Today on my way home from work, I was listening to Marketplace on NPR, and I heard this story about the current state of French art (only on NPR would there be a major segment dedicated to the state of French art). To quote:
John Laurenson: At his Paris studio, artist Mathieu Mercier shows me some work-in-progress. Old catchers’ masks that he’s going to mount on pedestals and display as if they were tribal art from Africa.
Mathieu Mercier: They are vintage baseball masks and some are completely used and destroyed.
John Laurenson: And how much do you think a work like that would bring?
Mathieu Mercier: They are 10,000 euros.
I had to see these 10,000 euro catchers’ masks for myself. I rushed right home and started Googling. Here’s what I found:
I’m not really sure what I was expecting—they’re pretty much just your basic, old catcher’s masks, just as the artist described (except maybe for that Blair Witch-looking one). I guess for 10,000 euros, though, I was expecting a little more.
Look, I’m pretty artsy myself. I’ve been to way more than my fair share of art museums. I’m a fairly serious amateur photographer. In high school, I had some of my paintings shown at a local gallery. Heck, I’ve even drawn naked people. But having established my artistic bona fides, I have to say, I wouldn’t pay 10,000 euros for an old catcher’s mask. Or even 10,000 dollars.