“You know it’s art, when it’s bigger than two metres and priced higher than five figures“. This quote attributed to British photographer Martin Parr nicely highlights not only Parr’s sense of humor, but also some of the friction between photography and the art market. The Guardian’s art critic Jonathan Jones in turn has become quite (in)famous among photographers as he regularly declares that photography is not art. This begs to revisit the old question: “What is art?”. Here is my attempt of an answer.
In the year 1917 Marcel Duchamp, with his work “Fountain”, declared a urinal as art. The sculpture was a Dadaists declaration of war on aesthetics and other forms of classification of art. Ironically, the work (or rather its later replicas) became an object of desire achieving prices in the millions at auctions. This has many concluding that art is what sells on the art market.(more…)