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A New Start- Comments on the Art World

June 2, 2017

I’ve been thinking about this blog a lot recently. Mostly because it seems like everyone and their mother has started a blog and I haven’t written in this one in years. I mean I’ve updated things that I’ve written on other places & given hyperlinks but nothing really of substance. Recently I’ve been thinking about what to write.

I’ve now been in the art game almost exclusively for seven years. I’ve dabbled in design over the years but primarily fine art is my business. I know a lot of art people who know art people. I go to the fairs and the exhibits and the gallery shows (even though technically artists really should not go to the meat market that is the art fair).  I see and experience a lot of art and art as a business. I look at art not only as an artist (and the skill that it takes to make the work) but also as a collector. Sometimes it can be confusing because I switch hats so often – but most recently I wonder where the art world is headed. Yes, the business of art has changed tremendously over the years. The heyday of experimentation and experiencing art for art’s sake is long gone. And that’s what is so disappointing.

The artists who are trying to push Art to a new level seem few and far between. Mostly it seems like artists now are trying to make a quick buck to appease whoever it is that is buying. They are not thinking about how this medium or subject can be pushed to create something new and exciting. They’re thinking ‘how can I make money’ – and I don’t blame them.
However there has to be some light of hope at the end of this creative tunnel. Art isn’t all about making money. It has never been about making money. Its purpose has been to change someone’s perspective. Change the way they see life. Experience life. You think Picasso experimented with changing perspective to create cubism because of money? DE00050_10
Or do you think Jean Michel Basquiat was some dumb ‘street kid’ who was not artistically gifted? While the latter example probably did have something to do with money, it was also an example of an artist saying to those who looked at his art “go fuck yourself if you don’t like it”. We need more artists like that nowadays. We need artists that want to say something. Change something.
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It seems to me like collectors of art have been given too much power. Their advisers have been given too much leeway. For those of you who are not familiar with what I’m talking about, people who supposedly know a lot about art often advise people who don’t. While this is not always the case, a large percentage of the art buyers have someone in their ear. On the other side of the coin, some people believe just because they’ve read a healthy collection of art books, it makes them an expert. These people advise regardless of their knowledge or qualifications to buy pretty pictures because that’s what they are, pretty. These images that are pleasing to the eye or match the furniture in the room or can be ignored and were hung just so someone could have something on the wall. The work is not influential, they are not game changers, they just look good in a living room or hallway or even a bathroom (which by the way never do because it ruins the art).

The other day I saw two things which made me upset with the art world. Both have to do with the artist Jeff Koons. If you have read anything I have written about Jeff Koons, you know I’m not a fan. He is a sensational “artist” who actually does not make art. He creates the definition of Pop Art so appetizing it can appeal to a toddler – much like a Disney film.
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The first thing I saw was Jeff Koons’ new sculpture in Rockefeller Center. A large, shiny- skinned, golden-haired ballerina that looked like a Christmas ornament was sitting front and center in one of the most iconic, touristy spots in New York. What upset me about this was, what was the lack of differentiation between this piece and anything you’d see anywhere else? The answer to the question was simply that it’s larger. It’s not witty or complex or overwhelmingly, breathtakingly beautiful. It seems outdated and a little strange considering the political climate and the challenging roles that women are facing. But it is big and shiny and sparkles in the sunlight so that people can take their selfies and post them to social media. You might even see smaller versions of this sculpture being sold around the Holidays so people can relive the magical moment that they stood in front of the big ballerina. Seeing this was so disappointing on so many levels.
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The second Koons’ anecdote also had to do with Jeff Koons appropriating some of the most famous works of art for his “collaboration” with Louis Vuitton. Many years ago Takashi Murakami did a collaboration with Louis Vuitton. He changed the way the monogram logo looked, he created a new colorful pattern, he created new characters to incorporate with their brand. He transformed the idea of a collaboration with an artist to something that had never been done before.  murakami_LV
Jeff Koons’ answer for the same question was to take images of famous works of art throughout history (which he did not create) and put them on bags. My questions to Jeff Koons would be how does this help the art community? Do you think you are educating people with these new uses of famous paintings? Giving them a sort of art history lesson so that they can maybe, sort of identify parts of paintings?

Throughout history the concept of ART has become a brand of innovation and revolutionary theories. Artists have changed not only the way humans see, but the way they function on this planet. So another question arises when I look at what one of the most famous artists in the world is producing – which is ‘how can artists push boundaries when the most influential of us is dumbing down the work?’ Maybe I’m different. Maybe I’m thinking about art all wrong. Maybe I should just be thinking about art in a very short time span and not think about how to strive far beyond what we’ve previously seen.

The last seven years have not been easy in the art world but I do know that being part of a creative community is a wonderful experience and I would hate if we were all just making art to satisfy some brainless, uneducated buyers. As artists, collectors, critics, curators and art dealers…can we all make a pact to start encouraging art to grow? Can we dig a little deeper and present ideas and themes that would make our world better, more exciting and a more vibrant place to live? I guess only time will tell and hopefully I’ll keep you updated along the way.

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