About Art & Money

The Lotus Eye@Heather Cai

The Lotus Eye – Born in dirt but not dirty, grows up with ripples of water but straightens up gracefully. (出淤泥而不染,濯清涟而不妖)

By Picasso, currently sold out for $179m. (Source:Google)

Women of Algiers by Picasso, currently sold for $179m to set new world auction record. (Source:Google)

If an art can be measured by money, would you still call it art? Does art have to do with money?

My Chinese name is Lotus in Peace. I drew The Lotus Eye once I heard the news of Picasso’s Women of Algiers sold for an amount of money almost as big as the sky. I can’t remember how much exactly but I shall never forget the fact. It just disgusts me.

According to Wikipedia-The Arts, “In its most basic abstract definition, art is a documented expression of a sentient being through or on an accessible medium so that anyone can view, hear or experience it.” Obviously, the definition of the Arts doesn’t mention anything to do with money. So should I say, art is there for people to view, hear, appreciate, experience or make the world a better place, but not for sale?

$179m, so what? How exactly does the $179m do good to the people, to the world? Personally,as a matter of fact, whether you admit it or not, it just makes the arts cheaper and cheaper. For the sake of art, I dare ask, what will they do with the money and what will they do with the painting?

Nowadays, nothing is not that cheap. Hearing the voices of majority people on earth, everything is not cheap but expensive. You’ve earned more, but you would spend far more. Your basic salary improves little by little, but even the price of a proper Chinese soup goes higher and faster than you might imagine. There is nothing absolute. You can afford something like Picasso’s Women of Algiers, give it a superb price, break some record, so what? The painting is still a painting. How many people can really view, hear, appreciate and experience the art of the painting itself that way?

Why everything is so cheap? Nothing is really priceless. Everything has a good price. If anything has got a price to sell or buy, is it still so precious or priceless? Is it?

Anything you can buy with money is not priceless or rather not precious. Before, a medal could be priceless or precious, but now you can buy one cheaply; a life could be precious or priceless, but now you too can buy one secretly; a love could be priceless or precious, but too you now can buy one on the street or through the internet; a piece of art could be very precious and priceless, but now it seems not. It only weighs for the weight of money and values for the meaning of money. It is swinging between the edge of pure art and the commercially corrupt. And it’s people who make it so…

I believe pursuing art should be the final lifestyle. Only creating our world with a pure heart can make us against any forms of lowness, live for the meaning of life and the sense of human dignity.

I doubt any real artists want their art to concern money. After all, they don’t create any art for money, but for the sake of art itself. Otherwise, they are no different from those art dealers.

I believe Van Gogh already suffered the pain long before he cut his ear and suffered more before he shot himself. His Sunflowers can tell how much he wanted the pure life. I also believe Pablo Picasso wouldn’t mind how much his paintings were being sold for today if he were still alive. He already grinned at us even after his death.


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