Los Angeles In-Person | Streaming Online

What Is the Value of Art?

What Is the Value of Art? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Andrea Bowers, Disarm Rapists (Original illustration, "Disarm Rapists / Smash Sexism," by Betsy Warrior, 1971), 2017.

Presented in partnership with NeueHouse, KCRW, and Lucas Museum of Narrative Art
Moderated by Helen Molesworth, Writer and Curator

The headlines that make breaking news in the art world most often concern a piece’s financial worth, which nearly always means how much a private collector paid for it. But for most of us, the value of art has very little to do with a dollar amount. Rather, art provides an avenue to a diverse range of critical discussions, evokes a feeling or a memory, helps us process deep emotions, or calls us to action—and the stronger the response, the higher the value. Where do these economic and non-monetary forms of value meet? How can art world movers and shakers—artists, curators, museum professionals, and nonprofits—continue to leverage the money and attention around blue chip artists into support for social change and community building? And what larger, deeper questions posed by art does our obsession with skyrocketing price tags obscure?

The week before the international art fair Frieze Los Angeles descends upon Southern California, contemporary artist and activist Andrea Bowers; artist, cultural organizer, and co-founder of Meztli Projects Joel Garcia; and LAXART director Hamza Walker visit Zócalo to consider the value of art beyond a financial investment.

Pro Bono ASL will provide live simultaneous ASL translation of the event.

Members of our in-person audience will be invited to a reception with music by KCRW DJ Novena Carmel at NeueHouse at the historic Bradbury Building at 304 S. Broadway, several blocks north of the California Center, from 8:30-10:30 PM.

Zócalo Public Square values audience safety. During events at ASU California Center, as bag searches are not permitted, only clear bags (maximum size 12” x 6” x 12”) and small clutches (maximum size 8 ½” x 5 ½”) are allowed in the venue. Zócalo may be able to provide a limited number of clear bags to help accommodate guests. Questions? Ask us at events@zocalopublicsquare.org.

The ASU California Center is inclusive and accessible for all. A platform wheelchair lift is available at our main entrance via Broadway (ground level). Upon checking in for the event, please inform Zócalo staff if you need assistance, or contact events@zocalopublicsquare.org for additional information.

ASU California Center
1111 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90015

The Takeaway

Art Opens a Portal to Curiosity

We Should Measure Its Value Not in Dollar Signs But in Question Marks

“L.A. is one of the largest creative economies in the world but artists here are low-wage workers. So do we even value art at all?” Artist Joel Garcia asked the …