In the last few years, Singapore attempts to change its cold technocratic image to one that promotes the arts. I have seen the flourishing and flowering of the arts – cultural, films, arts, literature. In my recent visit, I have visited some of the these exhibitions, and entry is usually free or at minimal cost. In some of the painting and calligraphy shows, the price tags are ridiculously high. So what gives Art its value has been in the minds of many lay people? Most people mentioned about the aesthetic and market values. There are no doubts that it takes years of training and practice to achieve national or international standards. I think few people will fight on that point. Market Values, based on supply and demand, primary and secondary sales, marketing promotions and social connections, are understandable, but the inflation of prices are not so. There are cultural or national factors that may contribute to such inflation. Personally, I think there is a “Bull” factor, the higher the price tags, the more it is valued, and if these art objects are sought by museum or art galleries, they are blown out of proportions. This “bull” factor has a high degree of snobberies, and it has become the rich men’s game of possession. Well, liked diamonds, if you like it, it has a value, otherwise it is just a piece of stone. In a capitalist market world, with money attached to everything, including personal relationship and religion, it will be crazy to regard it as “stone”, or precious stones. In other words, there is also a “corruption” value to factor in. What do you think then?

Recently there was a large blue postal, with a white dividing line, fetch US$ 44 million. Many kids could produce the same imitation, but they are all worthless. What do the experts see that the lays miss?
The above clips are just some random selections, nothing personal to the artists and their work.

Cuisine as art, but it’s not lasting, as they are perishable.


  1. aussieian2011

    A very thought provoking writing, I think the snobbery factor is a major influence, however the bottom line is what the individual sees in the artwork, price is a two way thing, the artists handicrafts and time and talent, and its appeal to the individual as opposed to the masses.
    The small junk in your pics I would prize highly, more than the gold plated one for its simplicity and humbleness.

    1. wonkywizard Post author

      Thank you for your comment. I agree with you on the junk. Opals do not fetch a better prize than jade, ivory, or gold, even for the same art work. Purchasers look for resale market values.


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