Unknown artist, Untitled (Bearded man in turban). Date Unknown, Leather
View Basket on show at the Hayward Project Space until Sunday September 28 2009.
An exhibition exploring the potential of eBay as a marketplace for extraordinary and affordable art is currently on show at The Hayward Project Space in London.
Hayward Curatorial Associate Tom Morton bid for a range of images and objects within a strict £5,000 budget over a ten-day period in August 2008.
His purchases can be seen in View Basket: Art Bought Online, which aims to reflect the untapped source of Britain’s ‘hidden art’ by featuring works that have hitherto occuppied people’s homes rather than the rarefied spaces of public galleries.
Staz Johnson, Untitled (Original art for a page from ‘Batman / Aliens II’, issue 3). 2003
View Basket celebrates the eclectic and the uncanny alongside more established pieces, with works comprising everything from amateur painting to original comic art: a Lego bust of Freddie Mercury for example, is included, as is a Damien Hirst limited edition of Snowblind.
The exhibition will literally expand during its run as new items are posted to the gallery, reflecting the open-ended nature of the project. Even the improvised and sometimes idiosyncratic packaging in which the items have been sent will also be on display.
Echoing the tradition of Art Brut the exhibition emphasises work by amateur, obscure and anonymous artists, with many of the items having a ‘thrift store’ cache in the vein of exhibitions by artists such as Jim Shaw, Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane.
Terry Rabida, The Birth of Venus. 2008 Oil on Canvas
The inclusion of such work sets out to challenge and explore questions of how art is circulated, and how the provenance of a work impacts on its perceived cultural value.
Speaking to The Independent, Morton, who is also contributing editor of frieze magazine said: “They don’t just have a financial value but also an emotional one. This is not art that someone would usually see in the Hayward. It belongs in the private space of the home."
“Every piece is, I think, visually interesting. Whether it is good art and by what criteria it is judged, I leave up to the reader.”
(Above) Ryan Terry, Untitled (Landseer – dolls house painting). Date Unknown. Untitled (Magritte – dolls house painting). Date Unknown. Untitled (Ramsey – dolls house painting). Date Unknown.
The growing relationship between art and the online sales platforms like eBay has, despite its short history, seen some interesting events, such as the sale of Bill Stoneham’s The Hands Resist Him (1972), also known as the eBay haunted painting.
The sellers’ description included an elaborate story claiming the somewhat spooky painting was haunting their house, generating enormous media interest (and inflated bids).
In 2002 Christoph Buchel auctioned his place in the European Biennale Manifesta on eBay. More recently, German artist Klaus Weber exhibited 30 copies of Hugo Reinhold’s sculpture, Ape With Skull (1892) that he bought on eBay as part of his exhibition Shape of The Ape at Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York in 2007.