Wednesday, December 24, 2003

So now what?


OK, so you've decided to forgo two movies in order to buy Art. Cool! I always knew you'd come around from the dark side. But now, the question is where can you get you hands on some kick-ass art for $120?

A couple of suggestions (and no, I'm NOT going to suggest you come to the gallery, that just ain't kosher. Yes, you can come and you're always welcome, but I just can't suggest it, you gotta come because you thought of the idea, and not because you're being brainwashed by me). First and easiest is you obviously have a friend who is an artist. Give them the money. I bet they'll take you to a movie (and spring for the parking and popcorn, too!) or at least buy you a beer. Plus you get the added benefit of being able to talk to the person who made the sucker, so that when you have to talk about your new found interest in Art, you don't sound like a complete shmuck - "if you notice that brushstroke in the upper right-hand corner, well, let me tell you that Francine (rule number one when becoming an art connoisseur: name dropping is required. Remember to never use the last name) was looking out the window while she was painting and couldn't believe her eyes, there was this couple that was... blah blah blah... then she realized that it was the answer and everybody lived happily ever after.

Second suggestion: And this is where it gets fun, lotsa fun! Auctions. There are about five relatively serious auction houses here in Montreal that deal with Art (and art). They are off the top of my head, Iegor de Saint Hippolyte (remember the brouhaha about the Ripoelles?) Empire, the guys up the street at the corner of Bernard (aka by the very evocative name of "Maison Des Encans De Montr´┐Żal,") Pinney's, and the city of Montreal themselves.

Now Iegor, has sold this:
Nice painting, eh? for $103, and this Yet another nice painting, eh? for $120. Empire doesn't list their prices from previous auctions, but while they might be selling
Still more nice paintings, eh? and No, this one is only worth it for the name...,
my guess is that they will have a whack of stuff going for under the $120 bar, too. If I'm not right, stop bidding, and I'll buy you a beer, ok?

Now we can get to the wonderfully evocatively named Maison Des Encans De Montr´┐Żal, where if they sell any art for more than $120 I would be not only pleasantly surprised but completely and utterly slack jawed in amazement. But just because it is cheap, doesn't mean that it sucks. Then for the best bargains, you gotta check out the city's auctions. They don't have much in the way of art, but it does show up every now and again, but the possibility of owning an official streetlight or accidented fire truck is too good to pass up. Then finally I gotta keep my trap shut about Pinney's, 'cuz I've never been there.

Third suggestion: All along Monkland, Mount Royal, Sherbrooke Street, Saint Laurent, Saint Catherine, Jean Talon, and any other major thoroughfare where there are cafes, bars and restaurants, you got Art (and art) so jam packed in that is positively oozing onto the sidewalks like the sewage from a broken water main. The key things to watch out for if you're more comfortable with this method more than that of the auctions is to ask if the establishment is taking a commission (not good if they do), if you can take it with you upon paying, and if upon seeing it in bright (or at least good light) what happens if it does not speak to you like it did in the dark with the beer.

With all of these suggestions, there remains the first rule of buying Art (not art): Do you adore it? And have you decided that you can't live your life without it. Then again, you might be one of the lucky people who thinks that $120 is a drop in the bucket, bully for you! But you still should stop to at least look at the piece, after all it is going to go over your couch. If you adore it, I betcha it goes in front of the couch...

There are tons of other methods to procure art (dumpster diving, antique stores, estate sales, divorce, making it yourself, stealing it, and renting a furnished abode, among them) and each of those has their own specific traits to be aware of, and potentially take advantage of.

But the basic idea remains, buy the Art.

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