 'experts'.
In the month running up to the event assistance was given on 'valuation' - How to assess the market value of art. A number of artists were already practiced in the art market place experiencing successful sales as well as failures. Although all the presenters had very strong opinions about the work's value the majority of presentations avoided the financial "hard sell" - with asking prices almost absent-mindedly added on as an afterthought. Interestingly most of the works were not 'excessively optimistic' in pricing - the very few with 'over the top' figures were tongues in very optimistic cheeks yet certainly feasible in the strange world of current financial markets.
The event was the opportunity to bring artists together in a positive social environment where the seriousness of discussion about "how is art valued" and what the works were attempting to express mixed with discussing actual pieces of work. The twenty works on show brought together different approaches, techniques, and skills. An electronic computerised installation generating programmed sounds vied with a quiet water colour abstract, exotically painted enameled panels sat alongside a carved marble relic, a mysterious golden transformer reflected mirror crack'd from side to side, the dominance of form was challenged by the hissing of oxygen.
All scenarios were considered - whatever the audience reaction to the "value" put on the works by their creators was celebrated or molified with suitable drinks - ranging from strong coffee - to - strangely coloured alcohol. In between there was additional sustenance from water, teas, juices, beer and wines and of course a splendid spread of 'mediterranean' food.
The total value of the exhibition of works was £2,428,600.
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How do you judge 'value'?