So we are through Armory, Frieze NY and Basel Hong Kong in one week, and at least one Biennal, more mature, more self assured and some of us even more prosperous. This is the second part of the how to fuck things up, a series of realistic, idealistic, and maybe a bit illegal schemes to subvert and slowly overturn the artworld as we know it. Why? Because we are in the idea-producing business.
Let me preface this with a small note: while I received quite a few pats in the back about HTFTU part 1, the bpigs office received no emails from you regarding your own subversion strategies. Zero emails. Take a moment to feel ashamed about this.
This blog is not something to read, chuckle, and god-knows-what-else-in-private about. It is a public affair. Should our numerous calls to submit work and ideas (or your basic history lessons at school) have failed to notify you about the importance of participation in public affairs, let me phrase it in a not-uncertain way: do not ask me to promote another one of your shows (promoting your shows is not your job anyway - it is your gallery’s job) if you do not dare phrase your opinion on this platform.
Otherwise, you are stuck in the shadow of your comfort zone and I am stuck with this small town celebrity status, which, whilst fun at first, I realized I have absolutely no use for, and it is bad for dating.
Discuss during Gallery Weekend in Berlin and send in your schemes to firstname.lastname@example.org - We will post the less crazy ones as soon as we have some.
1. The Wolf of Chelsea
While the rest of today's schemes are based on real persons who, at least for the time being, seem to enjoy great success in what they are doing, this one is based on a movie whose main character did not even get the Oscar – so handle with care. It is a scheme for interns or underpaid associate directors in a gallery: The last week of your contract take it upon yourself to spice up the Gallery VIP dinner with a stripper. A tiger. A midget. Fireworks. Dildos. Something. Do not fret. A situation where the most exciting moment is when everybody starts putting out cigarette butts in their chocolate soufflés can only be altered for the best, trust me. This scheme will get you fired or promoted. Win-Win.
2. Less Than David Ostrowski
First of all professors in art schools should set it as an exercise: Paint less than David Ostrowski. I know few compositions or systems, personal or professional which would not benefit from the concept of less. And while there is a lot of talk lately about a group of thirty-something, (mostly) male artists who apply way more substance in their bodies than on their canvas, Ostrowski seems to take it into yet another level or at least to cleverly conceptualize his “technique” - “This is a show about nothing”, “The unpainted” - making him somebody to watch, if not follow. Because one of these days, one of us is going to make it. No studio rent, no assistant fees, no brushes, no sprays. Do Less! You like flipping*? Flip this!
3. The Anselm Reyle
Almost in the opposite end of the work scale this scheme involves building a ginormous art production machine, gigantic studio, assistant army - the works. Accepting orders left and right, have people wait for stuff globally then do a 180 and shut the whole thing down. It must feel like driving 320km per hour (or whatever is considered speed these days) and pulling the handbrake. It must be exhilarating.
Suggested variation: give no interviews about the why and what not
Suggested variation II: get the collectors to prepay
4. The Post Stefan Simchowitz
I was first introduced to the name Stefan Simchowitz as “the devil”. A cultural entrepreneur as he introduces himself. A shameless speculator as introduced by others. Collector and Art-consultant, his success mostly associated, but not limited to the early and speed of light-quick rise of Oscar Murillio and other flipsters*. Reading the very renowned by now interview of his – I must admit I was intrigued: the thick layers of egomania aside, he makes a few simple, yet new and accurate points. Art should not, and IS not a privilege of the rich and old anymore. I know people have kept saying that, throughout the last century, but now it might actually begin to be true.
Talking about art is definitely not a privilege of the art critic anymore; anybody can do it, and anybody should do it. The truth of this statement is confirmed by the feather-ruffled answer of your Friendly Art Critic Next Door Jerry Saltz - an article I would link to, but I do not really have to, as he just quotes Simchowitz's interview in a shrill voice. The Internet has changed things; Saltz himself is an avid fb poster, using phrases like "I broke facebook". The Internet does offer endless possibilities of communicating and maybe even calculating and increasing an artist’s value in the future. I was talking to a young gallerist about how to achieve the next Institutional-approval-stamp stage in my career - which, for female painters, is about as easy as peeing while standing – and he told me not to worry, the Internet has changed all that...Maybe..maybe there is some true to it. The other big worry for a young artist is building towards a sustainable career. But then again…Sustainable? Really? How many years do you think we have on this earth? Maybe it is time things start to change. Maybe we get to see the end of institutions… Maybe we get to see the end of curators...the end of the ministries of culture and their endless committees, the end of galleries... Artmageddon!!! Exciting times!
What is not exciting is doing nothing, sharing nothing, saying nothing, foccusing on the proverbial finger, and let the Simchowitches, Saltzes - and, to a way lesser extent of course, Stokous of the world - become important.
*Flipping is a new term in the art context describing the act of (collectors) buying art at very low prices to re-sell it within usually a few months for profit, either at auctions or between themselves. This process usually take place outside the context of a gallery, but not necessarily as some, usually younger gallerists, are also known to support it. In the press lately there has been speculation about a new movement in the arts, consisting of artists using very simple material and absolutely minimalized techniques to mass produce works for flipping.