Christie’s sells money in art stunt

ft.com – The artwork, which comes with a certificate of authenticity from Mr Bader, went under the hammer last week to an anonymous buyer for £10,000. The total £12,500 cost to the buyer will go to one of four charities nominated on the Indiegogo website, with Christie’s donating its £2,500 buyer’s premium to the charity.

Commenting ahead of the sale, Christie’s said the work could be viewed in the spirit of the K Foundation’s “Burn a Million Quid”, a 1994 video work of the artist duo setting fire to £1m of their own cash. “It raises the question of what is contemporary art,” Christie’s said.
Under the terms of the work, the money paid at auction goes to charity but the funds raised on the site are transferred to the buyer’s bank account, to be spent, saved or disposed of as he or she prefers.

When he came up with the idea, Mr Bader had no notion of how much — if any — might be raised through crowdsourcing. But after setting a “ridiculously high” goal of £310,786, contributions from £1 to £1,000 began to flow to the site’s page, which he launched in mid-January.
Mr Bader said it “didn’t matter” that the winning bid was close to the sum pledged. “It would have been more thrilling in a way if it was higher or lower because it would underscore the relative value of things,” he said.

“That was the impetus behind the work. But even so I’m very pleased that somebody actually went for it. A bunch of money is going to charity — nothing wrong with that.”
Prices for contemporary art have soared in recent years. Christie’s set a world record for a single auction in November at its postwar and contemporary sale in New York, with sales of $852.9m.

But the big money is overwhelmingly focused on a handful of artists. Melanie Gerlis, art market expert at The Art Newspaper, said: “The market’s going gangbusters for a few proven names. More experimental works are a harder sell.”
Mr Bader’s playful, avant-garde pieces, which include live goats, pieces of fruit and a lawnmower, put him far from the commercial mainstream. At one gallery, he put three live cats on display, each available for adoption.

There is nothing to stop “£10,211” finding a secondary market: armed with the certificate of authenticity, the buyer could sell on the work to another collector, a gallery or a museum. But without the incentive of a charitable donation, it may prove hard to “flip”.
Will Mr Bader produce more such works in future? “I think once is just fine,” he told the Financial Times. “I feel it’s resolved.”

James Pickford
“Christie’s sells money in art stunt”
ft.com
February 25, 2015