Tag Archives: idiots

MONET IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL

15 Dec

I don’t condone the vandalism or destruction of art works. Attacking art in a public museum or gallery is a particularly dickish act, even by the normal standards of no, seriously, don’t fucking do it you idiot. However, I question the need to jail a man for six years simply because he punched a Monet painting. The incident took place in 2012 at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, but he’s only just been sentenced. Andrew Shannon (described here as a “French Polisher”, which I’m sure is also some kind of obsolete sexual slang) claimed in court that he had a dizzy spell and fell fistwards into the painting. Witnesses said otherwise, and it didn’t look good that he’d muttered something about getting back at the state or that he had paint stripper in his bag. Maybe the French polishing thing was an attempt to explain the paint stripper. I’m never sure exactly how so-called rebels or iconoclasts think the state or the art world elite is more than fleetingly bothered by attacks on old paintings by dead artists, let alone rocked to its very foundations, but anyway… he’s doing six years in the slammer for it. I know it’s a different country and legal system, but for some perspective let’s consider Oscar Pistorious recently getting five years for riddling his screaming, terrified girlfriend with bullets.

Argenteuil

What we really need to examine here is the phrase that’s parroted uncritically, verbatim, in all the reports about the initial vandalism and the recent conviction of Shannon: “painting worth £7.8 million.” How and why is it “worth” £7.8 million? Is it really? According to whom? The artist wasn’t paid the equivalent of £7.8 million. The museum probably didn’t pay £7.8 million for it. How can any work of art be “worth” such an arbitrarily large sum, which is clearly beyond any form of rational analysis or justification? “Valued at” £7.8 million might be a more measured and correct phrase, though this also fails to tell us why or by whom. It’s not even an interesting painting. Only the Monet signature on it would ever make anybody look twice; it’s a prestige fetish object. It is certainly irreplaceable as an authenticated Monet relic, but it’s not as if nobody before or after him ever did a pretty little nothing of a painting with a lake and a sailboat. Now it’s been restored and repaired, a significant proportion of this small painting is not even the original one that Monet worked on. So at this point how does it differ significantly from an indistinguishably perfect copy painted by a hack in China?

When you’ve pondered these weighty and complex issues for a while, you may like to relax yourself by “getting back at the state” and accidentally “falling” on the painting in this startlingly realistic simulation of Mr. Shannon’s exciting day out at the art museum:

Punch a Monet

APPALLING DISCOVERY OF THE DAY: AMAZON ART

6 Nov

gacy-pogo-the-clown

NO TALENT? NO PROBLEM!

I’ve illustrated this post with a clown painting that is definitely not from Amazon Art because it would be unfair to single out any one artist as an example of how bad the art [sic] section of Amazon is, due to the fact that all of the art on Amazon is totally shit. I’m sure hardly any of the artists on Amazon Art are serial killers, like Mr. John Wayne Gacy was, but his totally fucked up oeuvre is actually somewhat better and definitely no more disturbing than some of the efforts on sale via Amazon. For example, check out Impressionism… wait, what? These artists are doing the opposite of keeping Impressionism alive; they’re inviting Impressionism into their house and doing a John Wayne Gacy on it. I’m afraid it’s possible to spend upwards of $3o,000 on a painting from Amazon art. I hope they at least give you free next day delivery on it.

Or how about some photography? It’s all so aggressively banal it will make you wish for a trip in the TARDIS so you can go back in time to vaporise Louis Daguerre and Henry Fox Talbot before they invent the camera. Get a load of some ker-razay Surrealism, or at least Surrealism as filtered through the sensibilities of people who apparently think that word is synonymous with this whole thing has no reason to exist and makes no damn sense. In fact, there are minimally capable historical re-enactors of almost any dead artistic movement you can think of. Some of them are, all things considered, worse than chimpanzee artists. OH MAKE IT STOP, PLEASE.

ecce_homo_g_mp_64011

Left: boring old art by somebody who knew how to paint or whatever. Right: This is the calibre of art work AMAZON expects if you’re going to be on AMAZON ART with the AMAZON ART COLLECTORS.

There are some Amazon Art Collectors highlighted on the site, for no adequately explained reason. Disappointingly, these are not Amazons who collect art. It’s a wonderful idea, but no. Perhaps more tellingly, they do not appear to be collectors of Amazon Art either. Their curated (?) collections would seem to not be in their possession, since they are for sale on the Amazon site. Actually it’s not clear if they’re selling these works from their own collection, endorsing them, if they have any financial or personal stake in the artists or the (so-called) galleries behind them, what connects these people with each other or with potential buyers, etc. It is, however, abundantly clear that they all have absolutely horrible taste if they really think the works they’ve highlighted would pass muster anywhere except in Stevie Wonder’s house. The Amazon Art Collectors do have at least one thing in common; that sort of immaculately styled village idiot look signifying the entrepreneur of nothing in particular/designer/ad person/self-appointed expert/marketing twonk/media whatever. The kinds of people who fasten themselves like ticks onto potential revenue streams, have probably been photographed for Wired at some point, and would not be missed or thought of again for a millisecond if they were put on a rocket programmed with a flight plan for the heart of the sun. You can apply to be one of them and Amazon will get back to you within five working days! Share your incredibly underdeveloped, ill-informed and gauche aesthetic sensibilities with literally dozens of perspective art buyers on Amazon! Probably you’ll be rejected, though, because your face isn’t shiny enough and your eyes are not the windows to a soul wizened and mouldered like a month old apple core.

I’m 100% behind artists finding new and more direct ways to sell their work or otherwise to make a living from their practice, but it breaks my heart to think of all the brilliant, hard-working artists who toil in obscurity while the barely competent daubings of Amazon’s no-talent shitgoblins are bigged up as worthy of five figure price tags by some shiny faced, dead eyed entrepreneur of nothing in particular/designer/ad person/self-appointed expert/marketing twonk/media whatever. If you must buy quasi-industrial hack work, support some low paid Chinese hacks who at least know how to paint.

METASTUPID

1 Sep

LBAmsterSted

The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam is having an intellectual navel-gazing session and a nice jolly for boring people who work at universities a symposium called Metamodernism at the end of September. Sadly it’s sold out, or was not open to the public in the first place, so we plebs will probably never know what happens when they “draw a cognitive map of our present in order to grasp the changing contours of our everyday lives, towards a paradigmatic shift lived by a generation born in the 1980s’, whatever that means. They’ll be answering a random collection of baffling questions that absolutely nobody ever wanted answered, such as: “What precisely constitutes a historical moment and/or rupture? What defines this generation that was born in the 1980s?” Ooh, I know… is it being in their late twenties to mid thirties, age wise? Do I win something? Oh shit, Francis Fukuyama’s had a rupture! I wondered what that smell was.

For no discernible reason “as the speakers inside the Stedelijk debate these questions and more, actor Shia LaBeouf will embark upon an actual (#meta)marathon around the perimeter of the museum.” There are more questions? I’m gagging with excitement, but the point is I don’t think they’re even joking about Shia LaBeouf. But if they let him indoors at the Stedelijk he might wipe his dirty bum across the floor like an incontinent dog, or something. So stay at the perimeter, you bad boy, dirty boy, sit, stay. Are they hoping he’ll be distracted by the opportunity to buy cheap booze at the Albert Heijn supermarket next door, like the other drunks who roll around in the park? That branch of Albert Heijn is particularly exciting because it’s underground. He might not be able to find his way out again without help.

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DOUBLE TROUBLE

25 Jun

GOT 99 PROBLEMS BUT THE TRUTH AIN’T ONE

Sad news. Notting Hill shopkeepers, “Art as Lifestyle” buccaneers and massive Career Suicide fans Debut Contemporary recently experienced some kind of unfortunate IT glitch, leading to the total loss of all the one star reviews and negative comments on their Facebook page. Luckily, all the uncritical or gushing four and five star reviews were uneffected. Even better, somebody screencapped all the bad reviews before they disappeared. I’m sure Samir will be pleased to know they weren’t lost and are still circulating freely.

Following this tragedy on Facebook, I couldn’t help noticing some of their excellent photography.

MoreenYantobWho’s this? Only bloody “Moreen Lipman” and “Alan Yantob” [both sic and, evidently, sick if they really endorse this place] as proudly namechecked in the DC prospectus. Maybe they’re impersonators who have to style themselves thusly in order to avoid legal action from the real has-been actress and the genuine middlebrow art Hobbit. Samir’s also apparently had a go with other art world titans such as Jason Donovan and Alan Carr. I know, impressive. One time I was on at a Virgin Megastore with Kylie Minogue, though, on the same fucking poster and everything, it was like Alistair Gentry 2pm Kylie Minogue 3pm. Think on that and what it says about my importance to the field of Fine Art.

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“HOW CAN IT BE MONETISED?”

6 Jun

500Monopoly

THE VALUE OF NOT MAKING A SALE

An unfortunate side effect of cities like New York and London being internationally important to culture, innovation and the arts is that they also have more world class twats per square mile than anywhere else on Earth. Google Glass users have already become proverbially obnoxious Glassholes (and people are already taking steps to jam their nonsense, albeit only so far in a conceptual, provocative way), but really the specific New York Glasshole in question is just a stepping off point for a splendid and articulate rant by Omer Shapira, titled Nobody Goes to Art School to Make Money, so Fuck Off. Obviously an artist creative technologist person after my own heart.

Although, as it happens, I agree with Shapira on Google Glass and its ilk as well. When you’re interacting with a real human being to their face, your phone or camera or whatever should not be anywhere near your face. Turn that shit off for five minutes. It’s not Luddite or infringing upon your rights when someone finds it objectionable or creepy that you take their picture or record them without permission, especially if they didn’t initially know you’re doing it. Your manners and consideration for the rights of others are deficient, not theirs.

I recommend that you read the whole thing, but here’s a great quote so you have some idea of why you should, especially if you’re one of those people (or worse, one of those artists) who thinks that an artist being able to make a sale should always be the first or only measure of their importance or their right to practice:

“Like with any art school, people spend their NYU tuition, approximately equivalent to a small neighbourhood in Detroit, to be criticised and called out for bullshit for a few years. They spend time researching and prototyping for the sole purpose of presenting good artwork, not products with rounded edges. We put things in a gallery show precisely because those things might never belong in Best Buy. In some utopian (or extremely dystopian) cases, some of that stuff makes it to the wild, but that’s not the point in making design fictions. We try to communicate. We don’t try to idiot-proof, we don’t try to scale.”

(Note: the “fictions” he’s referring to are the projects developed by students on his course, so called because the pragmatic utility of these projects is not necessarily important, and in some cases never likely to be important. They’re expressing an idea, not answering a need.)

Shapira covers what I’m about to say, too, but it bears repeating: contrary to what some people on both sides like to imagine is a gulf between commerce and art, very often the biggest commercial or popular successes are the result of somebody– or a bunch of people– having lots of time, space and/or money to do stuff that everyone else thought was pointless and unpopular at the time. The same can be said for a good proportion of the best scientific research. Creativity can sometimes be monetised, but the best way to kill creativity is to cram it into a commercial workflow pipeline, head first. Creative people could and would carry on without capitalism, but capitalism couldn’t continue without creative people to feed on.

Nobody Goes to Art School to Make Money, so Fuck Off

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