Tag: greed

ZOMBIE PROFESSIONALISM

ZOMBIE PROFESSIONALISM

CAREER SUICIDE

zoc002

An interesting article by Daniel S. Palmer about what ArtNews calls the “hyper-professionalization” of some artists. I’d go further and call it something like “jobification”; the reduction of a vocation to a mechanical and wholly uncreative grind. As Palmer points out, it’s not even the best way for an artist to make money or for anyone to make money from an artist’s work, because it’s so shortsighted:

“The entire system seems designed, predominantly, to disappoint. What has arisen from these failures is a marked distinction between product- and project-based artists. Product-based artists have been led to think of an artwork as a product serving a demand, rather than a single step in a longer, sustained development, as is the case with project-based artists. Consider the most visible trend in recent years of Zombie Formalism, a kind of reductive, easily produced abstract painting, sold quickly to collectors queued up on…

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DEGENERATION AREA

DEGENERATION AREA

CAREER SUICIDE

monopoly manVia artist Mimei Thompson on the F***book, news of a property developer soon to be bulldozing over a hundred artist studios near Hackney Road in London. They’ll be replaced by a twenty storey tower with “workspace” (whatever that is) and 170 homes including “a number of affordable”. Britain’s cities and towns desperately need more and better housing accessible to everyone regardless of their income, but we all know what the “number” of affordable units will be: as few as possible, probably with a separate door so the poors don’t rub their poor all over the investment/money laundering boxes of all the Chinese, Russian and Arab one percenters who are just about the only people who can buy these places. Affordable is a laughably– and conveniently– ill-defined and slippery developers’ term anyway.

Don’t worry, though, the loss of this artist community (who stupidly, inconveniently brought life to a rundown area…

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LIQUIDATE BANKSY

LIQUIDATE BANKSY

CAREER SUICIDE

OR: SLAVE TO THE ALGORITHM

RaidersMeltingNaziSome readers of this blog will probably find the “art market quantifying” ArtRank (TEE EMMMMMMMMMM!!!) as funny as I did, especially its fourth category listing those artists who should be “liquidated”. Obviously they’re talking about selling off the artist’s work as a matter of urgency, but it still has a deliciously murderous taste of the mafia hit list or Caligula-style proscription about it. Liquidate Banksy first. Then liquidate Oscar Murillo. Liquidate these other people I’ve never even heard of. Liquidate them all, Frieze will know its own. Apparently the Artrankers liked it when I made this comparison on Twitter last week. Lovely chap, Caligula. Very fond of animals.

There’s also a “peaking” list of people you should just be bored of rather than urgently liquidating them. I’m sure if the ArtRankers really put their minds to it they could have found terms that seem more…

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PART OF THE FURNITURE

PART OF THE FURNITURE

CAREER SUICIDE

M Hollow

“Painting is not made to decorate apartments. It’s an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy.” Pablo Picasso.

WRONG, Picasso, you pathetic loser. You don’t know nuffing. Three Court of Appeal judges have ruled that the Joshua Reynolds painting Portrait of Omai (1775-76) is a piece of “plant or machinery” because it “had just as much function in the trade of the company (note: the tourist trade at Castle Howard in North Yorkshire) as the more prosaic tables, chairs, office and other administrative equipment.” Furthermore, the painting counts as a so-called “wasting asset” with a predictable life of less than fifty years. Well over ten times the average lifespan of a coffee table from IKEA, but still not very long. Omai was sold for £9.4 million in 2001. In 2012 its sale value was quoted as £12.5 million. The court case arose as a result of…

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ANITA’S ART LAUNDRY

ANITA’S ART LAUNDRY

CAREER SUICIDE

zabPhilanthropyI’ve mentioned the intellectually and morally impaired art “philanthropist” AnitaZabludowicz here on this blog many times, she of the simpleton masterpiece that is Anita’s Art Diary (Example entry, during a trip to India: “All the ladies were out in force in the streets buying up every Pashmina in sight.” This is actually one of the less banal, fatuous and irrelevant observations.) I’m tempted to say she’s like a character from Absolutely Fabulous, except she would probably regard that show as a gritty documentary. She’s almost impossible to satirise since she does such a good job of unknowingly satirising herself. I’ve also alluded to the way that the ill-gotten wealth of oligarchs, warlords and criminals is regularly laundered– either in a manner of speaking or in the truly criminal and actionable sense of the word– through the upper echelons of the art world. Somehow I missed it when it…

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COME TO DADA

COME TO DADA

CAREER SUICIDE

I’ve been helping several correspondents do detective work on some artist farming businesses who’ve tried to pick them up recently. My definition of artist farming is taking money from artists for vaguely defined services or for promises of success or sales that are deceptive and otherwise not as advertised. These schemes and businesses promise a lot but usually achieve little or nothing positive for the artist; they may indeed damage an artist’s credibility and their prospects of being taken seriously. They certainly don’t have the interests of artists or art buyers at heart in any way. All they care about is milking as many naive marks as possible. In Britain the same little pack of bandits seems to have about 90% of the artist farming business sewn up, they’re all friends with each other and they all co-validate each other’s lies and puffed-up CVs, linking to each other with bogus endorsements…

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THE PONZI SCHEME

THE PONZI SCHEME

CAREER SUICIDE

Named for the Italian con artist Carlo (or Charles) Ponzi, who in the 1920s relieved investors of about $420,000 (equivalent to about $4.5 million if he’d done something similar in the 21st century). The main characteristics of what’s now called a Ponzi Scheme is that it pays “profits” to investors from their own money, or from the money provided by subsequent investors. They rarely make any legitimate profits. They’re often based on vague promises and unrealistic projections, as indeed are many of the originally legal schemes like hedge funds; hedge funds can also very easily degenerate into illegal Ponzi schemes when they go wrong, and this has happened with particular frequency since the turn of the last century. Ponzi Schemes inevitably collapse either on purpose– because the fraudster makes off with all the money, as they always intended to– or when investment stalls.

Of course Ponzi was neither the first…

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Ars Moriendi

Ars Moriendi

ADOXOBLOG

Ars Moriendi(The Art of Dying) was a book that appeared in many editions across medieval Europe. This image is from a block-book edition, i.e. the words and pictures were each carved on the same wooden blocks instead of the text being set in futuristic movable type.  The demons appear to be tempting the man with visions of a new 1465 model executive horse, a nice hat, a big house with glass in the windows, and a wine cellar… though surely they’re too late if he’s on his death bed already? Step into my office, imps of Satan; your efficiency and the timeliness of your communications are severely lacking.

Seven hundred years on, this is looking a bit Muppety to me and reminding me of Labyrinth, especially the profoundly unscary demons. If David Bowie’s Goblin King get up of tights, codpiece and joke shop wig were shown here, that

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The English Usurer

The English Usurer

ADOXOBLOG

“An Usurer (i.e. a person who lends money at an unreasonably high rate of interest and/or with unfair terms) is not tolerable in a well established Commonweale, but utterly to be rejected out of the company of men.”

Too bloody right. Four hundred years on, little has changed: payday loan companies, Lehman Brothers, toxic mortgage lending, fixing the LIBOR rates, bank executives getting huge bonuses at failed but state-bailed banks, etc. Note also the piggy bankers on the right, the top one saying “Mine is the Usurers defect. To root in earth, wallow in Mire” and the bottom one issuing the refrain we’ve also recently heard many contemporary versions of from bank CEOs, that they can’t and won’t be held accountable for the devastation they’ve caused with their greed: “Living spare me, and Dead spare me.”

PS: Beware, for after a long separation I have been reunited with my…

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