Sunday, June 09, 2013

"Artistic Artists and Bogus/Fraudulent Artists"

I initially wrote the bulk of this as part of a lengthy blog entry primarily introducing video clips, so after writing it, I decided I'd like this to also be on the wires as its own post, and not only as a part of a much longer post.

The problem with the art world, as a business, is that (among others) two non-artistic factors heavily influence the marketability of art: supply and name/brand recognition, which means art from a deceased famous artist is what is considered the safest investment.  So since the profit lies with those two factors, often really ugly garbage that isn't artistic at all is easy to sell, because (for one reason or another) the artist's name has been developed, and if their output is limited (or finished), anything with their name on it is considered to have value.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are prolific artistic artists who produce beautiful art, but have trouble convincing people to buy it - not because people don't find it appealing, but because they have no guidelines as to the investment value of the work, and lack the courage to invest in art that they like for its own appeal - based on their own reaction(s) to it.

That said - perhaps not too much scorn should be heaped upon spineless investors.  They're not artists, and never will be.  They don't deeply understand art, and never will.  Add into this the bogus "artists" who market absolute garbage with no value whatsoever; neither artistic nor as a long-term investment, and someone without the needed combination of artistic sight/insight, courage, empathy, and good BS-detection abilities, can't really be blamed too much for wanting to go with something that is laugh-proof and guaranteed to hold its value.

Another factor... is deliberate incomprehensibility.  Since the people who have the money to *buy* art, tend to not be artistic, they mistake easily understood beauty as something to scorn, and want/need something incomprehensible, so that anyone who criticizes it can be easily accused of "not understand" it.  This is a really unfortunate part of the art world, and possibly its most fraudulent aspect.  In talking with living artists about their artwork on display at exhibitions, once you know a little about art, artistic-artists and fraud-artists can often be found out through asking a few relevant questions.  Real artists are generally able and willing to explain their art, and it takes on added beauty as you contemplate it while they explain their intent.  Bogus artists quickly become antagonistic, defensive, nasty, dishonest, and sophistic when you start asking questions.

But I would have to write a book to properly go into what the modern art world is and is about (and I'm no expert myself anyway), so just let me say that after about six years of gallery crawling in (primarily) Ginza and Kyobashi, I have come to more deeply appreciate authentic artists and to more strongly dislike bogus/fraudulent "artists" than before my gallery-crawling education.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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