Thursday, June 19, 2008

Freeze @ 20 : An Example of Artists Leading, Instead of Moaning

The Young British Artists (YBAs) who ignited a resurgence of contemporary art's relevance and interest among the general public in London are celebrating reaching mid-life with a reunion, according to artinfo.com:
Twenty years after Damien Hirst launched the YBAs in an exhibition called "Freeze," the 16 artists who were there are reuniting, reports the Guardian.

"Freeze 20" opens at the Hospital Club next month with 16 works, including two from the original event — Anya Gallaccio's molten lead poured onto the warehouse floor and a drawing by Stephen Park — and several from the time period. Also included are Hirst's first work in formaldehyde, featuring a fish, as well as pieces from Mat Collishaw, Angus Fairhurst, Gary Hume, Abigail Lane, Sarah Lucas, and Fiona Rae.

The entryway to the exhibition will boast an archive of cultural ephemera and newspaper headlines from the late '80s, while the exit will show a 20-year timeline plotting key moments in contemporary art, particularly those involving the participating artists.

Says curator Duncan Cargill: "This exhibition is not just about nostalgia — it's about questioning what the effects of 'Freeze' were."
Their timing is perfect. For me at least. I was wondering how to address the comment Franklin made yesterday about the statement I wrote in yesterday's post. First my statement:
I have repeatedly supported the notion that if artists are not happy with the terms of the system they have every right to change those terms. Implied in that opinion, though, is that the work of changing the terms falls to them.
and Franklin's response:

I fully agree with this. But it's a touch galling - just a touch - to hear it coming from someone on the inside of that system. Let's note a couple of aspects of coming up with one's own terms:

1. That it not only involves coming up with some means of fiscal survival that doesn't compromise the integrity of one's work, but that entire structures have to be generated by any number of like-minded people in order to garner critical recognition. The system as it stands involves galleries, museums, critics, and curators, and the news-making portion of that system reserves serious regard for a far narrower slice of working artists' priorities than they will typically admit to. However inadequate the observation that "art is, above all, about personal expression and craftsmanship," I'll take it over the notion that art is, above all, about ideas and issues, and there's no question about what contemporary museums prefer given a selection of mid- and early-career artists. Cutting a new path that doesn't involve this system is going to require extraordinary endurance and business acumen that most artists by nature don't possess. So while it may be true that the artists who don't like the system have the responsiblity to create their own situation, the choice is between being chained to an oar in the slave's galley or throwing oneself into the open ocean. Thus not all of that bitching is misplaced.

2. That the system is going to kick and scream as alternative terms become successful. For instance, criticism (not just art criticism, but all criticism), in the 20th Century form that we've come to know and occasionally love, is dying. It is moving to a shorter, more populist, worse-paying form on the Web. Hardly any critic regards this as a good thing, but something of a mini-industry of snobbery has sprung up to bemoan the allegedly consequent imminent death of critical thought. (See Lee Siegelpuppet, et alia, who are so sad partly because we all know what's going to happen to them.)

Let me note two preliminary, framing ideas myself to clarify my point of view on this. First, I don't see myself necessarily as any more "inside the system" than many artists who have been exhibiting in commercial galleries for longer than I've owned one. I didn't invent the system. A few hundred years of artists wishing to sell their work has led us to where we are. If there were, readily at hand, better ways for artists to conduct such business, I'm sure we'd have them already. In fact, I'm sure some are on their way even as I write this. The system evolves, more in spurts than steadily, but it does evolve.

Secondly, when I say it's up to artists to change the system it's not because I'm resistant to such changes and neither are the other dealers I respect (in fact, I've incorporated several tweaks to how we run our business based on ideas I've heard from other artist-centric dealers...ideas such as formalizing the split of resale profits with our artists, working out a clear system for when and how it's appropriate to discuss changing the 50/50 split, and more). I say it's up to artists to change the system if, and only if, the way it's currently going doesn't suit them and what they need to have it suit them requires new thinking, new energy, new direction, etc. among the rest of the industry. In other words, I wouldn't presume to know what those things should be. Artists have to tell and then convince the industry where they're heading, with or without the rest of us. Artists have to lead.

Just like the Freeze artists did:
Freeze had an impact, it seems, because not only were the included artists still students but also because of the very way in which the exhibition itself was packaged. There was aura of professionalism generated by the show's large scale and glossy catalogue, itself including an essay by a respected writer, Ian Jeffrey. Resultantly, it was striking because it was the antithesis of the usual student show. Goldsmith's, as a result largely of this exhibition, has been seen as the birth place of the 'Yba' phenomena. Another element to be factored into this construction was the presence of Goldsmith's tutor Michael Craig-Martin, who encouraged and fostered not only the use of a conceptual visual language, but also the importance of selling the artist. Another point to be considered in relation to the emergence of the 'Yba' was the economic climate that surrounded them, with their work first shown on the cusp of the boom and bust of the late 1980's. The result was not only a glut of empty retail spaces in which to display their work, but also a new generation of collectors who made their money in the halcyon days of the late Thatcher years.
So I'm sorry that the industry itself isn't busy inventing some means whereby artists stewing unhappily about it can "com[e] up with some means of fiscal survival that doesn't compromise the integrity of one's work." But that doesn't mean we won't recognize a clear advance when someone forges one. I would offer the same advice, by the way, to a dealer who was unhappy with how some part of the system runs: don't just bellyache, work to change it.

The parts of the system that kick and scream, as opposed to seize the opportunity to support such efforts, will fall by the way side, so who cares if they kick and scream. If you build it, and it's worth noticing, they will come around.

Labels:

111 Comments:

Blogger w said...

I get what you're driving at but I don't think this is the best example.

It seems the thing the YBAs did best was marketing - a lot of the work is quite painful to look at. They all then went right into the existing system. Their biggest influence has been the use of students in gallery settings. That and "selling the artist". Those are not good changes and certainly not the fundamental ones Franklin was driving at.

6/19/2008 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

Hey Ed, did you see that that alleged Rembrandt you posted about back in October has been Determined by Experts to be an actual Rembrandt? I win!

And I'm not sure what your point is, by posting this as an example of 'artists changing the scene.' When I founded both of my 'alternative' artspaces, once as a student and once as an idiot arriving in NYC, I certainly didn't have the capital to print up 'a large scale and glossy catalogue.' As students, we went to Kinko's and photocopied dramatic black-and-white drawings onto cardstock. We also used our gallery space as both studio space and living space, putting up exhibitions over the weekends and throwing huge parties.

For the record, I have always been an optimist, and have erred very much on the side of making it up as I go along, rather than following the rules. But my perception is that most of the bitching stems from the fact that most artists have no money. Period. Full stop.

Given this fact, most of us are insanely creative with how we continue to survive and make our work. In fact, the vast majority of us don't bitch. We blog in a relatively non-bitchy way, we hold exhibitions in buses and gardening sheds, we graffiti city walls, we found alternative artspaces in dirt-cheap real estate. We're doing all of this stuff, all the time, not just once in the 80's.

So I beg you to moderate your tone when you come out with statements like 'I'm sorry the industry isn't busy inventing some means whereby artists [can survive...] without compromising our integrity.' The industry is built on the fact that artists work for free. As I can attest, from grim and repeated personal experience, when an artist stands up and says, 'Hey, our work creates all this economic value, for real estate owners, business owners, etc.; we should get a cut of that!' OMG. The Powers that Be move swiftly and sternly to shut you down. It is like a peasant uprising in Peru.

Because people with money and power do not share easily or voluntarily.

6/19/2008 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger STEPHANIE MICHELLE MAX said...

Isn't this topic a little old. We all know that galleries are the big bad wolfs that are out to destroy all artists and take all the artwork and sell it for a profit. Boohoo. Artists are such cry babies, get over it or do something, or get out of the business. Im completely sick of artists treating galleries like some horrible monster, when without them there wouldn't know about some of the greatest art out there. And the bottom line is galleries and museums have the means to advertise your art. Maybe you should comply a little more and not be so selfish and demanding. Artists need to understand that art is now an industry, it is a business and there are complications. They need to know that they aren't going to get everything they want all the time. Also many artists are the cause to a lot of problems, they are flakey and irresponisble. Now before you start freaking out of course there is always the other side. It would be somewhat helpful for galleries to be a bit more sensative to artists and their needs. Also I could do with out them scamming artists out of their cut. And not all artists are problem causers, I realize these are generalzations. It seems that both sides have tremendous flaws. However remember one thing, be nice to galleries, they can be the reason your work is known.

Oh also, for your 411, I'm an artist and am looking for representation.

6/19/2008 10:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Leaving aside that I have no use for any of the YBAs, it's too bad that you cut the second quote short two sentences:

One such collector is Charles Saatchi; a figure who, by collecting these young artists, has done more than any other collector in generating and supporting this phenomena. Another key element to the generation of the kudos that surrounds this group of artists is the re-invention of a larger notion of Swinging London itself.

This isn't mere professionalism, it's fashion sense, and the whole phenomenon doesn't constitute new terms but an especially proactive effort on the part of the artists to gain the attentions of the extant system. That may very well be worth doing, of course, but it's a different problem that requires a different skill set. (I've said before that conceptualist talent is primarily social rather than artistic in nature.) Put another way, while I don't doubt that you will "recognize a clear advance when someone forges one," genuinely new terms would succeed by operating at full creative tilt and in an adequately remunerative manner whether you (plural) recognized it or not. As an example, Pop Surrealism has won limited museum recognition but it survives on galleries dedicated to the genre and a fan base that intersects with the worlds of skateboarding, surfing, tattooing rather than institutional acceptance or critical support from the fine art community. (Pop Surrealism has significant shortcomings as art but it's loads better than the work associated with YBA.) Comics are doing something similar. So I think it can be done, and where I reposted this comment back at Artblog.net some thinking to that effect is getting tossed around, but nobody should underestimate the cost, effort, and number of people required, least of all the people who are not under pressure to make it happen. (Yes, you don't necessarily see yourself inside the system compared to those people who are really inside the system. That's probably human nature.)

I want to clarify something regarding this:

The parts of the system that kick and scream, as opposed to seize the opportunity to support such efforts, will fall by the way side, so who cares if they kick and scream. If you build it, and it's worth noticing, they will come around.

Indeed. My point, though, is that the kicking and screaming from the system you've circumvented is your signal that you're doing it right. With that accomplished, the germane remark is not who cares if they kick and scream, but who cares if they come around.

6/19/2008 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Kurt said...

"Another point to be considered in relation to the emergence of the 'Yba' was the economic climate that surrounded them, with their work first shown on the cusp of the boom and bust of the late 1980's. The result was not only a glut of empty retail spaces in which to display their work, but also a new generation of collectors who made their money in the halcyon days of the late Thatcher years."
Freeze = simply a pulling-themselves-up-by-their-bootstraps act? Would the will-to-power of the Freeze artists have been significant if a larger force -- an economic tidal wave -- was not already headed in their direction?

6/19/2008 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Would the will-to-power of the Freeze artists have been significant if a larger force -- an economic tidal wave -- was not already headed in their direction?

Probably not. My reason for using them as an example, though, is to suggest the old adage is true that "luck" equals preparedness meeting opportunity. In the YBA case, their "preparedness" was manifest in an unwillingness to accept that in their time and place they couldn't engage a wider audience with their art.

Folks dismissing Freeze as mere marketing or fashion are missing the fact that all self-promotion is mere marketing and/or fashion...that attaining a wider dialog than that which comes to you already requires good marketing or capitalizing on the fact that fashion continually changes...that these are parts of the system you, as a businessperson, can be expected to participate in changing.

From Michaelangelo to Rembrandt to Matisse to Hirst, many great artists have been phenomenal marketers. That doesn't take away from their artistic achievements, IMO...it merely increased their audiences.

With that accomplished, the germane remark is not who cares if they kick and scream, but who cares if they come around.

I would assume "who cares" is anyone who believes the reason they should have done it differently in the first place is for the betterment of all, not just themselves.

6/19/2008 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

But my perception is that most of the bitching stems from the fact that most artists have no money. Period. Full stop.

And bitching will bring them money?

How?

We began our first gallery with $0 start-up capital. $0. We had NO Money. Period. Full Stop. Just a space in a garage carved out of a studio.

But we had a goal, and a good understanding that bitching wouldn't get us to it. So we simply worked our asses off to get it off the ground. Doing whatever it took, seven days a week, for years.

I'm not saying that now I'm content, by any means...I have a lot of work ahead of me. But bitching doesn't get any of that work done. In fact, bitching is just annoying AND counter-productive. It only sets me back further from my goals because it's unattractive to those who might help me and a self-fulfilling frame of mind.

6/19/2008 11:06:00 AM  
OpenID deborahfisher said...

With all due respect, Edward, your argument is a little strained, and it sounds like you're merely asking bloggers not to whine. While I happen to agree with you, it is a lot to ask.

I think whining is a problem with the medium. I mean, we are all physically alone, staring at a little white box that practically BEGS us to pour out our fears.

6/19/2008 11:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Gwen said...

Inspiring Words of Wisdom!

6/19/2008 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

You make a good point, Deborah. The medium does encourage whining.

Thanks for pointing that out.

Not sure how to transfer the notion to outside the medium though. Happy to consider suggestions.

6/19/2008 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My point, though, is that the kicking and screaming from the system you've circumvented is your signal that you're doing it right

This sure makes a lot of sense... so conversely, your whining about participants in "the system" must mean they're getting it right too...

6/19/2008 11:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Folks dismissing Freeze as mere marketing or fashion are missing the fact that all self-promotion is mere marketing and/or fashion...that attaining a wider dialog than that which comes to you already requires good marketing or capitalizing on the fact that fashion continually changes.

But that's not the distinction I was making. I was distinguishing between professionalism:

There was aura of professionalism generated by the show's large scale and glossy catalogue, itself including an essay by a respected writer, Ian Jeffrey.

And and fashion sense:

Another key element to the generation of the kudos that surrounds this group of artists is the re-invention of a larger notion of Swinging London itself.

Both were necessary, but it was the latter that ingratiated them to the system that they soon entered once they got a sufficiently moneyed patron. This was not, in any real sense, creating their own terms. Hirst said in so many words that he wanted to be a brand, and he wanted to make bad art and get paid for it. And he succeeded, because his social talents revealed to him that the art world likes to think of itself in faux-rebellious terms and he figured out how to flatter them accordingly. He didn't circumvent the system - he exploited it. "Attaining a wider dialogue" is one of those inapt literary metaphors that I can't figure out how to apply to visual art, but I'd hate to make any decision about my art based on fashion.

From Michaelangelo to Rembrandt to Matisse to Hirst, many great artists have been phenomenal marketers.

No. Michaelangelo had to be begged to paint his great commissions; he was a famous misanthrope. Rembrandt died broke exactly because he wouldn't cater to others' tastes. Matisse spent much of his career at the mercy of various fickle oddballs who supported his work. Hirst is a phenomenal marketer.

I would assume "who cares" is anyone who believes the reason they should have done it differently in the first place is for the betterment of all, not just themselves.

Why? No, really, why?

6/19/2008 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

This was not, in any real sense, creating their own terms. Hirst said in so many words that he wanted to be a brand, and he wanted to make bad art and get paid for it. And he succeeded, because his social talents revealed to him that the art world likes to think of itself in faux-rebellious terms and he figured out how to flatter them accordingly.

I'm confused. Hirst's terms, what and how he wanted his career to work, were that "he wanted to make bad art and get paid for it." You admit he succeeded. How is that NOT, in any real sense, creating his own terms? Implied in your dismissal is that Hirst would have wanted something else had the system been different. Evidence?

Michaelangelo had to be begged to paint his great commissions

Misanthropes can be good marketers. I'd argue operating as such that you're known for having to be begged to create art is as good as marketing ever gets.

Rembrandt died broke exactly because he wouldn't cater to others' tastes.

Or because tastes changed. During his heyday (and there is disagreement on this, I'll admit), Rembrandt was seen as being an important innovator in what was an increasingly open art market of capitalist Holland. Or in other words, quite the marketer.

Why? No, really, why?

Why what, exactly? Why should you care if someone comes around? Why should you be interested in changes that benefit everyone? Why should you seek buy-in to advances that benefit you? Why what?

6/19/2008 12:12:00 PM  
OpenID deborahfisher said...

Not sure how to transfer the notion to outside the medium though. Happy to consider suggestions.


You want people to stop whining in reality, too?

Not sure what to say about that. Any person focusing on what they don't have is putting themselves in a really weak position.

When I am having a conversation in real space with someone and they start putting themselves at a serious disadvantage, I change the subject.

6/19/2008 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Ed sez:
A few hundred years of artists wishing to sell their work has led us to where we are. If there were, readily at hand, better ways for artists to conduct such business, I'm sure we'd have them already.

An old economics professor and a young economics professor were strolling across campus when the younger saw something on the ground.

"Look!" he exclaimed, "I found a five dollar bill!"

"Nonsense," said the old professor without slowing his stride, "for if there were a five dollar bill on the ground, someone would have picked it up already."

6/19/2008 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous cjagers said...

@ Ed and Deborah,

How about a post asking for success stories. I know countless artists who have started .com's or doing very well financially (or socially). Obviously less angsty people talk less, but perhaps an invitation would bring many good stories out?

6/19/2008 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger kalm james said...

A little background on the YBA phenom. As I’ve always said: there are no coincidences in the art world, none of this stuff just happens.

Beyond whatever aesthetic relevance the YBAs may have, there was a confluence of forces beyond the artists or their work that helped float this boat. Saatchi had been collecting gobs of new art from outside England, classic pump and dump, collecting/dealing. When they passed server value added taxes for imported works (upwards of 18%) he got smart and decided to throw his support to the local kids (Nationalism is good, especially when you can save money).

6/19/2008 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

And now let me try to add something useful to the conversation.

At a party at her place recently, Pretty Lady's Significant Other, Moby Dick, said, "Everyone always thinks the power is outside themselves, some place over there. No one seems to want to think that the power is here, with them."

Which I thought was lovely and poetic. Except that it ignores a larger context, which is what happens when everyone decides the power is here and tries to assert themselves. What you get is a cacophony. What you get, in short, is the World Wide Web: Two hundred million magazines, each with four subscribers.

Not very useful.

The YBAs had a much smaller hothouse atmosphere in which to work. Further, if there's anything I've learned in my 37 years on this planet, it's that these Horatio Alger stories are almost always bullshit. There's always the Saturn V rocket that made the shooting star possible. Like Bill Gates starting Microsoft in his garage: Yeah, that happened. Except Bill had a $12 million-per-year trust fund at the time. It's easy to take risks when the only risk is you'll have to go back to being merely wealthy. Or Thoreau, who lived in the woods by a lake -- with his aunt in the nearest town doing his laundry.

So it wouldn't surprise me to find that Hirst had a hereditary lordship and an estate house with a small army of servants before he took his big leap into the art world, or something similar.

6/19/2008 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

On the matter of whining. Perhaps the issue is more that the blog might be a better tool if rather than in someones infinite wisdom they tried to teach us how to act and what to do, (with the best of intentions of course, and thanks) There was some dialogue about something that rallied some sort of position on the arts. This could be useful for the dealer also, it would create (possibly)a climate of discussion that was kept on a philosophical level. If anyone is interested in such a spot, try here....

http://pataphysicallonging.blogspot.com/

This is not to mean of course that this is not an excellent blog, perhaps people are trying to get the wrong things out of it?

let me call it a theory so that i might be wrong.

6/19/2008 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

The power is here, in connection with others.

My brilliant Significant Other just said, in relation to this discussion, that art marketed from artist to consumer on the Web is becoming just another commodity, which means that the price will go way down. It's the rarefied atmosphere of exclusivity, which garners stratospheric prices, that we're all fighting over. We may just have to shrug our shoulders and become artisans.

6/19/2008 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Allow me to speak as someone who sold over two hundred drawings on eBay at about $10 each: It's a real pain in the ass trying to make a decent profit in volume.

6/19/2008 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger batswap said...

Pretty Lady...

I think what you said is exactly what the problem is. I am not have no intention of and will never fight over rarified space as you call it. That is called clutching and you never get what you hold on to too tight...

Martin Bland

6/19/2008 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Stefano Pasquini said...

Chris, just to add to this little half whining half gossipy conversation.... Damien Hirst was a working class lad from Bristol, but he met early on a very important person: Jay Jopling. He's the guy whose father was a parliament minister, and who studied, if I remember well, at Eaton (kind of like Yale for you I think).
Then again I am convinced that Damien Hirst would have made it this big (richest artist in history, you know?) even without Jay Jopling.

6/19/2008 03:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

How is that NOT, in any real sense, creating his own terms?

Because he was using the gallery-museum system as it existed, which is why I called in an exploit rather than a circumvention. In my first comment I distinguished between using proactive means to gain the attentions of the extant system, which again may well be worth doing, and actually creating your own terms, which means putting a new system together. W's comment at the top sums it up.

Your characterization of Michelangelo and Rembrandt as phenomenal marketers is made a posteriori based on the fact that they were successful in their ways. This is invalid but it's irrelevant to any point above.

Why what, exactly?

Why would you assume that "'who cares' is anyone who believes the reason they should have done it differently in the first place is for the betterment of all, not just themselves"?

6/19/2008 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

I'm going to give up whining, move to London, and take up whinging. Purely a business decision...

6/19/2008 05:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you have not heard, the "cult of personality" member who purchased "Rembrandt Laughing" has been vindicated in his purchase, as it has been found to be an authentic early self-portrait by Rembrandt himself. The painting has been given an estimated value of approximately $40 Million. Seems to me he was quite the shrewd buyer.

6/19/2008 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Like the lowly aphid, the artist is often mindful of very little. It takes an ant colony, as Hilary Clinton once said. And like an ant colony, the ant eater keeps an oval office on the side. The sacred oval must not be broken, or the kings men will be too busy in their sisyphean tug of war to look outside the white house for the field slaves.

Looking down from on high, the world looks flat, but lo! Look over yonder, there is no center, there is no system, there is no outside, there is no art, there is only here. Who cares about exhibiting in a gallery when you have the world, and a thousand mountain ranges, each taller than the next.

Did I beg the question? What was the question?

6/20/2008 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

W's comment at the top sums it up.

OK, well, reading that again more carefully I understand better where you're both coming from.

But there remains a big difference to me between gaming an existing system to your own advantage and merely bitching about it. Neither has anything to do with art, but one permits you more latitude to get your art attention.

Cutting a new path that doesn't involve this system is going to require extraordinary endurance and business acumen that most artists by nature don't possess.

I think you're getting hooked up on something non-important here. I'm not sure playing by one's own rules requires such drastic measures. You are defining "one's own terms" as completely reinventing or bypassing the existing system. That seems like reinventing the wheel to me because the goal isn't really anything that requires extraordinary endurance or business acumen...the important goal of working according to "one's own terms" is having the art that you wish to make valued, rather than having to make art according current fashions to get attention. That's exactly what Hirst got. If one can accomplish that by gaming the system, as opposed to dismantling and rebuilding the system, why go through the endurance test?

Leading, in this context, really can be getting enough power as an artist to call your own shots within the existing system, because leading is ultimately about having your work recorded by history, not developing some new business model. You can get that power by gaming the system or you can get that power by making artwork that everyone in the system wants.

But I suspect, as usual, I'm still not getting you, so perhaps you can provide an example of what you mean by "cutting a new path."

6/20/2008 08:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

No doubt, action trumps talk in all cases. But the way in which the contemporary art world operates, which is capricious at best, and opaque, insidery, and self-indulgent at its worst, provides a lot of inspiration for bitching and not all of it is uncalled for.

If your idea of "one's own terms" is "having the art that you wish to make valued, rather than having to make art according current fashions to get attention," Hirst is too problematic of an example because his work, like Koons's, is largely about playing the art world like a violin. Hirst suggests someone who wishes, sincerely, to make art according to current fashions to get attention.

But as it happens, this morning I learn from CultureGrrl that Hirst just made a deal directly with Sotheby's to sell an upcoming series of commissioned works, effectively cutting out Gagosian. This I'm more willing to talk about as generating his own terms. This is the art world's Radiohead moment, the kind of change that the system will ignore at its peril.

When I think of artists working on their own terms, I think of the musicians, who are figuring out how to bypass the labels, build their own audiences, and sell to them directly. (Predictably, the labels are kicking and screaming.) Not all musicians are Radiohead and not all artists are Hirst, but there are a lot of unexplored possibilities for artists that would allow them to have more say about their careers. Again, Pop Surrealists are way ahead of the curve on this. They were selling their work as freelance illustrators, and galleries came into existence to handle their work as easel paintings. The illustrators are already used to selling their work online outside of gallery representation. A lot of figurative talent is heading into comics, and the comics people who can sling html are moving to the web where their distribution costs are zero and don't depend on a publisher; typically, the publishers come and find them. I would like to see the museum system become a lot more flexible, and it has no incentive to do so, but there are a lot of non-profit models for exhibition that simply haven't been tried. I publish my own art criticism and generate a small revenue doing so; meanwhile, the NYT bought the Boston Globe in the mid-'90s for $11 million and last year they were estimating its value at a little more than half that. (I'm not going to retire anytime soon but at least I don't watch a half-million dollars of net worth evaporate every year.) These are paths that bypass how business is normally done, in favor of the person providing the content.

6/20/2008 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger w said...

We're closer Edward... I believe you're admiring people in this post who cleverly crashed the party and then joined in. We're talking about starting our own party, one that, I hope, has no velvet rope. Fugazi, not Green Day.

I'll echo Frankiln - Pop Surrealists, comics, zines, street art. You may notice all this work doesn't need a ton of critical framework and is easily reproducable. This last quality is how it is very very contemporary, much more so than a pile of straws or a diamond-encrusted skull.

6/20/2008 10:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The kind of DIY approach that you're talking about is nothing new. Generally, it's called youth!

6/20/2008 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Franklin, I appreciate the examples and think they're really good ones, but I have to wonder about the seeming implications of where this all leads. I'll start with this idea:

I would like to see the museum system become a lot more flexible

I'll note you're specifically saying "museum," and not simply nonprofit exhibition spaces, so I'm assuming you mean acquiring institutions.

If so, the current system serves as a filter of all the work being made, so that what, hopefully, achieves the ultimate goal (museum validation) is the best work available. Implicit in that (and in your wish for museums to be more flexible, I assume) is the notion that some work is inherently more important than other work, but people disagree on what work that is at any given point in time.

The implication of wanting to make that system more flexible, and by that I take you to mean bypass the current filters, is the notion that rather than the curators, gallerists, critics, collectors, ext. collectively deciding what work is important, individual artists should be able to simply declare that their work is important and then have it validated by museums, no?

In other words, you seem to be arguing for a way to leap-frog over the opinions of contemporaries who study art and have artwork historically acknowledged and/or preserved anyway, regardless of whether the collective filters appreciate it. This leaves me wondering what happens to scholarship.

Even the music models you cite, I'll point out, rely on mass appreciation to benefit the artists creating the work. But there's a paradox for art in that, in what museums are built to do is, again, filter out the good from the merely popular. By having a museum acquire a piece, the message is that it's not merely popular, if at all, but considered of high quality and historically important.

Reproducible art is another matter, for sure. But we already have a museum for most reproducible art. We call it the Internet. The rest of it, the reproducible work suitable for "art" museums, still gets vetted like all other fine art.

Hirst, by the way, is not the best test case for that new model. His dealers have already demonstrated he has a market via them and have spent 2 decades providing contexts in which he could rack up critical acclaim and demonstrable sales. Yes, he got those galleries' attention via clever means that he deserves credit for, but the auction houses won't be offering similar deals to any unknown artists, like the gallery system constantly does. Therefore, it's a bit unrealistic to point to this as a model for other artists (which I realize somewhat undercuts my original assertions, yes...but only really if you don't take a long-term view on his career).

A better test case for this might be Banksy, who's had tremendous success without the gallery system. If the auction houses offer him a similar deal, we may just looking at the new model. That of course requires the auction houses to stay in business, which I'm not sure they will do for long if they put the galleries out of business and then they're seen as "the system" and artists work to leap frog over them, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

6/20/2008 11:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Radiohead wouldn't be in a position to successfully self-market themselves to the degree they have without their prior involvement with "the system". Even Bansky treads along well worn trails, subverting them, not making his own. Also, is having ads for dating sites and stubhub the kind of independence that you're looking for? No thanks!

6/20/2008 12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

I understand. This reminds me of a recent quote "i have a message for you:everything that is, was or could have been is about to fold."

6/20/2008 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

This is interesting because, for a while now, I have been reflecting on the impact of the online resources available for artists (portfolio websites, Saatchi gallery, Artreview.com, etc). I have had discussions with other artists who feel that their careers are essentially "on-line" to the point that may be deemed a new and different category of artist.

Aside from providing a rewarding sense of community and dialog, online activity for me has always been as a way to expose my work to possible curators, dealers ect, in order to perhaps be invited to make more work in other contexts. It seems to be a technological advance over slide sheets and snailmail (there is MUCH more exposure and artists can present a clearer picture of their overall practice). However, I am still not convinced it has yet proven to be the savior for artists who want to attract a curator's eye, sell work, or a little of both. I am not sure if an article on artreview.com as a "top ten" has the same legitimacy as a review in Art Forum, at least to the eye of the beholding curator.

But perhaps that is all one can hope for and, as myself and many of my artist friends are beginning to realize, if we are to be "online artists" then perhaps this is the arena we can shape and mold into a new paradigm. That is not entirely sufficient for us object or environment makers, but perhaps we will begin to see the internet as more of an art producing medium rather than simply a promotional one. Any thoughts?

6/20/2008 02:34:00 PM  
Anonymous cjagers said...

Mark,

I agree completely, my experience has been similar. However, my concept of "success" has changed recently. The kind of commercial success that is being discussed here seems small and moves about semi-randomly. I think there are many kinds of success, and obviously personal goals will differ.

I have decided to devote a little space on my own blog for what I consider small success stories: http://chrisjagers.net
I think its important to hear all the ways someone can have success, which is not necessarily that JACKPOT of being at the center of the commercial spotlight.

6/20/2008 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

Excellent Chris!
I consider what you have done with slideroom and your overall entrepreneurial approach as nothing short of genius! You recognize that the internet is a user's medium, we sit down at the computer and engage it in ways to satisfy needs (thats not what i mean!:)) SO, as an artist, it is not very efficient to put your work online as someone satisfying a need and expect to engage others who are trying to satisfy their needs, in hopes they will switch their interaction and satisfy your needs. Does this make sense?

6/20/2008 04:18:00 PM  
Anonymous cjagers said...

Mark, pretty funny! I do know what you mean. I have never sold a drawing online nor gotten a show directly from being online (although some have). HOWEVER, I have made many personal relationships with like-minded people because of being online. And that, in turn, has led to some stuff. Life is never linear.

6/20/2008 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

Yes! So what will ultimately make the interweb an effective tool for artists (or anybody) is that ever-evolving and broadening definition of "community".

Apologies to Ed if this is off-topic.

6/20/2008 04:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

In other words, you seem to be arguing for a way to leap-frog over the opinions of contemporaries who study art and have artwork historically acknowledged and/or preserved anyway, regardless of whether the collective filters appreciate it. This leaves me wondering what happens to scholarship.

It go to hell, and so can most of these alleged experts, based purely on the results. Looking over the overarching majority of writing I've seen coming out of the contemporary musuems and the shows they curate, I wouldn't trust these people to dress themselves, much less "filter out the good from the merely popular" and make far-reaching decisions about what constitutes cultural patrimony. The exceptions are not numerous enough to stop me from saying so. I see a huge collective effort at the museum level to drive contemporary art history in a certain direction rather than report on which ways it is going at any given time, thus bringing up the question of why contemporary museums exist.

A robust pursuit will generate its own scholarship. Comics has its own scholarship and reportage associated with it. Likewise Pop Surrealism, which sorted out a little canon of contemprorary luminaries without any help from the fine-art critical establishment and does really well for itself by selling work to, I believe, the cross-section of the investment banking and surfing communities. Southern California is a wonderful place in certain respects.

I would like to see a greater variety of private museums and non-profits come into existence, more critics publishing their own work, galleries running their own auctions, artists selling their own art, and generally a transfer of responsibility for gate-keeping and filtration away from institutions towards individuals.

Somebody with Hirst's financial clout (or Radiohead's or NIN's or Madonna's) has to breach the wall first because of the resources involved, but these things are much easier to copy than initiate. The few artists who can do this right now are the ones whom have succeeded in the extant system. That doesn't mean it's going to stay that way. I suspect the opposite.

Aside to Anonymous: Sorry, but I decided recently that when I'm on other peoples' blogs, I'm not going to respond to commenters with hidden identities. It's just to save time. You're not worth its expenditure.

6/20/2008 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

...I have never sold a drawing online nor gotten a show directly from being online (although some have).

Chris, I've somehow managed to do both (not drawings, but paintings), though I'd be lying if I claimed to know how. The one thing that seems to work in my favor is that for some reason my site comes up high in certain regional Google searches.

I have no interest in selling directly from my web site, since I don't want to deal with the headaches of following up with prospective buyers, getting them to pay me, or dealing with sales tax. (I've done that, and it drives me crazy). So I generally refer buyers to the gallery I show with here in Los Angeles. But a number of sales have occurred from that. And I've also been contacted by both dealers and small museums who found my work online, and as a result had more sales and was in some group shows.

None of this is anything I could consider an effective marketing tool. The results have been random and totally unpredictable. But it tells me that it's worth maintaining a web presence.

6/20/2008 05:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

Franklin:
>>>something of a mini-industry of >>>snobbery has sprung up to >>>bemoan the allegedly consequent >>>imminent death of critical >>>thought.


Do you mean Artblog?


Personally, I believe the limits of how subversive a visual artist could ever be within the artworld system are hollow, and that when you're so close as to reach that limit, you're better off working on completely different things and thus bypassing the gaze of the artworld entirely ("Art is everywhere but where it thinks it is", mentioned Baudrillard shortly before his dead).

The most subversive thing that I personally find "Fine" artists ever did with was attempting to shift the usual paradigms of aesthetic within visual reality into an interest and focus deeply based on ethics. But many of these artists failed to some levels or others, at least on the market. To repete their strategies could lead to redundancy (the social sculpture has already been invented).

The very simple dialectic of ethics versus aesthetics makes it pointless to question the ethos of any gallerist versus the ethos of any Artblogger or of any Fine Art artist. I mean, didn't the notion of Fine Arts come from some vague snubbery notion that some items made by human hands are worth better than others?


To cut the problematic, they are already many systems in place providing stages for different approaches, values, methods, thinking, etc, to artmaking. Most of them demand from the artist some level of sociability, otherwise they can simply open up their own space or use Ebay or Youtube. There is no reason to whine, and if we do it, let it be just for the fun's sake of doing it. A great portion of artists are making art because it is their mean of survival, so the market aspect will always remain preponderous, unless different social systems are initiated (them usually governed by economic imperatus). If you are trying to find new means to enter the market, than this is simply about marketing strategy. If you have the means or intentions to make art outside of the market, than use them until you need the market to sustain production, and let the audience appreciate how distinguished or differentiated the output may be (or is it your point?).

If you feel something is missing, there is no reason to whine if this proposes an opportunity
for you as an artist to make something different.



Franklin:
>>>Hirst is too problematic of an example because his work, like Koons's, is largely about playing the art world like a >>>violin.


You are not in these people's shoes to assume such things. Nothing warranted
success to both these artists when they started. Hirst was simply lucky that Saatchi visited his show. His early work was not made to please the artworld. Koons merely provided an opportunity to critique the artworld by presenting his first vacuum under glass. When they started, they weren't perticularly embracing the market, not more than 90 per cent of what other artists do. These artists simply produced objects like everyone else (making art objects is market-driven, but the common since centuries). The fact that these objects are somewhat accessible intellectually surely have enhanced their popularity, but that aspect doesn't prove the absence of sincerity.

Both these artists have since used repetition around the themes, methods and forms that provided
their success, and this is widely interpreted as lazily playing the violin with the market, but the essence of their production when they started I don't think had anything to do with selling art. Koons for a while even went close to bankruptcy for creating his Celebration works.

We could argue that Monet was a sellout because he repeated his method and style while he was selling. This is what I find pointless. You have to go back at the source of the reasoning behind an artist's work. Why reproach to Koons what is not reproached to Monet?




Cedric C

6/20/2008 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

Franklin, when you refer to the scholarship regarding pop surrealism or lowbrow do you mean the instances where some artists who have been (or still are)in Juxtapose magazine are now found in the pages of Artforum?

I relate to much of what you say and always enjoy the way that you express it. I find the overarching aspect of your critique of the system, that there is a monolithic agenda instigated and perpetuated by the inept gate-keepers, although interesting to contemplate, ultimately unconvincing. There are just too many agendas, methods, and approaches out there to support your hypothesis. Your point may seem true to any one, individual perspective, but surely not in the grand scheme.

i know.. dont call you surely! ;)

6/20/2008 05:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Franklin, when you refer to the scholarship regarding pop surrealism or lowbrow do you mean the instances where some artists who have been (or still are)in Juxtapose magazine are now found in the pages of Artforum?

No, Mark, and this is important: I mean the very existence of Juxtapoz magazine, High Fructose, a couple of others, and even some monographs here and there. Artforum's recognition or lack thereof doesn't enter into it.

I'm glad you find the dominant system more diverse than I do. I've watched the museums at the local level operate from a fairly short distance and found them incredibly narrow. My individual perspective is all I have.

6/20/2008 06:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

Could we as easily approach the problem that if one doesn't like a museum, start one?

I mean, surely all the arts that it rejects are lying somewhere in basements awaiting to be seen?

Cedric

6/20/2008 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

My individual perspective is all I have.

And I think there is a lot of valid aspects to your perspective. I do recognize that within any given period of time (and certainly within any given area) there can be more uniformity than not. I guess I am thinking in the long and broad geographic terms.

6/20/2008 06:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

And in the broadest terms possible, you may very well be right. But I don't think you can operate on that scale unless you're an amazing businessman. You're in Jax. Your ideal curator is in Minneapolis, and you don't know it yet. How do you get his attention? It's a tough problem.

6/20/2008 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

The ethics vs. esthetics idea is a good one. Often ethics are a drag (dont bother me when I'm sinning, tahnks) and are dismissed as Neo-crypto-marxism (by me) but ethics are what makes stuff meaningfull, whichever side yuou are on.

To take the argument further, personal expression is interesting for about five minutes and then most people start thinking thoughts again. Narratives form, directly or tangentially related to the work.

Blue is a narrative and the story goes something like "I like blue" and then it may go into the reasons one thinks one likes blue, or it may go to a place, or a feeling. But to say that painting has some objective greatness is to ignore the persuasive (Narrative!) powers of the write/critic (who may only be moonlighting).

And these narratives, as mentioned, are narrow, confining, self referential, and often boring (in the sense of uninteresting and tedious).

Tedium is a great way to snub people without lifting a finger. Place this art in the space between the door and the den.

No, playing chess is for pretentious people who believe art is about good breeding and ritual parrying before blinding your opponent with a single thrust of your epee.

Museums are full of bad art - they just dont show it. But they still buy it. And display it next to the coat check room, if that.

6/20/2008 07:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Once a Gallerina said...

The issue here is POWER. Art is bought and sold for high prices not because people want to "support the community" or whatever, but because desire is generated to acquire something that is many things, except ordinary. By definition, the whole art system is implicated in the idea that all art is not created equally. Volatility and flunctuation is what makes art (as a commodity) "valuable" in money terms, in the long run. The whole idea of art history, however flawed, stems from the comparability of pictures, that A does not equal B. Ever. There is a quality and a context differentiator. The YBAs were able to "market" themselves by asserting a differentiating, entrepreneurial element if you will, where the work functioned not only for "contemplation", but as a piece in a greater macrostructure. Democracy does not occur in the art system because it is based on the incessant needle-in-the-haystack search, for the next paradigm shift artist or artists. How is this ever done? Gavin Brown would be an easier example...he was an artist first...who understood a certain group of artists were important to their time - not ordinary and common. A lot of the commentary here seems naive, uninformed and provincial. Art and the art world are of course not the same. But all artists, in order to be active as "visible" in the artworld must spring from a context that is integral to the work. In most of the underlying tone of the comments here is the search for approval from the artworld power structures. As if they were the ones to provide context, while the artist would just bring the work. In fact, it's the artist's responsibility to provide context and to really understand what it means to be alive, here, now and how the work fits into the lives of others, the context of the world at large, rather than it being a mere narcissistic, solipsistic me me exercise. The YBAs were at a place and at a particular time, and for various reasons they were able to grasp and to articulate their context clearly. The "work" may have been uneven, but the context, extremely clear.

6/21/2008 12:18:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

ex-gallerina,

Well, yes, and that context is created and articulated collaboratively. Many of us may be deluded, but not naive. It is understood that the participants in a cultural niche gather and collaborate due to a shared context, like the same school. New groups attach to or fit into older ones, providing a deeper, clearer context, separating the fat from the meat. Power is indeed the issue.

But that doesn't mean a few of us couldn't live, however deluded, on the few crumbs that fall from the castle in the sky?

6/21/2008 01:32:00 AM  
Blogger Bill Gusky said...

Didn't read all the comments here, but to Edward's original retort to Franklin's comment I'd add that we can over-think the daylights out of this, but ultimately it's very simple -- put it out where it can be seen.

Yeah it costs time and money we'll probably have to keep our day jobs for a few more years. So do it anyway.

We're the artists, ostensibly the most imaginative segment of the population. Is it really that hard to come up with ways to do this?

On a similar note I'd suggest also that each of us should perhaps focus more on establishing our own body of collectors and other supporters. Not minimizing that task, but perhaps it makes sense to self-promote more widely than to galleries only.

6/21/2008 09:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

...we can over-think the daylights out of this, but ultimately it's very simple -- put it out where it can be seen. ...perhaps it makes sense to self-promote more widely than to galleries only.

Quoted for truth. Basically, an artist only has to survive, create, and get some of the work out of the studio somehow. And any small business has to cultivate steady patrons. Some of these issues become pretty reasonable if you look at the stock as if it were any other kind of product. Which it's not, but still.

6/21/2008 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Pop Surrealism, which sorted out a little canon of contemprorary luminaries without any help from the fine-art critical establishment

I understand that you're referring to the 1970s movement out of Los Angeles, but to avoid any confusion it should be noted that The Aldrich Museum had an exhibition titled "Pop Surrealism" in 1998 which included a fair number of rather high-brow, East Coast, and now high-profile artists.

It go to hell, and so can most of these alleged experts, based purely on the results. Looking over the overarching majority of writing I've seen coming out of the contemporary musuems and the shows they curate, I wouldn't trust these people to dress themselves, much less "filter out the good from the merely popular" and make far-reaching decisions about what constitutes cultural patrimony.

The lack of generosity in that statement is simply staggering.

6/21/2008 11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

And to clarify further, it's a contemporary movement that started in the '70s in LA. This weekend the Laguna Art Museum is opening an exhibition.

The lack of generosity in that statement is simply staggering.

Substitute "MSM" for "contemporary museums," "produce" for "curate," and "news" for "cultural patrimony." See if it looks at all familiar to you. Then have another look at what you wrote:

In other words, you seem to be arguing for a way to leap-frog over the opinions of contemporaries who study art and have artwork historically acknowledged and/or preserved anyway, regardless of whether the collective filters appreciate it. This leaves me wondering what happens to scholarship.

This is Lee Siegel's concern as well.

Coming up with your own terms means withdrawing generosity from undeserving parties.

6/21/2008 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Substitute "MSM" for "contemporary museums," "produce" for "curate," and "news" for "cultural patrimony." See if it looks at all familiar to you. Then have another look at what you wrote:

Smug, irrelevant, and wrong. Disagreeing with someone is not equivalent with thinking they should go to hell in my book. Thinking they've dropped the ball or are missing the bigger picture are not either.

Coming up with your own terms means withdrawing generosity from undeserving parties.

Sad. Just sad.

6/21/2008 12:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Sad. Just sad.

Only from your point of view on the inside of the system. On the outside, it's empowering.

6/21/2008 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

It's sad from my point of view as a human.

I assume that artists upset with those inside the system are upset because we're not hearing what your saying, not because you feel we're not worthy of what you're saying.

To suggest we're "undeserving" is what's sad to me. How did you get to that place?

6/21/2008 01:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Hunted tutti said...

uncanny...

someone was quoted something about apples & neurology

"How did you get to that place?"

Let us find out.

6/21/2008 01:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Whether you're undeserving by behavior or design is a distinction I don't care to make, and I wasn't even talking about you anyway in regards to scholarship. I go by results. Results vary, and my apportioning of generosity follows accordingly. When the fabric softener we were using at home gave me a rash, we switched brands. Nothing personal.

For instance, this weekend, MOCA LA is opening an exhibition of über-hack Marlene Dumas. Fine, I'll skip it, and no harm done. But I'd feel less inclined to broad damnations if I could swing a dead cat without hitting what passes for scholarship at the museum:

Rather than a chronological installation, the exhibition is organized thematically, inviting new associations between bodies of work and suggesting different relationships between subjects. In this way, each work is not closed to a specific interpretation, rather spectators are invited to participate in the creation of meaning.

I'm sure the people who perpetrated and approved this hackneyed prattle, its banal intellectual basis, and myriad other examples of both are as credentialed as all get-out. But they could disappear without any loss to the appreciation of Dumas' work, granting that some people find value in it. So if "go to hell" is too harsh for your virgin ears, substitute "dry up and blow away," "walk off a pier," "take a hike," or something else that adequately conveys that what much of the contemporary art world thinks of as scholarship is akin to a styrofoam object packed in styrofoam, that it's little more than a stain on silence, as Beckett put it, and leap-frogging its producers as an artist, writer, curator, or whatever else sounds like a fine idea to me.

6/21/2008 02:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Rococo said...

Writing is fifty years behind painting

6/21/2008 02:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Painting is 100 years behind industrial design.


Cedric

6/21/2008 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

Franklin, what you should skip is all your negativity. You're going to get sick.

Make art and curate who you want and stop worrying about what others do. You hate too easily.


Cedric

6/21/2008 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I go by results. Results vary, and my apportioning of generosity follows accordingly.

You have it backwards in my opinion. Results can come from being generous. In fact, an ungenerous artist is an oxymoron to me.

So if "go to hell" is too harsh for your virgin ears, substitute ...something else that adequately conveys that what much of the contemporary art world thinks of as scholarship is akin to a styrofoam object packed in styrofoam....

My question was about "scholarship" not about what "much of the contemporary art world thinks of as scholarship" or any other subgrouping thereof you can cherry pick examples out of to defend your sweeping insult. My question was sincere. If you bypass the filters, where is there for scholarship of contemporary art to thrive?

6/21/2008 02:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Break Through in Grey Room said...

Working With the Popular Forces

6/21/2008 02:46:00 PM  
OpenID deborahfisher said...

Excellent post, Once a Gallerina.

Mark, frankly, your "crumbs" response really rubbed me the wrong way.

You make yourself sound like a willing art serf. Do I understand you correctly?

6/21/2008 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous MARK II said...

i'm thinking of "Burroughs Called the Law."

seems industrious?

6/21/2008 02:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

In fact, an ungenerous artist is an oxymoron to me.

There are all kinds, as is true of any field.

...any other subgrouping thereof you can cherry pick examples out of to defend your sweeping insult.

If only it required cherry-picking. Do we really need to rehash the What Is Up With All the Bad Art Writing meme from a few months ago? Or were Richard Lacayo and Carol Deihl also cherry-picking their examples?

My question was sincere. If you bypass the filters, where is there for scholarship of contemporary art to thrive?

Where is scholarship of contemporary art thriving now? My question is also sincere - I want to clarify what you're calling "scholarship."

6/21/2008 03:16:00 PM  
Anonymous bataille and documents said...

Live Evil

6/21/2008 03:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Lycee said...

Someone has been asking what is up with all the bad art writing since art writing was around. It's nothing new, and the whining isn't likely to change since some people like to think that philosophy and politics have no place in the art world. Their loss, I'd say.

6/21/2008 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger concrete phone said...

Shooting for the crumbs...
Painting is 100 years behind industrial design...

Just in there I find a big bad new paradigm ;)

6/21/2008 09:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

----Where is scholarship of contemporary art thriving now?

The Physics of Aesthetics conference in Barcelona introduced the paradigms of the liveliest aspects of physics. One hundred years after Einstein's annus mirabilis, physics continues making progress, and the authors participated with internationally well-known scientists in drawing the outline of its more attractive face. Universal questions naturally arose, relating to the limits of our perception, the design of matter and the narrative of the complexity surrounding us. Local non-scientist personalities helped to distill aesthetics from the contemporary tendencies of this scientific discipline.

(Leonardo, June 2008 issue)

6/22/2008 12:49:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

Deborah,
I was being a bit facetious with that crumbs from the castle remark. But really, Once a Gallerina's remark kinda rubbed ME the wrong way (although I thought her point was sound), i was really trying my darndest not to seem defensive. Perhaps I misinterpreted but I read her point as there was only one "right" context from which an artist has any hope of finding visibility. Granted, this may be true. There is not much evidence in my life to suggest it isn't.

But the thing that I want to reject is the whole notion of the need to "leapfrog" over (insert legitimating gate-keeper) or worry about engaging the "correct" context, as if there these are monoliths that we need to avoid or plug into. There is just so many different levels, contexts, and frogs with which one can connect. Besides, if the premise of this discussion thread is "artists, stop yer bellyachin' and git ta werk!", then it seems to me the first step toward that is to recognize the fluid, multidimensional possibilities for a life in art. If that is naive so be it, especially when quitting isnt an option.

Besides, to us its a crumb, to the ant, it can feed half of the anthill community.

6/22/2008 01:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The little holes that let pass the granules of reality shrink as we grow.

c.p.

6/22/2008 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

"A lot of the commentary here seems naive, uninformed and provincial."

Eee gads! I try to eschew these labels in life, but in art? No! Might I refer you to Picasso, who is about as provincial as it gets, with the exception of Miro and his happy little peasants. No, I never liked them, though I hear they are great artists - maybe time has patinated their ouvre with filthy lucre, but I'll wager the iphone will destroy their reputation as surely as the floods remove the vermin.

These vain strivings to preserve the institutional anachronisms amuse me, as they should you, how soon you will perish!

6/22/2008 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actally, Franklin always makes sense and the rest: followers and populists.

BTW, ED: How do I find my old comments here? is there an easy way?

I was anom and mls most of the time. I said a few things that became articles and important issues down the line.

thanks.

6/22/2008 03:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric said...

---Franklin always makes sense and---the rest: followers and populists.


Just to make sure that I'm never associated with anything that Franklin represents, I'll accept to wear the badges of being a "populist" and a "provincial". Whatever fancies your fantasies.


Mary, Mary, Quite contrary
How does your garden grows?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids in a row.


Cedric C

6/22/2008 05:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Franklin never makes sense, his opinions are always pedantic, and he is the most close minded blogger in the blogsphere, anybody who is so incapable of grasping fundamental concepts of art, can only possess a superficially empirical understanding of the world, and derivative thoughts

if the only fan of Franklin decides to be anonymous, maybe its Franklin.

and I have no idea what you mean by "Actally"

6/22/2008 05:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we need to give Franklin enough credit to say that he usually makes sense. It's just that he's usually wrong, is all.

6/22/2008 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger Belvoir said...

Dunno if this adds to the conversation, but God i'm so sick of the "that's just the way it is" rationalizations that i constantly read here.

In 1990 or so, I graduated from a very good NYC art school. The art world was utterly cratering financially, but I made myself useful, and was lucky (?) enough to get assistant-of- assistant jobs for some name artists.

The amount of sexual casting-couch pressure I felt constantly , as a young attractive man, would put Hollywoood to shame. It was grasping and horrible and awkward-not necessarily the artists I worked for but the other self-important people i'd meet at art-world parties.

Serious lechery, and always implicit was: how bad do you want it? Powerful art-world people abusing their position because they wanted to fuck me, and being shameless about it. This is the early 90's, when no one was making much money.

So whenever I see a Jeffrey Deitch declaring he'll only consider an artist who's also a De Menil heir, I honestly remember that time someone like him would beg to blow me.


Long story short: The "art world " is a fraud, you will never meet more cynical and wicked people in your life. You'll be screwed, fucked over and exploited by the "names"that sound like a ticket to fame. Learn to suck the dick of a shrimp like Deitch or be well-born, those are your options.

Horrible, exploitive creeps run the art world, mostly in NYC. I love Ed's blog here, he seems sane and i appreciate his genorosity of knowledge. But it's true, the most vicious and unstable creeps tend to have excessive sway in the "art world".

In the 90's for me, in the Hamptons and in NYC when I was young and handsome, it was constant: put out and have sex with me and i'll help you.

Constant, constant! It never ended. Eventually I seized my integrity back from names you'd recognize. No, it's ok. I'll do something else rather than deal with dehumanizing plays by art-world power-brokers. It was demoralizing but showed me how little big names cares about he 'art" part.

Seriously, the "art world" is a giant fraud, Hollywood was never as presumptuous. In my experience, ferocious pressure from "names" to put out sexually disgusted me quite enough. Today this would be a scandal elsewhere, but there is no arena as viciously amoral and unfair as the NYC "art world".

It is rotten and exploitive and SO out of it in 2008.
They scarcely know what the Web is.

Unless you went to Yale and have family money to have an impressive loft for a photo spread, the art world doesn't care. Be 21 and photogenic too. That would help, best of luck. And Ed here honorably tries to state how very haaard it is to establish a new artist.

Does Hollywood bitch about this? Does publishing? I honestly am hard-pressed to think of another creative industry where resistance to new talent is expressed in terms of boring negligible office costs. Postage! Dreadfully unimaginative, terrifically dull. Like the alleged "art world".

6/22/2008 07:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ttt

6/22/2008 07:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edward:

at risk of sounding naive at best, stupid at worst, and treating you like the art world Dear Abby i need to ask a question; a very pragmatic one.

how can someone like myself, who works a mind-numbing job during the day to pay his bills ($75,000 in debt from 6 years of art school), works until 3,4 AM during the week in her/his studio, spends all day and night saturdays and sundays working in their studio, has no friends with any connections to the "inner sanctum" of the art world, takes what they do with the utmost seriousness, believes very strongly in their work, who has had a solo show in the recent past–with a gallery who had to close its doors and a gallerist who is unable to offer any help towards future shows, someone who has had reviews in the village voice and other publications; how can someone like this get their work seen by someone like yourself–a gallerist?
i understand that i should be going to art world parties, but surprisingly i'd rather spend that time working in my studio. i know galleries do not except unsolicited submissions–i've asked, your gallery seems to frown upon it too. maybe i should apply for a residency; but if i quit my job, i have no source to pay the enormous debt i've accrued from school, past unemployment, etc: i will quite literally find myself on the street. i have no illusions of the romantic poor artist: i've been there and starvation and debt collectors are not romantic. i also have no pretenses of changing the art world; that would require a much more insurmountable task of altering the current cultural ideological paradigm/context we find ourselves in and that the art world is but a small part of. so again, how can someone like myself get someone like you to see their work?

thank you in advance for your thoughtful response.

sincerely yours,

naive-n-diligent

6/22/2008 08:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

Belvoir, they are plenty of average looking artists who succeed
and they don't support your claim that being sexy determinates the
success you have in art.

I think many artists beg to suck a dealer to get to show, so I suppose
you're lucky that the contrary occured, but if your dealer wasn't interested by your art because you refused to blow him, than really you didn't have anything to do there. Try meet a lesbian dealer?


Cedric Casp

6/22/2008 08:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

Anonymous:

1) Maybe being anonymous is not a great idea if you're looking to get known. Just maybe.


2) Design a website of your works. I believe Edward once in a while makes an open "link-your-site" thread. Just put the link then. Or anytime, I guess. Put it up for everybody to see. If it's really good, chances are someone is going to shout "gosh, his (her) stuff is really great!!". And then maybe Edward will be curious enough to visit?


There's one artist who posted here recently whom I think is doing great work in the field of abstraction. Wil Murray. If I had a gallery in Chelsea I would try him (not that painting is my favorite medium, so that is saying much). Google and see for yourself.


Cedric C

6/22/2008 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger w said...

"Actually, Franklin never makes sense, his opinions are always pedantic, and he is the most close minded blogger in the blogsphere"

Yes, he looks closely at things. I agree that he isn't closed-minded at all.

"It's just that he's usually wrong, is all."

What is he wrong about - that visual art be judged visually? I would be happier with that kind of judgment than the seemingly arbitrary ones that are made by what Edward earlier called the "vetters" of the art world. Their decisions seem to be made more on cleverness, fashion and nepotism than actual artistic value.

6/22/2008 10:10:00 PM  
OpenID deborahfisher said...

Hey Mark,

I thought Gallerina's comment was about context. If I was going to paraphrase it, I would say this:

1. Being an artist is like any other entrepraneurial (can never spell that) gesture. You either make yourself indispensable or you don't, and if you don't, you drift along or you fail.

2. Whining about the mechanics of the art world not being suitable to one's vision is ignoring the fact that other people don't play to please you. They play to please themselves. To be a part of something universally considered valuable. To trade and display power.

There is a basic humility in accepting that the art market doesn't really give a fuck about you. That it's looking for artists that affirm its own raison d' etre.

(this is a basic humility that I think Franklin would benefit from owning)

When you asked for the crumbs of this process, I didn't read sarcasm. I read an acknowledgment of what Gallerina stated and a desire to place oneself at the periphery.

I think I did this in part because of your work, which uses artworld ephemera, magazines and such, in a way that I hadn't heretofore considered atavistic but might have been wrong about. And in part because sarcasm often requires physical cues.

I think what you are saying is that there is no need to say "Art Star Or Bust!!" That there are many definitions of the word success.

I agree with that.

As a really good American, it still catches in the back of my throat, though, to say that someone might *not* choose to shoot the moon. I don't personally tend to get that.

6/22/2008 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger Donna Dodson said...

There is a basic humility in accepting that the art market doesn't really give a fuck about you. That it's looking for artists that affirm its own raison d' etre... Deborah

See also the book on MoMA and AbEx artists...
Who Paid The Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War

6/22/2008 10:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

There is a basic humility in accepting that the art market doesn't really give a fuck about you. That it's looking for artists that affirm its own raison d' etre. (this is a basic humility that I think Franklin would benefit from owning)

Hi, Deborah - I hope the residency's going well.

The art world owes me nothing. Anything it has given me in spite of this is a gift. It has given me much.

I owe the art world nothing. Anything I have given it in spite of this is a gift. I have given it much.

That there are many definitions of the word success. I agree with that.

Seconded. Far more definitions than have been adequately articulated.

...it still catches in the back of my throat, though, to say that someone might *not* choose to shoot the moon.

For all its luster, The moon is an airless ball of dust with weak gravity. If you catch my drift.

6/22/2008 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger Donna Dodson said...

One thought about context... I heard Kenneth Snelson speak one time and he said he never wanted to part of thematic groups or shows because he didn't want to be associated with any one movement and in retrospect he didn't feel like it was a good strategy because when the history books on art were written he wasn't in it... in other words take the context like a piece of clothing- try it on, see if it fits, wear it or not

6/22/2008 11:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

W:
-----What is he wrong about - that visual art be judged visually?


Every arts can be judged visually. Every artefacts too.
In fact, every perception IS. But what are your criterias?
It will be a mixture of conative, affective and cognitive values.
That process doesn't rely exclusively on aesthetics.

Automatically evaluating art that takes other strategies than aesthetic as non-valid is absurd. There's not only the beauty of visuals, there is also the beauty of thinking, and the best works from any century were rarely visually pure (actually, it's impossible to be, there is always extraneous content, be it simply your psychological background).

I am not an enemy of aesthetics. There is great and bad art in every categories, it's
all a question of putting things into context and understanding the artist's position.

There is enough evidence of present-day scholarly research in arts, including within aesthetics.

I don't think it's the role of the website announcement to "scholarize"
about Marlene Dumas. That will be done through room panels, review criticism, the catalog, conferences, etc... I don't see the reason of criticizing the choice of the installment, because grouping paintings chronologically, or following
formal congruities or the artist's thematics are all equally valid. In
the end, every individual will come out with a different experience. The museum's role is to attract a wide audience. There will be places where the work of Dumas will be discussed more intellectually. I don't understand the problem (I must be a "populist"). I'm sure the intro says a little more than the way the exhibit is installed, like what was the main motive for the artist, what aesthetic elements are the most obvious, etc...

As I said on Artblog, I hope some museum is doing a retro of Vincent Desiderio soon because all the neo-masterists are getting annoying with their superficial quests for aesthetic eugenistics.

Cedric C

6/23/2008 02:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Let me repeat my first phrase, because I'm not sure what I meant will pass through:

"Every art can be judged visually. Every artefacts too"


How do you separate aesthetics of Fine Arts from non-Fine aesthetics?

By purpose.

Or do you define purpose?

By thinking.


Art is always a thinking process, therefore it can never fully be apprehended visually (pure aesthetic experience).


Cheers,

Cedric C

6/23/2008 02:22:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

Yo Deb "B-Gurl" Fisher!

As a good "new deal" American, I need to believe 2 things:

1)there are equal opportunities to make oneself indispensable via many possible contexts.

2) since the definition of "periphery" is subjective, there is no need to "accept" a life on the periphery unless I submitted my life to someone else's perspective, which is plain silliness.

Granted, this "need to believe" does not make it a reality.
And I suppose that is what I was acknowledging in my consideration of Once's insight.

This is how this discussion has become wrapped up in my recent reconsideration of the internet as a tool for artists. Let me explain, from the start I thought of the interweb as:

a) demonstrating evidence that the "art world" is NOT a monolithic, uni-vocal monarch handing out passes to the "right" few subjects.

b) and therefore provides opportunities via technology for many different subjectivities to link up with their own, similar gallaxies in the multi-verse "art world"

c) that this ideal is not yet fully realized and will evolve over time. (its not yet like that breakdancing mat open to all who want show their skilz!)

Okay, so lately I have been reconsidering this line of thinking as naive or perhaps delusional. For many years, i used the music industry as a model of these new opportunities via the web where a local garageband can create a myspace page and find their music spread around college students' ipods , end up being played on college radio stations, getting traveling gigs, magazine articles, etc.

Now I am wondering if that model does not correlate with the contemporary art one, that access into college radio libraries obviously works differently than access into curated exhibits and residency programs.

I am wondering if signing up to display work on a social network site like artreview.com is ultimately self-ghettoizing; fed by desperate, unrepresented artists who display low-ambition via association. (i have an artreview.com page)

But then I wonder if this just hasn't played out fully yet. We have yet to see what new, paradigm shifting associations and institutions result.

So, i guess this is an acknowledgment of the uncertainty involved in possible paradigm shifts.

But my willingness to accept crumbs stems not from low-ambition, but rather from the humility to admit that i may be standing in the wrong dang lunch line.

6/23/2008 02:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Mark, the line of thinking is right, but there are fundamental differences between visual art and music that make it harder for artists to do what the musicians are doing.

You lose as much nuance by recording music as reproducing art. But people are used to listening to recorded music as an adequate fascsimile. In art this isn't as true. A poster of a painting is a sorry thing. A poster of a sculpture is even worse. The culture in general is putting increasing energies into creative forms that can be easily shared, which is why you'll hear authors, musicians, and filmmakers interviewed so much more frequently than visual artists.

Musicians make recordings into polished statements that give listeners a finalized experience to listen to. When artists work towards a polished statement, they usually end up with a single work. (Exceptions noted; they certainly don't end up with millions of copies.) Too, it has to be noted that musicians and music lovers, by and large, haven't given up on the stuff that makes music good. You don't have music aficionados arguing that the category of "music" only exists because of thinking and that it's not really about sound. Trying to make something that sounds good is not regarded as a retrogressive act of effete aesthetics. Enjoying something because it sounds good is a respectable form of appreciation, assuming you have an ear for it. Consequently you don't end up with the kind of chasms between makers and audiences that you have in visual art. (Again, exceptions noted.)

The artists who make a similar paradigm work are going to figure out how put their final statement into the reproduction, in a way that delivers a satisfying experience for the person who spends time with it. I'll bet that there are a lot of ways one could make that happen.

6/23/2008 03:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

F:
----You don't have music aficionados arguing that the category of "music" only exists because of thinking and that it's not
-----really about sound.


Memory is an aspect of cognitive psychology that is required in order to experience music intelligibly. If you take a good course in ethnomusicology, you will learn that music is not simply sound, but many aspects of it can be explained culturally. Why, for example, such a cuban rhythm developed from which
ancient mating ritual and what it represents. Or what does classicism represents about the culture that provided it. Why such or such musical instruments were put to advantage in a composition, etc. When you pick up an instrument and start to play, it's because of thinking. Same thing when you
start to "listen", when you "decide": THIS is music. The "medium" is fantastic for keeping a lot of its secrets and remaining abstract for a good part, but it usually titillates processes of associations in the listener's mind that can involve other mnemonic affects than pure sounds. I just don't believe in pure perception per se. Taste is informed by values extraneous to aesthetics, including sounds.

Art is never entirely affective and never entirely thinking. It's first and foremost a desire,
a will to perceive IT (the artwork), that's influenced by both the sensorial response
to new experiences (aesthetics) and choices made by cognitive reasoning (the new versus the old). It's a constant debate between instinct, emotion, and knowledge (or intuition).



Cedric C

6/23/2008 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

Franklin and Cedric!
I cant tell you guys how overjoyed I am to ponder the excellent points you both make! The topic itself is extremely interesting to me! I know this is WAY off tread topic but I just cannot resist- im a sweet toothed kid in a candystore right now.

Franklin,
The facsimile issue is so true. From experience, I know that after reading almost every book and article and viewing countless reproductions of Pollock's painting, i thought that I "got" it. And then once i actually witnessed a live Pollock, it became so clear how wrong i had been. Compare that to either listening to every Bob Dylan anthology out there or going to a live Dylan concert (esp. sitting 50 rows away). The contrast in those experiences is amazing!

But I think the best examples of contemporary music and contemporary art share aspects of hybridization and self-referentiality. There is a link between thinking of a sound and a visual element as raw material for meaning creation and that attention to the relationship between form and concept is vital for both art forms.

Music just cuts to the emotional bone much more directly and quickly. Emotion thru music is much more palpable so therefore the significance and importance of that experience (alone) is more readily believable than emotion via visual experience. And emotion via the visible is not as easily shared or expressed as it is via sound.

But sound is the thought as well as the experience as John Cage demonstrated. Thinking and experience go hand in hand in the best art. And as Cedric mentions, sound is formed or recognized by specific cultural values, the awareness of such is just as important as the awareness that image and form is culturally specific and meaningful.

oh, the surface has only been scratched!

6/23/2008 10:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

I didn't mean to initiate a music and art thread - I was just comparing alternative business models. But germane to that, unless I'm missing something, we're not seeing legions of Cage-inspired musicians putting up MySpace pages and loading recordings of silence onto the media players. Musicians are performers in a way that artists are not, but typically they try to connect with the audience, muscially, in a way that makes the social networks and alternative distribution channels viable for them.

This is a useful observation to make about Pop Surrealism. It's very easy to connect to: lots of skillful craft, Daliesque strangeness, T&A, and references to sci-fi, fantasy, and popular culture. I would guess that it's easier to push this stuff over the Web than conceptually-leaning installation art.

My point is that there may be limits on how much deconstruction of your medium (or what kinds) you can get away with and still expect to find a way around the mainstream system.

6/23/2008 11:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't know what deconstruction means, Franklin. And I don't think you know much about avant garde recordings these days either.

By the way, why don't you stop showing at galleries if you're so opposed to their authority. Why don't you stop taking jobs from institutions that receive public funding? Or are they the ones that are staring to turn away from you? Actually, there's some nice conceptual work up at Dorsch right now!

6/23/2008 12:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Another way of thinking about the problem is that your distribution channel, whatever it is, is going to have to agree with what you expect your audience to do with your production. Going away from the standard model will make some things impossible, so the question becomes what is possible given a new channel. An exhibition might be like a concert. A monograph might be like a CD. A jpeg might be like an mp3 file. You're basically trading off resolution and depth for portability.

Anonymous 12:26: In case you missed it, I've decided to stop responding to people with hidden identities when I'm on other people's blogs.

6/23/2008 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Casp said...

Mark:

-------The facsimile issue is so true.

I'm very pro-documentation, though. As Bertrand Tavernier once said "I would rather have someone see La Grande Illusion by Renoir on a cheap VHS videotape than someone missing it entirely". Most people are not in positions to own art and heavily rely on reproductions and documentations to see it. In fact, most people's idea of La Joconde comes from repros, and so we're getting into the hyperrealist problematic entertained by Baudrillard, where people loose sense of an original (prophecy for the digital age). But where my opinion differs is that repros will come close to look like the original within 100 years, not even accounting digitals arts where a notion of the original completely disappear. Already, the "unofficial" Youttube documentations of exhibitions are extremely useful. They argument how much of the notion of space is important in apprehending any exhibit. Art is never just a bunch of JPEGs. But, this lead to the other point where my opinion differs.

I don't believe that the web or reproductions will enhance forms of art that can be easily distributed by the web or through publications. The quantity of images that will be on offer will on the contrary not be helpful for visual aesthetics, which will be received increasingly as a form of polution (the same way that a cake can be over-saturated with sugar, there would simply be too much of visual information). People will be seeking "experiences" that can titillate more than the visual. Documentation of these experiences, heavily distributed on the internet, will provide part of the joy, but the distinction will remain. The issue of situation: "Were you there When?", will remain. Even in the case of a digital world like Second Life, it will mean something different to witness an event right at the moment it is happening. Gatherings
would be the "new precious". The rare thing in a world where everyone is lonely and on their own, able to get a lazer 3D repro of a Van Gogh that looks exactly like the original, but having a hard time to share the pleasure it provides with anyone.

Thank you for your passion!


Cedric C

6/23/2008 03:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

Oops, in the first paragraph, I meant to add that I "differ" from the notion that hyperrealism will bring doom to culture, at least not as long as the process is as conscious as it is now. People enjoy great fakes, but they're still able to make the difference. If we invent an artificial fruit, it will be celebrated as an artificial fruit. Better to have the complete digital library of Alexandria on an Ipod than having none of it. Basically, I'm defending the culture of the facsimile and propose it as valid.


Cedric

6/23/2008 06:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Surprisingly little art is better in real life than it is in a photograph."

from the most recent entry of Artopia, John Perreault's art diary

6/23/2008 08:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mind in Scientology is described as a bank of mental image pictures. These pictures give the spirit experience and knowledge, and stores the thetan’s postulates.
Facsimile is the term used in Scientology to describe a mental image picture. A facsimile is an impression of motion and it contains all perspectives about an experience including pleasure and pain.
“A Heavy Facsimile" is an experience, complete with all perceptions and emotions and thoughts and efforts, occupying a precise place in space and a moment in time.

May Ron be with you.

6/23/2008 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

Cedric,
I am pro-documentation also, especially since my work only exists as documents with their constituent parts in storage. And this medium of documentation/archive is vital for my and many other artists' practices.

This is influencing my thinking that we have been witnessing the creation of a new category of artist- a "net artist" ,not in the Benjaminian sense of someone using the esthetics of net technology or the net as a social practice tool, but rather someone who makes work as if it would/could exist in traditional contexts (and maybe sometimes does) but actually is engaged experientially, critically and conceptually within this one. The various discourses of physicality, literalness, scale, space would no longer apply and would need to be supplanted by others.

I am imagining that this be a project taken up by artists who find themselves in this situation (due to ghettoization) in a more direct, purposeful way. But still retain that ambiguity (art for traditional contexts, but not)which is part of the entire conceptualization.

But, speaking of the reproduction of art issue, i took this on several years ago in a work where I tore up a poster of a Pollock painting ,dividing it into a grid of at least 50 hand-ripped pieces. I then installed the pieces on a wall in their correct position except spread out to reproduce the original's true proportions. The concept came from my reflecting on the tension and disconnect between the physical experience of scale, human gesture, and the compression of those concepts in the poster replication. It seemed a bit too direct at the time but now is more interesting to me reconsidering my relationship to documentation.

6/23/2008 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

“Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, Tits.”
— George Carlin (1937-2008)

R.I.P.

6/24/2008 12:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Mark:
---if it would/could exist in ----traditional contexts (and maybe ----sometimes does) but actually is ----engaged experientially, --------critically and conceptually within ----this one.



I'm not sure if it follows your theory but I really admire Lynn Hershman and her experimentations on Second Life (she's replicating a real life installation from the 70's that never worked out). Actually, they are artists who simply link both worlds, make art that is co-dependant internet and real. One of the very early piece of internet art (world wide web era) was Transit Bar by Vera Frenkel, and it was both a physical installation and something happening over the internet.

(gosh, I'm good if I can dig a link:
http://www.yorku.ca/bmissing/barspace/Bar1a.html)... very retro!

But I think the next generation of video artists will be on You Tube. It will be stuff from the frames of web discourse, but that might lead to counterparts in real life, even moreso that Youtube videos so often take the shapes of documents, micro-broadcasts of "performances" rather than mini-cinema.


What's curious about your Pollock project is that you're lending back scale, you're aiming at the original, yet this experience is temporal because your exhibit is as temporal as when the Pollock was originally shown, and what's left as a mark for most people (that would be me) is the reproduction of your work, itself back to a small scale. If you put on Youtube the video-walkthrough of your show, than you keep part of the original idea. This is important because even if you get very well-known tomorrow and your work is permanently exhibited at Moma, most people will only know it by the reproduction. And I don't think it's possible to be known, to become a popular artist, without having information about the works leaking. I mean, if the artist finds the repro problematic and attempts to stop the process, it leaks by itself, and joins the global conscious. Most artists don't care at all about this issue,
but I find it interesting. That visual arts is a culture of documentation.


Cheers

Cedric C

6/24/2008 01:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric said...

I meant, a culture of facsimiles!

That sound way better !

Cedric

6/24/2008 01:41:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Staff Brandl said...

Whew! Hot discussion. You hit all our nerves here Edward. One more thing, I'm friends with several YBAs (now M-ABAs? Middle-aged Bas?). An important element in their rise was indeed a short span of generosity. Hirst managed to get them all to stick together and pretend to be a "school" of sorts, and he more or less highjacked Saatchi into coming to the first show. Leipzig has done similar 8with far less interesting work). I wish on the one hand that artworldians would not always equate all criticism with whining,(seems very American --- if you'r so smart why ain't you rich), but on the other hand agree that more "group packaging" could go a long way. If artists, even momentarily, stop kissing ass and stabbing one another in the back thee Beeg Powers see it as a moevement and get all aroused.

6/24/2008 03:00:00 AM  
Anonymous The German Shepherds said...

for the love of god let us kiss the arse we eat from

6/24/2008 11:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

YBA is the worst movement name ever. It should have been something along the lines of
"the SAD movement" (Sex And Death).
And I'm not trying to be detrimental, I love many of YBA artists (Chapman, Lucas, etc). I just think a lot of the works was in-yer-face sex-and-death (or sex-and-decay), so I like a name that tells me what the group is about.



Cedric Casp

6/24/2008 01:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evil Lotka:

That is really fascinating.

6/24/2008 02:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Caught in the Act said...

(DeYoung) – 8:56 (ybcst) with "optional"access

6/24/2008 02:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are you talking about Freeze? I was in that show, and I hardly ever think about it. Get a life.
The "YBA phenomenon" as it is ludicrously called, like most myths, was the result of a collusion of interests. The question now, in cold hindsight, is how interesting was it really, compared to some of the more impressive things that preceded it? Or rather compared to some of the work from which it was derived?

8/05/2008 06:17:00 PM  

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