Sarah Thornton cont.:
1. It gives too much exposure to artists who attain high prices.
2. It enables manipulators to publicize the artists whose prices they spike at auction.
3. It never seems to lead to regulation.
4. The most interesting stories are libelous.
5. Oligarchs and dictators are not cool.
6. Writing about the art market is painfully repetitive.
7. People send you unbelievably stupid press releases (:))
8. It implies that money is the most important thing about art
9. It amplifies the influence of the art market.
10. The pay is appalling!
Sherrie Levine (b. 1947), Fountain (Madonna), 1991. Cast bronze, Private collection. ©
for interesting art talking, see: AUDIO GUIDE STOP FOR SHERRIE LEVINE
I almost forgot:
Sarah Thornton’s Seven Days in the Art World was named one of the best art books of 2008 by The New York Times and The Sunday Times. These days Thornton is releasing a new text, called 33 Artists in 3 Acts. The book is organized around a series of interviews and seeks to figure out things like; What is an artist? How do artists command belief in their work? And what artistic myths do they enliven or reject? I have not yet had the chance to read the book, but I will. If you like to know more about Thornton and her projects, you can take a look here.
The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is still in detention in his home in Beijing, but even so, he finds several ways to communicate with the world. And he has a number of shows going on in the West at all times, even if he himself is unable to leave his home.
September 27, 2014 – April 26, 2015 at Alcatraz Island
If you are at all interested in the art of Ai Weiwei, I will recommend a visit to the Brooklyn Museum’s webpage. This summer the museum hosted an exhibition called; Ai Weiwei: According to What? During the exhibition the public were given a possibility to ask Ai questions via the web. The answers can be found online.
One of the questions Ai gets is: “What do you miss most about NYC? Or what DON’T you miss?”
His reply is worth considering:
I have much less to act upon in NY. It seems NY doesn’t really need me. … When I come back to China I feel my life serves some purpose. And I have so much to do. Also, I can feel there is a need for me to act.
You find the full reply here:
None of us shares Ai’s experience of deprivation of liberty, it is a cruel and inhuman restriction! But some of us might recognize his feeling of not being needed, of not having anything to contribute, or a feeling of meaninglessness about our own work – how is it that we, in more liberal societies, come to feel this paralyzing hopelessness?
As for the mot juste, you (written in response to Vita Sackville-West) are quite wrong. Style is a very simple matter; it is all rhythm. Once you get that, you can’t use the wrong words. But on the other hand here am I sitting after half the morning, crammed with ideas, and visions, and so on, and can’t dislodge them, for lack of the right rhythm. Now this is very profound, what rhythm is, and goes far deeper than words. A sight, an emotion, creates this wave in the mind, long before it makes words to fit in; and in writing (such is my present belief) one has to recapture this, and set this working (which has nothing apparently to do with words) and then, as it breaks and tumbles in the mind, it makes words to fit it.
Woolf, Virginia: The Letters of Virginia Woolf Volume 3: 1923-1928
Ann Hamilton (from Buddha Mind in Contemporary Art, 2004, ed. Baas & Jacob):
Increasingly a large part of my process of coming “to make” things extends out of the atmosphere of the books that I gather around me. Reading is a part of forming a landscape that allows work to happen, and a part of every project is the process of finding the book a project needs. It isn’t something that can happen by intention.
So the process of making work is first one of waiting. And reading is one of the ways I wait.
I am drawn to reading poetry for the way poetry offers up words and, in a new way, their meanings.
If all art happens as an act of attention, then: What is making? What does it mean to make?
How is making a form of being in the world? What is the place of making by hand? What is the form it takes now? How is it relevant or has making by hand become a nostalgic activity? How is it necessary? How does making animate the world? How does it become reciprocal? How is reading making? Might the space and experience of reading be tactile and material? What acts might constitute the process?
There are so many marvelous intriguing questions in this text, questions demanding further investigation. I have underlined just two them, which I find to be directly applicable to my praxis as an art critic: How does making animate the world? How does it become reciprocal? Being a critic, I sometimes feel like I’m standing on the threshold – an invisible line – between a world of the unbelievable and the world habitual living. My task is to get the two spheres into contact – .
Ann Hamilton: The event of a thread
Josef Albers, Study to Homage to the Square Gay, 1956
In 1950, at the age of 62, the German-born American artist Josef Albers, began what would become his signature series, the Homage to the Square. Over the next 26 years, until his death in 1976, he produced hundreds of variations on the basic compositional scheme of three or four squares set inside each other, with the squares slightly gravitating towards the bottom edge. What may at first appear to be a very narrow conceptual framework reveals itself as one of extraordinary perceptual complexity. In 1965, he wrote of the series:
They all are of different palettes, and, therefore, so to speak, of different climates. Choice of the colours used, as well as their order, is aimed at an interaction – influencing and changing each other forth and back. Thus, character and feeling alter from painting to painting without any additional ‘hand writing’ or, so-called, texture. Though the underlying symmetrical and quasi-concentric order of squares remains the same in all paintings – in proportion and placement – these same squares group or single themselves, connect and separate in many different ways.
… if I was a painter, I would dream about making work as visual perceptible, sensible, sensual and emotional moving … as these