Monday, March 25, 2013

Boycotting Charity Art Auctions

Here's an interesting article I read in the Huffington Post by Mat Gleason on why artists should cease and desist donating art to charity art auctions:

Mat says that:

Instead of tossing away another great artwork to a good cause, join the good cause of boycotting charity art auctions. When you join this cause ...
•You stop taking revenue out of the art world
•You stop shifting art collector dollars to the bottomless pits of recurring annual Beg-A-Thons
•You don't contextualize your art as being a synonym of pretentious panhandling
•You don't announce that your art is worth low bids
•You don't risk that your work will be publicly seen getting no bids
•You don't empower strangers to devalue your artwork
•Most importantly, you stop publicly proclaiming that you give your art away

I don't know about you, but I agree with him entirely. I've been preaching along these lines throughout this blog.

Mat makes a lot of great points. Among them:

Suppose you want to at least deduct a donation of your art to the charity, guess what? The law only allows an artist to deduct the cost of materials. Meanwhile a collector can buy your work for the minimum bid, have it appraised at its full retail value and donate it to some other good cause for that top dollar amount.
As for the merits of the infinite number of good causes out there, what is the value in giving up a painting that would sell for a thousand dollars retail in order to see it raise 50 Bucks for that cause? Pick one charity, donate generously and keep the collectors assuming that the price you ask at the gallery is the best and only price they are going to get.

I have seen many cases where work of art was auctioned off for less than the cost of materials in the piece. The artist would have been better off just giving the charity some money, instead of throwing away their art.

Thanks Mat, for letting me know I'm not alone!