Tag: painters

ZOMBIE PROFESSIONALISM

ZOMBIE PROFESSIONALISM

CAREER SUICIDE

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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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ABSTRACT PROPAGANDA

ABSTRACT PROPAGANDA

CAREER SUICIDE

ArtPractice

I was recently reminded by this post at Open Culture that Abstract Expressionist painting and exponents of it such as Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock got a big (though covert) push from the CIA, who secretly organised a number of influential exhibitions including MoMA’s New American Painting. It was all an attempt to depict America internationally as a country with a sophisticated culture borne of a fully functioning democracy.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha… oh… ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Wait, wait… ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Sorry about that. Most Americans hated Abstract Expressionism, and they still do. Not to mention the fact that US foreign and domestic policies in the 1960s moved on to brainwashing, drugging, sabotaging and sometimes just straight up murdering (or having murdered) anyone who stood in the way of their global agenda. But it’s interesting to think…

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MULTIPLE SLASHES ARE SOUGHT AFTER

MULTIPLE SLASHES ARE SOUGHT AFTER

CAREER SUICIDE

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I can’t believe they’re talking about this shit with a straight face” of the week goes to a recent article on Artsy (aforementioned) on ‘The Secrets of Art Pricing‘. If they’re meant to be secret, should you really be telling us? Never mind.

Submarkets for individual artists, and markets within different periods for those artists, require their own brand of unique pricing lore. Case in point is the oeuvre of Lucio Fontana, who began puncturing the surface of paper or canvas in the late 1940s, developing the idea over the next two decades. “At different times, different colors are more or less popular,” wrote Melanie Gerlis, Art Market Editor at The Art Newspaper, in her 2014 book Art as an Investment?, referring to Fontana. According to Fontana specialist Luigi Mazzoleni, founding director of Mazzoleni London, “regarding the slashes,” the most popular colors on the…

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MORE MACHINE METONYMY MANAGEMENT

MORE MACHINE METONYMY MANAGEMENT

CAREER SUICIDE

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAn interesting summary in MIT Technology Review of some recent research done on creativity in historical art, creativity here being taken to mean novelty in imagery or content that had an influence on other– by definition less creative and more derivative– works by the same artist or by others. A machine vision algorithm analysed “classemes”: visual concepts which “can be low-level features such as color, texture, and so on, simple objects such as a house, a church or a haystack and much higher-level features such as walking, a dead body, and so on.”

Intriguingly, the algorithm is not restricted to figurative art and it can cope with abstraction and pop art, although at this stage they seem to be looking at painting. The software critic also tends to broadly agree with human assessments of the most influential works and artists even though it was not primed or biased in…

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ROMANCING THE STONERS

ROMANCING THE STONERS

CAREER SUICIDE

OR: PEOPLE WHO THROW STONES SHOULDN’T LIVE IN GOVERNMENT HOUSES

The Louvre is shortly to open a new facility in Abu Dhabi, designed by Jean Nouvel and looking like some kind of Logan’s Run shit that nobody who knew anything about art would ever want to show art in, as is usual for 21st century art silos. Talk about sterile. An outpost of the Guggenheim is also in progress, which will probably be equally austere, inhumane, architect-cool and ghastly. Having realised that they probably need some art or something– even if most of the walls are wonky or fifty meters from floor level– the gold-plated Arabic Louvre flagship store just announced the loan of 300 art works from French institutions. So let’s explore beautiful Abu Dhabi as it uses up the Earth’s precious resources to water lawns in the desert, let’s check out some of the art works being…

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SUBMIT YOUR DAUBINGS TO NEWS CORP, PLEBS

SUBMIT YOUR DAUBINGS TO NEWS CORP, PLEBS

CAREER SUICIDE

The deadline for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition is pressing upon us, like a paunchy red-trousered sextagenarian taking liberties with our bottoms when he squeezes far too intimately past in the train’s buffet car on the way back to his seat in First Class. Another in Parker Harris‘ comprehensive range of reception hoppers for the excess money of aspiring artists, it will cost you £15 per image to get up to four of your works in front of the “panel of leading figures in the art world, including Sarah Armstrong Jones, artist; Ben Ravenscroft, artist: Desmond Shawe-Taylor CVO, Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures; and Louis Wise, Critic and Writer, The Sunday Times.”

Sarah Armstrong Jones and The Times are being terribly modest because Sarah is actually The Lady Sarah Frances Elizabeth Chatto, daughter of the 1st Earl of Snowdon and Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon and second daughter of…

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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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WHERE’S THAT DONKEY?

WHERE’S THAT DONKEY?

CAREER SUICIDE

This week it was revealed that British MPs have recently spent £250,000 of tax payers’ money on commissioning paintings of themselves. Not just the usual fat Tory pigs either, but also old school lefties like Tony Benn who might be hoped and expected to know better, and to guess how badly it would sit with the public and the media when it inevitably came out. Unlike many of the people who’ve already held forth on this subject, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong or absurd about a politician commissioning an artist to paint their portrait. We all know artists need all the work they can get, too. Also unlike many commentators who were frankly just showing their ignorance, I’m not going to express incredulity that a portrait of Diane Abbott (for example) cost £11, 750. That’s how much a commissioned painting costs. At least. As Whistler famously said during…

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PROBLEM SOLVED

PROBLEM SOLVED

CAREER SUICIDE

Evidently Herbert Draper (1863-1920) was an artist dedicated to solving one of the age-old problems of mankind, i.e. the impossibility of a man getting his end away with a sexy mermaid when she’s a fish from the waist down. Herbert– the dirty perv– provided an ingenious answer: when they emerge from the water their tails turn into legs. Brilliant.

Herbert_James_Draper,_Ulysses_and_the_Sirens,_1909 Herbert Draper, ‘Ulysses and the Sirens’, 1909. Ferens Art Gallery, Kingston upon Hull.

As the caption says, technically these are sirens rather than mermaids. The picture shows a story from The Odyssey, in which Ulysses has himself tied to the mast of his ship so he can hear the fatal call of the sirens without being lured into wrecking his ship, as was their desire. The crew had their ears stopped with wax. Until their mythology got completely jumbled up with mermaid stories in the middle ages, sirens were originally…

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“CRAPPY FINE ART”

CAREER SUICIDE

A thought-provoking and informative article inspired by the recent $5.7 million sale of a most definitely crappy act of plagiarism by a technically capable but unimaginative hack (with plagiaristic form) of an original Chris Foss painting for a book cover. Although obviously the utter shithead who bought it for $5.7 million has to take a lot of the blame, too, along with all of his or her kind. Ultimately the artist is just servicing this plutocratic market and churning out high-end widgets that just happen to take the shape of art works, like a glorified McJob work experience boy. If he wasn’t doing it, somebody else would. See also The super-rich are never embarrassed.

“So what do *I* think of Glenn Brown’s appropriated art, referencing great SF illustrators? I could use the big put-downs from fine art school and call it commercially technical, overly kitsch and academic in its…

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DANISH ROYALTY: A HORROR STORY

DANISH ROYALTY: A HORROR STORY

CAREER SUICIDE

danish_royal_familyThis horrifically kitsch and perfectly ghastly painting was commissioned by the Danish royal family from the artist Thomas Kluge in the past few years and completed recently. It was not commissioned from some hack illustrator in 1979 for the cover of a bad horror novel, as its dated and creepy style might suggest. It’s just so ugly. Even Rolf Harris is a better painter of royal parasites, and he’s appalling. They claim:

“Stylistically, Kluge’s art can be characterized as a kind of magic realism, and while making obvious art historical references he is also a significant postmodern innovator. In his works the precise depiction of humans and objects known from reality forms part of a universe which challenges the interpretations of the spectator, as they encompass something other and deeper than immediate, accurate likeness.”

Other? I’ll say. Other, perhaps, in the sense that Prince Christian doesn’t look “upright and…

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FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE GIANT GREEN PHALLUSES…

FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE GIANT GREEN PHALLUSES…

CAREER SUICIDE

… and we didn’t speak out because we didn’t paint giant green phalluses. Last week there was another seizure of (very mildly) subversive art in Russia, following the Thought Police’s previous confiscation of a painting that depicted Vladimir Putin and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. As deadpan-hilariously described by Agence France-Presse, the painting was of “Putin playing with Medvedev’s hair. He is wearing a strappy nightie, while Medvedev has cleavage bursting out of a bra and is wearing skimpy knickers.” If I could take the liberty of correcting Agence France-Presse, though, I think this description must have been written by a straight man because busty as Medvedev is, it looks to me as if Putin is doing his hair. Ugh, men. Trust a man to sexualise a painting of two Russian politicians’ heads on the bodies of scantily clad young women when they’re just trying out hairstyles.

putin_2654591bPersonally…

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THE ONLY ART PRIZE THAT MATTERS

THE ONLY ART PRIZE THAT MATTERS

CAREER SUICIDE

brent_painting_largeThe American artist who made this prizewinning work is 37 years old (nearly too old to be an “emerging artist”!) and he’s based in Keithville, Louisiana. He has developed a unique canvas-based practice in which he uses his tongue to apply pigment with a methodical understanding of seriality that leads to a rich columnar vocabulary of mark-making. His name is Brent and he looks like this:

brent_resizeBrent recently won first prize in the Chimpanzee Art Competition run by the Humane Society of the United States and voted for by the public. The entrants have all formerly been used for medical research, kept in unsuitable zoos, or rescued from abusive “acting” or “performing” situations. They now live out their retirements in various sanctuaries, where some of them paint better than a number of Debut Contemporary’s clients. Their paintings will soon be auctioned on eBay to raise money for charity. The…

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IMAGINARY ARTISTS IV: HALLWARD

IMAGINARY ARTISTS IV: HALLWARD

CAREER SUICIDE

In the centre of the room, clamped to an upright easel, stood the full-length portrait of a young man of extraordinary personal beauty, and in front of it, some little distance away, was sitting the artist himself, Basil Hallward, whose sudden disappearance some years ago caused, at the time, such public excitement and gave rise to so many strange conjectures.

As the painter looked at the gracious and comely form he had so skilfully mirrored in his art, a smile of pleasure passed across his face, and seemed about to linger there. But he suddenly started up, and closing his eyes, placed his fingers upon the lids, as though he sought to imprison within his brain some curious dream from which he feared he might awake.

“It is your best work, Basil, the best thing you have ever done,” said Lord Henry languidly. “You must certainly send it next year…

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IMAGINARY ARTISTS II: VAN GOGH

IMAGINARY ARTISTS II: VAN GOGH

CAREER SUICIDE

“As far as I can judge, I am not actually mentally ill.” Vincent Van Gogh, shortly after cutting off part of his ear and giving it to a prostitute.

Poor old Vinnie has been pathologised in a hundred different ways: epilepsy, chemical poisoning, bipolar disorder, alcoholism. Clearly there was something seriously wrong with the paint-eating, ear-slashing, self-medicating and ultimately suicidal painter who sold almost nothing and was known to almost nobody during his lifetime. But in that last fact, it seems to me, lies a large and relatively simple part of the answer. As somebody who’s spent their whole adult life battling to become and remain a worthwhile artist and writer, and to much more success while I’m alive than Vincent ever had (albeit still not very much, and only really by default because he had no success or recognition at all), I can wholly sympathise with and understand his sadness…

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