Ha ha ha huh? Art Basel Hong Kong Debate motion: "Art Today Has Sold Out To The Market" ... note to breathless ABHK debaters - Bernard Berenson once lucidly compared the Renaissance relationship twixt artist and patron to that of a luxury goods tradesman (say, shoemaker, tailor to the court) and a customer placing an order. The patron specified what he or she wanted.
I imagine the Church and 17th century nouveau riche tradesmen of the Netherlands also specified desire. What Modern, and now contemporary, art patrons most specifically desire, is a ticket to ride. A warrant to climb aboard and be associated with an artist's intangible, but increasingly valued, prestige.
To gain admission to realms of prestigious endeavor and experience they would otherwise be socially/culturally excluded from - given the almost monomaniacal pursuit of mercantile wealth is the real price of admission to Art Basel Hong Kong and other luxury goods trade-fairs.
Blog-post image by Bill Griffith