Art F City
by Art Fag City on September 27, 2007 · 14 comments
Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog – art: Is lazy reporting harming the visual arts?
Jonathan James names six stories that appear repeatedly in art news. The most expensive art ever, and authorship disputes are the ones I probably see most frequently. Via: Marisa Olson
As the mistress over at Two Coats of Paint , an art blog that post links to reviews, commentary, and background information on painting and other related subjects, I read a lot of art reviews and art news stories each day, and JJ is right. These six non news events (especially street art) always generate ink, but there’s one more he forgot: celebrities who paint. Oddly, whenever I run links to these stories (FYI Kate Moss is the latest celeb to turn to painting), they always generate far more hits than the links to serious articles. Go figure.
I’d agree with most of this, but do take slight issue with the street art and graffiti portion of it. True, the Banksy related reporting is a little redundant, but I would put that more in the “celebrity” and “price” sections. Street art is interesting to people precisely because it (usually) does not come loaded with the need for a background in art history and theory to appreciate it fully. So often artists are making reference to, or comparison against, previous art or modes of representation, so for someone not versed in these traditions it doesn’t generate the same excitement. More importantly, the majority of art is hard to describe because the written form doesn’t translate what it’s like to be in front of a work. Additionally, most art is displayed in a museum or gallery, and many people don’t feel comfortable entering those spaces, sadly. Finally, the temporary nature of street art/graffiti generates excitement for people because it is about the contemporary and the moment, and provides that sense of “inclusion” in a special group if you get to see the work, which a lot of people want.
In case it seemed in my earlier post like I don’t appreciate these articles, I do. Any stories printed about art, artmaking, art selling, art stealing, art recovering, art forging, well, you get the idea, are welcome. My only complaint is that there isn’t more serious art criticism outside the urban areas.
Meh, now I feel bad. I am a painter who survived teaching art history and want to fuk it up w/ my painting. Does that mean I am forever marginalized to the idiocy of Jerry Saltz/Smith and Charlie Nobody Is Authentic But Me Finch? Boo Hoo teary guy on the front of Radiohead’s Amnesiac. later
Meh: I agree that Banksy falls more in line with celebrity and price coverage than anything else. I thought the graffeti section was the weakest in that argument, namely because the others have been written about forever (but more so now), as opposed to graffeti art, which may yet prove to be a passing news story.
SLBUTLER: The number one search term that brings people to my site by like a billion percent is Paris Hilton, and I’ve written one (now two) posts on her. It makes you wonder what you’re doing wrong.
Journalist writing on street art follows a pattern of buy low sell high capitalism. The artists, usually painters and male and white(?), exhibit in the streets, secure press space, then move into the sacred fetish zone of gallery commodities. So, it’s a natural for writers to front since they can develop the aura. Graffiti painters don’t always follow this since they are often tied to an ethnicity deemed undesirable or too local or too dangerous, as is the case w/ dealer signs/gang up. Art writers demote graffiti to tatoo, missing its collective vibrancy. Writers seem to want the ‘creative individual’ of capital production. Hence, the focus on brand name celebrities like PH, they come w/ the aura already developed, like a Google or Starbucks stock. Identity, Identity, Identity. It seems this type of writing comes w/ the turf, what editors feel people want.
The articles bashing art celebrities like Koons/Hirst are my fav, though. Promoting their dealers careers all the while taking a moral stand against the decadent money essence enables/assures valuable press space that could go elsewhere. Deleting these Republicanesque ‘artists’ from the writing would be surprising, but I doubt it will ever happen. Hence, the repetition.
The case of Hirst formaldehyde leak is not news, the ‘restoration’ of Michel Angelo’s ceiling was. It changed perceptions; the notion that he was simply a sculptor working in two dimensions (diminished color in favor of form/contour) had to be abandonned. This wrecked too many PhD’s main thesis on Michel Angelo. If the case against Leonardo’s authorship of the Magi fresco can be made, then this would be news, although I don’t think it would diminish the work. The caligraphic brilliance of the bistre brush strokes clearly separate this work from anything deemed early renaissance, and it matches the connoseurship of his drawings and sketches. This would be major news. So, I dunno, I guess u have 2 pick and choose your battles.
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