If the emperor is naked, where does he put that corpulent wallet of his?
Post #783 • May 4, 2006, 11:31 AM • 18 Comments
In the early 1990's, when Chinese contemporary art was just beginning to take off, a young painter here named Zhou Tiehai came up with an ambitious plan to make himself famous.
He would succeed by beating the art market at its own game, exposing its commercialism while exploiting it to the hilt. He would produce paintings that he hoped would be acclaimed by the same Western collectors and journalists who, in his mind, had advanced the careers of too many mediocre Chinese artists.
And he would do all this without lifting a brush: he would delegate that work to hirelings.
Somehow, he pulled it off. Mr. Zhou is now one of China's hottest artists. His meteoric rise from marginalized rebel to mainstream superstar culminated in a solo exhibition of his works at the Shanghai Art Museum in March.
Oh, were I not on semihiatus, I would rip this eight ways from Sunday. Art Soldier gets a couple good shots in. But for now, I can only express my bafflement: how can so many rich people be so stupid?