This morning, while watching the Today Show, I was angered and disheartened by the coverage of the record-breaking sale of Giacometti’s “L’Homme Qui Marche I,” at Sotheby’s. The piece, a life-sized sculpture, sold for $104.3 million, which IS a large sum of money, there is no question about that. And yes, we should talk about that, honest and open dialogue is important. Was the piece worth this amount of money? What makes it so valuable? And, in these challenging economic times, it is impossible to read the story without marvelling at the fact that someone did, indeed, pay such a large sum for the work.
However, instead of engaging in a discussion about how the art market is recovering, or what made the piece so important, they chose to make jokes about the sale, referring to the work, at one point, as a “hood ornament.” This was extremely frustrating for me because the art world is constantly challenged with proving it’s worth. There are ongoing threats to funding and arts education is disappearing in schools across our country. I understand fully that their responsibility is to report the news, but treating the story as a joke underscores the lack of value many people place on art.
I believe this sale presents a fantastic platform for us to discuss the intrinsic value of art as an expression of our humanity, something that enhances our daily lives and has a tangible impact on our world. So, share your thoughts with me, what does art mean in your life? What value does it bring to your world? Does it improve your life?
Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.
Nannette V. Maciejunes
CMA Executive Director