Friday, July 11, 2014

"culture is like oil in the ground" -- stefan simchowitz

image, via vulture


i find this article on art space, on collector, producer, maverick & arthoodicator stefan simchowitz.

remember, what we're after here is oil in the ground. we'll find it soon.

as with all myths, there is always a "before" and "after"

(...) you had the emergence of small galleries, expert writers and critics, academics, curators, and small groups of artists—many of them emigrants escaping the bleak landscape of Europe—that led to the expansion of the art business, both demographically and geographically. And over a 60-year period, as dealers like Leo Castelli guided artists’ prices to grow in a linear fashion, art was given its value by the people who wrote about it in journals and more traditional media.
Then the Internet occurs, you have the browser, and in 2006 you have the emergence of what is essentially the mainstream social media, and you begin to see the distribution of imagery and artworks begin to expand online at the same time that you see the rapid expansion of the art business, because essentially there’s much less friction for the spectator to experience the artwork. More people see the art, more people can consume it and engage with it, and, more importantly, many more people have started taking and sharing photos and describing what they’re seeing.
"when the internet occurs, you have the browser." could one assume a more blatant reduction? you smell simchowitz's spielerisch rap from afar. but let's not fight over peanuts. art has become a "cultural spectacle" not because of the internet, but because of the market. the market is the source, the internet one of its conduits.

here's the proof, coming from "the source":
I think that when it comes to art and culture, as opposed to having singular authorities that define it, you have what you could call amplification nodules—people who for some reason have cultural integrity and a following that they address through a social-media structure. And it’s not so much about speaking to a mass of 10,000 people, but rather being followed by key decision-makers, players, and collectors in that network.
"amplification nodules," "key decision makers, players, in that network"? now simchowitz just contradicted his not-so-naive initial point on the power of Internet & social media's massive aggregations in shaping contemporary art's reception. do "amplification nodules" get amplified through social media or in the private innards of the system?

this is why simchowitz calls himself "cultural entrepreneur".

more importantly, will he be able to reverse his aporia? that is to say, convincing us that his denial, i,e.:
I think art advisory is very banal in that it generally simply involves someone who has access to several rich people and who, relative to those rich people, has slightly better taste.
is actually what happens.

as expected, now comes a deception disguised as know-how:
(...) there are a lot of people who are trying to do what I am doing because I have done very well, and there are outsized returns. But people who think, “Gee, I can buy a piece of art from a gallery for $5,000 and sell it for $25,000” don’t understand the complexity of thinking necessary to get to this position. It requires research, knowledge of the canon, knowledge of the past.
really? "the canon,"? "the past"?

could there be something else, for doing "very well"?
I’ve managed to build an extraordinary following in the art market that is very unique. I work with Sean Parker, Steve Tisch, Orlando Bloom, Guy Starkman, Enrique Murciano, and Rob Rankin, who is the head of investment banking at Deutsche Bank worldwide.  I think you need a very widely distributed clientele, with everyone from the very rich to people who need to stretch to buy an artwork. 
c'mon stefan. you are a very successful flipper. you have enviable market connections. in fact, by part-to-whole mereological extension, you are the market!  

which is why you can render this canonical definition of culture as (gosh, could one think of a more obviously non-renewable, non-biodiverse source than) petroleum?
You have to think of culture like it’s oil in the ground: it needs to be mined, refined, and it needs to be distributed.


Malagodi said...

As I have tried to show in an essay called "Music Is Worthless", all creation is worthless until some sleazeball comes along, puts it in a box, and tells us the price.

Alfredo Triff said...

how can i get my hands on your essay malagodi?