The Price of Being Useful


Red Blue Chair, c.1923

Gerrit Rietveld

Price: c.£600


Composition II in Red, Blue and Yellow, c.1930

Piet Mondrian

Price: c.£2,500,000

“There is nothing any less powerful in the intensity of feeling of the Red Blue Chair than in that of a canvas by Rietveld’s contemporary and Piet Mondrian… [Yet] the Red Blue Chair remains to a certain degree stigmatized by the fact of being useful – no matter how slightly.”

Deyan Sudjic, The Language of Things (2009)

When will this stigma lift?

I wonder if the Serpentine’s ‘Design Real’ exhibition might be shifting things, w/r/t design as art.

On the flip, what does The Affordable Art Fair say about art as design?

2 comments so far

  1. Matt Cooper on

    Drawing attention to the prices is a little unfair. the monetary value of each is a different issue.

    isn’t it?

    I’d also argue that the stigma that Sudjic refers to is as fundamental as the difference between art and design, and so comparing them is comparing apples and oranges.

    I must read this book. I may be missing part of the discussion.

    • guy bingley on

      I think Sudjic does refer specifically to monetary value in The Language of Things. I’ll see if I can dig out another quote. (Yes, you must read it!)

      But I agree with the sentiment of your comment. My point, as it stands, seems facile. Will update this post soon to explain more of my thinking.

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