Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Thomas Kinkaide of the Photography World

In light of the conversation that keeps on giving (the world's most expensive photograph), here is a link to David Segal's article "Peter Lik's Recipe for Success: Sell Prints. Print Money" that was published yesterday in The New York Times.

Some highlights include:

"Nearly every Peter Lik photograph is printed in a “limited edition” of 995; the first print sells at about $4,000, with the price rising as the edition sells out. With his eye fixed on a record-setting sale, he printed a single copy of “Phantom.” Then he alerted a handful of his most ardent collectors, one of whom, he said, agreed to the $6.5 million price. Before the deal was signed, Mr. Lik hired a public relations firm to make sure that the sale, and the record, were noticed."

"Mr. Lik opens galleries in areas with lots of tourist traffic, and he embraces the familiar elements of retail transactions, instead of cloaking them in mystery, which is standard in the contemporary art realm. There are even credit-card swipe machines in every Lik gallery, a device rarely seen in any other fine-art context, where checks are preferred."

"Mr. Lik doesn’t seem to have much interest in art, either, at least art made by other people. He never studied any photographer, let alone took an art class, and seems to take some pride in that fact. He professes no interest in Ansel Adams, perhaps the most famous American landscape photographer and an obvious touchstone to anyone dragging a big camera into a national park. 'Just a nice shot of Yosemite,” Mr. Lik said, summing up Adams’s work. 'Right place at the right time.'”

I could go on but at the risk of sounding too much like an opinionated art elitist, I will not. Check out the article. If anything, it made me want to visit one of Lik's galleries at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas in May to understand the spectacle and compare it to James Turrell's installation at Louis Vuitton. Art and commerce: a never ending discussion (I hope Lik knows his edition printing practices rival that of Ansel Adams).

Jacinda Russell

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