“PRETENTIOUS”, “ABSURD”, “ASTONISHING SELF-IMPORTANCE”

21 Jun

… THE FIRST HONEST TINO SEHGAL REVIEW EVER

Two shocking outbreaks of critique against the art world’s elite this week. By “shocking”, of course, I mean shocking that they actually got published at all. Artists and art people talk a million tons of shit about each other every single day in private, but not much of it ever comes out publicly. Except on this blog, obviously [LEERING TROLL FACE].

Firstly– though admittedly from the No Shit Sherlock Department– Pretentious Tino Sehgal Delivers Absurd Talk With Tina Brown to Baffled Bankers at Art Basel.* Pretentious, pompous Emperor’s New Clothes Tino Sehgal is pretentious, pompous and wearing the Emperor’s New Clothes. The story has no byline, but Artnet News helpfully provides this page, complete with mugshots, where you could try to work out who was responsible for dissing the non-performing performance artist with Homer Simpson’s hair and Marvin the Paranoid Android’s sense of humour. Regardless of who wrote it, when even those people accustomed to buttoning their lip and saying nothing if they can’t say anything nice think you’re so pretentious and full of “astonishing self-importance” that nobody could be offended by them saying so… you’re definitely one of the art world’s arseholes de les arseholes.

* The alliteration of Baffled Bankers made me think of Waffled Wankers. That is all, carry on.

MartyInterpretiveDance

TINO SAYS:

“One of the biggest civilizational achievements of the West, apart from soap, is the convention of opening hours. There are two modalities on which you can organize people: appointments…and opening hours.”

Every single factual [sic] part of this paragraph is so far from being true or cogent that I would suspect he was trying to make some kind of provocative, trolling statement here, if I didn’t also suspect much more strongly that he genuinely thought this was a profound observation. “Civilizational” is not a word, nor should it be.

“Material is thought of the most important site of substance. That’s a very Western, recent thing. No other country thinks that—it would always be spiritual activities.”

The answer to both of the first two sentences is: “No it isn’t, you ignorant, orientalising twat.” Furthermore, the West is not a country. Whatever you’re thinking the opposite of the West might be: that isn’t a country either. People thinking and saying that “the West”, or “Muslims”, or “black people” (etc, ad nauseum) as a bloc categorically think or don’t think certain things is deeply retrograde, self-absorbed and misanthropic egotism. It promotes antagonism and discrimination at best; outright suffering, death and destruction at worst. Sehgal apparently just sees people as undifferentiated masses, which is borne out in his work. Here’s another sweeping generalisation: the world doesn’t need people like him, who spend their whole lives judging cultures on the basis of their own fucked up need to feel important.

“I was astonished when people found my work humorous because I didn’t really think of myself as a person with humor.”

A person without humour is a person without self-awareness, and a person without self-awareness cannot ever be an artist. A person lacking humour or self-awareness, however, is usually great at being a charlatan, a con artist, and/or running a dodgy business, as readers of this blog have seen time after time.

“I’m still a dancer, but I’m not an economist.”

Um… good?

More of his dunderheaded claptrap here, if for some reason you want to get angry today.

BOTH SPOUSES TRY TO RESEMBLE ARTWORKS, OR BOTH SPOUSES TRY TO RESEMBLE MONEY

purple2 edit

Secondly, I nearly fell sideways off my chair when some good writing came from one of the art world mailing lists aimed mainly at insiders, in this case Art Agenda in a report from Art Banal Art Basel. Unlike the aforementioned Tino-mangler, Ingo Niermann put his name his own opinion like a normal person with a spine; he should take a bow for this machine gun volley of analogies describing the money monsters seen at every art fair and private view from London to Beijing, and their motives:

While the female half of this collector couple rather tries to resemble an artwork—colorful and ageless—the male part rather imitates the appearance of money with monochrome (preferably dark blue) suits. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, in particular when both spouses try to resemble artworks, or when both spouses try to resemble money.

Collecting art is the best that bourgeois society has to offer to reassure that sex isn’t everything a man and woman could share. Food makes you fat, drugs make you stupid, sports make you attractive again and subsequently raise your sexual appetite.

Basel hosts the most important art fair—Art Basel—and the most important jewelry fair—Baselworld. The main difference between art and jewelry is related to sex. Art leads away from sex, jewelry leads towards sex. A man who gives a woman jewelry is either courting her or distracting her from his courting another woman. A woman buying herself jewelry is imitating what it is to be courted and empowering herself, as though using a dildo.

There was a time when art was a pretext for the display of erotic nudity. This era ended pretty much with the invention of photography. Today art rather seems to distract from sex. It’s in the same category as antidepressants, while jewelry is the same category as Viagra.

Read the rest here.

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2 Responses to ““PRETENTIOUS”, “ABSURD”, “ASTONISHING SELF-IMPORTANCE””

  1. anitachowdry 21/06/2015 at 1:55 PM #

    “the West is not a country. Whatever you’re thinking the opposite of the West might be: that isn’t a country either. People thinking and saying that “the West”, or “Muslims”, or “black people” (etc, ad nauseum) as a bloc categorically think or don’t think certain things is deeply retrograde, self-absorbed and misanthropic egotism” – Thankyou Alistair, these thoughts are worth expanding into an entire post – and I do, as ever, enjoy your turn of phrase.

    As to the many quotes from Artnet articles, it is stunning to see how many dodgy opinions are offered with such unshakable self-assurance – “Today art rather seems to distract from sex. It’s in the same category as antidepressants, while jewelry is the same category as Viagra.” Eh???
    These are some of the very worst examples of hysterical middle-class pontification.

    • Alistair 21/06/2015 at 2:06 PM #

      Actually I was going to add that nicely written as I think they are, I disagree with some of those statements because they’re dodgy if taken at face value. Now I have!
      I do, however, really love the observation about the way rich men and rich women dress– and dress differently– at art things, and why. It’s so true. And taken in the context of the whole piece I think it’s clear that he’s consciously pontificating and ranting rather than trying to present anything that might be construed as a strictly factual piece of journalism.

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