Genocchio points out there is an essential paradox in the increasing profitability of Aboriginal art.
“Aboriginal people living in remote communities are poor and need money. And painting gives them the opportunity to make that money. But you can’t help but wonder if cranking out paintings is the answer to these problems. There is the fear that it dilutes the integrity of art-making. It’s a big question for artists and those that work in the industry.”
For the past few years, the value of the Aboriginal art market has increased by 50 per cent to 100 per cent a year. So how does a would-be buyer of Aboriginal art navigate this potentially hazardous maze?
“One thing buyers of Aboriginal art need to do is to educate themselves about all aspects of the art market,” says Genocchio. “It’s not Sunday afternoon shopping at DJs.”
The Courier Mail talks to Benjamin Genocchio about his new book, Dollar Dreaming:
“Thirty-five years ago, there was no market for Aboriginal art,” says Benjamin Genocchio, on the phone from New York. “Fast forward to 2008, and there is a market worth between $400 million and $500 million a year. How did this market evolve? Nobody has explained it.”
Genocchio sets out to do so in his new book Dollar Dreaming: Inside the Aboriginal Art World (Hardie Grant Books, $39.95). Formerly chief art critic for The Australian, and now working as an art critic for The New York Times, Genocchio travelled extensively through central Australia and major cities, meeting artists, art advisers, dealers and gallery owners.
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