A Man of Sensibility and Taste

The fact is, there is no avoiding Mr. Simchowitz, however much I disagree with his choices. He knows how to talk. This is what he says about Oscar Murillo: “…with Oscar, there is no collusion—his collectors are an evenly distributed group of people who love the work, and who collect it on their own accord all over the world. That’s interesting. That’s real culture, that’s real distribution, that’s a real market.” The claim is strong, and convincing to any collector, but it can’t be proven. But he has hit on exactly the dilemma of taste, though dilemma might not be the exact word—maybe the capacity of taste or something like that. When educated, knowledgeable people all over the world come to the same decision at the same time then we must have reached the forward edge of contemporary art, the real next thing that answers to the need no one exactly knew they had. But at the same time, if everyone recognizes it that must be because it resembles what everyone already knows and has accepted. There are two sides to the moment, one facing forward and one facing back, and no way to decide which is operative in any case. But one can feel it. Simchowitz says “A lot of it is instinct, and it’s difficult to explain, to be honest with you. I can just feel it. When I saw Oscar Murillo’s work it was immediate. No one else saw it at the beginning. I can’t explain it… I can just see it. I can feel it.” That’s exactly what I would say, so how can Simchowitz be so wrong? Actually, he’s right, but not right enough—right enough for the current market, but not quite up to speed with art itself. That would explain why we get different results with the same method. Still, how can you criticize someone who so obviously enjoys what he does? He does no harm. And he is right that low primary market prices help drive the secondary market, a useful insight.

Stefan Simchowitz

Stefan Simchowitz

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