Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Emperor Needs a Makeover

The absurdity of the art world never ceases to amaze me. I am the first to admit that my fashion selections for the emperor at least include viewable fabrics so when it comes to “art” that is so conceptual that it borders on BS, I can’t make a case for it. In my sketchbooks, I often include torn pages from high brow art magazines just to remind me how truly gullible some people can be. Below are three examples to make my case.

In a sketchbook from 2003, I have an image of a piece to be auctioned at Christies in New York. This is the verbatim quote/caption as listed next to the photo… (I don’t use any artists’ names because my point is not to review their work as an artist).”—Artist----- (1957-1996) ‘Untitled’ (Fortune Cookie Corner). Fortune cookies (endless supply) dimensions vary with installation. Approx, 10,000 fortune cookies, approx 36 x 100 x 60 inches. Executed in 1990. This work is unique and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist. Estimate $600,000 - $800,000.” Yes, those numbers are right! The picture of the piece to be auctioned is just as it says, a pile of fortune cookies piled in a corner. Okay, what idiot is going to pay that amount of money, even in 2003 when the economy was good, for a pile of cookies in a corner? Obviously not somebody with kids, animals or a brain! It does come with an endless supply so if you eat them, more will be delivered, I guess, and installed just “so” to preserve the nature of the piece. Can you see this owner having people over for dinner and a pile of cookies is in the corner? Gee Bob, nice stack of cookies ya got there….ummm…does it have a title like “I’m so fortunate that my friends know I am a total wackjob so they don’t laugh in my face”? or some such clever thing? Oh wait, anybody who buys a stack of stale cookies for half a million dollars or more would not be named Bob….more like Beauregard because obviously his knowledge of art is so far superior to ours. Wonder if can sell that stack of Oreos for a few bucks, or thin mints, those are like gold when the girlie scouts deliver them. Perhaps I should request them to be “stacked” just so and my receipt could be the certificate of authenticity. Hmmm….come to think of it, the “certificate of authenticity” which comes with my half million dollars of good fortune, may just be certifying me as being insane.

How about this one from a 2007 issue of the same magazine? -----Artist----- had an exhibit at ---name of place---(which I assume is a gallery) in New York. The photo of one of his pieces is a coat rack with coats on it. Yes, a coat rack, not a fancy one or anything sculptural, just a wooden coat rack in a standard mission style found in any office from the last century. It has 3 coats on it however. One is denim, one is suede and one is a trench with a designer plaid lining. The suede one has red gloves in the pocket and a scarf over one of the hooks. My parents have one like that in the front hall. Wonder how much it is worth? Wonder if somebody came into the gallery and added their coat to the rack not knowing it was a “piece” and that they are supposed to stand there with a glass of wine and look at it with contemplation. Maybe cookie boy bought it and now has a coat rack with coats next to his cookies, what good fortune that would be! At least ---Artist----could have used furs instead of denim so as to be more controversial or else make the price tag somewhat justifiable because I could buy the denim one at the Salvation Army (if it were on half price color day because I need to save my money for cookies).

Performance art is always a good category to consider. Just this week I tore out a small mention from a fashion magazine about an upcoming show. I quote…”Living Art. Sixty-three-year-old ----Artist----- retrospective ----Artist----: The Artist is Present’ arrives at MoMA today, featuring new work that invites viewers to sit across from her at a table.” Well holey hole in the donut Batman, but I did not know my family was part of a performance piece each time we had dinner! Stop the presses and print a postcard people! Come to my house and sit across from me at the table (BYOB makes it even better) and I will get myself a show at the MoMA. For those of you who don’t know art text before it became known as text and not anacronyms, MoMA stands for the Museum of Modern Art, not Momma’s house. Sometimes those letters would be better suited to “My Oh My, Arrogance!” because some of what is called ‘art’ today is just what makes art so intimidating to the masses.

Gallery and museum directors lament the fact that people don’t come into such places anymore or buy much art. Well if you want people to appreciate art, then make art that can be appreciated by most people, not a select few elites who orbit in a world so “out there” in comprehension that it is just laughable. Bottom line, but some clothes on there Mr. Emperor, swing by my house, put your coat on the rack, have a cookie and let’s sit down across the table and enjoy some good company and a good laugh. Oh, don’t mind that dinosaur in my house, she will stomp all over the place for the next few decades which is why I don’t have any cookies stacked in the corner, way too many crumbs.

1 comment:

  1. I know what you mean about the really "out there" stuff that can seem ridiculous. But really, such indulgences have been perpetrated on the "masses" since around 1907 or so. Rather than surrender to the 'easy way' of making artists more accountable to public taste, which is often unreasonably fickle, maybe we need to think more about teaching people to really see and think...something that modern society actually DISCOURAGES.