Art Market Blog – It’s True, 95% of Art is Rubbish !!!

It’s True, 95% of Art is Rubbish !!!

contemplating-artwork.jpgI am here today to tell you that 95% of art being sold on the art market is rubbish, yet only a small percentage actually gets recognised as being rubbish. The fact that there is so much shit art on the market could be a good thing for the art market because it makes the good art look even better but there is a problem in that people actually buy the rubbish art.

One of the main reasons that there is so much rubbish art on the market, and so much rubbish art being sold, is that people are afraid to say anything negative about an artwork. The reason that people are afraid to voice a negative opinion of an artwork is that they think that other people will think that they are naive, stupid, or not culturally advanced enough to be able to appreciate or understand the artwork. Because everyone is so afraid of looking stupid they say that they like an artwork even when they don’t which has a snow ball effect to the point that so many people say that they like an artwork that they actually begin to believe it, which causes other people to believe it, and so on..

One of the tactics that galleries, auction houses and other art sellers use to create the impression that an artwork is better than it really is, is to create over-intellectualized, complicated and indecipherable descriptions or analyses of an artwork that are designed to sound extremely impressive yet be so complex that people don’t realise that what they are reading is complete rubbish. For some reason people seem to think that what a gallery or dealer says about an artwork has to be true and that an artwork must be good if the description or analysis of an artwork is complex and sounds impressive.

When investing in art is of the utmost importance that you stick to the factual information and statistics that can’t be manipulated because almost any artwork can be made to sound good.

Nick**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

18 Responses

  1. I’ll send this blog to the minister of cluture in Egypt “farouk hosny ” !
    his artwork is a ” pure ” rubbish art !
    but for some – understood – reason
    people just say :
    ” wow …that is very complex art ” !
    By the way nice blog !
    Bassem ,,

  2. This is very true. You have nailed one of the biggest problems at the time of purchasing an artwork. I do, however, tend to trust my gallerist when making a purchase. How do you gather “factual information and stadistics” for new artists or purchase in a small art market (i.e. Central America)

  3. This blog could so easily come off as mean spirited and angry, but you have really nailed something that has bothered me for as long as I have been looking at art. When I read long and esoteric explanations of what is in essence a form of visual language often becomes obvious that they are compensating or worse yet even trying to trick or guilt an audience into examining a not very good piece of work.

    I would like to learn what your thoughts are on the place of beauty as a subject and celebration of is in art.

    All the best,

    Michael Orwick

  4. this is what i consider the “emperors New Clothes” syndrome, one that is all too prevalent.

    I spend most my time on my blog talking and writing about the joys of collecting, an enjoyment that should only increase as one begins to trust their gut, learn what they like and continue to educate themselves about the artist and their art.

    I want to warn new collectors against being swindled, nothing I can imagine would turn me off more then realizing that I had been fed a line and took home “art” that sits in storage. Collectors should remember the event of buying a painting as a special experience. We artists should feel confident that when we are selling or our work is being sold for us that the buyers are having a great time, one they can remember each time they look at the painting.

    It is important to find people you trust and to learn to trust yourself.
    The first rule of collecting is to buy what you like, I would be very wary if an artist or a dealer tried to sell art on investment purposes alone.

    all the best,
    Michael Orwick

  5. As an artist, even though I agree with the basic premise here, “95%” is a strictly arbitrary generalization that is naive and simplistic. And then, who are you to precisely define what “rubbish art” is anyway? Does the general population need to become more visually educated? That’s another story. Your article is preposterous and insulting to the general art-buying public either way.

  6. Hi Mark, I appreciate your comment. I define “rubbish art” according to what the market dictates is rubbish art and how an artist’s work compares to the world’s top artist’s. I purposely wrote this article because I believe people are not doing anyone any favours by not being honest.
    You have the right to disagree but this is still an issue that needs to be explored regardless of how controversial the topic is.

    Nicholas Forrest

  7. I tend to agree, but hopefully you won’t think that my stuff is rubbish.
    Check out my website
    Let me know what you think!

  8. I agree completly !!
    Nicole Carvajal Manieu (Leiden , Holland )

  9. Quite truth, thank you!

  10. Hi Nicholas
    I appreciate your clear views.
    Do you know down under the old story of the king and his new clothes? I am sure you know.
    Yes, all this little kings / queens are naked. Which is not especially erotic.
    Good luck, Peter

  11. I totally agree with your assessment of the art world. I also feel there is an issue with the way art is promoted. All too often in our “culture” conformity is the single most important thing and dissenting opinions are not welcome especially if art has been properly promoted to make it popular.

    I don’t agree with your positive review of Twombly – I have identical art on my fridge from my 3 year old – perhaps a showing is in order.


  12. Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for your post. I am sure your three year old is a fantastic artist but can your three year old explain the concept behind the artwork?

  13. Thank you for your courage! The history of art is littered with works that sunk in value after the hype of critics and the establishment wore off. Plus, many great artists careers took a while to get started — if ever during their lifetimes — as their vision was revolutionary.
    As an emerging artist with a new theory of art, I wander around NYC and write reviews of gallery shows but only cover what I appreciate in my blogs. In NYC there is so much shown and selling that is just an interesting kind of copy, while other junk is being sold because it is very sexy or outrageous only, never inspiring or life informing.
    I read your blog and hope you check out mine, download the free manifesto and hopefully give me feedback And That way I link to your blog, which I think artists and collectors will benefit from reading.

    Keep up the good work!

  14. Hi Judy,

    Thanks for posting your views. I will have a look at your site as well.

    Nicholas Forrest

  15. *Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for your post. I am sure your three year old is a fantastic artist but can your three year old explain the concept behind the artwork? *

    Hallo, I’m wondering why it’s all that important to have to explain the concept behind the artwork?

    If the artwork can’t make a point on its own or be appreciated for its own sake, frankly, how do you differentiate it from the rubbish art with “over-intellectualized, complicated and indecipherable descriptions or analyses …that are designed to sound extremely impressive yet be so complex that people don’t realise that what they are reading is complete rubbish”?

  16. I think that there are different markets that cater to different tastes, high art, decorative art and so on. Yes, there is alot of bad art out there – and the market is saturated with to many artists at times to be able to dinstinguish the innovative ones…but I also think that it’s a contemporary artist’s role to reflect the nature of contemporay life & ideas – at times the audience might not understand it – just like they did not like or understand when the Impressionists were showing their work – now ‘the masses’ love and adore their work – hence the ‘time lag’ for much of an audience can be still considered to to be present in our own times, I think. Most people are afraid of what they can’t understand, and immediately dislike it, that does not mean it’s bad; in time it may turn out to be considered very meaningful & contibute to art & influence other artists to come.

    I think that another point is that art is subjective. I amy have a twin sister, but we will not always admire the same kind of art, but she’s open to thinking about the ideas that are expressed – and that’s what challenges most audiences today – pushing themselves to become less passsive viewers and ‘engage’ with the art at a deeper level – often multiple levels at a time. The beauty of art is in it’s power to move people out of their ordianary lives and into a new way of perception and understanding.

  17. Информация полезная. Спасибо. Хотелось бы только апдейтов почаще

  18. in 2nd year of art degree in bolton england…and my head is mashed by tutors trying to make me see good in absolute shite….so glad i seen this blog . thanks

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