I love that we are finishing off this semester’s reading with Kingkade. This is the second art history course I have taken which has ended by talking about him. I always think its funny because we spend the whole course talking about great work only to have the Kingkade argument arise, as if to say “even though you now know all about this amazing art throughout history, forget it, because here is the guy who really owns the “art” world, this is what most people consider great art”. For me it’s so disheartening. I think it is easy to chalk it up to the lack of art historical education, but I think its more then that. In the article we read on Kingkade as mall art, the author has a section on understanding the definition between Contemporary Art and Commercial Art. I particularly like this understanding between the two “worlds”.
Kingkade really still really bothers me in terms of his commercial approach to art. Though I appreciate his ideas about creating work that appeals to the masses, I think that he still is using people and exploiting what they like. He is basically like a designer handbag that isn’t that great quality but everyone wants and likes him. I wish that people who were interested in him would take the time to learn a bit more about art and then revisit his work.
A French artist, André Robillard, currently has a show of his work in Switzerland. Robillard is an artist who specializes in junk, that is to say he takes objects that would normally be cast off to make work. Using these found objects, his sculptures are provocative without being formalized. The exhibition was curated by a group called the Collection de l’Art Brut. This term “l’art brute” was coined by Jean Debuffet, and refers to art that is raw and untouched by the traditions of the art world. Even though Robillard is self taught, his work still nods to traditional technique. In his piece “Appolo 13, AMSTRONG” (1981), he uses line and pattern in a very similar way to Barb, which has direct reference to Chinese ceramic painting. his other drawings also have a style similar to Muchael Scoggins, which have a childlike reference. I really like that he is working with discarded materials to make provocative sculptures like guns and tanks. His tank itself has a toilet seat atop it, creating perhaps a greater social commentary on violence and war.
A few days ago, I was wondering what kind of art would come from all the protests and political movements happening right now. As it turns out, a lot of work especially collective pieces are being created by protestors, and they are trying to be saved by art activists so to speak. In Ferguson, the Missouri History Museum and the Regional Art Commission have announced their plans to preserve the plywood paintings made by a group of about 100 artists working through Paint for Peace STL. It really is amazing that people are recognizing how important this moment is for the country and for the history books that they are striving to collect and preserve evidence of this moment now. Pamphlets, drawings, flyers and paintings are all being collected also in China from the Umbrella Movement. Check out the article and the photos of the work, it really is incredible.
As we have been talking a lot about, the art world and the business world are inseparable. Though private collections can be acquired in pretty shady ways, I think most people believe that the public works owned by major museums is protected. In Italy, many laws have been passed to protect both public and private work so that it doesn’t end up away from Italy or damaged in some way. But in other countries, there is less protection and assurance. This week the director of the State Art Museum of Uzbekistan in Tashkent was sentenced to nine years in prison for replacing works from the institution’s collection with fakes and selling off the originals over a 15-year period. Major art works by Lorenzo di Credi and Russian modernists were sold off for only about €80 to €650. This means each work was only sold for about $100-810 each. This kind of sneaky selling is something that needs to be stopped in the art world and it is good to know that those who were apart of this are being held responsible. I hope that this will deter other people in powerful positions from this kind of behavior. Art is more than just a commodity.
Discussing art markets today and artists like Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Thomas Kinkade really brought to light what the art world is like today. Its not really about who is the best artist or the rarity of a piece but the name and brand attached to it. The art world has transformed into a market place where branding has taken over. The $12 Million Stuffed Shark describes how Damien Hirst is not an artistic genius but rather a marketing genius. The pieces that he creates are nothing without their thought provoking titles and the publicity surrounding them. Jerry Saltz description really stood out to me, “The paintings themselves are labels- carriers of the Hirst brand. They’re like Prada or Gucci. You pay more but get the buzz of the brand.” When we were discussing this in class I kept relating Hirst’s brand to a high fashion brand, because it is very similar. Its true you can get the same article of clothing from two stores and the only difference is the name it says on the tag but the price will be a difference of hundreds of dollars. People spend more because they want the brand name and the “buzz” that goes along with it, this is the same tacit that Hirst brings to the art market. Damien Hirst changed contemporary art by marketing and building his own brand based on his name rather than the art he creates.
World of a contemporary art object or project is no longer something that exists only in physical space.https://copycontest.com/
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