from the desk of Oliver Hartman – Resident Bargain Whorespondent
The other day, Stuart provided the etymology for mack and hoodlum. Not one to be outdone, I’d like to turn to Tom Wolfe’s The Painted Word (the critics responses excerpted in wikipedia are hilarious and make me look like an asshole!) to explain how I can antisocially walk into a gallery opening, swill some alcohol and pilfer a few cheese and breads and leave guilt free. Every time. Being among the most industrious of budget gnoshers, this is crucial for me as a broke-ass.
Wolfe contends that a small contingent of powerful critics, collectors, and gallery owners in New York, London, Paris create the commercial art market. When synced, they can catapult an unknown artist to stardom. Sometimes it is truly about the art. Other times, it’s spinning gold thread from hay; Rumpelstiltzken and alchemy. Taking some personality and hyping up the market.
I like art, but am cynical about stratospheric commercial art. Stratospheric commercial anything is suspicious. Keanu Reeves landing roles in films about non-robots says something to me. Warhol is another obvious example. His cult of personality, or absence of, trumped all. His factory and following of freaks was something important. It was, and still is, a powerful reflection on society and celebrity. But his art? Come on. The point is, commercial art is an industry and no one knows this better than gallery owners, which is why you can drink the booze and eat the nibbles guilt free. After all, they are giving it away.
Refine your skills this Friday:
Alyson Shotz Phase Shift Opening Reception
Friday February 27th 6pm-8pm
@ Derek Eller Gallery (615 West 27th Street, between 11th and 12th Avenues)