Art for 10 dollars

April 25, 2008

Through another Sarah who left a comment a few posts back. I heard about Steve Keene . Wow, that was an eye opener. What this guy is doing really got me thinking. Steve has been ‘mass producing’ individual paintings for 15 years. Go to his blog to read more about it, but what struck me, besides the sheer physicalness of painting all those pieces at once, was that he sells them for a few dollars, 3-15 to be precise. 

What he does has also broken through the gallery/artworld hype. Though through his audacity and uniqueness, it does seem he is in danger of becoming yet another hype on the fringe. Still, what marks his work is authenticity. He has no pretences to being a great artist, he is genuinely exploring, and these make him an artist of stature I feel.

I spend hours on some pieces, adding, taking away. And I have bought in to some extent that this time should be rewarded with higher prices, though I tend to be fairly modest in the pricing arena, I feel.

An artist produces many pieces for every piece that soars. There is something very liberating in the idea of stepping outside the artgame and letting that lesser but still good work go for super low prices. 

Here in Holland, you do run into a few problems with that, though. Other artists get angry with anyone underselling them. And the loyal customers who have bought work at full price wouldn’t be happy either.

It is harder to step outside the game when you’ve been inside it, than starting with a fresh take on it like Steve did.

I like what he is doing. It is in its own way ground-breaking and makes me think all over again about how art and money are/and aren’t related.

thanks, Steve.


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