ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Art as Commodity

Perhaps it is more accurate to define elite art in today’s world market as currency instead of commodity, and to describe galleries and auctions as the new stockmarket.

A while back, I attended an art salon in Kuwait. The event,“Art in the Age of Digital Networks” was advertised on a national radio station famous for its Western hits and top 40 lists. When my friend and I walked into the salon, we realised we were late. My friend was a fashion and makeup blogger. I was a writer. We thought the salon organisers applied the modern conception of art as inclusive, encompassing everything from dance to music. We hoped that the gathering would elevate our own views about our vocations. We were wrong.

My friend and I walked in awkwardly and looked around for a vacant spot. Ten people were sitting in an oval talking about social networks, in general, and Instagram, in particular, and the way in which online platforms had been devaluing “real” art. Every so often, a speaker would complain, “Anyone can be an artist now,” as though the democratisation of art was a horrendous affront. They would follow their complaint with a laudatory account of the modernists — Picasso, Duchamp, etc. They praised art that dismantled the shackles of classical or traditional ways of thinking and defied commodification.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

INR 59

(Readers in India)

$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.