Wednesday, July 05, 2006

the politics of what other people think, 3

I went to sleep with this quote from the Serra interview ringing in my head:

I think the great thing about Warhol was his cynical, critical banality of conversing with the media. Warhol’s provocation is lost now and has been replaced by a superficial simulation of banality; that is banality for banality’s sake where everybody’s in on the meta-joke. Only the meta-joke of art about art can become tiresome real quick. Cynicism has been replaced with sentimentality. The problem with a lot of work today is its predictability. Its only allusion is to something we already know; it reframes, or re-references the known over and over again. It can’t possibly give us the same kind of inventive diversity and fulfillment and complex evolution of the formal language of art that invention can provide. I find it interesting that there’s no post-modernism that doesn’t deal with re-representation.
I'm sure that everyone is not in on the Meta-Joke. Warhol built a somber cathedral in the middle of the emptiness and banality of american culture. As long as what the Times actually prints is not negative, there is no concern whatsoever for the quality of the actual criticism. It is merely a public relations vehicle and that is something for which everyone of these artists we're always complaining about is longing. As Warhol said, publicity is like popcorn.

They reject criticism like they reject art. Not something Serra does at all. Certainly not something Warhol did, though he may have only ever discussed it with his mother or his closest companion. As Mindsprinter says, of Serra, in the comments below:
He's really done his homework in terms of thinking about his concept in terms of his materials and how that fits into the greater dialogue of art (and his own personal narrative), which is all about seeing through the fashion-fickle market machine of any given timeframe and beelining to the steadfast, eternal conditions/principles.
I don't see that anywhere else in the "white-hot market" and it does make me wonder that no one else is studying art. Does it really really piss off these MFA instructors that the cocktale party advice and tips on "who to know" really accounts for very little? The point maybe I am trying to make is that even a hint toward some sort of principle is usually enough to make good art. Public relations, scandal, trend, all of those things that fit under the empty umbrella of the fake media world are things that artists should avoid. There is nothing realistic about seeking publicity for a fraudulent product, about performing for a media circus that is against reality. Principles? What should yours be ?


  1. funny, I was thinking about exploring whether or not there are "artist values" vs. "artworld values"
    great observation by Serra but how does it square with exhibiting with Gagosian?
    Someone of questionable ethics

  2. i agree with you. i would almost go so far as to say that I am prejudiced toward or in favor of gagosian because he is rather old school, blue-chip, and big money. he doesn't show a lot of artists that I don't "like," and further, I never really felt like I particularly "like" Serra, though his shows at Gagosian have been impressive.

    I think in terms of your debate, I would just as soon say that it should be about "maintaining artist values in spite of artworld values." The post I just wrote touches on these issues.

  3. Exactly - that's the better way to put it. Let's try and run a bit with that as an on going theme.

    I like ALOT of Gagosian artists but it doesn't take away from the fact that he's a known money launderer, etc.
    But then again, that is old school art wheelin and dealin

  4. Gagosian is what all of these other clowns want to be. They will stop at nothing to further the PR campaigns, but they will not study nor even appreciate the art mentality. I think that is the key difference. I believe in some measure it simply has to do with never having been exposed to actual artists and so that is what I try to achieve. Maybe that's why they keep hitting up my blog ?