Monday, March 17, 2014

arthoodication: the art of profiting while appearing (almost) prudently beneficent.

aLfReDo tRiFf

@ miami bourbaki, we're interested in the relation between contemporary art and the market.

by "contemporary art" we mean an industry producing specific objects whose function is (presumably & primarily) "aesthetic." by the market we mean an institution of exchange of art objects for mon€y.

such relation is:

*normative, prescribing stylistic & cultural values.
*inconspicuous, i.e., in your face but it never appears as such.
*redundant, i.e., they mirror each other.
*non-regulated, i.e., "free market for the sake of culture."

we've  called this relation (between contemporary art & the market) arthoodication.

this article by carol vogel for the new york times features the recent meteoric trajectory of colombian-british artist oscar murillo.

(murillo is a fitting example of the contemporary art/market binity):
“This is a market hungry for the players of the future,” Allan Schwartzman, a Manhattan art adviser, said. “But almost any artist who gets that much attention so early on in his career is destined for failure. The glare is simply too bright for them to evolve.”
does the market care? so, what is mr. schwartzman (a manhattan art advi$er), really saying?

he's simply playing his (redundant) role.     

how does arthoodication work?

* by exhibiting art/commodities &
*by transforming such art/commodities from "unknown" to "highly desirable," with art publicity campaigns (we call it artblicity).

let's take vogel's article bit by bit. we'd like to present it as a process:

a bit of background  

Mr. Murillo’s rapid rise in the United States dates to March 2012, when Donald and Mera Rubell, seasoned Miami collectors, saw a suite of paintings Mr. Murillo created for the London dealer Stuart Shave, which were shown at the Independent Art Fair in New York, a popular event for talent spotting. “By the time we got there, everything was sold out,” Ms. Rubell recalled in a telephone interview.

“We were so blown away by the work, I told Stuart we wanted to meet him even though there was nothing left to buy.” “We arrived at 9 a.m., and he looked disheveled, exhausted, like a homeless person,” Ms. Rubell recalled. “He’d stayed up 36 hours straight and had made seven or eight paintings, so he had something to show us. They blew us away. We ended up spending four hours talking to him.”
let's move to the commodities:
Not only did the couple buy all the work, but they invited Mr. Murillo to their home and their Contemporary Arts Foundation in Miami. He stayed for six weeks and created a series of large-scale canvases.
 fifty large canvases, to be precise.

... in December 2012, the Rubells showed the paintings at their foundation, timed to Art Basel Miami Beach, the must-see contemporary art fair that draws collectors, curators and museum directors from around the world. Ms. Rubell isn’t surprised by the success that followed. “Everyone copies everyone else,” she said. “It’s in the air.” Mr. Murillo’s canvases also reflect what is fashionable in contemporary art: They are abstract, often incorporate a word in the composition and have a lively color palette.
of course ms. rubell isn't surprised, her "everyone copies everyone else" arthoodicative market-lever is as redundant as a rolling ball.
“Seeing his work at the Rubells gave collectors confidence,” said Benjamin Godsill, a former curator at the New Museum in New York who is now a contemporary art expert at Phillips, the auction house.
gave collectors confidence... indeed. rubell's arthoodication of murillo caused the latter's work to appreciate from around $40,000 per piece in 2010 to $400,000 at a christie auction in 2011.
“People now recognize his paintings,” Mr. Godsill added. “They’ve become a status symbol.”
from "unknown" to "status symbol" in a matter of few hundred days. isn't it clear that arthoodication did it?


one last point.

a rodolphe von hofmannshtal, murillo's manager, now co-director of David Swirner in london, is cited in the article:
Mr. von Hofmannsthal ... aware of the potential damage a harsh spotlight can inflict on a young artist, (...) acknowledged that it’s “a really hard situation.” “It’s easy to say he’s got it right now, but what about tomorrow?” Mr. von Hofmannsthal said. “We’re trying to keep prices down, to protect his work.” Perhaps most important, Mr. von Hofmannsthal wants to “just let an artist be an artist.”
wait, "keep his prices down" as in we'd rather forfeit a more lucrative commission to "let an artist be an artist"?

perhaps you buy herrn hofmannsthal's pleonastic reflections. we don't. once more, his conflict of interests illustrates arthoodication's inconspicuousness: the art of profiting while appearing --almost-- prudently beneficent.


Rafael Lopez-Ramos said...

Big money as usual, carefully choosing their poppets to invest in and set the trend for the new generations to follow. It is not casual that what "sells" today is the emptiest art being produced on this planet nowadays. Real geniuses are off the spotlight.

Alfredo Triff said...

thanks RLR, many people are tired with the aesthetic and moral redundancies of the system.

Iván said...
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