Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, May 08, 2021

I’ve decided: For my own personal Second Act in life, I’m going to be a big-time, scene-schmoozing artist. Or rather, ar-teest.

Granted, I can’t draw a straight line — or even a particularly inspiring crooked one. I have absolutely no sense of color balance or blending. And object juxtaposition? Phhht.

But these days, all that technical artsy-fartsy stuff is irrelevant. Outsourcing the grunt work of artistic endeavor to lower-rung art workers, while you concentrate on concept creation, is where it’s at, man.

It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the avant-garde challenged the popular notion of the artist as a skilled artisan. In 1917, Duchamp famously displayed a factory-made urinal as a readymade; in 1923, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy picked up the phone and placed an order for five enamel-on-steel pictures to be produced by a sign company in Berlin, making the point that the hand of the artist no longer mattered.

By the 1960′s, Andy Warhol had called his studio the Factory and employed a team of assistants to turn out silk-screened canvases that intentionally bore little or no trace of the artist’s hand. With Conceptualism, some artists refrained from making objects altogether, insisting, as Sol LeWitt put it, that “the idea itself, even if not made visual, is as much a work of art as any finished product.”

But in the 90′s, a new generation of artists, including Mr. Koons, Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami, decided they could have it both ways: they could be Conceptualists who also created big, beautiful, expertly made objects — and they could commission others to produce them.

“We’re in a post-Conceptual era where it’s really the artist’s idea and vision that are prized, rather than the ability to master the crafts that support the work,” said Jeffrey Deitch, whose SoHo gallery specializes in large-scale productions by contemporary artists. “Today our understanding of an artist is closer to a philosopher than to a craftsman.”

Indeed, the Conceptualist school of thought can even take you to the pinnacle of the art heap in China.

Hey, I’m an idea man. I’m quite comfortable dreaming up the broad strokes and letting artschool strivers toil away, turning my vision into all-too-harsh reality. Sign me up!

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 05/08/2021 11:50pm
Category: Creative
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