Performance on the market

It is nice to see more performance art in Frieze this year.  The fair feels dynamic with live actions on the sales floor artistically and commercially.  But how should one acquire, buy or sell works that are time-based and require live-action of actual people?  Should we choose the sheer conceptual approach in these instances?
Frieze Live
Photo taken during Frieze Art Fair London
Traditionally the art market has focused mainly on the circulation of object-based works such painting, sculpture and photography.  It is for the obvious reason that they can be collected as material objects and to serve as physical testimony to one’s wealth.  Works like video and film are usually a harder sell because the nature of the medium is duplicable thus authenticity and exclusive ownership is dubious in the minds of dealers and collectors.  The unexpected increased presence of performance art at the Frieze suggests a new market for collecting ideas versus physical objects.  Yet, the question of how does one gain ownership and acquire a performance continues to befuddle me.  In May 2013, Marian Goodman was the only dealer at Frieze Art New York to showcase a work by Tino Sehgal titled Ann Lee, 2011.  Meanwhile private collectors would allegedly pay $80,000 to $150,000 for the artist’s work. 

As I see it, this kind of transaction is more like a sponsorship than actual ownership since performance art is technically a production and an artistic process.  If dealers and artists continue to push the boundary by selling and producing more performance art and works based on ephemeral medium, wouldn’t collectors just be producers of re-enactments?  Then what about the original integrity of the works and does the longevity of the piece extent beyond the life span of the artist? 
Frieze Live
Photo taken during Frieze Art Fair London
Image taken from Frieze Flickr


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