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Art And the Bazaar

entertainment Updated: Oct 01, 2010 23:58 IST

It’s not easy for an artist to put Lakshmi ahead of Saraswati. But with a receding state presence, the market’s stamp of approval is necessary for art’s mere survival. Writer Kishore Singh says, “No art exists without patronage.. The market is always the ultimate goal. In the end, art is a commodity.”

Bharti Kher, whose ‘The Skin Speaks a Language Not Its Own’ sold earlier this year for a record $1.49 million (almost Rs 7 crore), agrees that the market’s validation is important, but she seeks a context for what’s big money: “If I wanted to make money I’d have been into exports or real estate. The money in art is tiny compared to that in the world.”

Curator Gayatri Sinha says, “The market and the respect an artist commands feed off each other... But the market cannot decide what’s good. I’d not name names, but some artists in my show (with works by a galaxy of well-regarded artists) don’t even sell well.”

Unapologetic about his focus on the market, Singh says, “I hope the artist’s relationship with the market evolves so that a new creativity emerges from it.”