I've been thinking about this for some time and would like to hear others thoughts:
Would the artworld be better off if there was even more market data available? Despite the fact that one can research auction prices from nearly every auction house on earth with ease now, the bulk of art sales still happen in private transactions through galleries and private dealers. If dealers disclosed the prices for work more readily, would the art market would be better off? A few photography dealers do disclose prices very openly (Bonni Benrubi for one), but this is certainly the exception. If one digs hard enough, more prices can be found out, but what if no digging was necessary? Would the art be better? Probably not. Would the market gain more credibility? Probably. Does it need it? Who knows. I think part of the sexiness (and most of the ickiness) of the artworld stems from its secretive nature. I for one would like the cultish nature of the artworld to lessen some. Ever ask a non artworlder to name 3 important living artists? Here's the list: Thomas Kinkade, Peter Max and Leroy Neiman. A little transparency would raise awareness.