Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Evaluating art

That excellent blogger, Amardeep Singh, has an interesting post about how art is valued. Amardeep discusses the merits of the art ranking system devised by Artefacts.net, which uses "econometrical methods" to grade artists, exhibitions and venues. He writes:
The interest of thinking in this way is that it could potentially make art critics somewhat irrelevant as determiners of value. Are they already? What is the real value of their mediation? The same questions could and should be asked of literary critics and film critics. What is the value of formal, institutional literary criticism in an era of Amazon sales rankings and DIY reviews? What is the value of film criticism in an era of "Rotten Tomatoes"?

These questions suggest a tilt towards market fundamentalism. Do I really subscribe to that ethos? No, this is more of a thought-experiment. Even if the aesthetic value works of art is directly indexed to market value, there might still be ways to value the role of criticism. One such might be to think of critics as themselves market players. That is what an index like Rotten Tomatoes does -- it creates a statistical value that averages the opinions of film critics. Because those critics are pretty reliable, it represents a reliable stat. We'll have to see if the Artfacts.net index that is the inspiration for this post will be as good...

Here's the chart.

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