The NY Times did an article on the art auctions on cruise ships. I have attended a few of these auctions, mostly to see what happens.
For one, there is usually complimentary champagne offered to those attending. Whether this is to set the atmosphere or get the patrons to take leave of their senses is debatable. With champagne in hand, I have looked at some of the art work and not knowing anything about the authenticity of art decided that the best plan might be to purchase something -something that wouldn’t break the budget-just because I liked the particular piece of art. Without knowledge of the art world, I would not spend thousands of dollars purchasing something. Now, if I had done my research in advance or knew what was authentic and what wasn’t, I might purchase something.
I was shocked to read how much people spent on the art work on the ships. Personally, a red flag and a big one at that, goes up when I am told that there are pieces by well-known artists like Dali or Picasso on the ship. Something about that doesn’t seem right, but that could be due to my innate skepticism.
According to the report some of the pieces for which passengers paid tens of thousands of dollars were only worth a thousand in the end. So why was the piece worth even $1000? Having no sense of this shows my ignorance.
On a recent cruise, I walked by the area where the art auction was held. Many of the works to be auctioned were sitting haphazardly stacked on a cart unattended quite near the corridor. Seems like these valuable pieces could become easily soiled from the dust kicked up from passenger shoes. Any passing children could easily touch the art. Is this how truly valuable art is treated? I am not so sure.
If you don’t look at this as an investment, you like the piece of art and it is within your budget, the art auctions may be your cup of tea. As with anything, caveat emptor.