Monday, December 08, 2008

Art Fair as Outlet Mall

'MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — The most trenchant comment on the dazzling and enervating spectacle that is Art Basel Miami Beach is written in bold black and white letters on the floor of the Mary Boone Gallery booth. A wall-to-wall text piece by Barbara Kruger, it spells out two quotations. One, from Goethe, observes, “We are the slaves of objects around us.” The other, from a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, reads, “He entered shop after shop, priced nothing, spoke no word, and looked at all objects with a wild and distracted stare.” . . .

The sense of art as merchandise is overpowering. A majority of what you see is portable and palatable. Most galleries offer variety-store-like mixes of works by different artists with the ambience of a sample sale.

Still, events like this do occasion collective soul-searching, especially now, as the art world grapples with recession. What is art for, after all, assuming that it is not just something for sale?'


This article mostly reads like a greatest hits catalog, but I find the introduction intriguing. This tone is becoming more common for critics amidst all the gloomy commercial outlook. Are we here at Astromen! doing our share of penitent soul-searching?

I tend to agree that there is a silver lining if the slate is cleaned of focus on High Concept Investment Speculation as Art(tm) that was increasingly dominating the dialogue, particularly in London and New York - most embodied in the venture capital brands that are Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons. If this means that a new focus on financially struggling underground movements actually is emerging, remains to be seen. I clearly have a vested interest in the latter.


DML76 said...

Hello all

can we change my DML76 to


Pete said...

Hey ya.

You may be able to switch your old Blogger identity over to your Google identity on your end.

Try that, if you can't, accept the invitation I just sent your new address and we'll wipe your old identity. Hopefully preserving your old posts.

Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.