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Archive for March, 2009

27th Mar 2009

Painting with the Big Bang of Genesis

Discover the new Twenty-first Century art theory of Post Conceptual UnGraven Image Art. Watch as a painting is created in a whole new way using unique strokes in this short art & music video.

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Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art. Download a free copy click: Manifesto of Post Conceptual Art– A Painting’s Meaning is Inherent in its Stroke.
Check out the limited and open edition prints in the estore.
Follow her on Twitter at @judyrey .]

Posted by Posted by Judy Rey under Filed under Art Theory and Show Reviews Comments 4 Comments »

20th Mar 2009

Is the Way Contemporary Art is Marketed Going to Crash with the Market?

In these tough economic times the market for Contemporary art is suffering. Galleries are closing or letting go of staff, auctions are seeing prices drop and lots remain unsold. But is it the art that is taking a hit or the way it is marketed?

Historically art dealers and galleries are relatively new. Artists had patrons and commissions from the wealthy and institutions that were both religious, governmental or the wealthy.

While the road ahead many be bumpy for some artists, it is always difficult for artists who have a new or truly unique (vs. touted as such) to offer. Just about every great artist has been derided and had difficulties not because of any current economic situation, but due to the establishment.

As an artist who is founding a theory of Post Conceptual Art the establishment concerns me more than the economy. The economy was not a problem for the Impressionists, Post Impressionists, Dadaists, Abstract Expressionists and Pop Artists as they emerged– but the establishment was.

Will new and actually pioneering artists forge new ways of emerging that will further impact the way art is traded, bought and sold? Will artists find new ways to emerge and make their work known via the Internet, through Social Media sites like Twitter and Facebook?

If galleries are not managing to sell work to support their artists, will artists band together more to stage their own exhibits as the Impressionists and the YBAs did at first?

While Contemporary Art may not be a sure investment bet, certainly the work of great respected artists, the van Goghs, Monets, Picasso, etc. will continue to be a better investment than almost anything. Historically great fine art (especially two dimensional works), gold, precious gems & jewelry retain more of their value in difficult times and may gain more in boon times.

The aesthetic converges with the market worth when artists who inspire other artists, and especially inspire newer theories and movements are understood as being the greatest artists. Thus, a contemporary artist can be best judged in the future by those new artists who are inspired by him or her.

However, savvy investors and dealers will discover the new artists who have real and even radical theory. They will have to as so much of the look-a-like popular (but snazzy) Contemporary work that has been shown in the past few years is being devalued. When an artist’s work is reduced they become more difficult to sell and it can take years to regain the past level. When this occurs the artist is like someone who is unemployed – and it is far easier to find a job (or a sale or commission) when one is employed (hot).

When the news media proclaims that the art market is also suffering in these tough economic times, it needs to make the connection that what is taking a hit is the way that art is marketed is suffering. Dealers, auction houses, advisers, etc. are suffering from reductions in sales and prices. Galleries are closing or letting staff go.

The last recession demonstrated that new and emerging artists whose works were too new to be devalued were the one’s to find and collect. These artists are often easy to find as an artist who is radically creating a new kind of art sticks out like a sore thumb, especially today as searches for “contemporary art theory”, contemporary art manifesto”, “contemporary radical art”, “Post Conceptual Art”, and similar will turn up a slew of leads and pages to follow. Clearly one should follow for many pages as a new artists are not paying for ad words or dealing with SEO marketing. But, any cutting edge artist will be on the Internet, probably active in social media and have a web site and probably a blog.

The current question for the art market is will the dealers and investors find the artists before new ways of marketing art are developed by these artists? In Thomas Friedman’s “Flat World” a modern Da Vinci, Rembrandt, van Gogh, Pollack, Vermeer, and all of the original Impressionists, plus many others would have reached out beyond their cities, patrons and dealers to reach more people and make more contacts. Would they have developed followers on Twitter? Fan pages and groups on Facebook? Possibly, considering they were excellent communicators who had ties to other artists and people in their communities who were not part of the artistic establishment of their day. For the above mentioned great artists and for many others, the first purpose of being an artist is not to make money but to communicate to people—to reach and inspire art. Thanks to the Internet, whatever the current economy, we artists can continue to do that.

Artists will continue to make art. It is what we do, whatever the economy or market. New art theories will develop and new artists will emerge. It is up to today’s dealers, gallerists and art experts to discover these new artists before they are replaced by paradigms of art marketing the way that the City-States, Church-State patronage, and other art societies, marketing and commissioning establishments of the past were replaced.
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Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art. Download a free copy click: Manifesto of Post Conceptual Art– A Painting’s Meaning is Inherent in its Stroke.
Check out the limited and open edition prints in the estore.
Follow her on Twitter at @judyrey .]

Posted by Posted by Judy Rey under Filed under Art Theory and Show Reviews Comments 2 Comments »

12th Mar 2009

Collecting Fine Art Prints Tips for 2009 — Part 2

During an economic downturn fine art, especially easily transported two dimensional art, such as paintings and prints remain a solid investment value Investing in prints by known and emerging, but soon to be significantly recognized artists are generally a low cost entry into art collecting. Although there are no guarantees when investing in a work of art that the art will increase in value over time, there are ways for a collector to invest wisely.

Print collectors need to know and understand specific concepts of collecting art and prints.

The Importance of Provenance

There are two art markets, primary and secondary. The primary market sells works that are brand new, while the secondary market deals with works that have been owned.

Van Gogh never made money as an artist, but his paintings were documented, both in his letters to his brother and others and also by his brother. Modern and contemporary artists who believe in themselves and their work begin to keep records of their work fairly quickly, or they find someone to do this for them, such as a gallery owner or dealer. Aside from problems caused by wars, looting, natural disasters and theft, the whereabouts of most valuable fine art is known. There are companies and web sites that keep records of fine art provenance that most dealers and galleries have access to for a fee. This includes prints. Following the trail of a work of fine art’s ownership is termed provenance. Keeping records of the trail prevents forgery and also helps museums and curators know who to ask for a loan of art for a special exhibit as well as informing dealers and buyers as to whom to approach to buy particular works.

For artists whose work will appreciate over time, keeping records of provenance is very important. Good artists do care about their works, reputation and their collectors and agents. If a gallery, dealer or web site happily takes a buyer’s credit card or cash and does not note down the buyer’s information, print name and number (at least on a formal bill of sale), plus inform the buyer of the need to contact someone upon the work’s changing hands, well, that says a whole lot about the seller’s belief in the value of this art. This goes even triple for original paintings!

Artists and publishers know about the importance of this and keep records about their works when editions are created with respect for the real fine art market.

Types of Prints

There are many types of prints including lithographs, etchings, silk screens and the newer Giclees. All photographs are prints. Large scale fine art photography is often printed on the same presses as are Giclees, the difference being the the colors of the black pigments used and the paper type.

Another term for Giclee is digital print. This type of print is quickly becoming more accepted and valuable. However, the collector needs to take serious precautions to discover the inks and media used to create a print, especially a Giclee or photograph. Since these are easy to produce some artists are knocking out copies — and seeing them– on regular printers. Personally, I know one who uses a color copy machine and signs and frames the works. While these prints appear fresh, they are not worth owning as within 10 years they will fade badly even in the best conditions.

However, a true Giclee created with pigment inks will last for generations to come. If the Giclee is a limited edition signed print from an artist whose value rises the work will rise in value along with the artist’s paintings.

In the world of Modern Art, Andy Warhol’s silk screen prints demonstrate the investment value a print can have. Although in the recent boom times dealers drove the prices for these up, even inflated them, anyone who bought one of Warhol’s prints early on made one of the better investments available in the Twentieth Century that has held it’s value today better that almost every other investment.

The trick is to find an emerging Warhol — someone with a new way of creating art, a real theory and unique style.

Prints as an Investment

Many people have bought fine art as an investment and made money. Some people managed to get on the cutting edge, in at the very beginning with a new artist or a new movement and they made a lot of money. A dentist was recently listed in Art Review‘s 2005 list of the most prominent people in the art world. Why? Because two artists who traded their work when they were emerging artists for his dental care have become highly successful!

There are some other artists who many have paintings that are worth a lot of money, but really their print editions are so large that investing in them is plain silly. People who own those prints have no market for them and I have seen then sold for less than half of the original price on Ebay. Do not buy a fine art edition that has more than 700 prints in it, whether it is a reproduction print or an original print. Some artists and publishers try to get around that by calling editions of the same image by different edition names, such as Centennial Edition or Anniversary Edition. It should really be named the “Taking Advantage of Our Previous Collectors” edition.

Changing sizes is another way to hedge on the real number of prints. That one is tricky and something the buyer and the artist, even good, honest artists have to take care to research and properly represent. A good question to ask when considering purchasing any print is, “How many signed and numbered prints of this image are there in total?”

Genesis Aleph 2009

by Judy Rey Wasserman

Edition of 125

Learn More

The general rule of thumb is all signed prints for any image should not exceed 750. Warhol got around this by using his black photographic silk screened image over differend colored backgrounds. The smaller the print’s edition the more valuable it is within that artist’s same sized works. For instance Artist XYZ’s a single print from an edition of 125 signed 11 x 14 inch prints is genrally woth more than a sigle print from the same time period from an signed edition of 500.

Sometimes posters for a specific event are also sold as fine art prints. Often some are signed by the artist. This is different from the print edition and does not count agaist the rarity of the original prints. Usually the posters either commemorate an art show or are used to raise money for a charity or non-profit even. A true fine art poster should be published with archival media. Sometimes posters are just posters, and as such, cannot be relied on to last for generations, even with proper care. As with all editions, a limited edition is worth more for the collector than a similar quality work in an unlimited or larger edition.

Often fine art editions have a separate category called, “Artist’s Proofs”. These groups of prints, which are always in relation to a print edition, never a stand alone edition are a remnant of the old tradition of the print publisher giving artists a small number of prints of any edition. Artists proofs were then sold by the artists themselves. They were thought to be more valuable since they were almost always signed and had been in he artist’s very own hands. Also, they were usually amongst the earlier prints (thus they were proofs) so the image might be clearer and the lines or images finer. There was a time this term made sense.

In today’s world of contemporary prints, the term “Artist Proof” is a marketing ploy to entice a buyer to pay more for the same item based on an often fictitious or at least scurrilous title. If a publisher offers “Artist’s Proofs” for sale, then probably the item is not fine art in the first place. By definition the artist is the person selling the proofs, not the publisher! If the artist is the publisher, or hires the publisher then by definition, all of the prints are really Artist Proofs.

Prints or posters based on fine art images, which are not signed by the artist and/or are issued in large numbers or unlimited editions may be great decorations but are not fine art that anyone should collect and hope for an increase in value. For instance, currently there are lovely Giclee on canvas prints of Renoir’s work. There are also posters of his work, some are even certified and in “fine art” editions by museums. The Boston Museum is selling beautiful archival prints. They are a great decoration, but they are not a great fine art investment.


Fine art prints can provide an introduction to art collecting as well as a lower cost way to collect the work of an artist. A print collector needs to carefully research the value of collecting an artist just as a painting collector would. In the secondary market provenance is always important. In the primary market finding an artist whose work will appreciate is always key to a good art investment.  Generally, finding the work of an emerging artist whose work will become renowned is the best investment one can make. Next, in a down market, find a private seller who needs to sell a work by a well renowned artist, but get that work professionally appraised and authenticated before buying it!

For the first article in this two part series see: Collecting Fine Art Prints Tips for 2009 — Part 1

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Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art. Download a free copy click: Manifesto of Post Conceptual Art– A Painting’s Meaning is Inherent in its Stroke.
Check out the limited and open edition prints in the estore.
Follow her on Twitter at @judyrey .]

Posted by Posted by Judy Rey under Filed under Art Theory and Show Reviews Comments 3 Comments »