Friday, October 05, 2007

On the 'new gallery opening every week' phenomenon

A further ratification of my belief that there is something inherently wrong with the sustainability aspect of 'a new gallery opening every week' trend in New York these days has been eloquently captured by this blog post link that was sent to me by email from one of Simplistic readers.

The author mentions all of the patterns...

- Just about anybody thinks that they are an art dealer. I walked into a Chelsea gallery the other day and remember the owner talking about someone named Polack and he kept referring to the artist in his gallery as having a style very close to Polack. It was only later in the conversation that I understood that he was referring to Jackson Pollock... And the work did NOT resemble the 1950’s master… Maybe there is easy money to be found and that could be the reason for the average Joe with cash to create a hipster gallery in Chelsea (who does not even try to pronounce the name Pollock right).

- The phenomenon of creative director/curators who think it is the power invested in their newly invested titles to band together works of artist’s that have no relevance whatsoever to each other and then theme the works under a heading that makes even less sense. Sometimes the connections are so vague that one stands there flummoxed until one begins to think 'maybe I am too stupid to get this thing’. The real truth of the matter seems to be that the director who swept up the disparate works into a poorly curated show sees little meaning or reason but manages to invent one up from a 'poetry by random words' kind of theme that seem to fit allude only tangentially to the works and that tenuous connection seems to falls apart at even the slightest analysis. Of course, according to the 'infinite monkey theorem', if you give a typewriter and an ample supply of bananas to a monkey that can live long enough, a novel might be published in about million years... Yes!, apparently random associations of disjoint words might work for group based themed art shows – hey, it is a heated art market where anything goes…

- New art phenomenon like inkjet printing on canvas and selling the works as art - this is the one thing that gets me riled up - creative freedom is one thing, but abusing it so much to make the viewer feel like it is highbrow art to have a lamp-post inserted up ones backside is a little too much. The other day I remember running into a gallery in Chelsea where I saw the works of an un-named artist who had scribbled in a three year’s old handwriting (a la Cy Twombly) on canvas that could have seen better times. I checked out the press release and noticed that it talked about associations between the scribbles on canvas and ancient hieroglyphs of the Sumerians - how this connection was arrived at is a mystery to me… On thinking about it a little deeper I surmised that the art must have been as indecipherable to the writer of the press release as the prospect of an uninitiated observer who looks to hieroglyphs for meaning. This same connection would have driven the writer of the press release to sense that it is a better bet to marry the muddied scrawl on the canvas to something equally less understood as hieroglyphics than to think hard and invent other made up reasons. Of course, what better sales pitch than to burnish the artists work by association to cuneiform and ride the wagon to more money...

Well, read the blog for a super rant and a rant well worth it.

I liked the parting shot:

"BUYER BEWARE! did that $5K painting you just bought come from someone with any kind of rep or sustainability or original talent whatsoever? or does it just go well with your sofa?"

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