Monday, 12 March 2018

The Art of the Deal

Art Basel draws the uber rich who don't have much time but the money to buy
Today I met a Russian artist, Konstantin Bessmertny, who is known for pointing out contradictions in his work, nor is he afraid to talk about it either. While he used to live in Macau for 25 years, he now splits his time between there and Hong Kong.

Like many other artists, here or overseas, they are gearing up for the art event of the year, Art Basel, which will be held at the end of the month at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Russian artist Konstantin Bessmertny tells it like it is...
It's an opportunity for them, from big names like Takashi Murakami, Yayoi Kusama, to Jeff Koons and even those who have passed, like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat to have their works in front of wealthy buyers (mainland Chinese), while the rest of us try in vain to understand what these artists are saying in their work for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But for Bessmertny, the premier art event isn't about the art at all, it's about real estate.

That's because, he says, Art Basel makes money even before the show starts because it rents out all the spaces to galleries, which work feverishly hard to sell sell sell at this seemingly prestigious event.

He also observes it's the people who have gobs of money and so little time that they hire these "bimbos" who know nothing about art to source pieces for them to see. And what do they choose? Works that take only three seconds to understand. Which is why, Bessmertny says, artists like Murakami do well because not much thinking is involved.

Check out the tiny art work in this "adult" doll house

Which is probably what inspired him to make a doll house -- "an adult one" he points out -- with miniature copies of his works on the walls. He told us he is thinking of making other doll houses and inviting other artists to make mini versions of their works and he will rent out those spaces to them.

Hopefully the art and the wall space will be something I can afford, though you'd need a magnifying glass to see the price list...

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