Tag Archives: selling

SAVE £40 ON FRIEZE TICKETS

20 Apr

21.-ops.-Scrooge-McDuck.-Azizonomics

… every single year, guaranteed… BY NOT GOING.

I’m severely late on this one, because Frieze Art Fair [sic] was last October and at the time I was far too fucking busy touring Japan and having an amazing, inspiring time in the midst of the most staggering beauty to even think about paying £40 to be milked by a loathsome trade fair for oligarchs, blood money gold diggers and other moneyed Eurotrash, even if I’d been in London at the time. However, this is an excellent– and dare I say even Career Suicidesque– response rant by Morgan Quaintance to Frieze’s jaw-droppingly unironic and egregious discussion panel entitled Off Centre: Can Artists Still Afford to Live in London? During a ticketed fair where a person earning minimum wage would have to work for nearly six hours to afford the admission price, and putting your coat or bag in the cloakroom costs a fiver. Not to mention that most people who work in the arts already know the answer, which can be found in the thousands of artists and other creative people, and key workers like teachers, who have been forced to leave the capital to stand any chance of making ends meet.

This talk is also evidence of what I mentioned in a recent post with regard to artist livelihoods being a taboo and unfashionable subject when I started talking about it seven or eight years ago. People who ran art galleries or arts organisations were often absolutely baffled and speechless at any suggestion they talk about how money flows through the system– and particularly how it doesn’t often flow to artists in any significant quantities– but now even the likes of Frieze see benefits (undoubtedly self-serving ones, as Quaintance also points out) in talking about the subject, or at least being seen to talk about it.

It’s well documented that I despise Frieze magazine and their trade (not art) fair, both of which are festering sores on the face of genuine art and an affront to everything I hold dear, and I know I’m very well accompanied in that, but it’s nice to have a co-pilot who says things like this:

[The talk] tipped the uneasy balance between finance and art to a position that felt entirely more exploitative, offensive and grotesque. Put simply, the instrumentalisation and commodification of hardship took things a step too far.”

And:

“Is there something base about using the human fallout that comes from the pursuit of capital to excuse and make the pursuit of capital more attractive?”

McDuck

He also torpedoes the infuriating, traitorous and intellectually lazy response of many apologists for the toxic sea of Panama-flavoured money in which some directors of public galleries, commercial gallerists and artists float their rotten boats, the “all money is dirty” brigade who generally only say so because they never earned or received a penny in their lives that didn’t come from dodgy sources and at the cost of somebody else’s suffering, oppression or exploitation.

“… the relentless spread of alienating neoliberal practices throughout the capital are what makes this all difficult to stomach. But the fact that it is easy for others to swallow makes me think that there are, at present, two consciousnesses operating in the British art world: one that is happy to ignore the art world’s possible complicity with the wretched socio-cultural, economic and political state of things and another that finds it distressing, disturbing and debilitating to do so.”

Distressed, disturbed and debilitated here, in case you were still in any doubt.

Frieze Art Fair: the monetization of your misery?

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“GLORIFIED SHOPPING MALLS”

27 Jan

Some magnificent verbal kamikaze quotes from Australian gallerist Evan Hughes, on the occasion of closing down the business founded by his father and then run by himself.

Top Sydney gallerist launches blistering attack on the art world

PRODUCT FOR DICKHEADS

ArtWorldDickheadsE_Hughes

“… It was almost as if we were given permission to declare that the art world had been taken over by dickheads. Too much of the commercial art trade has become about the selling of product and the accumulation of capital, much to the confusion and disillusionment of young artists. “

REALISTIC PORTRAITURE

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A commission for Malcolm Turnbull, Australian prime minister: “In the 1990s, when Malcolm was still a merchant banker, the Turnbull family commissioned one of my father’s artists, Lewis Miller, to paint a portrait of Malcolm. Unhappy with the work, Turnbull confronted my father at a function and exclaimed: “That artist of yours is no good; he’s made me look like a big, fat, greedy cunt”, to which my father replied, “He is a realist painter, you know”. “

WWAVD?

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“I suddenly asked myself: “Would Vollard be doing art fairs and Artsy?” Maybe he would; we didn’t want to.” He’s referring to the French art dealer Ambroise Vollard, who supported many artists when they needed it most. As for Artsy… mmm… yeah…

GLORIFIED SHOPPING MALLS

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“…It was just depressing to realise that the art trade is now centred on glorified shopping malls run by quasi-property developers (art fairs) and tacky mail-order firms (internet enterprises).”

WE ARE NEVER EVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER

20 Nov

… WITH STREAMING SERVICES WHO DON’T PAY US ENOUGH

DickturpinTaylor Swift seems a highly unlikely Fair Pay for Artists Warrior, but she explained her breakup with Spotify surprisingly cogently (for her), in the context of an unsurprisingly current concern:

“I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music. And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.”

Before you start sarcastically playing the tiniest sad violin in the world for a poor little rich girl who just happened to have a new album to shill that week, be aware that all artists whose music is featured on Spotify or other streaming services receive a paltry $0.006 to $0.0084 (i.e. 3/500ths to 21/2500ths of a US dollar) per play of their song. Plus, when Taylor Swift has got somebody bang to rights then they should know they’re making a horrible mistake with their strategy. By deliberately gaming this system with an album of short silent tracks (Sleepify), the band Vulfpeck still only made about $4 per person per day even when their fans colluded in playing the silent tracks all night, every night until Spotify realised what was happening and kicked them off. Spotify claims 70% of revenue goes to “rights holders”, but this is a slippery argument because the rights holder isn’t necessarily the musician.

Likewise, an official partner of YouTube earns between $2.50 and $5 per thousand views, with only the most popular YT stars making the top whack. An upper band YT partner who managed a very creditable ten thousand views would make a pathetic $50. A million views– which sometimes happens accidentally but is not easy to do on purpose– nets you $5,000 (about €4.000 or £3,200). This might seem like a lot until you realise how few million-plus videos there are on YouTube compared to the morass of other content, how notoriously fickle and volatile the internet’s lumpenproletariat is, how long it may take to creep over a million views, and how rarely any one independent creator consistently churns them out unless they have the resources of a traditional media organisation behind them and can afford to devote themselves to it full time.

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APPALLING DISCOVERY OF THE DAY: AMAZON ART

6 Nov

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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.

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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.

“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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