What Is the Value of Art?

Thursday, February 9, 2023

7 pm PT

Register to attend in person in Los Angeles or stream online

Presented in partnership with Zocalo Public Square, NeueHouse, and KCRW

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 director and CEO of Lucas Museum of Narrative Art Sandra Jackson-Dumont visit Zócalo to consider the value of art beyond a financial investment.

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

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.