A Van Gogh!

A Van Gogh!
From the artists at ArtWorks945

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Betsy and Dexter

One of the great things about my house is that it is one block away from the Brickhouse, which is the only bar in the town where I live. And one of the great things about the Brickhouse is running into Betsy and Dexter, who are not only a very lovely couple but who also enjoy talking about art.

I have been doing a bit of thinking about the auction I want to hold for Charlie’s painting but, as usual, haven’t done much research into the matter. (That happens to be an occupational hazard of going into philosophy: too much thinking, not enough doing.) At any rate, it seems to me that I have a few options: I could hold the auction informally on this blog; or I could hold it through an auction house, either online or in an actual house. Which to do? I’m not sure. (That’s another occupational hazard: uncertainty.)

As I was mulling over the auction options at the Brickhouse, I happened to see Betsy and Dexter. We started chatting about what I should do with Charlie’s painting. Although they didn’t solve the problem as to where I should hold the auction, they did suggest to me that I donate all the money I raise from the auction to a homeless shelter rather than just 20%, which is the amount I had cited in my last post.

I was initially a bit luke warm to the idea. After all, doing so would mean the end of the Van Gogh project. Without any money from the auction, I would have no way to buy a painting thereby continuing the project. But when I pointed this out, Betsy looked at me, raised her hands, smiled her irresistible smile, and said: you never know, it could be the beginning of a whole new adventure.

I must admit, I couldn’t help but smile back at Betsy and tell her that she was right: I don’t know -- it could be the start of a whole new adventure. And then I started mulling that idea over – like I said, too much thinking is an occupational hazard. And though I am not sure exactly why I think this is a good idea, (though I do think that the Universe has been leading me in this direction the whole time) I am going to do what Betsy and Dexter suggested. I will donate all the money from the sale of Charlie’s painting to a homeless shelter here in Charlotte.

Maybe Charlie’s painting will fetch nothing.

Or maybe it will, as one of Betsy and Dexter’s friends who was chatting along with us proclaimed, fetch a million dollars.

Either way, I will donate all the proceeds to a homeless shelter.

Now I just need to do some research into homeless shelters in the Charlotte area.

And auctions. I need to do some research into art auctions.

And if I were really diligent, I would mow the lawn as well.

But it’s summer. And the Brickhouse is only a block away.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

An Idea

I’m not sure whether it was the summer solstice or going to a Mixed Martial Arts class. But I think I hit upon an idea.

(Just as an aside, I got my ass kicked when I went to the Mixed Martial Arts class. After thirty minutes of exhausting exercises and another thirty minutes learning two very basic jujitsu moves, I was put up against Marty, a blue belt, who proceeded to throw me around the mat for about five minutes before twisting my arm into some horrible knot causing me to ‘tap out’. To Marty’s credit, he kicked my ass gently. But he kicked it nonetheless.)

Falling Down Man presents a dilemma. I really do believe that it has entered a very select club of paintings as a result of the USPS chucking a spear into it. Moreover, I think that it *should* now be worth quite a bit of money. But of course, I can’t simply pronounce that to be the case. True, I announced Charlie’s Law a few posts ago according to which Falling Down Man doubled in value. But the fact is, the value of Charlie’s painting remains something of a deep mystery.

So how do I proceed? That’s the dilemma. I want to trade Charlie’s painting for another painting. But how much should that painting be worth? What is a reasonable price to put on Falling Down Man now that it has become one of a kind?

I do not know the answers to these questions.

But I’ve decided that there is a way to find out:

An auction.

By holding an auction, I can let the market dictate a price. That might not be the ideal way to figure out Falling Down Man’s worth. But I’m not sure what other way there is.

In the not too distant future, therefore, I will hold an online auction. Because Falling Down Man concerns the homeless, I have decided to give 20% of the proceeds to a homeless shelter in Charlotte, which is the city closest to where I live. And I will take the remaining money and purchase a painting with it.

It won’t be a trade. But it should be an interesting experiment. And I hope that it will also allow me to move upward in my pursuit of a Van Gogh.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Power Thesis

It’s amazing the lack of clarity that a lack of sleep brings on. But at least some of this seems to make sense to me at the moment.

I want to name another thesis. So I will. I will name it the Power Thesis, or PT for short.

The Power Thesis: Power trumps beauty.

What does PT mean? I’m not sure exactly. But I think a lot of people would accept it.

Conceptually, PT is a close cousin to another thesis that I will call the Time Thesis, or TT for short.

Time Thesis: Time conquers all.

TT, like PT, is appealing. Indeed, I’d likely declare TT to be even more appealing than PT, though I would of course understand completely why someone might disagree.

Yes, PT and TT are both appealing. But the fun doesn’t stop there, since PT and TT together entail what I have before called the Money Thesis, (though I must admit that I don’t think I could demonstrate the entailment – I blame it on the lack of sleep.)

Money Thesis: Economic value tracks aesthetic value.

And still the fun doesn’t end, since the Money Thesis and the following plausible thesis about the nature of value entail a radical claim about moral value.

Value Invariance Thesis: The fundamental status of value is invariant across domains.

If the Value Invariance Thesis is true, then what is true of aesthetic value, at least in terms of its fundamental properties, is also true of moral value.

The Money Thesis and the Value Invariance Thesis together entail what I shall call the Brick in the Wall Thesis, or BitWat for short.

BitWat: Economic value tracks moral value.

BitWat can be considered the core thesis in Economy Ethics, a relatively obscure but nonetheless influential ethical position.

If BitWat is true, a person’s moral worth is commensurate with his or her economic worth.

To my ears, BitWat sounds as if it must be false.

But it’s not that easy, at least from a conceptual point of view – you can’t just go proclaiming things to be false.

Why? Because BitWat follows (more or less) from PT and TT.

Yes, believe it or not PT and TT together get you BitWat. So rejecting BitWat requires rejecting either PT or TT.

Now, it seems to me that, TT has to be true – after all, time does conquer all. So I don’t think I would be willing to give up TT.

So it all comes down to PT. Should I give up PT?

Or does power trump beauty after all?

That, as they say, is the question.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Waiting For Mordot

It is funny how greedy I can be. I haven’t yet received an offer for Falling Down Man that I want to pursue and so have been wondering why the Universe has abandoned me.

But that’s crazy! It’s only been a few weeks since the Universe gave me a great gift.

The USPS chucked a spear into Charlie’s painting thereby doubling its value and allowing me trade up along the OJ scale. The Universe couldn’t have given me a clearer sign that getting a Van Gogh is a genuine possibility.

I should be reveling in its generosity.

But instead I already want more.

Of course, I haven’t done two things that I need to do in order to keep the Universe on my side.

I haven’t gone to an MMA class yet even though I feel certain that the Universe wants me to go to at least one.

And I haven’t yet told the Universe what I want.

But…I have laid the groundwork for both of these.

Last night I went to an MMA studio to find out how much the classes are. It’s $100 a month for an unlimited amount of instruction in ass kicking. I am going to go to a class tonight as a trial run.

And I have thought quite a bit about what I want from the Universe.

Charlie’s painting is now worth 4 OJ, which puts me one tenth of the way to a Van Gogh. If I could jump to a 10 OJ painting, I would be one fourth of the way there. And that would be pretty amazing, especially since two significant events are approaching.

The first is the one-year anniversary of the Van Gogh Project.

And the second is the summer solstice.

How awesome would it be to find myself one fourth of the way to a Van Gogh on the summer solstice just one year after starting this project?

I’ll answer that question: it would be pretty fucking awesome.

So, Universe:

I want someone to trade a painting worth 10 OJ for Charlie Spear’s Falling Down Man.
I want someone to trade a painting worth 10 OJ for Charlie Spear’s Falling Down Man.
I want someone to trade a painting worth 10 OJ for Charlie Spear’s Falling Down Man.

If anyone wants to trade a 10 OJ painting for Charlie Spear’s Falling Down Man, let me know.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

1/10th of the Way There

I know it sounds crazy. But by my reckoning, I am just about one tenth of the way to a Van Gogh.

After Charlie saw the significance of what had happened to his painting, he said that he thought it had probably doubled in value. I agree. After all, as a result of its being damaged by the USPS, it entered a category occupied by very few paintings. And surely, such a fact increases its value.

Of course, there is no law in the art world that dictates Charlie’s painting doubled in value. But sometimes, when there is no law one simply has to make a law up. So I will. I will call it Charlie’s Law.

Charlie’s Law: When a painting undergoes a radical and accidental change thereby placing it in a completely different and more interesting category of art, it doubles in value.

Prior to being damaged, Charlie’s painting was worth 1.3 J’s. So now, after being damaged, it is worth 2.6 J’s.

The increase in J-value is good. But, as I talked about in a previous post, the measure I am most concerned with is the OJ. (Just as a reminder, an OJ is ten times the log of J. A cheap Van Gogh would be around 40 OJ’s).

After getting Jeanette’s Dora Maar, I wanted to see whether I could ascend the OJ scale. I had hoped to jump two OJ’s, which would be evidence that I could actually make it to a Van Gogh in a reasonable amount of time.

Well, prior to being damaged, Charlie’s painting was worth 1.14 OJ’s, which is good but not a huge jump.

But now, as a result of Charlie’s Law and basic mathematical facts about logarithms, Falling Down Man is worth 4.45 OJ’s, which is a little more than one tenth of the way to a Van Gogh.

It really is remarkable what math and a little help from the Universe can do.