Comments on: The commodification of Gerhard Richter A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: samadamsthedog Thu, 29 Aug 2013 02:11:35 +0000 Once again, it’s Keynes’s line about betting on a beauty contest: Don’t bet on the woman you think is most beautiful. Bet on the woman whom the judges will think is most beautiful.

By: caroldiehl Mon, 14 May 2012 16:30:52 +0000 Richter being a commodity has nothing to do with Richter, the artist. This was never his decision, his intention. I think he’s a very important artist, and I’m grateful to have a model, someone to look up to, who’s still producing great work at 80 or whatever (do see the film, “Gerhard Richter, Painting”).

The writer is wrong on several points. Just because Picasso and Warhol took a long time to be recognized doesn’t mean that’s what’s necessary to be an “important” artist, especially now when the cultural world is so much bigger and more savvy. Further, given the times (now as opposed to then) Richter is very radical in his subject matter. Coming at a time when the art world had rejected beauty (think Jeff Koons), when everything was cynical (think Richard Prince) to be unabashedly painting and conscious of painting’s possible emotional content took, and still takes, a lot of courage–as well as painting in several different styles when other artists (and galleries) saw, and still see, developing a “signature” as the only route to stardom and commodification.

Even further, his dealer is not Gagosian, who might automatically be accused of promoting commodification but, since the beginning, Marian Goodman, who has always demonstrated enormous restraint and intelligence, for whom the art always comes first.

It’s easy to bash success. But sometimes there’s a reason for it.

By: tahers Sat, 10 Mar 2012 17:48:45 +0000 The last comment sounds like art shtick/marketing propaganda wrapped in pseudo-academic language. What’s vulgar here is the stupidly of the collector. The stupidity of thinking that garbage “art” bought is either a brilliant act of commerce or and a cultural event.

By: Bon_Beau Sat, 10 Mar 2012 14:10:23 +0000 That Felix Salmon would define an art collector without “much of a soul” is tremendously naïve and offensive from this one-man multi-media motormouth. Cash-value is one of the best measures of an art work for the very simple reason that the money markets are one of the most rational, unemotional means to gauge value for any asset, especially art which is notoriously steeped in myth, social elitism – and all in an age of rapid obsolescence.

With many of Gerhard Richter’s art works selling for millions, surely putting your money where your subjective mouth is, is as watertight a way as any of predicting the intrinsic value of a painting? It is clearly a disappointment to Felix Salmon that those who view the idea of making money through art dealing is somehow vulgar. However, if a lowly scribbler such as himself did have millions of his own pounds to invest, wouldn’t he opt for a more rational approach to art buying himself?

Gerhard Richter is the perfect artist for the financial market. Apart from continuing even at 80-years old to add to a huge oeuvre of quality work, he is an art historian’s dream. Richter invented a highly rational numbering system for his art works that has spanned into several catalogue raisonnes. This has allowed his work to be meticulously and systematically archived. Add to this a bounty of quality books that meticulously research and analyse his worth in a career spanning over 60 years. The artist even has an official website ( – revered by many as the most comprehensive online resource for any artist alive or dead today. Trying to speculate Richter’s value on the art market over the next century does not seem so unpredictable based on these facts.

Output, oeuvre and organisation is why Richter ranks among the greats. There is little danger of Richter becoming art dealer over artist. The great Cezanne once said “I am more a friend of art than a producer of painting.” For lovers of Gerhard Richter everywhere, there is no chance of the German breaking his artistic bond with his paintings, to trade his soul with the banking devils. Or, for that matter, getting involved with the sort of low-brow analysis of his work and standing so synonymous with Mr Salmon and other such gutter-snipes.

The article does hint at the more interesting question, how should art be valued? Yet Felix offers no better means to evaluate art above and beyond the Money Men and their rationalistic framework. Unless he is seriously hinting that art is best judged by the very peddlers of scandal and reckless assay who call themselves arts journalists?

By: tahers Tue, 06 Mar 2012 07:18:29 +0000 Thank You Felix for your insightful piece. You revealed what a con the commodification of art is. A con by art marketers on the buyers-the billionaires. This market looks strangely like the tulip mania of the 1630’s.
The other negative part of this market is cultural. All works are repetitiv styles and manners that are 30 to 50 years in the past. Nothing new can be seen. The art marketers hold the gate and their paradigm (one generation imitating another Ad nauseam) becomes the norm for all.
What remains then is utterly boring art and culture.
It’s boring as hell these days. Picasso or any other inventor 20th art century could never have gotten passed these palace gates. Guarded by charlatans and dull imitators.

By: AngryInCali Mon, 05 Mar 2012 16:32:45 +0000 Komar and Melamid should repeat their Most/Least Popular project for the tastes of billionaires.

By: samadamsthedog Mon, 05 Mar 2012 02:23:17 +0000 The article is less about art criticism than about financial-advice criticism; but a bit of art criticism crept in, in the assertion that Warhol, Picasso and de Kooning are “important”, whereas Richter is not. That actually remains to be seen, perhaps in all cases, though Picasso’s is the the least doubtful — but only because he’s the earliest of these artists.

Nevertheless, despite the above caveat, i have to agree. Richter seems to me to be an extremely versatile and prolific chameleon; a trend follower, not a trend setter. His retrospective at MOMA (i think it was) a few years ago exhibited no continuity, no common core of style or concern. Viewed together, his various styles had the effect of canceling each other out and adding up to zero. i arrived in eager anticipation and left in disgust.

In contrast, the 1980 Picasso retrospective, also at MOMA, had an overall effect that was, if anything, multiplicative. One left exhausted, but deliriously happy and satisfied.

Of course, that was two renovations ago, when MOMA was a better museum in every way; but into that we need not go, except to say that we probably can blame the financial analysts for that as well.