Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chinese art market in the global scene and it's meanings

I've been reading up about the contemporary art scene and it's position in the global art and political world and have come across several interesting things. The growth of importance of the Chinese art scene upon the global world has walked hand-in-hand with China's emergence upon the world stage as a major player. I'm curious about the relation of the two. Is sudden interest in Chinese contemporary art linked with a growing inquisitiveness about the people behind this new global player. Does interest into the Chinese art scene correlate to an attempt by the rest of the world to better understand contemporary Chinese culture and society as well as the spirit and feel of the average Chinese citizen. Does insight into the art of a culture provide insight into the people of that culture as well and help us better understand the Chinese as human beings?
Or is the interest just another attempt to jump onto the profitable Chinese-market wagon? Works by big name contemporary Chinese artists were (and still are to a lesser extent) selling in the millions of USD at auction. Is this an appreciation of the art movement here or an attempt at a smart investment? On the Chinese side of it, is the art movement still connected to its roots or has it too been sucked into the world of high monetary returns? With the "good artwork" produced, there has been a horde of "junk being traded as 'meaningful work,'" ("Chinese contemporary art bubble goes flat") producing art as a commodity for the sole means of profit. Now however, there seems to be a burst in the Chinese art bubble pointing to the idea that maybe all this interest was just an overexcited fad. Or maybe not; works by the big names, although not reaching Christie's auction expectations, are still fetching price tags in the millions. 

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