Monday, March 15, 2021

I didn't understand The Art Market before the NFT sale, and I understand it less now

 (This post is a sequel to my post from Feb 13, 2007 which you can find here. While the gap from 2007 until 2021 seems large, its not as long as the gap between Knuth Vol 3 and Knuth Vol 4, nor as long as the gap between Stan Freberg Vinyl Record History of America Part I and his CD History of America Part 2, both novelty records, and quite good.)

My 2017 post was about people posting a clip on youtube and calling it `rare footage of...' 

My point was: How can something be rare if its on you tube?

I also pondered: if someone can make a REALLY REALLY GOOD copy of the Mona Lisa, that is at talent that should be respected and such a person should be able to sell it for about the same price as the original (not sure if I want the copy to be worth A LOT or the original to be worth LESS than it is.)

IF Art is to-look-at-cause-its-pretty then it should not matter who the artist is. 

IF Art is an investment then that could be risky since it does not have intrinsic value. 

IF Art is neither to-look-at or an investment then... What is it? We'll see below that one answer might be Bragging Rights. 

This is NOT a RANT, this is an admitance of my lack of understanding. (Spell check things admitance is not a word. Maybe its admitence. No, Hmmm.) 

And now there is a new wrinkle in all of this: 

69 million for a NFT (Non-Fungable Token) of an art work:story here

1) What is the buyer getting? Bragging rights?

2) Can anyone SEE the art but doesn't OWN it? I don't know..

3) If someone hacked in and got a perfect copy of the art and posted it on a website, would that be theft? Nothing was taken. 

4) In the normal art world does it happen that prices go DOWN because people wake up and say WHAT? Why did I EVER think that White on White was worth 10 million dollars? 

5) Might this happen here also? 

6) Is My Feb 13 blog, which is in a diff format (or I didn't know how to use the blogger interface then) going to one day be worth something?


  1. AFAIK, art-as-a-skill isn't just about drawing/painting accurately; it is also about coming up with an idea of what to draw. So an artist who could perfectly recreate Mona Lisa wouldn't necessarily be considered as talented as the original creator of Mona Lisa. The respect that that artist would receive and the price at which his/her art would sell would be decided accordingly. I don't have an answer for what the relative weights of these skill components should be, though.

  2. Would you pay more for a first edition of Principia Mathematica? If so, presumably it is because you value the emotional connection it provides to Newton and the history of mathematics. If you don't value that connection, then don't buy it. Or, consider the value of autographs. Or, would you pay more for a fossil than for a cast of the fossil? Of course, sometimes people pay more for something just because other people value it highly, i.e., they treat it purely as an investment. Collectibles can decrease in value. Antiques Roadshow sometimes does episodes where they show items that were on the show years before and give the current valuations; many decrease in value.

  3. Aaron Hertzmann's blog has a post about his thoughts on CryptoArt. He's both an artist and computer scientist; I thought he had some interesting comments.