By Benjamin Sutton. The L Magazine. 25 November 2009.
This holiday season, why not give the gift of art? It might sound tacky, and a little daunting, but it’s never been simpler. More and more galleries and online stores are realizing that there’s a market for affordable work by new and established artists. As the art world reels from big name collectors and patrons’ shrinking budgets, many have started commissioning smaller works, artist editions and prints to offer young and discerning art fans an opportunity to make a difference.
Sure, auction houses are starting to see huge numbers again—the Andy Warhol above, “200 Dollar Bills,” recently sold for a stunning $43.7 million, a figure that seems especially astronomical given the self-conscious comment the painting conveys about art as a consumer commodity—but the collectors who make up most of the sales in galleries are becoming more cautious. In a recent Bloomberg article, Katya Kazakina noted that many of the galleries she visited on the Lower East Side, where rents are cheaper and the art, in turn, is often appealing to a younger audience, were sold out. As the art world adjusts to a market that seems increasingly polarized between super-collectors and everyday people who care enough about to contribute, there are more and more ways to find, browse and buy good, affordable art.