Thursday, July 23, 2015

Not Making is a form of name usurpation

Do you care that Koons did not make the Balloon Dog (Magenta), 1995-2000? 

You probably don't. But you should.

In The Art of Not Making, artist/curator Michael Petry makes the following observation:
If the intentions of context of the actual maker are irrelevant to a work's meaning, then why get your hands dirty with the making? Anyone can produce the work for you; its authorship lies elsewhere. Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami clearly fit this category, with their hundreds of assistants producing the work of "the artist" in factory-like conditions. (Intro, p. 11)
Not making is a Post Fordist assembly-line mode of production with a star artist producing artworks made by hundreds of (anonymous) assistants in glorified artsy sweatshops.

Petry purposefully forgets that authorship is a form of reference, as in:

"Balloon Dog is a Koons masterpiece," which is false. 

"Koons" refers to "Balloon Dog" as much as CO2 refers to "Water."

Petry doesn't understand that reference can not be arbitrary before it stops referring altogether. Thus, for the purposes of our discussion, Petry's not making is an omission, a suppression of the unnamed (the craftspersons whose names have been crossed out in the name of "the signature").

We wish to defend proper naming and fair compensation.

We hope you do too.

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