How Young Artists Set Prices for Their Work

Pricing is art’s Pandora’s box. An equation predicated on the often conflicting interests of quality and demand, the price of an artwork must take into consideration all kinds of variables, from standardized factors like size and production, to more capricious considerations like provenance and likability. For young artists, pricing represents an obstacle whereby they must assign value to a product that (in most cases) intrinsically refutes such a reductive classification.

“It’s such a strange science. It always starts with if they have sold anything before,” explains Kyle Clairmont Jacques, co-owner of Signal, a Bushwick gallery that focuses on giving artists their inaugural solo shows. “There are certain ‘rules’ that we start with, but in some cases, it’s just a gut feeling,” he adds. “Sometimes we take how much past works were sold for and actually do the math. But for something like Meriem Bennani’s work, it’s super hard—it’s digital and site-specific and the equipment alone can be insane,” Clairmont Jacques says of the artist, who had a breakout show at MoMA PS1 this summer. “For her PS1 show we did it retail style and calculated all the expenses and doubled it!”

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