Honore Daumier, Art Lovers
Couldn’t resist posting about the latest art forgery case. Pastor is Convicted of Trying to Sell Counterfeit Art. When in the world is somebody going to arrest Larry Gagosian, Charles Saatchi, et al for selling counterfeit art? Doesn’t anyone realize that an original Damien Hirst work is a piece of counterfeit art? That Bob Dylan’s knockoffs of Cartier Bresson photographs are counterfeit art? Any ideas why Dylan is spending his waning years making “Bad Painting” (this was a mini trend/movement defined by Marcia Tucker in the 1970s by showing the work of artists engaged in amateur painting techniques? Or starring in Superbowl ads for Chrysler? Or whether his shilling for Chrysler is a step up or a step down from shilling for Victoria’s Secret?
The hilarious thing about forging the great art genius of today is that you can hire a 13 year old to do the work, and one who’s had no prior art training at that. I was in the 5th grade when I did my first spin art painting on the boardwalk at Ocean City, Maryland. The operator would place your canvas on top of a motor that spun it in a whirl, the centrifugal force spinning the paint as it went. You just grabbed whatever colors appealed to you and held them over the spinning surface letting the paint dribble onto it. It was like being a pseudo-Jackson Pollock, but instead of the artist having to move all around the canvas in an action dance, you could stand still and let the spinning canvas do all the work for you.
Most of the time contemporary art strikes me as little more than a parody of what used to be viewed as serious art. Of course the parody of Pollock started with Helen Frankenthaler in the 1950s. T0 my eye, Hirst’s spin paintings look at lot better than anything Frankenthaler painted. But I imagine that I’m the only one who sees things this way–as whatever anyone says about art is entirely irrelevant to how I view it at this point. I simply take it at face value.
Which painting below is the worthless fake and which the invaluable original?
I love the restrained, dry wit used by the NY Times reporter when describing the by now customary art frauds. “Mr. Hirst is perhaps best known for his conceptual works, including sharks and other animals preserved in tanks of formaldehyde, and diamond-encrusted human skulls, but his minimalist polka dot paintings named after drugs, and his abstract round ‘spin’ paintings are relatively easy to copy.”
“Relatively easy to copy” meaning you can sit down in a lawn chair with a 6 pack. Crack open an ice cold one and have your assistant turn on spinning machine. The “pastor” and dealer in forged art is described as a “broad, graying man with a square jaw who looks as though he might have played football in his youth.” … Football players are well-known for their art connoisseurship and interest in high culture.
Meanwhile, for any readers who have a passing interest in the real world that they inhabit (admittedly unbeknownst to most in the art world), this interview of Doug and Kris Tompkins by Paul Kingsnorth is quite good.