I've been listening with a sort of horrified fascination to the recent set of radio ads by Ben Dunne, offspring of the super-marketing family who owns Dunne's Stores.
Ben, who also runs a number of fitness gyms, has recently opened an art-gallery and insists on selling art with the same style as he's flogged baked beans and gym memberships in the past. His latest promotion is an auction at the gallery and Ben (who also insists on doing his own ads) tells us that there's no reserve price on artworks and boasts that this is how art should be sold.
These latest ads give us a clue as to why this force of business thinks he knows best, for he tells us that his own Mum gave him all the encouragement he needs when she told him, "If Dunne can't do it, it can't be Dunne."
Well, Ben's done it alright and whilst I'm slow to wish any entrepreneur a poor return for his efforts, I can't help but feel that this stack-them-high and sell-them-cheap approach to art can't be a good thing for art or artists in the long run. I know some galleries can be guilty of gilding the lily when it comes to valuing artworks, but this alternative makes for grim listening and scarcely promises cheerful viewing.
Ben might insist that a visit to the gallery will lift my spirits but they plummet every time I hear his leaden tones hawking his latest wares on the cheap.
Over to you: Do you think art should be sold like tins of beans?