My friend and fellow POC member Jasper De Beijer just sent me his thoughts on this year's Scope Miami experience. After being in Paris 2 weeks ago and seeing many red dots on superficial work, I laughed a bit and cried a bit after reading his words.
Let me tell you a story about the art market. I went to Scope Miami to promote the Recollector, my interactive piece. 5 months I have given all my time and effort to finish it, and luckily it was received very well by the Dutch press and audience. So we put up the booth, flat screen, computer, controller and all to make it really sing. And it did. I also brought some photo portraits from this project to put on the wall.
I was there for the opening; people where really amazed by the results; never seen anything like it bladibladiblah.
Then it happened. The gallery opposite to us had the brilliant idea to put a giant pink popsicle on the wall, you know – the double stick one. About the size of a 5 year old infant. Collector couples where completely into my presentation, and every time their looks went gazing they were caught by this pink monster across the alley. “Yeeeeez look Henry a giant popsicle!” Gone were they.
This happened to me about 15-20 times. Also, people just walking by all were drawn to it like shit flies by a cow’s dung. We could shout and scream all we wanted, the popsicle went pulling and pulling attention like some kind of pop star. Girls wanted to be photographed with it while licking it, they were making these small exhilarated jumps that only rich girls can.
At the end of the fair they sold 6 of those things – 30.000 dollar a piece. And me? Well, after spending so much money on something so profound there is not enough left to buy something else apparently. So I will stop making pictures and will produce giant consumer products for next year, starting with a giant hamburger. I hear that people like them, especially when they are big.
So this year’s lesson about the art market is this - No matter what people say or do, however clever their comments are on your work, no matter what reviews you have or any other insights you might have on the uplifting experience of art: You will ALWAYS lose from the giant popsicle.