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Journey through the Art Market

Interview with Franco Boni, the man who brought Contemporary Art to television


To get to know how the Art Market works, Acrimonia meets Franco Boni, an antique dealer for three generations and the man who has imposed Contemporary Art on television since the early 80s, presenting Burri and Fontana for little money when no one understood them. Today they are worth millions of euros in a market that moves a turnover without stopping: in euros, dollars and now also in cryptocurrencies.

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Un post condiviso da ArteInvestimenti (@arteinvestimenti)

According to some art historians, the Italian one of the twentieth century had three great cornerstones, each with its own endings: Futurism, Arte Povera and the Transavantgarde. Do you agree and can Street Art be defined as an ending of the Transavantgarde?

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Futurism had a great national significance but outside Italy it did not produce much. I would insert the Metaphysics, a thought that has made school in the world. Arte Povera has highlighted great artists, many of whom have since changed course.

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The Transavantgarde is due to Bonito Oliva who brought fresh and innovative forces to the fore in the field of art. Yes, surely Street Art can be defined as a Transavantgarde ending.

I know you don't love Banksy, Tommaso Labranca called him boring and moralistic, personally I find poetry in his works, but how do you explain this phenomenon?

First of all, let's say right away that Banksy, as a person, doesn't exist. It is a group of excellent professionals who work on the financial media level and have managed to create an unprecedented phenomenon; from this point of view Chapeau, as for the artistic value of him, well, I have some reservations.

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There! You're saying it's opening up a world to us, I never imagined such a thing. We salute Poetry.

Doctor Boni, why is the Art Market willing to reward a young artist more than a "sacred monster" whose contribution has been fundamental for the history of art of the past centuries?

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Today the Art Market is influenced by the great collectors who are also the owners of the great fashion brands, as well as being shareholders in the most important museums and galleries in the world. It is a mixture of interests that is entirely legitimate but which inevitably determines continuous innovations in terms of the novelties that Fashion must present in every seasonal collection. When a gallery of this circuit signs a contract with an emerging young man, this artist is destined to grow in his evaluations. This cannot be considered a good or a bad thing, it is simply the market with its pros and cons.

How do you judge the Cryptoart or NFT art exploded with the jpg “Beeple”, auctioned for over 69 million dollars?

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It is a phenomenon that was gradually establishing itself even before the jpg "Beeple", moving a constantly growing turnover. Proof of this is that even the large auction houses accept cryptocurrencies for their commission rights. Yes, I strongly believe in Crytoart's statement.

Can we say that it is Duchamp's continuation: "Its value lies in the idea"?

All Contemporary Art begins with Duchamp, whom most people know only for the Urinal or Fountain, but who has created many other equally fundamental works. From Conceptualism to Surrealism, to move from Land Art and ending with Cryptoart, everything is based on the idea.

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What is the difference between an authentic work and an autographed work?

Let's take a random artist, Mario Schifano, because according to you there are works by Schifano that are worth hundreds of thousands of euros and many others that are worth a few tens of thousands of euros? Because the former are painted and autographed by Schifano himself while the latter are from the atelier, just as the workshops of the great painters existed in past centuries. Both the first and the second, by law, need the authentication issued by the archives to be sold, which move in a disorderly manner and this equates everything except the market value. An autographed work is recognized by any expert calligrapher and by expert art scholars. Then there are artists who couldn't afford canvases in the 60s and drew on paper, let alone if they could afford an atelier.

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Today in Europe and in the world there are worrying winds of war, what repercussions could they have on the Art Market?

It is factual that in similar moments there is a contraction in sales. This did not happen with the pandemic where, on the contrary, there was a great recovery of the market after the great economic crisis of 2008. It is clear that the concept of "safe haven" today takes on a completely different priority. these days of war I give you a fact, found in my company: we had a cancellation of orders of about 70%.

Ah though, what a blow!

Thank you Dr. Boni and we hope for a next meeting.