Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Polar Ice on The Bay

This kind of stuff gets me thinking about the monetary value of things. Take a look at the painting. Maybe it is created a little differently - by pouring thinned paint on an unprimed surface. It's pretty. I like the colors, it's very pleasant-looking. If you saw this painting in the thrift store, you might pay... what? $10? $20? Maybe $20 if it matches the sofa. At Sears you might pay $100, maybe $200 (the frame would cost that!!). This painting is valued at 1.5 million dollars. That was before a 12 year old boy stuck his wad of chewing gum on it at the Detroit Institute of Arts. It has now been stained by the gum and they are researching the proper chemicals to restore it.

What about the salaries of baseball players, managers and owners? Are they worth those salaries? Is their contribution to society worth all those millions? Well, they are bringing the money in - with all the tickets sold, here comes the pile of money - so they must be worth it since they are bringing it in.

What makes a painting worth so much money? The name on the signature? A famous artist doodles on a napkin. A rock star sweats on a towel. A movie star leaves a half-eaten sandwich. What is Picasso's toilet paper worth? I guess the answer is really simple - things are worth whatever people will pay for them.

I think that maybe they should leave the chewing gum there. We now have a physical marker of a newsworthy event where a young person was maybe making a personal statement about this art. Noooo... you aren't allowed to stick gum on or otherwise mess up other people's stuff.... but $1.5M? Interesting. Yes, I know. I'm crude and have no taste. No need to tell me.

EDIT 3/3: The name of the painting is "The Bay". Polar Ice is the gum.

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1 comment:

Ptelea said...

My son showed me this article. All I could say was that I wouldn't lose any sleep over the 'damage' to the painting. I think the painting looks nice, too but I just think the whole thing is being taken way too seriously!