Thursday, October 26, 2006

In Defense of Commercial Galleries, Part II (Delusions of some "Golden Era" of Art)

It's exhausting really.

Fighting this notion that there was some "Golden Era" of art purity---one that nasty, greedy dealers destroyed---is apparently a hopeless cause. It's so ingrained in our contemporary mythology, that perhaps it's best to just ignore it. Or so I think, until I read some slapdash drivel like that offered by Germaine Greer in
The Guardian. Then my red-headed, Irish-German temper flares, and, well, you get another diatribe.

But first, the drivel:

Art does not exist to display the dexterity or industriousness of the artist, or the grandeur of his personality or that of his patron. Art can do all these things but that is not what makes it art. Art exists for no purpose beyond itself. The first attribute of the art object is that it creates a discontinuity between itself and the unsynthesised manifold. It may do this merely by displaying a signature, or by sitting on a plinth, or by enclosing itself in a box or a frame. The work of painters for whom painting is a part of real life rather than art - Australian Aboriginal painters, say - has no frame, is painted in the sand, on a rock or a body, and is continuous with the painter's reality. Until, that is, a dealer brings along a canvas, which the painter paints flat on the ground, moving round it rather than standing before it. When the dealer decides the work is finished, he grabs it, drives back to the city, frames it and puts a price on it, usually many times more than what he paid for it. Only then does it stop being life and become art. The work of art, or, as we now tend to say, the artwork, is first of all a commodity.
Letting one example of dealers who had taken advantage of one group of artists stand as her only example (when she's leading up to a criticsm of the contemporary market where Western artists with MFAs actually want to work with dealers), Greer uses this developed villain (you can almost hear the cries of the hapless artist as the dealer, draped in a black cape, ties her to the railroad tracks and twirls his moustache) to build a fictional melodrama that climaxes with this shrill, idiotic claim:

The most moving battle of 20th-century art has been to redeem itself from its degrading role as commodity, a battle it has decidedly lost.
Where to begin?

First and foremost, I'd suggest anyone who knows her find and then send Greer a copy of Aubrey Menen's book "
Art & Money: An Irreverent History" in which he chronicals the centuries, no, make that millenia, through which art has not only very much been a commodity, but one made more and more expensive MOSTLY through the engineering of artists, sans dealers. In fact, as Warhol finally said out loud, self-aware artists have always seen Art as a business. From Menen's book:

The story goes that a young American admirer of Picasso managed to gain entrance to the august presence. Picasso, as usual, was affable to the young, once they could get by the guards around his villa.

Overwhelmed by this kindness, the young man blurted out: "What is it like to be Picasso?"

Picasso asked him to give him a one-dollar bill. The young man did so. Picasso pinned it to a canvas on his easel, took up a brush, and in a minute or two had redesigned the note with his characteristic bold touches. He then signed it. Giving it back to the admirer, he said: "Now your one dollar is worth five hundred dollars. That is what it is like to be Picasso."

I am sure that a large number of lovers of art will hope that the story is not true. They would hope that Picasso was above mere pelf. They would hope that all genuine artists are above the base consideration of money. In fact, they believe that---in a sordidly commercial world---that is what art is all about.
However, Menen goes on to demonstrate in overwhelming detail that rather than a 21st Centruy battle, this is a 21st Century fantasy. From the time of the Ancient Greeks, very famous artists have manipulated the prices of art and marketed their work as worthy of those prices. So this supposed "Golden Era" when artists made their work without concern for who might want to own it or profit from it is simply a fairy tale.

Now, none of this is to imply that art dealers are not sometimes guilty of taking advantage of artists...merely that it's not part of the job description.

Why I get my knickers in a bunch over this mostly is that no one who has started a gallery from scratch (without funding) would EVER argue that it's an easy way to make money. It's virtually a financially suicidal long-shot, in fact. The folks I know who attempted to start a gallery this way (and many of them are now doing something else) did so because they were passionate about Art. For ill-informed pundits like Greer to then insinuate they're the cause of the degredation of 20th Century art is an unforgivable and wholly misplaced insult. If Greer has specific examples of opportunism, she should offer them, rather than painting with such a huge, undiscerning brush. But she actually digs an even deeper pit for herself, this pompous pontificator, insulting collectors and artists themselves in this moronic conclusion:

Perhaps that's the way to know the "good" artists. They will be the uncollectables. A good artist is beyond fashion, out of reach of the art mafia in their black Bentleys, intensely vulnerable but - we hope - incorruptible.
Why does this hack she get paid for this rubbish? A "good artist"? She wrote that with a straight face? Moreover, her editors let her? Come on, Guardian...we expect more insightful, more informed critiques from 9th Grade thesis papers. Truly, this cartoonish, After-School-Special view of the artist and the market is not only historically inaccurate, but condescending. Only artists who make work that's difficult to collect are "good?" Citizens who'd rather buy art than plasma TVs, or whatever, are criminal-like artistocrats, who are only interested in fashion?

I suspect this myth of anti-commodity purity stems from the popular romanticized stories of the struggling artist whose genius is only recognized after his/her death. ("Lust for Life" ... damn you!!!) But that's no license for a paper like the Guardian to perpetuate it in what, ironically, is a fashionable pose of neo-Socialistic values. If there'a an argument to be made that there's too much emphasis on the commodity aspect of art today, it can most certainly be made with actual facts. It doesn't require the demonization of dealers and revisionistic history Greer offers up.

UPDATE: I violated the first rule of ranting against someone else's text in this post, being in too big a rush this morning to research and learn that 1) Germaine Greer is a woman (no good excuse for that one) and 2) she's got a long history of offering such views (which doesn't make them correct, mind you). I've edited the text to correct the gender of the pronouns, and took out one snarky line asking if English was her first language, and revised my analysis of her example of Aboriginal artists (having misread that). I stand by the rest.


Blogger painterdog said...

Germaine Greer is a woman, and a british feminist writer.

Not a man, and I thnk she's being ironic about the Australian Aboriginal as the Brits tend to do.

Also she's talking about Australian Aboriginal's not New York artist.

I see your point but she has one as well.

10/26/2006 10:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you misread at least part of Greer's piece. She seems to be describing how dealers work with Australian Aboriginal painters -- not all painters.

Or do you guys insist that painters paint their paintings lying flat on the ground?

10/26/2006 10:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Oriane said...

I don't have time to respond to your main points at the moment, but Edward, Germaine Greer is a woman! She wrote many early feminist works including, most famously, The Female Eunuch. English is definitely her first language (she's Australian). I haven't read the article that you quote from (will read it later) and haven't read any of her writings on art, but just wanted to point out this little discrepancy.

still loving the blog,


10/26/2006 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Thanks for the correction about Greer's gender, painterdog...edits on the way.

She's using the Australian Aboriginal's example, however, to tar the London (and one assumes other big city) dealers as taking advantage. Her real target of disdain, as evidenced in the last paragraph, is Frieze...I don't know that any Aboriginal art whisked away from otherwise pure painters was exhibited there. So the use of this example is disingenuous, and weakens her point.

Again, if she has facts to make her point she should offer them.

10/26/2006 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I think you misread at least part of Greer's piece. She seems to be describing how dealers work with Australian Aboriginal painters -- not all painters.

I see where I made a bit of a leap there (if indeed the process she describes is still current...exhibitions of contemporary Aboriginal artists fully aware of both their traditions and the art market suggest this isn't a universal occurence if it still happens at all today though), but again, she's offering that example to demonize (unspecified) dealers and deserves to be called on it.

10/26/2006 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

OK, OK, I've re-read her text, and see I made a considerable leap. I've revised the text.

10/26/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Anonymous onesock said...

Greer's article was difficult to decifer. I didnt really understand the point she was trying to make until the last two paragraphs where it seems she was reflecting on the effects of the art market on creativity and artists. But she didnt dealve into that very much, a completely valid and important topic for discussion, IMO.

As for the aboriginal/dealer anecdote. I read it the same as Ed in that she did not seem to differentiate between the dealer in that context and other dealers. What confused me were the paragraphs on Duchamp which seemed to regurge the tired, old critique that duchampian practices are tired and old without any understanding of the distillation process and broadening of art practice stemming from Duchamp thru Raushenberg,warhol,nauman, etc.

Anyway, that being said, to say that "good art is uncollectible" (and again, this may have been ironic on her part). I must admit this is a concept that I would have agreed with, say, 5 years ago because, in the context of my town, the art that is collectible are decorative palm tree paintings and golf course portraits. Going to grad school changed my perspective and, in fact, I can pinpoint the exact moment of my enlightenment when I stepped into a gallery in NY (Damelio-Terras) and saw a hanging sculpture consisting of nothing more than a stretched-out wire hanger and two small magnets adhering to the wire a clear plastic bag and a reeses peanut butter cup wrapper. I asked the kind gallerist how mush this was selling for and she said the work by Tony Feher was worth 15 grand!

Now that experience influenced me in other ways other than getting my head straight about what is marketable, but i learned that day the market ingests EVERYTHING. Now HOW the market does that and the dangers to art in terms of picking up artists chewing them and spitting them out to rot--that is a valid discussion to have.

10/26/2006 11:28:00 AM  
Anonymous ml said...

Straw men seem to be appearing everywhere. Mention one thing and extrapolate it to an entire cultural perversity.

Money does shape the art process. How many more painters are there than sculptors? Paintings sell; sculpture is much harder to sell. Each era has its prefered subject matter.

Dealers often do try to steer their artists, if only by showing enthusiasm for some aspects of the work and less for others. Sometimes this is a good thing; sometimes not. I have noticed that once an artist begins selling well the work tends to become variations on the successful theme.

10/26/2006 11:46:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

this notion that there was some "Golden Era" of art purity---one that nasty, greedy dealers destroyed...

I never believed that. I've just assumed that the nasty, greedy dealers have always been in charge.

Sorry, EW, couldn't resist picking on you :)

10/26/2006 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Sorry, EW, couldn't resist picking on you :)

That's OK, David. Dealers wouldn't even have to try to be charge if many artists didn't reflexively value their own artwork way above market realities (not that I'm implying you do that, mind you). ;-ppp

Dealers often do try to steer their artists, if only by showing enthusiasm for some aspects of the work and less for others.

That's not always profit motivated, though. It often relates to building a better case for the importance of this artist's work (strenghtening those areas most open to critique, etc.). So don't dismiss it out of hand. Although, yes, it's problematic at times.

10/26/2006 12:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Well I am here Cedric The Stupid, because I agree with much of what Greer say.

Warhol is a real bad example, he is one artist that have assumed the art market and designed art that was fit for it.

I don't think that market kills the art. There is no way it could do that. Even an half-assed work by a great artist will be good.

I am saying that it promotes half-assed works and limit art possibilities, because as much as you would hate it, your gallery is only a frame and art is able to stand outside of it.

From this point, I think my best option is to answer through making art as just talking like this sounds like I'm one big frustrated for not being part of a market.

They are great grat great art made for the market. Koons is really great. It assumes itself as a commodity. Or perhaps more interestingly it subverts commodity.

If that what an artist's art piece aims too than it is best being represented by the market.

Perhaps most artists should start thinking about creating objects of commodity or subverting that and the art would become really good.

I'm an interested by other things.
I do not agree with Greer that art
is not the place for the artist to show his industriousness.


Cedric Caspesyan

PS: Let me get this straight about money: I believe in mecenat more than I believe in the market. By wanting so much to hold objects or get something in return, sponsors
are limiting and destroying the
true potentiality of art.

10/26/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course you are exhausted!

How could you possibly talk about your capitalist business and use a Marxist author/based article to prove a point. You are going to have better luck trying to mix oil with water than conciliate both.

You need to find examples and answer somewhere else.

BTW- any artist that says that a gallery diminishes his/her work is not a good artist. Those are excuses for lack of talent, commitment and hard work.


ps You can marry in NJ now.

10/26/2006 01:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is mecenat?

10/26/2006 01:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

mecenat = patronage, sponsorizing
(sorry again).

By the way gallerists are not evil-doers at all. Well, some of them may be, but for the most part we're talking about a problem that even gallerists have not been aware of. How much they have shaped the art that they present, and in the meantime have shaped art history because artists want to be shown in them. This is not something that happened consciously and intendly. It is not about accusing gallerists and their passion for art. I would
pretty much like to start a gallery myself.

As I said in earlier threads they are gallerists who do all they can to be aware of limitations and
make a change.

By the way the big irony about Koons is that he was first patronized by Deitch because there wasn't money around to build his things. That is an interesting part too, the gallery patronizing their own artist. Gladstone did patronize the last Barney film, at least as co-producer.

They will probably both tell you that they took big risks. Probably loosing a little money too.

But boy was the art so Non-other!
It's just fantastic what we can achieve when we let ourselves loose a bit.

I will be hated for saying this:
I wonder sometimes if galleries
shouldn't only be started by people so rich they don't care about loosing money.

(this said, Gagosian started from scratch, so don't trust my word),

Cedric Caspesyan

10/26/2006 01:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Larry said...

I would pretty much like to start a gallery myself.

Cedric, we need to talk about this. I don't want to have to compete with you.

10/26/2006 02:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Karl Zipser said...

I think if you want to have a constructive debate, you shouldn't introduce the opposing view with "But first, the drivel."

10/26/2006 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I think if you want to have a constructive debate, you shouldn't introduce the opposing view with "But first, the drivel."

The answer's in your question.

I don't want to have constructive debates with offensive drivel. I don't want to see offensive drivel.

Imagine for a moment that scapegoat here was artists. That someone took one example of an artist behaving badly and extrapolated that to indict "Art"..."That's what ails the art of today: sensationalistic artists only interested in buying restaurants and schmoozing with rock stars." Would you consider that the basis for a constructive debate? Or would you see that as a straw man?

Do dealers have "kick me" signs poinned to their backs? Do collectors? Enough. Pay respect to ALL the players in the system, each according to what they contribute, and stop scapegoating the easy targets. If the art of today is lacking, it's not only the dealer's and collector's's everyone's.

10/26/2006 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Karl Zipser said...

Who said art today is lacking?

10/26/2006 03:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ed, did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed? you're unusually grouchy.

10/26/2006 03:53:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I love having constructive debates, but only with rock stars and restaurant owners.

10/26/2006 04:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

>>>If the art of today is lacking, >>>it's not only the dealer's and >>>>collector's's >>>everyone's.

I totally agree with that, I've been scapegoating artists in other threads.

Personally the problem we are discussing I don't think is about anyone beind bad, vain, evil and greedy. Everybody is trying to make great things. Artists compromise too: they need to eat.
Everyone is compromising.

Compromising about what? Lack of means. Lack of energy.

In the meantime we have created a system that suits these demands
up to a pay-per-product degree, with the probable disarraying effect of having subordinated artists' motivations to it. Imagination is not being served if we surrender to practicability. I'm more interested in optimalizing art as a territory for quests and explorations.

Truth is probably most artist
can't even afford to explore, and I'm experiencing this problem myself. It's not a given, it's a vocation. Art is, should not be, easy. If it's easy than you haven't been setting your goals very high.


Cedric Caspesyan

PS: by the way I love restaurants,
but not for their food.

10/26/2006 04:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Indeed art is not entirely lacking, in fact there is more art being done than ever before, so there are obvious stand-outs here and then.

We are in fact pretty spoiled by art, and perhaps I'm just warning artists to make less art but...err... better pieces?

But how would they listen? They need their daily fish, they need to produce. So there you crank the meat grinder and expell your crap daily and it's all energy wasted for the Greater Thing.

I am the first victim of this.
I keep coming in with new ideas in my art practice and I just feel like I must put a stop and concentrate on what I really believe in. This process is really really hard. It's much more easy to go on a day to day basis and do what you feel you want to do that day. That's how I think as an artist you become "commode".
Maybe I'm wrong.

Cedric Caspesyan

PS: just to be clear: concentrating
on your best idea doesn't mean it is good art. It's just a question of knowing that if you fail, at least you are sure you gave in your best. You can always readjust yourself.

10/26/2006 04:45:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

That's how I think as an artist you become "commode"

Cedric, do you really mean toilet, or is this another of your poetic translations? Even since Duchamp(s) no artist has become a commode, though that's the logical next step.

10/26/2006 04:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

excuse me, i have to become commode. i'll be right back

10/26/2006 05:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

ok, word reference translate commode as serviceable, comfortable, easy, etc... (they use the word convenient, but I don't how that sounds as "it's the right thng to do, convenient".

But you know I've been thinking....

What would Christo be able to do if they weren't all selling these preparatory drawings??

I guess the market is inevitably part of the game, but at least Christo is (are) "striving" towards the Greater (well..their own sense of the greater, if you see what I mean).

And, I question wrether they really need that amount of drawings
before conceiving a project or if that just part of the lame reality of having to fulfill a market before realizing your goal.

Should a project like The Gates have waited 23 years before finding completion?

Does the art system of now constriv...sorry...constrain art
from achieving such goal??

Was it any easier for Michelangelo?


Cedric Caspesyan

10/26/2006 06:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poverty is virtue.

And if we would all please just believe that, the status quo would remain secure.

10/26/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually PD she's Australian the first popular educated feminist, have met and talked with her in her younger days, she's definitely no fool!

It's good Ed, that you are going back to do a bit of research on Australian aboriginal art; how and when the canvas thing took place; the easy days of quick-to-make-a-buck abuse. And also you will happily find that some art actually supports a whole community there, and then, again, not all is rosy, sometimes this achieved crookedly. It's the world of art coupled with the world of business, anywhere!

GG reads somewhat similar to a declaration diatribe, argued fleetingly though strategically, making some quick point, back in the 80's, right, that every artist of any worth is discovered, or will be discovered, being the nature of the then (now?) contemporary beast. Greer's response (is) a little late in the show, but... I think it has growing appeal, especially in the UK, thus the Guardian. I hear someone very big in the cogs is going to declare similar, but is that just tactic, or strategic, I always confuse the two.

There is pure out there, fashioned for different reasons entirely. It doesn't hurt! Does it? Of course it would hurt if the scales began to balance out 'pure artist' and 'commercial artist'. Note I use 'commercial' wittingly. Museums would be asking are commercial galleries doing their job! Or maybe not, they wouldn't ask, because to bring enough pure artist together would need some kind of bodies to organize and get this pure artist body of them, out there. And hopefully some of them would find good representation.

It's good these sort of battles, kept healthy.
What is it 'battle the beast', or 'the battle is the beast', I forget which one.

10/26/2006 08:13:00 PM  
Anonymous newsgrist said...

She's just So old school. i think it fair to say: the points Germaine raises here are SO not germaine.


10/26/2006 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger kelli said...

I thought your points were fair. Money is how artists survive and for most of us money equals time to work and nothing more. It also seems a little self defeating and odd coming from a feminist because power in the marketplace is the only way female artists can navigate the marketplace.
Maybe it's just easy to romanticize suffering.

10/26/2006 10:25:00 PM  
Blogger Marc Snyder said...

There was no Golden Era, and never forget when thinking about the vast quantity of stuff produced today that we see the art of the past through the amazing filter of time.

Every era produced vast quantities of junk, we only have the opportunity to enjoy our own. Experiencing it without the filter is half the fun.

10/26/2006 10:36:00 PM  
Anonymous eleventh hour said...

there is definitely an odd dichotomy in new york now. the people who have not been able to take advantage of the current state of affairs are desperately trying to find a reason for their lack of involvement. the scary thing is that there is no rhyme or reason to why things happen the way they do.

individuals who find fault with the current system really need to reconsider their involvement in the realm of art making. sorry there are so many people going to gallery openings, sorry there are so many new spaces opening up, and that there is so much money floating around. but-- you don't have to be involved. no one is forcing you. you can choose to have fun with it, and connect with it, knowing that there are a tons of like minded people out there, or you can opt out.

i rather enjoyed's 'farewell to CBGB's' post.

at the closing-night party for CBGB's gallery, Jason Flores-Williams stated:

"I want to honor this sacred hall of resistance by rallying the troops against the gentrifying herd turning NYC into a corporate theme park. But there are no troops to rally. And if there were troops, we’d have to attack ourselves. Because when you get past the hipster packaging, we’re just yuppies without the cash."

thats great.

10/26/2006 10:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the fact that you aren't conversant with her seminal work, don't know who she is, or her gender, is what is laughable and something you can't stand behind. you've never sounded more like a cliched white guilt gay liberal man than you do in this post, and that's saying something.

10/27/2006 12:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect this myth of anti-commodity purity stems from the popular romanticized stories of the struggling artist whose genius is only recognized after his/her death. ("Lust for Life" ... damn you!!!)

What struck me as ironic when reading "Lust for Life" was that Vincent van Gogh not only came from a family of art dealers, but that he even worked as a salesman at an art dealer himself. So even that 'damn' book should help to dispell the myth of a genius working in isolation from the Art World.

10/27/2006 04:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Really surprised you didn't know who Germaine Greer was. I'm from her neck of the woods and the story of Dealers exploiting the Aborigine artists are many. They literally did as she describes and got really rich with their New York sales, while the artists were paid virtually like asian factory workers. But to me thats not real art. Thats just some business man devising an ethnic readymade and serving it to guilty liberal collectors on a redemption kick. The whole dealer versus artist thing is a diversion I think. I'm an artist and most of my mental life is dedicated to formulating conspiracy theories of some sort. Hazard of the profession. The thing is not to believe it. And maybe thats where dealers and curators and writers are so invaluable. They help channel this chaos and give it worldly stability and meaning etc. All artists are constantly flooded with opinions of their work. They have to learn to deal with it. Greer is just old and bitter and likes to stir things up. Which is good.

10/27/2006 04:37:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Really surprised you didn't know who Germaine Greer was.

You and me both.

They literally did as she describes and got really rich with their New York sales, while the artists were paid virtually like asian factory workers.

Which is a fine example for another conclusion, but not the one she's offering.

Greer is just old and bitter and likes to stir things up. Which is good.

Stirring things up is good, I agree. Had she made the argument without scapegoating an entire profession of people, I would have written a very different response (I was actually quite thrilled with her's a very good question, her opening line).

I just think she then takes a useless, offensive diversion. If, as she suggests, the commodity aspect of contemporary art (something that's always been part of the equation) currently overshadows the content part of it, then I agree that's a problem. But she doesn't make that case in any convincing sense, and allows (I'm assuming) her bitterness to push blame where it doesn't belong. Bitterness is a poison, for everyone who comes into contact with it. Sometimes it's unavoidable, but that doesn't make the person spewing it any less responsible for the validity of their arguments.

did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed? you're unusually grouchy.

I was actually quite content (you might even say, gay) when I started reading Greer's article...then she veered off onto that finger-pointing tangent and I saw red. What can I say? I have a short fuse. More than that, I work far too hard to let such ill-considered nonsense stand unchallenged.

10/27/2006 08:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“the fact that you aren't conversant with her seminal work, don't know who she is, or her gender, is what is laughable and something you can't stand behind. you've never sounded more like a cliched white guilt gay liberal man than you do in this post, and that's saying something.”

I knew this was coming. I have been waiting for it. All these MFAs and their leftist theory and cannon. You would think that all of them came out of the Whitney program. How many of you have? How many of you where subjected to Marxist bullshit?


Most of you don’t even realize it?

Seminal? Bullshit.

You don’t need to know who Germaine Greer is. Most of the world doesn’t know who she is as a matter of fact. She is just another author applying Marxist dogma to a subject. Dogma.

I have a surprise for you. The “bibliography-syllabus” you so dutifully studied in graduate school is one sided. You memorized only one side of life and history. American academia did a very good job of brain washing most of you. There is more out there dears. The foundation of your knowledge is flawed.

Most of you are disrespectful and ignorant.

What I see is a liberal and sensitive man trying to figure out how to be a businessman and a fair person in a capitalist society. You don’t get it do you?

I hope he continues this blog and allows all of us to share. More that ever Mr.W. you need to be you.


10/27/2006 09:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not so long ago, artists survived on the dole (welfare); now they have to work harder on selling themselves and their product than on the art process. Perhaps we should begin to think in terms of ensuring that our young artists are free to work, and have space to work, by paying for them rather than their product.

What GG is actually saying, despite her own (perhaps) philistine stance, is artists are required to produce works of art that meet the demand of the marketplace, coupled with, mentioned by some, artists are only one (minor) cog in the wheel, pressingly, despite their own speed of progress need to progress faster, suggestive that the creative act must necessarily become easier, to meet the demands. This is not old, old school newsgrist (though the particular envision may be), it's observational, and a reality, one Edward, admirably, has mentioned a few times on this blog, words amounting to this... 'get in the studio'!

Research has it at NASA that better results come out of a deadline, similar to how business works. Sure! If you know anything about research, you'd know how snaky it is to get the grants, to keep them coming, all sorts of tricks that get pulled--for the sake of pure research!!

We are, undeniably, in the steroid-worship gain at any cost epoch. Art is a sport, a business, less all else it incurs loss. This tells me we are at the bridge of two or more paradigms, which, with inevitability, will be crossed or re-imagined. Ed, I don't care that you didn't know the identity of the author of piece. sometimes it's more straight forward not to know.

10/27/2006 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Thanks for the support MLS.

I didn't pay much attention to that comment, only because I've never found anyone who virtually gasps (always a tip off) at a hole in someone else's life experience to be the authority they seem to think they are for having this or that text under their belt.

Ironically, insisting someone should know this or that writer is a rather pro-cannon-esque stance...something one would think Greer and her defenders wouldn't emulate, but....

There's a whole slew of writers I don't know, and a whole slew I do. When I find someone who doesn't know someone I do, I remind myself of those I don't know before responding. But where I come from, that's actually just called having manners.

10/27/2006 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger painterdog said...

I have a surprise for you. The “bibliography-syllabus” you so dutifully studied in graduate school is one sided. You memorized only one side of life and history. American academia did a very good job of brain washing most of you. There is more out there dears. The foundation of your knowledge is flawed.

Thank you for saying this.
I was in a grad program that was run by people who looked down their post-modern theorist noses at you if you so much as hinted you had a dislike for what was being presented as art theory gospel.

It was very painful to be in these classes while some of the reading was interesting most of it came across as dead dogma.

10/27/2006 10:24:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

Most of you are disrespectful and ignorant.

I'm ignorant, but I'm not disrespectful. I guess I attended the wrong MFA program :)

10/27/2006 11:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

>>>Most of you are disrespectful >>>>and ignorant.

Being snob and stubborn is not that much more interesting.

By the way, Greer is nazi, not marxist, but most of the artworld is. We're all striving for the perfect, greater art, it's all about eugenistics, let's not kid ourselves.

Cedric Caspesyan

10/27/2006 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger kelli said...

Queer theory has changed the face of feminism and the gender binary in ways that I am very happy about and others are not. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

10/27/2006 12:54:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

it's all about eugenistics, let's not kid ourselves

Cedric, I assume you mean eugenics (selective breeding). Is it a scheme to starve all the artists so that lawyers and real estate developers will dominate the gene pool? If so, it appears to be working.

10/27/2006 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger painterdog said...

Most of you are disrespectful and ignorant.

well I don't think people are ignorant, I think most have moved beyond theory based art making. While some still cling to it.

I am not sure that being ingnorant means clinging to a dogma or is it the Marxist inspired bs that informs the critique.

As for the disrespectful remark, while I was interested in your critique of the MFA world(it described the one I went to) I did not find that comment to be warented. Disrespectful of what?

10/28/2006 04:19:00 AM  
Blogger aurix said...

Co-director of Frieze responds: "Germaine you were wrong"

10/28/2006 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger kelli said...

Using gay (all men enjoy male privelege.. yeah right) or liberal (not radical enough?) as a slur is a sign of attachment to a type of theory based feminism predicated on dated premises about gender. Also pretty bigoted. People who are more interested in practice tend to look for allies. I volunteered in the election campaign of the first Dominican woman elected to the NY City Council and worked with a broad spectrum of people. That thinking only "works" in theory.

10/30/2006 02:35:00 AM  
Blogger arthur said...

I'm reminded of a fragment of Suzi Gablik's similarly exasperating bookHas Modernism Failed?(its obvious thesis being that yes, of course modernism has failed). She mocks the idea of courses aimed at helping artists succeed as business people, going so far as to include a picture of an advertisement for such a seminar. No doubt her position as a writer and teacher (I can't seem to find out where via Google, but I believe it is or has been at a university), places her above the filthy activity of making and/or selling art for profit.

The only workable formal definition of a "good" artist (to the best of my knowledge) is someone who makes "good" art Being that this is obviously circular, the only thing to do is to go out and actually look at a wide range of art, hopefully with a minimum of ideological baggage. Being greedy or corrupt--or alternatively, saintly and ascetic--is of great moral, social and political relevance. Its relevance to the quality of one's work is marginal as best. (I don't want to demean the potential import of political or activist art, but I wood focus on what the work does, rather than the on the sins or virtues of the author.)

10/30/2006 10:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe it is an age thing.

I am 50 and there is no way I could NOT know who Greer was, even if I never read one book (and I haven't...). It's like not knowing who Gloria Steinem is. And I don't think it's about institutions filling our minds with protocol. I got no degrees.... just was paying attention.

11/01/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I am 50 and there is no way I could NOT know who Greer was, even if I never read one book (and I haven't...). It's like not knowing who Gloria Steinem is.

This insistence that she's part of a universal can't-miss canon is delightfully ironic, though, don't you think?

Seriously, I'm not at all sure what to tell you. I managed to live to this point without registering her importance or name. I'm sure that's devastating to her and her disciples, but it wasn't an intentional slight.

Based on her article in the Guardian though, I'm not much inclined to go back and read her now.

11/01/2006 01:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 50 and there is no way I could NOT know who Greer was...

I'm just over fifty, I read all the time, and I've never heard of Greer. I'm sure I've read things that Greer has never read. So what?

I've been paying attention the whole time, but obviously not to the same things you've been paying attention to.

11/01/2006 01:51:00 PM  

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