Publicity and the Art Market: The Paris Hilton Effect
Over the years there have been many artists who haven’t received recognition until after they are dead. Take Van Gogh for instance who is now one of the most famous artists of all time yet didn’t find fame until years after his death. It doesn’t matter how good an artist you are, if you don’t have good sales skills or a good publicity machine behind you then it is unlikely that you will receive the recognition that you deserve.
The publicity, controversy and exposure that the contemporary art market has experienced has changed the position of the visual artist and the requirements of success within the art world. These days there are more influences on an artists than just their ability to paint and promote their work as the status of the artist has gone from artisan to something like that of an actor whose success depends on their popularity as a person as much as their ability to act.
There have even been cases where artists who are not really talented at all have become popular because of scandal, controversy or some other media exposure which I like to refer to as the Paris Hilton effect. It is these artists that you need to be aware of as although their artwork may see a rise in price while they take advantage of their popularity and exposure it is likely that their prices will drop once the frenzy stops. Popularity and exposure now doesn’t necessarily mean popularity and exposure for ever.
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.