Occasionally the world’s most celebrated artists release works that can be bought by art lovers, regardless of their income. Affordable art—that is artwork that can be picked up for under $500—is available to just about everyone, you just have to know where to find it. From conceptual art trailblazer, Lawrence Weiner, to rediscovered maestro Robyn Denny, there are some amazing offers waiting to be discovered on the online art market.

The selection below is just a small taste of the works available, art that can bring up the most pertinent political issues of the day as well as reveal the beauty, and endless fun of contemporary art.

Olaf Breuning, Keith and Sol, 2011 Lithograph

Olaf Breuning—An Artist on the Up!
An artist currently wowing the New York art establishment is the young Swiss-born artist, Olaf Breuning. His febrile imagination and unpredictable, constantly changing art practice keeps boredom well and truly at bay. Despite dealing with the big, burning questions of life, his work is all the more remarkable for its affirming accessibility.

These two works accompany his thrilling “The Art Freaks”, a series of color photographs of body-painted figures produced in the style of highly-influential 20th century artists (so if you think about it you are getting two artists for the price of one). Here both Sol Lewitt and Keith Haring are given the Breuning treatment, and are celebrated and plagiarized in this startling manner. The idea urges us to look once again at these iconic styles and to examine the idea of originality and reproductivity in the post-internet world. Humorous and free-spirited, Olaf Breuning is most certainly an artist to keep your eye on.

Lawrence Weiner, Suomi Finland Passi Port Passport, 2012

Lawrence Weiner—The Legend Lives On
Lawrence Weiner’s is one of the most distinguished conceptual artists working today—a bona fide legend on the art scene his reputation has been on a never ending upward curve since the 1960s! You cannot really go wrong buying a piece from Weiner, and certainly not when it is available for $60.  

Suomi Finland Passi Port Passport is Weiner’s response to Finland’s historically tough immigration policy. Staunch nationalists they accept only a handful of citizenship applications each year. Developing an idea from Alfredo Jarr, Weiner has filled the Finnish passport with his musings about water, travel, love and a floating sense of longing. Now more than ever, with the plight of so many immigrants in Europe yet to be decided, Weiner’s work is a heartrending plea to the countries of the world to relax their border controls.  

Robyn Denny, Portraits (Series A), IV, Portraits (Series B), III, and Portraits (Series B), V, 1970, Lithographs

Robyn Denny— The Rediscovered Master
One artist who has suddenly come back in to the spotlight in recent years is the enormously prolific Robyn Denny. Neglected since his death despite being one of the pioneering geometric painters of the 1960s, he is enjoying a renaissance that’s been long overdue. In 1973 he was the youngest ever artist to be awarded a retrospective at the Tate and even represented Britain at the Venice Biennale.

In his Portraits series his radical use of color and perspective produces a “flicker” effect, forcing the viewer to constantly shift focus and adjust to the work. Amazingly each of these three works can still be picked up for under $500. Don’t expect this to be the case for long however, Denny is featured in over 80 collections around the world most notably in MoMA in New York, and is firmly back in vogue.

Liam Gillick, Southbank, 1987, Skateboard deck

Liam Gillick—YBA Pioneer
Affordable art comes in many forms, and in Liam Gillick’s hands it appears in the shape of a redundant skateboard. The silkscreened typographic text reads “Southbank Skatepark 1987. A perfectly good skatepark improved by the addition of an art collection…” a ridiculous proposition—any art would be destroyed in minutes! But the statement brings up some fascinating questions about the street art graffiti famously adorning the Southbank Skatepark, located between Tate Modern and the Hayward Gallery. The legendary skatepark has been in the news recently with plans to move the historic site, however the 27,286 planning objections have made the application the least popular in history!

Gillick’s projects tread a fine line between free artistic expression and art with a practical purpose, nearly always inciting discourses on contemporary life. Tiptoeing between poetic fiction and empirical fact, Gillick work’s work is marked by diversions and evasions, he is a highly respected art world anomaly. 

Jim Shaw, Dream Object Book, 2011

Jim ShawThe Cult Artist
Jim Shaw is hilarious, shocking and political all at once—his work is a mind-blowing collision of Pop Art, Conceptualism, psychedelia, and kitsch illustrations. Not only that he even founded the protopunk band Destroy all Monsters with Mike Kelley!

The featured work from him is an Livre d’Artiste, or in other words an artist book, and a piece of affordable art quite unlike any other. In it Shaw records all the dreams he has had since the 1990s, before he melted them all down to form a substrate at the bottom of a Plexiglass box. The Dream Object Book, is the sole proof of the exhibition that was imagined and lost. A catalogue raisonné of this exhibition, uniting fantasy and reality. The artist has an international cult following, which is perhaps not surprising considering he is the sole exponent of O-ism, his own and highly unusual religious practice.

 

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By Dr. Nina Koidl — Head of Curation