duchamp’s children: spectacle of the private parts

…. Is there still the spiritual in art, the kind of transcending of the sacred/profane dynamic that Kandinsky spoke of? The grip of anti-art within the art world is predominant and intransigent. The argument has been made that post-modern art is the equivalent of junk bonds; the mortgage backed commercial paper and toxic receivables of both a financial and spiritual nature, with the Jeff Koons, Damien Hirsts, Paul McCarthys et al. as representatives of this malaise, this bankruptcy in art. Like Baudelaire’s the poet as prostitute, these artists are merchandise and salesman in one.

---I've spent decades looking at painted nudes. I've seen more rapes of Sabine women than I can count. Ditto nasty battle scenes, murders, decapitations (Salome, Judith and Holofernes, anyone?). So nudity, death, violence – at least in art – hold few surprises. Now, for the first time, I actually had to ask myself the question: how do I look at this? Insofar as it disoriented me, and made me reflect, I suppose the works had some value. But, in truth, I could have coped without seeing Ilona's asshole. Thanks for that, Jeff.--- Read More:http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2009/oct/07/tate-pop-life-sex-art

The postart aesthetic really began with  Marcel Duchamp and the splitting of of intellectual expression from the individual. The reification of concept over form and then the short hop to nihilistic pessimism without pause to consider Benjamin’s messianic nihilism and then to Warhol which solidified the relation between art and business similar to the Bauhaus ethic but without the pretense of functionality and technique, and then on through the Hirst installations which are glorified preoccupations with Duchamp style banal objects.

…I would say it is ultimately nihilistic. I think it is not only anti-art – it is anti-life. Let’s just think for a moment of what Koons did with Chicholina – I’m referring to his sculptures of her. She was his Italian wife, also once a member of the Italian Parliament, and some say a prostitute or call girl or model as well as a celebrity of sorts. They’re now divorced. The sculptures were on view at the Sonnabend Gallery. In one work she looks like a glamorized not to say whorish belle femme sans merci–the eternal feminine downgraded/degraded to a media slut — anti-life indeed. Read More:http://dks.thing.net/Donald-Kuspit-Diane-Thodos.html

… Yes, I think so. It’s interesting to me that contemporary artists appeal to very rich people. It’s very important to have a high price. There is a kind of saying in the art market – you may have heard it– that if you put a work out there with a low price on it people will say it can’t be worth very much….They perceive low quality because the price is low. I remember a dealer who once said that people were questioning him about piece of art because it was for $200,000…. It is as though if it were priced for $300,000 they would consider it. They look at art with the dollar sign. ( ibid )

--- Read More: http://dailypink.pinkattitude.net/design/jeff-koons/


Cole: Whereas modern art consisted of revolutionary experiments motivated by a desire to express aspects of the newly-discovered “unconscious mind,” Kuspit argues, postart is shallow, unreflective banality motivated by the desire to become institutionalized; that is, part of the mainstream (along with the commercial reward that such co-opted acceptability brings). In this regard, the messianic zeal with which Van Gogh approached his work represents an ideal because it demonstrates the kind of authentic and individualistic commitment to artistic expression that today’s commercialized postartists lack. The crucifixion has become a cabaret.

Kuspit points out that it was to a very different kind of institution – the psychiatric ward – that modern artists were drawn. In an attempt to understand how the unconscious and madness can affect the creative process, modern artists turned their attention to the artworks of psychiatric patients. Modern art went on to find its greatest glories in the dark and mysterious world of the human unconscious. This is the anti-Allegory of the Cave, an emergence into night….

---Kleeblatt was confused by my question — indeed he had a right to be — but you, Donald, asked for the microphone and said, "I don't think it's so bizarre at all. Duchamp was a terrorist, wasn't he? ...I just wanted to say that I don't think it's so bizarre at all. Duchamp was a terrorist and so was Hitler, and Duchamp was a fetish object, as Hitler is. And a lot of art historians, there are a whole group of art historians who click their intellectual heels and make the Duchamp salute these days. They are both fairly disruptive figures. I think Duchamp was an extremely disruptive influence on art, despite the rationalization of it as, quote, conceptual and so forth. So I think it is a wonderful and actually rather insightful connection to put Hitler and Duchamp together." Read More:http://www.toutfait.com/issues/issue_2/Notes/barowitz.html

…Acknowledging that modern art’s engagement with madness produced imperfect (but important) art, Kuspit… attacks the postartists for substituting modern art’s authentic engagement with madness for the cozy passivity of the television documentary. Fearful of the dark and unpredictable world of the unconscious (largely because they are ignorant of it), postartists engage in mimicry of madness. The failure of creativity that characterizes postart, Kuspit notes, is highlighted in the way that postartists fail to imagine that there is a flicker of madness inside us all.
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Typical postart values include: a tendency to mock posterity, a tendency to elevate the banal to the status of the enigmatic and the scatological to the status of the sacred, and a preference for concept-driven art. Postart is art at the service of the mind and the product of joyless, “clever, clever” theorizing. Entertainment value and commercial panache are valued more highly than artistic ability or aesthetic worth and painting is perilously close to becoming a sub-genre of performance art.Read More:http://www.themodernword.com/reviews/kuspit.html
2006…Jeff Koons is seated in a bubble discussing his ex-wife’s private parts.

The artist is a guest of the London Serpentine Gallery’s bubble- shaped temporary pavilion. Dozens of art buffs are watching him be interviewed by architect Rem Koolhaas and Serpentine Co- Director Hans Ulrich Obrist.

On the plasma screens is a 1991 ultra-close-up of Koons and ex-wife Ilona Staller — a.k.a. the one-time porn star Cicciolina — having sex. “I always liked this painting,” he says with a straight face, amid bursts of muffled laughter. He then praises the pimples on Staller’s backside, and explains how the work conveys a “removal of cultural guilt and shame.”

Now divorced and remarried, 51-year-old Koons, whose “Cracked Egg (Blue)” sold for $3.5 million last week to collector Eli Broad, seems serene. Courteous and clad in a dark suit and tie, the artist took a few moments before his bubble appearance to chat on the roof of the Serpentine, his voice so soft that I sometimes strained to hear it.

…Koons: … But I don’t think artists usually care about money. It’s never been my concern.

…I’ve always enjoyed Roy Lichtenstein — I love his work. I’ve always enjoyed Martin Kippenberger, Thomas Struth. I have a variety of works from Dali, Magritte, different artists.

Nayeri: Has the value of what you own increased exponentially? Are you sitting on a gold mine?

Koons: I always look at the value as the personal experience of interacting with the works. A Dali that I have, when I first met Salvador Dali, he was standing in front of this painting. It was a painting of this tiger, and if you stand so many feet away, it’s a head of Lenin, it has a long title. I acquired a gouache of that painting. Every day I look at it, there’s meaning there. That’s why I acquired it, for that connection of remembering that meeting and what that meant.

Nayeri: Does it get on your nerves when they compare you to Andy Warhol?

Koons: It’s always an honor, and it’s always flattering. But I think that we’re all children of Marcel Duchamp as far as 20th-century artists. Andy would be a child, I would maybe be a grandchild, but we all come from Marcel Duchamp. He made tremendous breakthroughs, a very liberating artist.

Nayeri: At one point you were a Wall Street commodities broker. Do you worry that this big art-market bubble is an asset bubble waiting to pop?

Koons: I try not to worry or have anxiety in life about anything. As an artist, you try to remove anxiety. With the gesture of making any art work, there’s some anxiety there. So I don’t get anxiety over that. One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about my upbringing was, my parents brought me up to be self-reliant. I’d be a very good person at pumping gas. Read More:http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=ae_ajHIq9MBw&refer=home

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