Tuesday, January 31, 2012

See Red: W.A.G.E. Asks "Why Are Artists Poor?"

Damien Hirst Spot Glasses (2012); Kyle Petreycik, Introspective Glasses (2010)

On the heels of recording a conversation about ArtPrize and social justice I was invited by the artist William Powhida to a lecture titled Why are Artists Poor? by the Dutch economist/artist Hans Abbing and sponsored by an organization called W.A.G.E. - a group that is seeking to certify nonprofit arts organizations as artist friendly. I commented on Ben Davis account of the lecture, and Bill and I posted both our reactions to the lecture on Rhizome a couple days ago, but following the lecture we also took part in on a meeting for W.A.G.E. and then, along with the photographer Chris Verene, the critics Ben Davis and Martha Schwendener ended up finishing out the night discussing economic justice and the arts over a few beers. Of the group, all of whom, to some degree or an other have been involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement, I am the least engaged (I am not involved in W.A.G.E. or OWS, beyond joining a couple of the large marches and publicly denouncing the early hi-jinx of Occupy Museum), but one of the things that has come up over and over since Zuccotti was first occupied, is what is the lesson artists should learn from OWS.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Seeing Red: ArtPrize

From left to right: John Powers, Paddy Johnson, Kevin Buist, 13' Jesus

Following a little dust-up on twitter a couple weeks ago, I recorded a long discussion with AFC's Paddy Johnson and Kevin Buist the director of artist relations for ArtPrize, the world's largest single cash award for visual artist ($250,000.00, from a half million dollar overall purse). Today Paddy posted the entire conversation as a series of short contained videos. In the first video Kevin explains how the prize works (about a minute and a half in). I agreed to the discussion, in part, because I knew I'd be speaking to Kevin, someone who is part of the ArtPrize organization; it was my chance to voice my concerns about what should be an important annual international event for the artworld, but is instead something, as an artist, I would feel uneasy taking part in. The free market ethic of ArtPrize makes ensuring economic justice more, not less, important to the competitions success.

Monday, January 23, 2012

⚈ – – – ⚈⚈–⚈

Ralphie's secret decoder ring, A Christmas Story (1983); the Ralphie-like, and ring-laden Damien Hirst

I think we have to start entertaining the possibility that Damien Hirst is a lot funnier than anyone is giving him credit for:
A member of Gagosian staff tells me that the key paintings which correlate specific colours with letters of the alphabet are the start of a game: if you look at each painting carefully, a sequence of colours will reveal a hidden word, and if you get the word first you win a spot painting.
I want to go on the record now with my guess (and it rhymes with Methamphetamine):

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Spotless Mind

Damien Hirst; Methamphetamine, 2004

Recently we found out that anyone who sees all of Damien Hirst's spot paintings will win a print valued somewhere between $3,500.00 and $50,000.00. Greg Allen believes making the trip would be hellish - but he has two daughters and needs to be back home in time for the school play. Felix Salmon did the math for an imaginary plutocrat making the trip in gilded age style (sans private jet) for $108,572.00.

This all got Jennifer Bostic thinking. She believes that a couple of hipsters could do the trip in better style than any bloated plutocrat could ever hope to achieve. UPDATE: And if our travel savvy "underemployed" hipsters sold their two prints, their trip would not only cost $102,804.00 less than Pictor Vinchuk's trip, but even if the prints come it at the $3500.00 low ball, the hipsters still come out ahead at the end of their trip. With that, allow me to leave the rest of the post to our guest blogger, Ms. Bostic: