Here’s what happens when somebody blows a stupid amount of money on an artwork: everybody who can possibly benefit from the sale work to place it in a high profile exhibition venue, and we spend the next 6 months hearing about the unprecedented importance of this particular artist/movement/painting. In this case, we’re hearing about “The Scream,” a pastel version of Munch’s original, which became the most expensive artwork ever when a mystery buyer believed to be Financier Leon Black paid $120 million for it at Sotheby’s back in May. Now MoMA fully intends milk that sucker in its show “The Scream,” in which the drawing goes on view today, alongside a handful of Munch prints in the Painting and Sculpture galleries. They’re selling this as an opportunity to see the pastel drawing for the first time in New York and potentially the last before it disappears into a private collection.
Last May, many asked whether this was worth $120 million dollars, and the contingent title of most expensive artwork ever. Jerry Saltz likes the painting but complained on CBS, that with all this boring talk about money, no one had bothered to think about the art. Holland Cotter, in the Times, pointed out that a museum for underrepresented artists could be started, for only a fraction of the cost.
But that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon, so I guess we’ll be at MoMA with the rest of you.