Never before in the history of art has there been such a broad spectrum of style, content, techniques, and media in "circulation" at one time. It doesn't matter what you want, old art, VERY old art, new art, VERY new art (that means the paint's not even hardly dry), conservative art, radical art, watercolors, oils, alkyds, even frescos and encaustics can be found if you know the right gallery in which to look. And in sculpture, you find everything from butter to buttons and beads. Prices range from tens of millions to tens of dollars. Names range from Picasso to (insert your child or grandchild here). Content ranges from Ho-hum to Ho-my-God! You can buy one-of-a-kind or one-of-ten-thousand. And every region and ethnic culture on earth have their own house artists and a style to match. And much, if not yet ALL, of it can be found and bought in moments over the Internet. Join me now in a chorus of Disney's "It's a Small, Small World."
In New York, they use to arrest you for it and make you scrub it off the walls, especially subway walls, especially subway train walls. Now days, Guemsey's auction house in New York is auctioning it off for big money. It's graffiti art by artists with names like Tracy 158 WILDSTYLE, and Taki 183. The big names are Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. They're known today as "taggers" and their art comes painted on doors and pinball machines. For those with smaller purses, you can bid on photos from the 1980s of entire trains "tagged" by these artists and others, their work seen by millions of people every day. And the strange part is, all this seems somehow slightly "quaint" as compared for what passes for art today in some galleries.
On the other side of the Atlantic pond, in an ever more genteel setting, the Banqueting House in Whitehall, England, near the Houses of Parliament (actually about as genteel as you can get), you can see the art of princes...no, I mean actually PAINTED by princes, in this case, Britain's own Prince Charles and Saudi Arabia's Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, the son of King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz. Prince Charles has 20 recent watercolors on display, and Khalid has 26 oil paintings on the elegant walls of Indigo Jones' classical style, eighteenth century, royal eatery. The show, entitled "Painting and Patronage" moves to Saudi Arabia next year. The two artists have known each other for years, and even painted together, though Prince Charles is by far the more prolific, having turned out some 450 works in the last twenty years. No word on whether any of Charles' art is for sale. It's doubtful, he probably doesn't really need the money. Same goes for his oil-rich, oil-painting friend from the Middle-east. Okay, so there's some art money CAN'T buy. Wonder if either of them ever tried their hand with a spray can?