Wednesday, January 15, 2014

the sudden WalmArtization of art

the armory show, new york, a typical fair where aisle arrangement is 
essential to the enjoyment of the spectacle (maximization goal: merchandise experience)

aLfReDo tRifF

have you not connected the dots yet? we're living the WalmArtization of art.

come, let's walk the through the aisles of any of today's many art fairs, filled with this aura of prominence: expen$ive art  from all over the world & populated by sophisticated visitors. notice that the aisle/grid arrangement of the galleries is not that far apart from Walmart's (neat, well ordered, straight, spacious enough for three people to pass each other comfortably, with visible and clear signage display).

granted, there is a difference in the type & status of the merchandise being sold. did we call art  "merchandise"? comparing Miami Art Basel with Walmart may seem --to any art cognoscenti-- a crude distortion. of course, there are differences.

a walmart gallery (maximization goal: merchandise display)

let's take the art/market side of the equation. the art market, 

* represses --while selling-- the idea of art as commodity,
* favors objects of entertainment and specular pleasure,
* sets rhythms of fashion as ritual recurrences of the always new,
* promotes a culture of self-congratulatory hypnosis, 
* reintroduces mythic and cultic elements to modern secular time (i.,e, contemporary art has no past no future)

the difference is that we treat art as this very particular form of investment (i.e., original, rare, sophisticated). contemporary art is a respected, eminent kind of commodity.

on the other hand, Walmart is the largest global multinational retail, thus a trusted, respected, eminent corporation. 

the "art" part of Walmart which for long figured, latently, as a quasi suffix can now be officially announced:

welcome to WalmArt!


judith ghashghaei said...

Any time that I visited an art feria I had an uncomfortable something that I can't described, is a spiritual allergy; yeaph, is like to eat something healthy for every body but not for you, and you get red skin, etc. From now on, I will remember your comparation in this short but extra-ordinary essay, for sure my spiritual allergy is not going to have cure but it will be in control. Saludith

juanrelias said...

I'm having trouble understanding the first point. How can the "WalmArtization" of art repress the idea of art as a commodity? It seems to me that, instead, it sees and utilizes art as a commodity. Unless you are trying to argue that it "tries" to repress the unavoidable fact that art (in the environment it is presented here) has been commodified.

Alfredo Triff said...

is a spiritual allergy; yeaph, is like to eat something healthy for every body but not for you, and you get red skin, etc.

cool judith.

juan, tx for visiting. WalmArtization is Walmart minus the obvious. in other words, one must not feel as if with the former one is merely satisfying everyday needs. art is presented and displayed as mythic/cultic, a "spiritual" not a material need.

Migdalia said...

walmart is a disgusting carcass of a monopoly! [ the smiley logo is just creepy!]

great post, twin!

- Migdalia

Alfredo Triff said...

hi twin. good point.
tx for visiting.