Luxury brands associate themselves with the A-list to transfer the positive connotations associated with the celebrity to their name and products increasing their desirability; so celebrity artists who are in the position of endorsing their own work must be adding value to it? Or is that the artworks have added value to their persona?
Different people value different things. A work of art can be held in high esteem because it is technically great, or simply because it is beautiful. Even 'bad' works of art are considered valuable to some, because they may evoke different emotions and there may be a sentimental connection rather than a commercial value.
Being a celebrity often adds to the commercial value of a work of art, if we consider the Pop Art genre for a moment, works by Lichtenstein and Warhol are far more valuable now than they were in the artists' lifetime because of the celebrity culture that now surrounds them.
Banksy is another example, graffiti that sells for millions of £s? It is the name, not the art that is being bought.
The truth is, in modern society celebrity does add to the commercial value of art. But to truly answer this question we must consider what we value. Is it all about the investment? The status? Or is it about looking at a work and allowing it to fill you with something deeper?
Again it comes back to how you define value. The celebrity craze has added value, if value is measured only in monetary terms. If art is seen purely as an investment then the only value is the resale value, and yes a celebrity name (provided they retain their fame) can help. But until then, I would argue, unless the work is enjoyed by someone it holds little value regardless of the artist's celebrity status.
Celebrity and notoriety, shock and awe although fun at times, does also often feel meaningless. This trend has in my view damaged and dumbed down the art world. Its sad.
If a celebrity produces art work and they are a popular celebrity then they attract high prices for their works, the perceived monetary value is certainly inflated and this can be seen clearly with the examples in your exhibition. However in the same vein I imagine the value of works of art produced by the likes of Rolf Harris are not quite so popular since his child sex scandal aired!. Value is not just about money, the value of an artwork can also be defined in terms of it's relationship and meaning to culture, society, environment, and politics. There is a growing global engagement with the phenomenon of celebrity with a large proportion of young people aspiring to be nothing more than just 'famous'. If they can't be famous, they want to own something that links them to their favourite celebrity whether it's a bottle of perfume or item of clothing and will pay whatever price is asked in order to demonstrate their allegiance to that celebrity (the quality and price become irrelevant!). Celebrity is not a constant state, what and who is popular today may not be so in 2 years time, therefore being a celebrity is not something that can be relied on to maintain the value of an artists work.
I think it's worth inserting in this discussion the latest effort by Bidoun Projects where they are selling celebrity artists' personal items like a gold tooth by Lawrence Weiner. Are they elevating the artist to a sort of modern saint, like it used to be done in Catholic churches with their remains?
Hi Giulia Thank you for starting this interesting debate. I must admit, it motivates me to think about questions which normally I wouldn't ask myself. In my understanding, the creation of a celebrity artist is very much in the interest of many people involved in the art industry. Their job is to pick someone's work which has a style that can be clearly recognised with at least a potential for intellectual justification which might be pumped up by the art critics and the curators.
After picking an artist the self perpetuating mechanism pushes along the whole crowd of people involved i.e.: curators , gallery owners , collectors, art critics and of course the artist. They all work on getting the attention, they work on promotion that results in sales , these sales get more attention so there is more promotion and more money involved. Not to mentioned the feeling of proving themselves right which might feed their egos and that might make them even more determined and dedicated to even more promotion and more sales. The process repeats itself to the point that the artist becomes a celebrity , a label, a signature, a created constructed entity that is known and recognised by many. That results in an increased value of the celebrity artist's art work that benefits not just the artist but the whole bunch of people involved. So, with my current understanding of the process, the answer is Yes! AH