In this short post by Jerry Saltz, we learn that the artist Wade Guyton not only printed multiple, identical, indistinguishable copies of a “unique” work that was to be auctioned at Christie’s for between $2.5 and $3.5 million, possibly more, but he also showed off the results of his labours on Instagram in what could be interpreted as an attempt to taint the sale.
- The auction has been given the horrible title If I Live I’ll See You Tuesday (from one of the works for sale) as if it were an exhibition and not a cattle market.
- The “original” inkjet print was made from a digital file in the first place and therefore could be replicated perfectly at any time, in any numbers.
- Christie’s are putting a brave face on it, but apparently they’re getting a bit scared that artists from within the system are kicking back against the sickening, high fructose corn syrup unreality of an international art auction industry that’s still in hysterical denial about an era where even capital-A Art can be infinitely replicable.
- Christie’s delusionally think they have, or are brazenly claiming to have, a “gritty and underbelly-esq” [sic] side. With this level of embarassing neediness and such a tin ear for credible language it’s no wonder they chose to convey their grit with a promotional video of a skateboarder carrying on some edgy but unthreatening video speed-ramped shenanigans in the hip, street and far out daddio underbelly of Christie’s, alongside some gritty multimillion dollar art by off-the-hook, mad, bad and dangerous to know young bucks like Peter Doig. It’s a bit like a music video for a very minor hit by some hack alt-rock band from the mid 1990s. The Youth is into skateboarding, right? LOL, as I’ve seen the kids write on the interwebzone. I can’t embed the video, but you can watch it here if you want a good laugh/cringe. Christie’s posturing as edgy or in touch with contemporary culture is like an elephant trying to squeeze into your house for a casual breakfast with you.
Find out– among other things– the benefits of saying FUCK YOU to art world shitheels, how uncool starving in an attic is, and why you are probably not a princess or an astronaut.
I’m currently writing the successor to my book Career Suicide, from which this blog also emerged. The new one will be called Gentlemen and Players. It’s about the various weird situations in which 21st century artists and other creative people are finding themselves due to economic factors and rapidly changing means of production, distribution and consumption. Also making fun of stupid people and the stupid things they do, obviously. And yes, I know the title is sexist and reactionary. I’m writing about the systemic gender and class imbalances in the arts and media, too.
As part of the research process for the book (and of seeing which parts I can cannibalise for the book) I’ve just started reviewing everything that I’ve published here over the past few years. Two documents I put together a while ago but haven’t been widely published are the first things to emerge from this ongoing excavation. Two subjects I’ve often returned to here on this blog are 1) Dodgy pretend galleries that are mainly designed to part wannabe artists from their money and 2) The widespread advertisement of “artist residencies” that are nothing more than curated studio rental or pretentious holidays. Follow the links to see the permanent pages on these subjects.
I still welcome tip offs and informants, but I think I’ve now said just about all there is to say about this sector of the art industry. New people keep blundering in and falling prey to these spivs, but I hope that these two pages will allow me if future to just point at them instead of me having to repeat myself every time another poor wretch succumbs. Honestly, I’m glad to help people out but at the same time being the confidential confessor for so many people is exhausting because their stories are invariably awful and depressing. Once the new book is done I’m hoping to draw a line under the stuff I’ve done until now, and take the blog in a new direction.
A SPOTTER’S GUIDE TO DODGY GALLERIES
WHEN IS A RESIDENCY NOT A RESIDENCY?
Clockwise from top left: “God in a bottle”, chimney sweep trade mannequin, soldier’s pincushion, boody (broken china) mosaic tray with doll, papier maché meat from a butcher shop, carved bone chicken.
Tate Britain’s British Folk Art exhibition (continues in London until 31 August 2014, then moves to Compton Verney in Warwickshire) is one of the most inspiring collections I’ve seen in this country recently. I dislike terms like “folk art” or “outsider art” because to me if they’re art then they’re just art, but I acknowledge that these terms can have their uses. This is a minor quibble anyway, in the context of a show that clearly celebrates and validates the umtrammeled creativity of ordinary people in an intelligent and unpatronising way that few of our large art institutions would even bother to try. Most of the objects come from the often sorely underappreciated museum collections in places like Beamish, Norwich, or Tunbridge Wells, which I hope will encourage more people to visit them. It becomes terrifyingly clear that the collective memory of society is very short and full of holes. For example, who knew that male soldiers dug needlework so much and were so good at it, even as recently as WWI? Where did all our dressed wells, Obby Osses and Gods in bottles go?
On the day I went there were a lot of delighted and interested people of all ages very vocally and visibly enjoying the items on display. How often does that happen in an art exhibition nowadays? Such a contrast to the arid I-don’t-even-know-if-it’s-conceptual-or-what of Phyllida Barlow in the hall right alongside British Folk Art. Barlow’s work always reminds me of my dad’s penchant for keeping old bits of wood, obsolete plumbing and old tarpaulins stacked up against the back of our house, just in case they were ever needed… which they never were. And they weren’t art, either. Criticising Barlow is apparently a no-no because she’s a professor and she probably taught a lot of artists and so nobody ever does. That good old art world omerta. I’ll assume she’s fine as a human being until I hear anything to the contrary, but I get absolutely nothing from her work, or from the work of her numerous imitators and fellow travellers. What is it saying? Is it saying anything? What am I supposed to think or feel here? I think and feel nothing in front of this work. Worse than nothing, actually, because on balance I’m slightly annoyed by it. I’d enjoy throwing it in a skip and seeing it hauled off by a lorry, but I’m into a good tidy up anyway and I wouldn’t credit Barlow for the pleasure.
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.
Who’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.