The Australian artist Anthony White of the Money Series paintings and the Swiss artist Marcel “Sala” Salathe of the One Thousand Paintings series have teamed up to create painting bonds.
A bond is basically a loan with an agreed figure to be repaid upon maturity. So, the Bond paintings are bought at a price (determined by an eBay auction), and Anthony and Sala will agree to buy the painting back for a price.
I probably complicated that description, so I’ll use theirs.. “A Salathé & White painting is a debt security, in which Salathé & White owe the highest bidder a debt (indicated on the painting) and they are obliged to repay the debt upon safe return during a specific month that is indicated on the painting.” Salathe and White
As an example, their first Bond painting (pictured above) promises to pay the buyer of the work $1,063 USD in February 2008 upon its safe return to the artists. The painting is for auction on eBay and the current bid is $53. Which means that it is currently a very good investment that would return about $1000 in a couple months for a commitment of $53!
So they are further blurring the link between art and commerce. Is it art? Is it an investment? Is it just a gimmick? Are they making fun of art buyers? Are they just great businessmen? Who knows..
Update: The highest bid for the first bond painting is now at US $1,286!! There’s still eight days left of the auction, so I don’t think the bidding has stopped yet. As a “bond” it is no longer a good investment, but as a work of art, the verdict is still out.
Update 2: The first bond painting by Sala and Anthony White was sold for $1,286. So it wouldn’t make sense for the buyer to return the painting to the artists for $1,063 in February.
Here’s a quote that seems appropriate for this post..
“Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” Andy Warhol