Next: The new center of the art world (60)
Post #1374 • July 13, 2009, 3:39 PM • 8 Comments
Artblog.net is going on a light summer schedule while some issues get addressed. For one, the power supply on my desktop machine died, so I'm awaiting delivery on a new one. At the end of the week I go on a writing assignment to the Berkshires. By the end of the month I will have completed a new print comic for the next issue of Inbound, and a Fulbright application. By the middle of next month, I will have completed substantial work on a website I've been hired to build, as well as a prototype for a rather exciting idea I have for this. Comments will stay on but posting shall be as irregular, both chronologically and logically, as I feel necessary.
July 13, 2009, 7:55 PM
Fulbright? Well, I guess dough is dough, but I hope you're more responsible with it than he was. All the best in the endeavors. Man, are we taking different roads! You're a pro and an amateur. I'm an amateur but I can affect pro for those who need the reassurance.
July 19, 2009, 10:55 AM
While loitering at the boostore, I looked over an article in one of the art mags about Steve Cohen, the hedge fund billionaire who owns Hirst's shark, Quinn's frozen-blood head, assorted shiny Koons balloon animals, etc. Supposedly he's spent over a billion on his collection (which also includes some latter 19th century and Modernist pieces, all big names and big prices).
The guy can buy whatever he wants and has ready access to hordes of supposedly expert advisers. As I fully expected, it wasn't long before the obligatory "he's got an incredible eye" line was proffered. Apparently, everybody connected with him will say that, and some of them may actually believe it (especially if their own eye is no better, which is quite likely).
By the way, the original Hirst shark rotted and had to be replaced. The taxidermy bill was around 100K. Nice work if you can get it.
July 19, 2009, 12:07 PM
Jack, some of the stuff that goes on in our incredibly prosperous art world is hard to believe, that's for sure. If the "original" shark had rotted, how much "art" is left after it is replaced and how much is it worth? Christo, to his credit, calls what is temporary "temporary" and makes it free for the duration.
It is much easier to believe that humans once walked the moon than it is to believe this stuff garnered such a massive outlay of dollars. But I believe both stories.
A friend gave me a strange DVD featuring Joseph Drapell, Graham Peacock, and Kenworth Moffett, titled something like "The Crisis in the Art World". I suffered through the whole bloody thing. I thought of your former requirement of yourself that you view a lot of bad art shows, just to verify for yourself what was there.
The title was reinforced by many of the assertions by just about everyone except a curator who said Dan Flavin inherited color field, and therefore put a Flavin at the entrance of a color field show he organized in Toronto. He was the only one who didn't seem to feel there was much of a crisis and I thought he was actually right. As Jack has pointed out, art has never been as prosperous and well funded as it is in our time. Where is the crisis in that? What was merely the dream of the post WWII avant-garde has come true ... in spades.
Of course, Drapell and company felt the crisis was that they were not included in the show. They even said they (the new new, including the awful Lucy Baker who should be exhibiting with Jeff Koons) were THE continuation of color field! I about fell over at that one, as I am sure the curator did too (since he chose to exclude every one of them from his show).
The impish Drapell was the most appealing speaker of the "new new" group, but once the personal charm was removed from his words, there wasn't much meat there - maybe a truism here and there. The biggest offender, though, was an artist they picked up from somewhere (already forgot his name) who said the show of the Greenberg collection he saw in Portland or somewhere demonstrated three Greenbergs: 1), the Greenberg who collected master pieces; 2), the Greenberg who collected color field leaders; and 3), the Greenberg who collected work he "just liked". Strange as only an artist can be strange.
Anyway Jack, I thought of your former masochism as I sat through more than an hour of this drivel. Carol Sutton, however, did provide a moment of light when she asked "How come pluralism was so exciting in the 60s and now it is so dull?" No one responded. Guess they were not concerned about much except getting into dumb shows.
July 19, 2009, 12:11 PM
I tend to think that restoring a decaying, formaldehyde-soaked shark to its glorious status as bad taxidermy would not be nice work even if you could get it.
July 19, 2009, 12:46 PM
Actually, Franklin, the rotten shark was not restored, but replaced by another one (not that it makes any real difference). Presumably, they got a better taxidermist this time, to make sure the replacement doesn't rot also. For 100K, I sure as hell hope Cohen got his money's worth.
In a perverse way, it's amusing to read about Cohen, whose collection supposedly contains nothing but masterpieces (or so those connected with him, or wanting to be connected with him, claim). He himself admits he collects pretty much the way he does business, which I suppose is fair enough, but the way he's treated, you'd think he was the reincarnation of Greenberg. Given his billions, that's hardly surprising and probably inevitable, but my take is that the only thing this guy really knows about is money.
July 19, 2009, 2:10 PM
Anyone know what happened to Cohen's hedge fund last year? I bet it lost a lot of money.
July 19, 2009, 5:56 PM
Yes, John, I employed a lot of time and energy on a lot of bad shows. I console myself with the notion that, rather than being an idiot for taking the game (and it is a game) so seriously and taking so long to pull the plug on it, I gave it every chance and thus know exactly what I'm rejecting and why. I believe it's called rationalization.
July 13, 2009, 3:49 PM
I almost emailed you on that NAJP thing, but I figured (rightly, I see) you were already on the mofo.