11 Jan

A thought-provoking and informative article inspired by the recent $5.7 million sale of a most definitely crappy act of plagiarism by a technically capable but unimaginative hack (with plagiaristic form) of an original Chris Foss painting for a book cover. Although obviously the utter shithead who bought it for $5.7 million has to take a lot of the blame, too, along with all of his or her kind. Ultimately the artist is just servicing this plutocratic market and churning out high-end widgets that just happen to take the shape of art works, like a glorified McJob work experience boy. If he wasn’t doing it, somebody else would. See also The super-rich are never embarrassed.

“So what do *I* think of Glenn Brown’s appropriated art, referencing great SF illustrators? I could use the big put-downs from fine art school and call it commercially technical, overly kitsch and academic in its attempt at realism. I think it’s crappy fine art. But it’s crappy fine art borne aloft on millions of viral cat pictures and an internet culture of ripping and running with images without regard for the original creators. It’s the fine art we culturally deserve,  just as much as Warhol’s soup cans were fitting for the commercial-goods industrial era. Would I pay millions of dollars for it? Hellz no. But the momentum of post-modernism’s love of referencing, appropriating and remixing is what led it to be worth that much.”

Read the rest here, in Scientific American for no discernible reason:


3 Responses to ““CRAPPY FINE ART””

  1. erickuns 11/01/2014 at 5:52 PM #

    I was relieved that Glenn Brown actually painted the copy himself instead of paying studio assistants to do it from him. I read the article and looked him up. Seems he’s done some more interesting and original work in the last decade. Kind of spun off Frank Aurebach. And he got more weird. I don’t agree with the author of the article or Brown that you can’t do anything original anymore. I’m not clear when the cut-off was. People used to be able to make original work – sure, it sprung out of material that came before, but it developed into something new – but now everyone seems to agree that we can’t. Maybe if they tried.

    • Alistair 11/01/2014 at 6:04 PM #

      There are numerous examples of artists, writers and musicians doing genuinely transformative, creative and worthwhile things with pre-existing material, things that amount to original works in their own right. Brown’s painting is not one of them. “Nothing’s original”, “everything’s a remix”, “it’s a tribute”, and so forth are all cop outs. No surprise whatsoever that it’s usually the hackiest hacks or outright thieves who tend to unthinkingly trot these justifications out.

  2. Alistair 11/02/2014 at 6:46 PM #

    Reblogged this on Alistair Gentry.

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