Barter was big during the Great Depression, when cash was in short supply. Some communities even started to issue their own scrip, which you could say is a form of barter formalized. Lately the Great Recession seems to be easing up — whew! — and some of the clouds are parting. Stock market up, housing prices leveling off. But the art market, that last word in the inessential — except if you care — is still in uncertain times. How uncertain? One New York gallery is putting up a show this weekend of “art for barter” — meaning “I’ll trade you this painting for dental work” and so on.
I get it. For a while there I was thinking of getting a sign that says: “Will criticize for food.” You can imagine how far that would have gotten me.