Art Lovers discussion

46 views
"Celebrity" Artists

Comments Showing 1-16 of 16 (16 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Tom (new)

Tom At first I thought this article, "George W. Bush, Sated Artist," posted on Guernica, was going to be an entertaining but fairly superficial send-up of would-be artists getting major exhibitions and attention simply because they're famous, but found it to be a more nuanced exploration of universal impulse underlying the desire to create. (This doesn't make W. a better artist, in my opinion, or more worthy of critical attention than others, but it does make him more interesting than I was willing to admit previously.)

http://www.guernicamag.com/daily/matt...


message 2: by Geoffrey (new)

Geoffrey | 201 comments Martin, hear ye, hear ye. There are always suckers out there who pay good money for bad art. It`s most unfortunate. These same people wouldn`t know good art if they saw it. It`s amazing that they should be able to develop their taste buds to the best of wines but wouldn`t know the difference in quality between Hirst, our fairgrounds spinner expert and a Basquiat.

As for W., his craftsmanship leaves much to be desired. He simply can`t draw or paint with any expertise. His images are simplistic. And yet he was the former president of the USA. Perhaps the best that could be said of him is that he`s a better painter than President, but was best with a line, mirror, shaving blade and straw.


message 3: by Geoffrey (new)

Geoffrey | 201 comments Jim
It´s an intuitive thing, hard to pinpoint. It´s how some of us can recognize that the abstract squigglies were created by a monkey or an elephant and not by a world reknown AEist. I once took the AE test and scored 100% on it. I knew which pieces were done by professionally trained artists and which by young children.


message 4: by Ed (new)

Ed Smiley | 871 comments I recently read this article I want to share:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisf...
"If I stop being on good behaviour for a moment, my dark little secret is that I don't actually believe many people in the art world have much feeling for art and simply cannot tell a good artist from a weak one, until the artist has enjoyed the validation of others – a received pronunciation. For professional curators, selecting specific paintings for an exhibition is a daunting prospect, far too revealing a demonstration of their lack of what we in the trade call "an eye...."

Of course the "art world" has only a tangential relation to art, or most working artists, or even many buyers and collectors of art.


message 5: by Ed (new)

Ed Smiley | 871 comments I think Ai Weiwei is one of the more interesting celebrity artists....


A public art installation in Central Park in New York. The installation features bronze sculptures by renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei created titled "Circle of Friends/Zodiac Heads".


message 6: by Geoffrey (new)

Geoffrey | 201 comments So true, so true, Ed, unfortunately so. That´s why so many gallery owners, wannabe curators and pretentious collectors want to see the cv. Or you can just wear black and they will know for sure that you are a great artist waiting to be discovered by the ultimate powers to be.


message 7: by Gabrielle (new)

Gabrielle | 20 comments I have to get in to the city to see this! Thanks for reminding me.

Ed wrote: "I think Ai Weiwei is one of the more interesting celebrity artists....


A public art installation in Central Park in New York. The installation features bronze sculptures by renowned Chinese art..."



message 8: by Gabrielle (new)

Gabrielle | 20 comments I grew up in the art world when it was not the ‘global market’ it is today, but an ‘art scene' with a handful of players. I find the changes in the last 30+ years alternately devastating and fascinating. (I wrote a book about this world called Unstill Life: A Daughter’s Memoir of Art and Love in the Age of Abstraction) But after Duchamp, who opened Pandora’s box with his readymades, to question whether something is, or is not art, seems beside the point. What is interesting to me now is what has happened since art has begun to compete with entertainment.


message 9: by Geoffrey (last edited Jul 03, 2014 10:12PM) (new)

Geoffrey | 201 comments Jim wrote: "Geoffrey wrote: "Jim
It´s an intuitive thing, hard to pinpoint. It´s how some of us can recognize that the abstract squigglies were created by a monkey or an elephant and not by a world reknown AEi..."


Museum curators have found that it is somewhat problematic to give too much labelling or description on the plaques to museum work as it distracts viewers to read the label first, look at the picture last. I agree, it is somewhat disconcerting that there isn´t more written about the paintings alongside. There are times when I wish I had more information to make a judgment on a piece. Nevertheless,curators perhaps are right in limiting the info.

The solution of course would be for museums to have very laid out exhibition catalogs that could be purchased at the entry door. Viewers would be able to walk around the rooms, inspect the work and if troubled by their inability to understand any work, read a curatorial blurb from their catalogs.


message 10: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8396 comments Geoffrey wrote: The solution of course would be for museums to have very laid out exhibition catalogs that could be purchased at the entry door. Viewers would be able to walk around the rooms, inspect the work and if troubled by their inability to understand any work, read a curatorial blurb from their catalogs.

I agree, great idea Geoffrey.


message 11: by Ed (new)

Ed Smiley | 871 comments Jim, Congo was a bit of a celebrity. And he was not human.
There's actually a wide variety in the quality of chimpanzee art between different chimpanzee practitioners.
But he is generally considered one of the best

Here's what many consider one of his best paintings:

I am not sure what the intent of this artist was....
Certainly chimpanzees possess some manual dexterity, and have color vision similar to ours....

By the way, we sometimes forget the effect of our concept of intent on a viewer perceiving and completing a work of art. We tend to ask more why questions when we are confronting a work by a human adult.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)


David Lloyd Glover, a modern impressionist painter, was born in 1949 in Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Vancouver Island, the most westerly of the British colonies and respectful of its English traditions, is known throughout the area as the "City of Gardens." Many of Canada's great painters were cultivated in Victoria including Brian Travers Smith, Harry Heine, J. Fenwick Lansdowne and Emily Carr.


message 13: by Lobstergirl (last edited Jun 27, 2017 07:38PM) (new)

Lobstergirl "Ai Weiwei’s new show at the Hirshhorn is self-satisfied, but not satisfying"

"In 2015, the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei clashed with the Danish toymaking firm Lego after the company refused to fulfill a bulk order of plastic bricks for an installation piece he was planning. Ai went public with his anger, framing as a free-speech issue the company’s reluctance to have its product used in what was likely to be a politically charged art piece. A few months later, Lego backed down and changed its “no politics” policy on large orders. One of the world’s most popular artists, backed by a legion of his online followers, had stared down the maker of one of the world’s most popular toys, and the corporation blinked first.

It doesn’t seem likely that the countries indicted by Ai’s Lego-brick installation of political portraits at the Hirshhorn, called “Trace,” will be so easily dissuaded from repression. The project, a collection of 176 portraits of dissidents, political prisoners and activists, was first seen in 2014 as part of a huge exhibition the artist created on Alcatraz Island in California. The material presented in Washington includes an updated text detailing the lives of the featured activists, but the portraits — which lie flat on the floor and appear to be pixelated because of the rectangular brick forms — are the same, and even the holes left open for support columns in the Alcatraz show are still there, as blank spaces.

Ai is a blunt artist. There aren’t many twists or turns or conceptual divagations from the political message to the final form of the work. The portraits were made for him, by volunteers, and were shipped to the Hirshhorn in roughly 12-inch-square pieces and reassembled. The portraits appear to be based on photographs found on the Internet; plug a few names into a search engine, and more often than not the image that comes up first is the image that appears in this exhibition. In a few cases, there is a bit of decorative background added to the design, but many are simply straightforward Legoized versions of a basic snapshot with a colorful background and the name running along one side.

[snip]

The point of the show, if one reads a large black-and-white photograph of the artist that greets visitors at the entrance, in which Ai is seen holding his own eyes wide open, is to get you “woke” to injustice. But there will be some debate among visitors about what qualifies as injustice, especially in the first room, where Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning are among the activists represented, along with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela. Other figures have been significantly tarnished since the days when they were courageously in opposition to repressive authority. Aung San Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 and fought for democracy in Burma, has more recently demonstrated distressing complacence and moral fecklessness in the face of persecution of her country’s Muslim-minority Rohingya population.

So this show is a “talker.” That’s what Ai does. But is it enough? If the kinds of conversations sparked by large-scale Lego installation pieces in cosmopolitan world capitals often led to reform and political action, it would absolutely be enough. But the energies released by Ai’s art often seem to circulate in a troubling, insular sort of way. There is nothing in this piece that touches directly on political violence or cruelty, on the real deprivations many of these people have suffered, and the frightful dangers they continue to face. All of that is dealt with in the short, cursory texts that accompany the show. The portraits themselves — two-dimensional in more ways than one — are merely the pretext for a set of crowd reactions, and in the end the primary residue of all of this is probably a whole lot of self-satisfaction. Ai isn’t just preaching to the choir members, he is rubbing their shoulders and whispering affirmation in their ears: We care about injustice.

Ai does care about injustice, and as a former prisoner and political free thinker in China he has been the victim of an authoritarian state. One is thankful that he is using his art-world power and moral gravitas to focus on meaningful issues. But he needs to make better art, more thoughtful art, art that isn’t consumed and exhausted in a single glance.

If for no other reason, he needs to make better art because many people who will pass through the Hirshhorn in the next few months will take their cues from what he has done, and assume that art is supposed to be merely blunt and provocative. And that does an injustice to art itself, which in an ideal world would cajole viewers into more torments of thinking and more genuine introspection. The paradox of Ai’s art is that he is more interested in telling us what we should think about than he is in demonstrating how we should think about it.

Critics love to hate art-world celebrities, especially figures like Ai who have risen so high that they are essentially untouched by the vicissitudes of occasional failure. So it’s worth performing a simple test. If this project — a room full of large Lego portraits based on snapshots of dissidents culled from the Internet — had been proposed by a first-year MFA student, would it be received with enthusiasm? More likely there would be questions: Why Legos, an expensive, first-world toy made by a giant corporation? And why do the images need to be large? What is intended by placing them on the floor, which could be seen as a sign of disrespect? Why suggest digitization, and how does that relate to repression? How much research will you put into the accompanying material? What are you, as an artist, adding to the process from concept to realization?

Very likely the verdict would come back: This isn’t a bad idea, and it is well-intentioned. But you need to do more work before this is ready for an audience. Which is exactly what Ai should have done, too."

(excerpts are from a 6/27 Washington Post article by their very good reviewer, Philip Kennicott)

Actually that's nearly the whole article. I hope that counts as "fair use"...


message 14: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8396 comments Lobstergirl wrote: ""Ai Weiwei’s new show at the Hirshhorn is self-satisfied, but not satisfying"

"In 2015, the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei clashed with the Danish toymaking firm Lego after the company refused to fulfil..."


I don't know how I missed this article, LG! Very interesting and introspectful. And well written, I will add. Thank you for posting this!

And I agree with the questions that would have been posed to a MFA student who would want to submit such a work. Why aren't these same questions asked to a world-famous 'celebrity'? Is it because of his fame?

Or perhaps I missed the answer to that question. Actually, that IS the question they ask in the article so I second it.


message 15: by Tracey (new)

Tracey (stewartry) | 0 comments I coincidentally just found this:


- Ad Reinhardt


message 16: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8396 comments Tracey wrote: "I coincidentally just found this:


- Ad Reinhardt"


Great! Thank you Tracey!


back to top