Saturday, 31 October 2009

Where does modern art com from?

This is a short extract from an article about the continuation of art groups, music bands, writers etc. after their demise! Robert Ludlum, the writer, is a good example. Anonymous writers continue to produce books the publishers then market under his name though Ludlum has been dead for nearly a decade. Singers in pop groups are highly replaceable. In fact, anything that secures the income of agents, publishers, etc is apparently OK.

This paragraph takes a wry look at the modern art world. I quote:

The likes of Damien Hirst and Rachel Whiteread have made fortunes from the striking, physical pieces that are exhibited under their names. But the well-kept secret of the contemporary art world is that its household names - including Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami - outsource the construction of their most ambitious works to "factories" staffed by art school graduates and engineers. The sculptor David Batchelor once joked that if a bomb fell on one particularly prolific studio on the Old Kent Road, "it would change the face of London's contemporary art world".

So all an unknown artist can do is be original! Marketing skills help, of course. I wish I had some!

The new trend of selling so-called "giclée" prints of one's paintings is another feature in this recycling programme. No one really knows how often a work is reproduced, whatever the number out of so many might claim. An artist on the fiddle is hardly likely to confess. Giclées can look uncannily realistic.

In fact, forgery and plagiarism are highly accomplished "arts". In the far east paintings are produced in plants that look like biscuit factories. Rows of artists dabbing away at their speciality. There's another twist to this. In China a painting can be copied as long as the originator doesn't stop it happening. Most don't even know their painting has been filched! Another method is to take giglée prints  of  paintings and dab a bit of paint on them. They look hand-painted!  The paintings are exported unstretched in huge containers. A buyer then goes to a framer to get the painting hangable!

Another facet of the art business is the plethora of workshops. You don't have to be a  skilled painter. and/or tutor to hold them. You just have to convince people they can learn something and then tell them how marvellously talented (or awesome) they are when they attend. There's no numerus clausus for all this stuff. People with healthy bank balances but not necessarily any artisitc talent go to India or some other farflung place to take these workshops, though I think most of them go to Venice, judging from the number of Venetian images you can find on the internet. All the workshops cost an arm and a leg! Alternatively you could buy DVDs (or rent them on one of the presumably highly profitable sites offering them). Some painters are good demonstrators, most are not! But that does not seem to be a criterion in the DVD-workshop business. One thing is certain: they all cost a lot of money! 

Here's another of the paintings for my exhibition:

This one is 90x60cm and painted in oils. I had a battle to keep the apples balanced. I'd seen a pretty photo of 5 apples somewhere and was trying to emulate the setup. But the apple on the left kept rolling off so in the end I photographed it where it is now! Then I realized that there was an empty space at top left, so I hastily added a little snake. The original idea was a square canvas, but that had already been abandoned! Maybe I should call it "Garden of Eden".

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