Monday, August 22, 2016

Art World’s WTF Week – Beecroft, Abramović, Baldwin-Boone-Bleckner, Doig

Hey everyone. Are you ready for the art season to start again?! Well I for one actually am. Strange I know, but I am looking forward to the new season and can’t wait to see the shows large and small around NYC.

Summer is over, yes we have a ~week left of August but we can all sense the avalanche that is September upon us. This past week there was a little taste of what we might expect and wow, was it full of crazy! Juicy gossip, lawsuits, veiled couture racism and much much more! If the rest of the season as going to be as bonkers as what we have already sampled this past week then let’s brace ourselves.

Below are some little nuggets that particularly entertained and repulsed me this past week.

Vanessa Beecroft’s Favela

The interview/article in NY Magazine with photographer Vanessa Beecroft is a page-turner of WTF. This once ‘art’ photographer can now be regarded as a branded entity in which her signature of models standing in a room has been transformed to just actually models standing in a room but now wearing Kanye West’s baby food colored attire.

Beecroft has transferred any previous art cred for her now commercially successful mixing of lifestyle, dashes of celebrity, commerce and cultural voyeurism. Put bluntly, I think it would be difficult to consider Beecroft as relevant to ‘art’ and I wouldn’t have paid any mind to the article but then I kept seeing in my feeds quotations in the article that made me both roll my eyes and vomit a bit in my mouth. Such things as:

I have divided my personality. There is Vanessa Beecroft as a European white female, and then there is Vanessa Beecroft as Kanye, an African-American male.”  

Say what?!

And when she likens her Hollywood Hills home to a favela. A Favela! The woman is totally out of her gourd! I am hoping that she was on some sort of drug or other mind-altering substance to explain the surreal levels of racism and white privilege but alas I don’t think I or she is that lucky.

The take away from this is revealing beyond just Beecroft self-detonating herself. It reveals how people ‘like her’ think of  ‘people like them.’ And if you don’t get what I mean by that then you too are drinking from the same demented kool-aid.

Marina Abramović’s Dinosaurs

Are we all sick of Abramović yet? (Deafening screams of Yes!) Luckily the Abramo-train has slowed down in the past few years so we don’t have to see her face literally on our morning subway commutes but she can’t stop, won’t stop. She is releasing a memoir to be entitled Walk Through Walls, (is anyone surprised) and in an “uncorrected proof” of it there is a passage from a diary entry that she wrote in 1979 about Indigenous Australians that goes like this:

Aborigines are not just the oldest race in Australia; they are the oldest race on the planet. They look like dinosaurs…

And more!

They are really strange and different, and they should be treated as living treasures. Yet they are not.

But at the same time, when you first meet them, you have to put effort into it. For one thing, to Western eyes they look terrible. Their faces are like no other faces on earth; they have big torsos (just one bad result of their encounter with Western civilisation is a high sugar diet that bloats their bodies) and sticklike legs.

She of course is PRing her flaming butt out of the situation and it will of course be stricken in the ‘corrected’ version but wow-oh-wow. Dinosaurs. Dinosaurs. Really? Dinosaurs?! Like what part of your brain, self, personality, mind, thoughts would ever make you think that way?

The colonized gaze is not some sort of youthful ignorance, it is a state of being that is fed and what it feeds is the ego. Abramović has bags and bags of that to spare so I guess it shouldn’t come as such a surprise but it is a bit thrilling to see her dagger herself with her own pen.

I hope Abramović can actually walk through walls because she is in a self-constructed prison of ignorance that we all can see. 

 Baldwin, Boone, Bleckner

The article in the New York Times that discusses an ongoing kerfuffle between Alec Baldwin (actor) and Mary Boone (dealer) over a Ross Bleckner (artist) painting had me actually loling at the screen. So apparently Baldwin really, really liked Bleckner’s Sea and Mirror, painting from 1996, he even carried an image of it in his wallet. He contacted Boone, Bleckner’s dealer, to see if he could purchase it. The owner wasn’t going to sell but then one day Boone said it was available. Baldwin pays for it and brings it back to his place but something isn’t quite right. He doesn’t think it is the piece he so admired and coveted. He gets in art experts and they say it isn’t the same work. Then a smattering of emails go back and forth between Baldwin, Boone and even Blecker. Baldwin is convinced it’s a re-do of another painting of the same time and it was sold to him with that deception. It is amazing! The real zinger is at the end of the article though:

Still, he told Ms. Boone in a recent email, he did not want to hurt Mr. Bleckner. “I’m less worried about you, Mary,” he wrote, “as you are more of an armadillo and I’m sure you have been blasting your way out of corners like this on more than one occasion.”

Ms. Boone wrote back to say that she was working to get him the work he wanted.

“I am not an Armadillo however,” she added.

Armadillo! Perfection! This whole thing is both absurd and pointless but nonetheless revealing the dirty, dirty place that is the art world can be.

Peter Doig Was/Wasn’t In Jail at 16

The Peter Doig trail is a screamer of holy crap. There is an owner of a painting that has brought to auction a ‘Peter Doig’ work but Peter Doig says it’s not his. The owner of the work says that Doig made it when he was 16/17 and in prison and that he was given the work. Doig says he wasn’t in prison then and that also why the hell would he spell his name wrong, it is spelled ‘Pete Doige’ on the canvas. This is actually on trail and it is bizarre beyond halves. There is even a very surreal Instagram account that features sunsets and line-by-line replays of the trail, which you can view here. The whole thing is a he said, they said, what the hell was said mess and it is fabulous. It really shows how bat shit insane the art world is and how the deeper in the rabbit hole you go the more hysterical it gets.

Lawsuits are cropping up more and more in the art world and I think it’s high time. Not the lawsuits where fanatics try to censor art but the lawsuits in which some light is shed on this shifty, unregulated industry which looks even more ghastly in the light of day.