Showing posts with label art legitimization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art legitimization. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

art & money 2: sotheby's (& postmodernism)

just yesterday i happened upon a recent video message (2 actually) sent out to the world by sotheby's - you know, the art auction house. the first video is called `contemporary art market- a candid view from the inside'. (the second video is the most recent private viewing video for the auction of 11 november 2008,


deep sigh.

i usually try to ignore these hyped-up worlds. but as in some previous posts (first half this year i believe), when it gets too blatant i feel some kind of counterweight is necessary.

to not put a too fine point on it: sotheby's is about making money. that much becomes clear after seeing this video. its message seems to be: please keep selling and buying contemporary art at the highest prices that the economic situation allows.

quite an uplifting message for mankind, i suppose. people in deep poverty everywhere, people dying from illness, malnourishment...and then comes sotheby's with an explanation why john currin and jeff koons (oh let me add richard prince here too for good measure) are such wonderful artists, since they depict the emptiness of the jet set life. and for this wonderfulness the jet set is nudged to pay exorbitant sums...which they do...emphasizing their emptiness, i have to admit, but the so-called art is not any better for it. in my not so humble eyes these art works are shallow and feeding off the emptiness of their buyers, not drawing upon some inner treasure, not adding to the growth of human art experience.

it becomes, upon closer analysis, quite disheartening to see what incredible influence money has on contemporary art. i believe the situation completely comparable to the influence of high-risk money marketeers on the global economy (see the current financial crisis). to make the latter precise: a handful of people driven only by some primitive gluttony/competition/risk-thrill are really capable of disrupting the world economy.

likewise, the jet set with its nauseating excess of money is capable of corrupting the whole concept of intrinsic value of art. auction houses, galleries, museums, art institutions, newspapers...they all go along with the ride.

why exactly is richard prince such a wonderful artist? it is -really, realistically- because the jet set has adopted his works. this then becomes the assignment for artists: create work that will be adopted by the jet set.

john currin -like many others- proudly describes this process: how in the beginning he wanted to `break into the art world', and the way to do this: do something noone else is doing. now currin is painting shallow remakes of danish '70 porn pictures. (why sex? see the previous post on ralf kwaaknijd) it doesn't really matters what he paints anymore, he has been jetsetted for life. if you want to be similarly jetsetted, then one popular recipe is still as dumb as ever.

let me spell it out for you:

you have to confront the jet set with their idiocy, but in a very obvious and shallow way, or they won't get it, get it? don't waste your time on real technique or colour development or well, anything really artistic you know? the jet set doesn't know the difference, they've spent their energy on making money, not on looking at art. they rely on art experts, brokers, other jetsetters, auction houses etc.

do something blatant, different. but remember, stay shallow. the shallowness is important so that first art experts can be shocked (controversy is necessary to justify that your work is in some way `important!' `new!!'). and then by just keeping on doing shallowly what you are shallowly doing, some experts will start to say: oh, but it is ironic, it is deep, it is an ambiguous comment on consumerism, it is ART, you should buy now...

if this is what you want to do with your talent, then good luck, fellow artists.

for me, beautiful art (it is relatively rare) can be found in any price range. a higher price doesn't guarantee a higher quality at all. don't let all these (moneydriven) art buffs fool you into thinking otherwise. use your own eyes, your own feeling, develop them, and ... let me know ;-)

Monday, June 30, 2008

quality & art 13: forgery 3: andy warhol

obviously, other people are thinking on the same issues. i came across edward winkleman's blog (the posting of thursday 26 june 2008, i cannot link to it directly), where he discusses a current forgery issue which tallies with my previous post.

it concerns works by -or not by- andy warhol, such as the work below:

andy warhol? 315 johns

andy warhol?, 315 johns

the issue is also discussed in the new york times of 26 june 2008.

the interesting thing these articles show is that intrinsic value of an art work seems to be considered completely derivational to who made it, generally without any questioning whatsoever as to whether this is a sound principle. by contrast winkleman runs an open thread on what makes an art work `good', and he is clearly thinking about art & quality somewhere along the same lines as the thread art & quality of this blog (he doesn't make a pagerank comparison though, which i believe to be a key issue).

would you -i mean seriously, would you really- believe there is such a thing as the andy warhol art authentication board? it would lead one to not ever take the modern art world seriously again. perhaps unless an art work strikes you as inescapable, unless you are rooted to the ground, or you find yourself coming back to an art work either physically or in your mind over and over again.

i doubt that art works made by artists who produce works by the dozen a day will fall in the above category.

when an artist doesn't produce works as if every scribble, every scrap, every idea, every execution is brilliant deep art - in other words when an artist takes time, effort, mistakes, reworking etc. before releasing art to the world, then i think there will be much less need for an authentication board.

i have seen exhibitions of joseph beuys for instance, serious exhibitions mind you, where it seemed that the curators thought that every scrap of paper that the good man ever touched was transformed into breathtaking mindboggling art.

all the more is the pity, because in my eyes beuys was a very talented draughtsman...but how to find these wonderful drawings amidst all the nonsense? how difficult to fake/forge a beuys? well that depends on the work, but in general it should be extremely easy. just take any oily substance (wax, linseed oil, cooking oil, motor oil) smear it on an envelope, add some pencil, maybe a little ink/paint and you are done. the less you think about it, the more convincing. if you want to do a good job, study beuys' handwriting carefully, and add some mystifying terms. in german.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

quality and art legitimization: anonymous art

mare de deu amb el nen, anonymous artist (detail)
anonymous artist, mare de déu amb el nen

anonymous art is exempt from artist legitimization. it speaks for itself mostly in terms of what i would perceive as quality. [but see the previous posts on quality & pirsig]

as promised in the previous post, i see 2 obvious ways to prick through the excesses of art & artist legitimization which seem so abundant in the current art `scene'.

the first way is to take an artwork, and present it stripped of any additional information such as who made it, when was it made, what is the price etc. then let people take a shot at valuating the art work.

the second way is to forge a work, supposedly by a well-known `master' artist. and then again let people take a shot at valuating the work.

both ways have been done, with interesting results (works by chimpanzees hailed as profound, forgeries disputed until the forger gave demonstrations...)

i get the impression that modern artists are marketed like brand names. the artist's name comes first, then the work. this influences what type of art is being made. if art were to be presented anonymously, i believe we would get other art works. better art works? i don't know. what is better? it's an even more difficult question than `what is good?'.

but the purpose of this post is mostly to express why an artist need not worry about legitimization, if (s)he knows her/his `stuff'.

if you know your stuff, the inner qualities are bound to come out. it may take a while, a long while sometimes, but i do believe that the appreciation of inner quality is something sufficiently shared by people to allow recognition in the end.

what remains for the artist to be done? deepening inspiration, approach, technique, ambition maybe - ambition in the expressive sense i would say, but perhaps ambition in the social sense is a good motivator too. personally i get very tired of all the competition mechanisms that modern society seems to embrace with such abandon and without much reflection. but you reader will have guessed as much if you read more than one of these `quality & art' posts.

co ngo, untitled
co ngo, untitled