NASTY, BRUTISH AND SHORT

18 Apr

An artist who painted a picture of Donald Trump nude, with a very small penis, possibly even a case of bona fide medically diagnosable micropenis, has been threatened with legal action via an “anonymous filing of a Digital Millennium Copyright Act notice” if she sells it to anyone.

U OK, Don?

It’s currently being exhibited in London, to the general edification and amusement of all. In the USA, meanwhile, the artist received thousands of death threats and galleries chickened out of hanging it because they feared violence from Trump’s thuggish, quasi-fascist supporters. QED.

Anyway, let’s all spite those imbeciles and Streisand Effect the shit out of the deranged, shit-for-brains, racist, rabble-rousing, hypocritical, incoherent, child-handed, small-dicked, candyfloss-haired, ignoramus psychopath megalomaniac robber-capitalist they idolise by looking at Illma Gore’s painting of Donald Trump and posting about it everywhere.

Make America Great Again by Illma Gore, 2016.

Make America Great Again by Illma Gore, 2016.

Artist threatened with lawsuits if she sells nude Donald Trump painting

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OCCASIONALLY THE VOICES ARE RIGHT

16 Apr

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A wee update on this story about a woman who attacked a fellow visitor to Art Basel Miami Beach last December, while onlookers interpreted the whole thing as some kind of performance art. The attacker, Siyuan Zhao, has unsurprisingly been found to be suffering from a serious mental illness. Eventually coming back to a somewhat even keel through therapy and medication after randomly stabbing a stranger, trying to kill a therapy bird (whatever that is) and hearing voices that said “she needed to protect the event from the Middle Eastern terror group ISIS”, Zhao has agreed to “deport herself” back to China where her family will take care of her.

“She was very psychotic,” Dr. Ilan Melnick testified. He also said: “She felt ISIS was going to be at Art Basel to destroy the art.”

Dr. Melnick possibly slightly stating the obvious there, especially in conjunction with his second statement. Is it very wrong of me to wish that ISIS would attend Art Banal Miami Vice and destroy the art? I mean, why can’t they make themselves useful instead of murdering people and wallowing in all their adolescent, medieval emo shit about caliphates, jihad and whatnot?

ISIS are probably unnecessary, though, if anybody wants art destroyed. With all due respect to Ms. Zhao’s considerable though misguided enthusiasm for defending the exhibitions, the artists and galleries at Art Basel are doing quite a good job of destroying art already…

Art Basel knife wielder pleads guilty, must return to China

PIGGIES

8 Apr

monopoly man

When I and a few enlightened colleagues started talking about the art world and money in about 2009, hardly anybody was interested and we were very often asked why we bothered. Within a few years, nearly every agency and artist-facing organisation was talking about artists, art and money if they had any sense. The mainstream art magazines like Frieze still don’t talk about it very much except in a celebratory way, as if there’s nothing at all problematic about the whole high-end art scene, because their reason for being and their main income is from courting the (rich) hand that feeds or fists at its own whim.

Likewise, I have asserted for many years that the real story at the top end of the art world is not how bad, irrelevant and vapid most of the art and most of its suppliers are– don’t get me wrong, they are all of these things and we need to expose and talk about that– but instead the main issue is that the art world is inextricably tied up with the tax evasion, money laundering, international subversion of the rule of law, and a general lack of common human decency, all of which are impoverishing and holding back 99% of the world’s population. No rich person is unique, above the herd or entirely self-made, no matter how much they might like to think they are. They benefit from the physical and electronic infrastructure, education, labour, subsidy, policing, bureaucracy (and so on) provided in one way or another by every state in the world; in some ways, and in some countries in particular, rich people benefit from these things even more than an ordinary person. Rich art collectors, dealers and superstar artists are for the most part parasites on all of the aforementioned and upon publicly funded art institutions and galleries, not to mention the grass roots, unfunded artist initiatives that in turn feed into these institutions. And yet it’s still not enough. They want it all.

And so we come to the Mossack Fonseca leak, which can hardly have escaped anybody’s notice. Surprise! The documents are full of evidence about how the 1% use the buying and selling of art to dodge taxes, launder money and commit crime.

The founder of China Guardian, the world’s fourth largest auction house, is hiding money offshore along with many other members of the country’s political elite.

Russian oligarchs defrauding one another through buying and selling paintings.

No doubt there will be more and worse as the data is sifted and processed. This really feels like one of those points in history where there could be real reform or it could be heads on sticks time. In either case I don’t think we should leave the choice up to the 1% rich, because we already know perfectly well that their choice will be status quo and neither of the above.

Bonus venal, overprivileged twat caught with her hand in the till:

To avoid a full trial, the former managing director of the Centre Pompidou admits to misusing public funds after spending €40,000 on unnecessary taxi journeys. Interesting that the French slant on this is that she is a civil servant because she worked for a publicly funded institution. Absolutely fucking bang on: work for a publicly funded gallery? You are a civil servant, even if you’re not officially a civil servant. You work for the people. Remember that.

REPULSIVE

15 Mar
Bosch

“Young collectors cocktails”

At PULSE (sic… they always style it like that) Miami Beach 2016 this December, there will be a “private preview brunch”, followed later that day by “young collectors cocktails.” I know, I had an urge to vomit too. The poor grammar here suggests that the cocktails will be made from young collectors; while I do think it’s a good idea for the 1% to be pestled and pulverised I’m going to assume they mean cocktails for young collectors.

These young collectors will probably only be slightly richer than the exhibitors, because it costs a (non-refundable) $275 to apply, plus a $2000 deposit against your final charge of either $4960 for a small booth with three lights– woo!– or a medium booth with a crazy FOUR lights for $6,200. You do get your $2000 back if they don’t accept you, you lucky thing, though $2000 is probably nothing to anybody moving in these circles. “Drayage” is included, which is brilliant because there’s no need to have your staff equip the horses and harness them to the Pantechnicon.

Many purveyors of wall-based decoration will be there, but probably not a single person worthy to be called an artist. Horrific events like PULSEMiamibeach2016 are one of the reasons I have a GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG tag on this site.

ZOMBIE PROFESSIONALISM

11 Mar

zoc002

An interesting article by Daniel S. Palmer about what ArtNews calls the “hyper-professionalization” of some artists. I’d go further and call it something like “jobification”; the reduction of a vocation to a mechanical and wholly uncreative grind. As Palmer points out, it’s not even the best way for an artist to make money or for anyone to make money from an artist’s work, because it’s so shortsighted:

“The entire system seems designed, predominantly, to disappoint. What has arisen from these failures is a marked distinction between product- and project-based artists. Product-based artists have been led to think of an artwork as a product serving a demand, rather than a single step in a longer, sustained development, as is the case with project-based artists. Consider the most visible trend in recent years of Zombie Formalism, a kind of reductive, easily produced abstract painting, sold quickly to collectors queued up on waiting lists and hungry for innocuous, decorative works in a signature style, so much so that the name of the artist himself becomes the brand.

However, product-based art isn’t specific to abstraction or figuration (as an even more recent market shift may be demonstrating) but is the result of dealers and collectors encouraging artists to create more of the same kind of popular work. All too often, museum curators cave to these pressures, too, validating the trend by staging exhibitions of market-darling artists collected by their trustees with a lack of scruples that gives the worst insider traders a run for their money. The path of commercial success may be increasingly easy, but it narrows what could otherwise be probing, expansive, and serendipitous careers. This results-oriented focus can be contrasted to the idea that an artist should be allowed to follow a sustained project of creating art in a passionate and independent way, regardless of market feedback. That might mean changing styles over the years and being less commercially viable at points, but this long-term project will have a notable through-line of a consistent set of questions and issues. The project and its many manifestations are best identified retrospectively, but wandering and doubt are a generative part of it. With some notable exceptions (like Warhol and Courbet, who churned out work like machines), the most fascinating and important artists in history exemplify this approach by remaining true to what drove them to create, rather than caving to external responses. We should all be worried if these artists start disappearing.”

Read the rest here.

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