Art Review Power Issue Prompts Outrage From L.A. Critic

by Art Fag City on October 15, 2010 · 9 comments Opinion

Art Review's 2010 pick for most powerful, dealer Larry Gagosian with Shala Monroque

Slow news week over at LA Culture Monster? It sure seems like because there’s not much other explanation for Christopher Knight’s moral outrage over the artist rankings on Art Review’s Power List. The horror — only three made the magazine’s top 25 — none the top ten. Forgive me if I’m not enraged that Jeff Koons wasn’t ranked higher.

The sad truth of the matter is that Art Review’s list is probably a fairly good indication of the amount of power artists have in the art world. Very few reap in giant monetary rewards, and like it or not money increases an individual’s influence in the art world. This in turn effects one’s influence over production and activity, all factors that determine power rank (not cultural value) at Art Review.

Knight suggests that because artists don’t buy ads in Art Review its editors have deemed them less important. It’s a point with some merit, though I’m still inclined to think the ranking has more to do with the magazine’s editorial slant. More than any other glossy art publication Art Review brands itself as a trade magazine implicitly concerned with the business of art. Like Forbes or Business Insider, photographs of the professionals themselves — dealers, curators and collectors — often grace the cover their magazine, not art. Artists are not known for making business transaction happen, even if their art does.

The question left unanswered in Knight’s inflammatory post title “Art Magazine to Artist: Drop Dead”, is what can artists do to empower themselves? Naturally I think the internet will inevitably be of some help in this respect — but mostly because I can only assume at some point the same changes forced upon the music industry will eventually occur in the art world. Digital printing will continue to gain popularity, 3-D printing will make significant advances — the market may well be flooded with multiples in the future (or at least, as we’ve already seen COLLAGE). Filesharing crippled the music industry, and though musicians suffered, ultimately it sparked a a surplus of creative activity. Ten years from now I predict we’ll be experiencing the renaissance in art making many critics erroneously claimed would come from of the market two years ago.

Editor’s Note: It’s Hyperbole City over on the top ten Art Review power write ups. The Jerry Saltz blurb will be amusing for insiders though and come on — where is Terence Koh?

  • http://matthewrosestudio.blogspot.com/ MATTHEW ROSE

    I’m not sure I agree with you on multiples diluting the power of an artist’s originals. But the lists in general are right out of People Magazine. Their creation is nothing more than a PR project.

  • Anonymous

    I might have done better to hedge that statement — I agree with myself about 65 percent of the time on the point of multiples — but if you follow tech news pretty carefully I think there’s enough evidence out there to point to this. The technology already exists to make homes and furniture from printing alone. But whatever. These lists are PR projects, and they are very effective.

  • http://twitter.com/Jocko James Alex

    No no no, you are spot in in regard to your opinion on multiples. A museum in the Midwest was publishing “super high resolution” photographs on their website. A wealthy friend of a rather well known art collector and dealer was printing out the prime specimens on archival photo paper, getting them framed, matted and hanging them on her wall. Not only that, she was showing them off! Museums are absolutely clueless when it comes to their websites and the idea of scan resolutions and color corrections. I predict a coming shit storm in regards to the idea of multiples.

  • Lee

    I like to think that we artists should be saying, “We’re not dead yet…..So buy now biaches.”

  • Rat Frank

    The bottom line is the bottom line. I imagine this list is as accurate is one feels it is accurate. Who really caress what the lists say? I mean except for the people on them or almost-on-them-but-not-on-them or the people buy the art from artists on the list or nearly on the list. Snorezzzzville. The bi-coastal war rages on!

  • JpLaRocket

    Christopher Knight’s article, Art magazine to artists: Drop dead, seemed to be a delusional and histrionic perception of what the art market should be, not what it is. Knight’s article was shown for its bitchy contrivance by Art Fag City in the post titled Art Review Power Issue Prompts Outrage from L.A. Critic by asking of a simple overlooked question: How can artists empower themselves against the crushing hand of a standardized art market?

    Slight resolution to such a dense question was given by AFC in the form of mechanical reproduction and the crucial role of the Internet. With these concepts as a starting point I would like to pose a possibility for art making in the future.

    As a young artist, still under 30, I have run the gamut of possibilities from art fairs to galleries, New England museums and educational institutions to avant-garde warehouse train-wrecks in Brooklyn and the Mid-West. The common threads across the board are products, personality, and an audience. By no means does this ensure making a cent off one’s art. Even if an artist can produce a plethora of objects, by any means from automated to handcrafted, it does not actually guarantee a satisfied consumer or funded artist.

    In an article titled Let the artisans craft our future Greyson Perry reflects that “Maybe in the future the distinctiveness that consumerism promises will be concentrated not on choice but on customization.” Consumer collaboration can occur between a skillful designer/maker to produce “the perfect artefact that fulfils their functional needs and reflects their values.” What a beautiful idea: objects that reflect our values. As a maker I dislike the idea that my ikea mugs reflect my values but unfortunately that statement is all too true. As a member of the middle class affordability is less of an issue than time and access. Perry discusses how the spendaholic middle class could easily commission three objects a year or 30 throw away fads. However, that would take patience and necessitate an anticipatory period not corollary with our fast paced instantly gratified lives. Who doesn’t adore instant gratification? On the other hand I can’t count the number of times I’ve been agitatedly underwhelmed by a rash purchase. It would take a radical push by artisans and consumer culture alike to undertake this drastic shift in the societal value of the man made object.

    With the Internet opening access to audiences around the world the web is changing from simply a means of communication to a complex constructed reality of individualization and honed personas. For example, consider your Facebook profile. It gives your chosen representation of yourself as an individual. Digital culture has given rise to extremely specific representations of personality characteristics indicative of our value sets. Take artists such as Terence Koh and Ryan Trecartin as examples. Through the use of focused personas reflecting values of specific populaces their work has brought specificity of character within the digital realm to objects that reflect those populace’s values. I see their work as beginning. They have sparked this idea and have broadened their scope to the plural art audience. Can these ideas be focused on diversified personality-driven populations to explore the commissioning of value-based objects that center around the intersection of our digital realities and physical environment?

    In retrospect the question that arises is not how artists can empower themselves, we do that through the making of cultural property and the specialized object, but why the highly customized, amazingly bourgeois man-made or mechanically made object is not more highly sought after? Is it true that our society has become so desensitized to the consumer product that “artists no longer matter very much”?

    Jp LaRocket

  • JpLaRocket

    Christopher Knight’s article, Art magazine to artists: Drop dead, seemed to be a delusional and histrionic perception of what the art market should be, not what it is. Knight’s article was shown for its bitchy contrivance by Art Fag City in the post titled Art Review Power Issue Prompts Outrage from L.A. Critic by asking of a simple overlooked question: How can artists empower themselves against the crushing hand of a standardized art market?

    Slight resolution to such a dense question was given by AFC in the form of mechanical reproduction and the crucial role of the Internet. With these concepts as a starting point I would like to pose a possibility for art making in the future.

    As a young artist, still under 30, I have run the gamut of possibilities from art fairs to galleries, New England museums and educational institutions to avant-garde warehouse train-wrecks in Brooklyn and the Mid-West. The common threads across the board are products, personality, and an audience. By no means does this ensure making a cent off one’s art. Even if an artist can produce a plethora of objects, by any means from automated to handcrafted, it does not actually guarantee a satisfied consumer or funded artist.

    In an article titled Let the artisans craft our future Greyson Perry reflects that “Maybe in the future the distinctiveness that consumerism promises will be concentrated not on choice but on customization.” Consumer collaboration can occur between a skillful designer/maker to produce “the perfect artefact that fulfils their functional needs and reflects their values.” What a beautiful idea: objects that reflect our values. As a maker I dislike the idea that my ikea mugs reflect my values but unfortunately that statement is all too true. As a member of the middle class affordability is less of an issue than time and access. Perry discusses how the spendaholic middle class could easily commission three objects a year or 30 throw away fads. However, that would take patience and necessitate an anticipatory period not corollary with our fast paced instantly gratified lives. Who doesn’t adore instant gratification? On the other hand I can’t count the number of times I’ve been agitatedly underwhelmed by a rash purchase. It would take a radical push by artisans and consumer culture alike to undertake this drastic shift in the societal value of the man made object.

    With the Internet opening access to audiences around the world the web is changing from simply a means of communication to a complex constructed reality of individualization and honed personas. For example, consider your Facebook profile. It gives your chosen representation of yourself as an individual. Digital culture has given rise to extremely specific representations of personality characteristics indicative of our value sets. Take artists such as Terence Koh and Ryan Trecartin as examples. Through the use of focused personas reflecting values of specific populaces their work has brought specificity of character within the digital realm to objects that reflect those populace’s values. I see their work as beginning. They have sparked this idea and have broadened their scope to the plural art audience. Can these ideas be focused on diversified personality-driven populations to explore the commissioning of value-based objects that center around the intersection of our digital realities and physical environment?

    In retrospect the question that arises is not how artists can empower themselves, we do that through the making of cultural property and the specialized object, but why the highly customized, amazingly bourgeois man-made or mechanically made object is not more highly sought after? Is it true that our society has become so desensitized to the consumer product that “artists no longer matter very much”?

    Jp LaRocket

  • Jp LaRocket

    Christopher Knight’s article, Art magazine to artists: Drop dead, seemed to be a delusional and histrionic perception of what the art market should be, not what it is. Knight’s article was shown for its bitchy contrivance by Art Fag City in the post titled Art Review Power Issue Prompts Outrage from L.A. Critic by asking of a simple overlooked question: How can artists empower themselves against the crushing hand of a standardized art market?

    Slight resolution to such a dense question was given by AFC in the form of mechanical reproduction and the crucial role of the Internet. With these concepts as a starting point I would like to pose a possibility for art making in the future.

    As a young artist, still under 30, I have run the gamut of possibilities from art fairs to galleries, New England museums and educational institutions to avant-garde warehouse train-wrecks in Brooklyn and the Mid-West. The common threads across the board are products, personality, and an audience. By no means does this ensure making a cent off one’s art. Even if an artist can produce a plethora of objects, by any means from automated to handcrafted, it does not actually guarantee a satisfied consumer or funded artist.

    In an article titled Let the artisans craft our future Greyson Perry reflects that “Maybe in the future the distinctiveness that consumerism promises will be concentrated not on choice but on customization.” Consumer collaboration can occur between a skillful designer/maker to produce “the perfect artefact that fulfils their functional needs and reflects their values.” What a beautiful idea: objects that reflect our values. As a maker I dislike the idea that my ikea mugs reflect my values but unfortunately that statement is all too true. As a member of the middle class affordability is less of an issue than time and access. Perry discusses how the spendaholic middle class could easily commission three objects a year or 30 throw away fads. However, that would take patience and necessitate an anticipatory period not corollary with our fast paced instantly gratified lives. Who doesn’t adore instant gratification? On the other hand I can’t count the number of times I’ve been agitatedly underwhelmed by a rash purchase. It would take a radical push by artisans and consumer culture alike to undertake this drastic shift in the societal value of the man made object.

    With the Internet opening access to audiences around the world the web is changing from simply a means of communication to a complex constructed reality of individualization and honed personas. For example, consider your Facebook profile. It gives your chosen representation of yourself as an individual. Digital culture has given rise to extremely specific representations of personality characteristics indicative of our value sets. Take artists such as Terence Koh and Ryan Trecartin as examples. Through the use of focused personas reflecting values of specific populaces their work has brought specificity of character within the digital realm to objects that reflect those populace’s values. I see their work as beginning. They have sparked this idea and have broadened their scope to the plural art audience. Can these ideas be focused on diversified personality-driven populations to explore the commissioning of value-based objects that center around the intersection of our digital realities and physical environment?

    In retrospect the question that arises is not how artists can empower themselves, we do that through the making of cultural property and the specialized object, but why the highly customized, amazingly bourgeois man-made or mechanically made object is not more highly sought after? Is it true that our society has become so desensitized to the consumer product that “artists no longer matter very much”?

    By Jp LaRocket

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