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Additional info for Art and the Market: Roger Fry on Commerce in Art
The second problem of information in the art market was how to assess and certify the quality of new art so that true creativity could be rewarded with buoyant sales in its own time. Effective and sound appraisal 34 Art and the Market of newly created genuine art was the function of art cntlCs, and their criticism could have two positive results in the market. First, hithertounknown creators were identified and evaluated quickly so that the gamble in the purchase of their works was reduced. Second, the proper emphasis was placed on the production of genuine art so that some market incentives might counterbalance the siren song of opifacture.
To this last question Fry answered a rather tentative no: the state should be concerned about the production of art, and complete laissez-faire should not prevail. There was, he thought, an argument for some public attention to, and where necessary some intervention on, both sides of the market. He argued in 1920 that "the question of the creation and consumption of art tends to become more and more pressing ... an immense mass of art is consumed, but this is not the same art as that which the genuine artist produces" (Fry [I920b] 1956,70).
He also came to appreciate prevailing market imperfections and market failures. The art market was where he lived, but in addition to participation he observed and judged it. Market complexity, he realized, was caused in part by the heterogeneity of the demanders, the suppliers, the products exchanged, and the institutions though which transactions flowed. But it was accentuated, he thought, by the incompetence and venality of many of the participants. First of all, there were various information problems.