Urs Fischer’s Expensive Show Isn’t News

by Art Fag City on October 23, 2009 · 4 comments Newswire

POST BY PADDY JOHNSON
art fag city, urs fischer, new museum
Urs Fischer, Marguerite de Ponty, 4th floor installation shot (IX, David the Proprietor, 4:15 pm, Marguerite de Ponty, Miss Satin, ZiZI) Photograph by Benoit Pailley. Courtesy of the New Museum.

The Awl’s Choire Sicha wants to know if New Museum contract worker Massimiliano Gioni is a genius or a fraud. The curator’s latest project is negotiating the installation of artist Urs Fischer, scheduled to open at the New Museum October 28th, and it’s costing a lot of money. Fake ceilings are being made, materials are being shipped in by plane due to last minute changes — how is this genius? asks the blogger.

Um, who cares? It costs a lot of money to install art — Damien Hirst literally has to vacuum seal entire rooms and depending on the gallery re-enforce floors so they support the weight of his animals in formaldehyde — it’s so routine the press rarely thinks to discuss it.  The art world is accustomed to making structural building changes to support contemporary art, and last minute changes are part of the deal (unless you’re Christoph Büchel).

The real issues regarding Massimiliano Gioni — also noted by Sicha — is that he is both employed by New Museum and part of the curatorial management team for the collector and museum trustee member Dakis Joannou (I’m told this position is unpaid). And guess who’s collection The New Museum just announced would be showcased soon? That’s right, The Dakis Joannou Collection.

Now, of course, nobody knows if there’s any wrong doing here — quite possibly there’s none — but why should we have to chance the matter? The value of the entire collection and other works by those artists will increase as a result of the show; just look at the increase in Richard Prince auction prices during his retrospective at The Guggenheim. I don’t know a lot about the buying and selling of art, but it seems unlikely that Joannou wouldn’t see enormous financial benefits from this show.  The whole exhibition has an icky market manipulation feel to it.

Meanwhile, New Museum Director Lisa Phillips told blogger Tyler Green three weeks ago that the Museum’s support went back to the work itself, and the importance of making it seen. “He’s incredibly generous.” she wrote. That may be the case, but in the interest of generosity and making the work seen, one might chose a more permanent venue than a temporary exhibition. Collectors such as The Rubells and Ydessa Hendeles have done just this by building and maintaining their own public galleries.  Joannou has similar real estate  in Athens, but it’s a bit of a commute for most art enthusiasts.

Any how, given the array of options exhibition options available to the collector that better serve the ends the New Museum claims, it’s easy to think motivations behind the exhibition are not entirely philanthropic.

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  • Anon

    I’m sure this is a great show. Urs Fischer is a very “successful” artist meaning that his work is very accomplished and “ambitious” and fun. But I think ultimately his work, despite all the great things (the show at Tony Shafrazi was the best group show I have ever seen in my life), will be a culmination of “Production Art”. By that term I mean all art that can only be sustained through extreme production costs and as such, reflect on collectors so deeply as to be impossible to be made without a limit-less budget. In that sense, the budget is the content of the work. From that respect, the work stands as a token of the spoilt child.

    Yes, that has been going on since the Renaissance,
    but I think – and I can be very wrong on this – that the Zeitgeist has changed, and that “people” crave for something a bit more “real”. If you and I had 3 million dollars (that is my estimate of what the production/prep for this show), wouldn’t that be fun to make little sculptures and blow them up really big?

    There should be another show concurrent with this one called “Production: how art colors abstract values” featuring Anselm Reyle, Urs Fischer, Damien Hirst, Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney, Christoph Buchel and most of bronze and aluminum-cast sculpture out there. The texts should have budgets and discussions on production and project managers.

    The question goes back to the old “is that what art is really about”? I think the line between institutions and money has to be drawn somewhere. Money and art aren’t the same thing. Everyone knows that the market for Urs Fischer is very deep and that there has been a build-up of his work and a buy-up for a few years now. Look at the list of supporters.

    I don’t think it’s bad that tons of money is spent on “supporting an artist” but I do think that at the times we are in, it is interesting to oppose this attitude to the world at large and to the mission of the New Museum itself.

    Ok why not have artists curate real shows rather than to go through someone’s art collection and pick favorites? (Vik Muniz at Moma, etc…) BECAUSE THE COLLECTOR IS FOOTING THE BILL.
    I’ll say that I actually think Jeff Koons is an amazing art collector, he buys incredible art and has great depth and eye. Courbet, Riemenschneider, etc…his collection should be on display, not Joannou’s.

  • Anon

    I’m sure this is a great show. Urs Fischer is a very “successful” artist meaning that his work is very accomplished and “ambitious” and fun. But I think ultimately his work, despite all the great things (the show at Tony Shafrazi was the best group show I have ever seen in my life), will be a culmination of “Production Art”. By that term I mean all art that can only be sustained through extreme production costs and as such, reflect on collectors so deeply as to be impossible to be made without a limit-less budget. In that sense, the budget is the content of the work. From that respect, the work stands as a token of the spoilt child.

    Yes, that has been going on since the Renaissance,
    but I think – and I can be very wrong on this – that the Zeitgeist has changed, and that “people” crave for something a bit more “real”. If you and I had 3 million dollars (that is my estimate of what the production/prep for this show), wouldn’t that be fun to make little sculptures and blow them up really big?

    There should be another show concurrent with this one called “Production: how art colors abstract values” featuring Anselm Reyle, Urs Fischer, Damien Hirst, Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney, Christoph Buchel and most of bronze and aluminum-cast sculpture out there. The texts should have budgets and discussions on production and project managers.

    The question goes back to the old “is that what art is really about”? I think the line between institutions and money has to be drawn somewhere. Money and art aren’t the same thing. Everyone knows that the market for Urs Fischer is very deep and that there has been a build-up of his work and a buy-up for a few years now. Look at the list of supporters.

    I don’t think it’s bad that tons of money is spent on “supporting an artist” but I do think that at the times we are in, it is interesting to oppose this attitude to the world at large and to the mission of the New Museum itself.

    Ok why not have artists curate real shows rather than to go through someone’s art collection and pick favorites? (Vik Muniz at Moma, etc…) BECAUSE THE COLLECTOR IS FOOTING THE BILL.
    I’ll say that I actually think Jeff Koons is an amazing art collector, he buys incredible art and has great depth and eye. Courbet, Riemenschneider, etc…his collection should be on display, not Joannou’s.

  • http://davidenblom.com Dave

    i saw the urs show and was totally blown away by the fact that you could digitally scan and blow up shit.

  • http://davidenblom.com Dave

    i saw the urs show and was totally blown away by the fact that you could digitally scan and blow up shit.

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