Harbourwalk Poem W362

Expensive paintings
Derive most of their value
Not from their merit –
But compelling stories of
Their painters and/or bullshit

06.29.19 – 07.25.19



Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion.



Notes to this poem…

That’s my economics of paintings theory from what I have studied on my own. A lot of it derived from if I, or you, produced some of those paintings today, would it be worth nearly as much? Every time, my answer was an adamant Hell NO! That’s not to say some would be expensive still, but not as expensive as the pieces are in catalogue pricing.

A more empathetic question would be if you or I produced many of these paintings, would it have as much acclaim that someone would take it and give it gallery (museum) display and/or storage space? You may get the storage and display space for many, as I think many are nice and worthy, but not nearly as many as there are now that could be put to better pieces of art out there nobody pays much attention to. That’s because they either don’t have that compelling story or bullshit to go with them, or at least not long enough for someone to invest in it, then flip it like houses in real estate, eventually to be held by someone who can afford to hold on to it until someone is crazy enough to pay a bigger price than they did, or at least a price that minimizes their loss. The prices are far more about getting value for the investment the painting is for its holder (and past holders who benefited), rather than the painting itself on merit.

The W-series poems comprise mostly of haiku or tanka composed during walks I took on the portion of Halifax’s waterfront known as the Harbourwalk, during the warmer months of 2018 & 2019, when the Seabridge was in place.


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