Don’t Get Fooled by Price Tags On Art In the Age of Commerce


in previous shipment we have talked (especially your thoughts in comments were amazing!) about importance of art and unique creative work in our world. You made me truly think more deeply about this essential topic. I have connected dots from past months about changes in perception and value of the art in the age of commerce, we happen to live in now. Guys, I want you to form your own opinion and make your own judgment. Let me bring into your attention commercially not very well known sources, which were collected for you in past few months and now it made sense to ship them.

Note: If you truly want to grasp the message from this shipment (=blog post), please click through attached links and watch those movies! (or watch at least their trailers, if you are that busy…) 😉

Documentary: The Mona Lisa Curse

Or you can watch Part One and remaining parts directly on Youtube . Here are the links for parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.


Documentary: The Art Of The Steal

Here you can find its trailer on Youtube. You may also want to read NY Times review of The Art Of The Steal documentary about Barnes Collection.


Let me also insert a short story about Joseph Heller:

Joseph Heller – author of Catch 22 was told by his friend, that host of a party they are in, who was a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day then Heller had earned from his novel over its whole history. Heller responded on it:

“Yes, but I have something he will never have…Enough.”


I truly hope, that we (we as a mankind/society/SCG-ers/individuals) will wake up from this destruction of real sincere art by money driven greedy commodity traders and we will be able to distinguish between “experts” with money and critics who live and breath art their whole lives.


Maybe it is time to reconsider what success is, who are “celebrities” we admire and listen to, who are presented to us by mainstream media as role models and experts…

Maybe it is time to reevaluate what price tags we put on things and what we value as nothing. Raj Patel summed it up nicely in this 3 minutes must-watch video

Maybe it is time for us to shout out as child in Hans Christian Andersen‘s story  The Emperor’s New Dress did: “But he is not wearing anything at all!”

Maybe the time is now…



what say you: How many naked emperors do you have around you (in your neighborhood in your office, in your country)? How many times did you stand up and said loudly what others cannot 0r don’t want to see? Are those wealthy people truly hard working creative geniuses or they are just artists of the steal?

Let me to conclude with Seth Godin’s  words from his latest blog post: “Capital isn’t driving our economy any longer, innovation by unique people is.”

So, we better get our focus right again.



[Bonus updated on 27th July 2011] ->  Benjamin Wallace: Does happiness have a price tag?


  1. Hey Ivana,
    Nice in-depth study! There’s a lot to digest here, but I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with wealth or people who value wealth. The problem comes in when that is the ONLY thing they value. Or when they equate wealth with personal power. But as you suggest via Seth Godin’s statement, in this new media world, it is innovation and creativity that are the true drivers of power. I really believe that we are in the midst of a global shift in awareness and not only do we all see that the Emperor is not wearing any clothes, but we’ve gone ahead and designed him and ourselves a whole new wardrobe! 🙂
    Thanks for another great and thought-provoking post!

  2. Hi Ivana,
    Really awesome topic to dive into since nowadays the perception of beuty in art has changed so much. Thanks a lot for sharing the movie “The Mona Lisa Curse”. At the beginning my plan was just to watch the 1st part only, but after I just could not wait to get more out of it. I have seen Damien Hirst’s diamond scull live (it had a special exhibition in Rijksmuseum Amsterdam) and it trully is hidious. I do belive many people would argue with me here. Art really depends on taste. If there is the demand prices will continue to grow. Very often people are attaching the meaning to the piece eventhough often we will never find out what the artist really ment by it. Important is what meaning does it have for us. I am personally a big fan of Gustav Klimt and all the details in his paintings. Recently I have seen an interesting movie “Exit through the gift shop” about street art. I am very interested in hearing opinion of others on street art for example. When can we mark it as a piece of marvelous ingenious work and when as a vandalism? Where is the line? What is art and what is not? What is the appropriate value?
    Thanks again for sharing and making us think 🙂

    • Hiya Andrea!
      Welcome to #IS, yay. It is great to see your 1st comment here and more over it is so insightful.
      I will watch “Exit through the gift shop” movie, which you have suggested.
      Thank you sharing and raising very interesting questions.
      See you around, young lady.

  3. Hey Andrea – great questions you add to the discussion here. I think the problem people have with street art goes back to our obsession with “stuff” and keeping a certain image. Some people want their streets, their buildings, their possessions to look a certain way and they don’t want input from anybody else. To me, this goes against what I envision as a society of community and collaboration because you can’t control when inspiration hits or where it wants to be seen. Art happens and what a wonderful world it would be if it were allowed to reveal itself wherever it found it open channel.
    That’s my naive Utopian vision, anyway! 🙂 Okay, stepping OFF the soap-box now…

  4. In response to the Seth Godin comment at the end of your post, Richard Florida echoes the same viewpoint, examining how creativity is revolutionizing the global economy. The most effective companies are those that recognize the inherent drive humans have to create and innovate, and give their employees the right environment to apply these drives for the bottom line of the company, self-fullfillment of the employee, and good of society. I think it’s possible to bridge the gap between ‘art’/creativity and the bottom line in this way. It’s not easy, but it is possible.
    Thanks, Ivana, for the post and for getting this great discussion going!

    • Hi Zoe,
      thank you so much for your comment, and thanks for pointing out art of Richard Florida (I did not know about him).
      I believe it is possible to create working environment, where employees will be happily creating and contributing with their talents and passion.
      😉 I believe that shift is happening and I believe that SCG is exemplifying this shift to closing this gap between art and “factory” like work.

  5. HI Ivana,
    happiness does not have price tag – and it will never have. It’s a state of mind, not an amount of money you have in your pocket. Take a look at Amy Winehouse. Was she poor (speaking about money)? Not at all. Was she happy? I doubt so.
    We don’t need money to be happy, because at the end of the day we cannot buy one thing – time. The clock will tick no matter how much money we will make and it will never go backwards. Living the life to the fullest and chasing our dreams counts a lot more. It does not make sense to live for money and ‘symbols of wealth’. I see it every day – people buying these symbols, because they think they will make them happy. Some have realized it’s not the case, some will never realize this. Obsessed with all the shiny things – that’s what they are 🙂
    Sometimes, we should just take a moment to hear the birds singing – that’s one hell of an amazing artistic performance sometimes – and for free as we all like it!

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